Positive, Aggressive Football From Freddie

In his first match as Arsenal’s new head coach, a 2-2 draw with Norwich, there were positive signs from Freddie Ljunberg’s first match as coach of Arsenal but there is still a long way to go. The team showed aggressive, attacking intent but there remains a lack of quality in some positions according to yours truly, Shotta and Blackburn George, the Arseblagger.

Here are some of the issues we discuss:

  • Positives and negatives from Freddie’s first game
  • Players who excelled and those who didn’t.
  • Possible adjustments for next game
  • Overcoming negative fans

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30 comments on “Positive, Aggressive Football From Freddie

  1. Much better first half.

    Same old same old second half.

    I thought team selection was ordinary, and the use of substitutes were a shot in the dark.

    With the playing style being such a shambles it requires senior players to develop a new one, forget the kids (they should only be used when the team is playing well, and even then when their contribution is not vital).

    For me………………..the jury is still out.


  2. Enjoyed the attacking side but looks to me we need a mid to long term project on defending as a team, we really are very poor on that front, Freddie or anyone else needs time on that front.
    Our defending surely ranks with the worst in the division, inexcusable really , I am sure confidence or lack of plays a part, but other issues as well

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sometimes moments etch into the memory, and I now cannot unsee two passages of play from the second half of the Frankfurt game, with both Mustafi and Chamberlain running desperately through treacle back towards goal, having been beached high and dry somewhere in the wrong half. Any side that sits deep against us at the moment only has to bide its time, knowing that when a breakdown occurs any rapid transition will see them clear through to goal.
    We don’t have the personnel (or help from the referees) to break down organised defences, and end up committing too many forward. We are not good enough to draw teams on to us by playing out from the back. We are not unambitious enough to simply park the bus. We don’t have the robust and skilful midfielders to control the game and win by sheer midfield dominance.
    We do have some quite reasonable players, and players certainly good enough to be moulded into a decent unit, but we ended up with a manager who didn’t really know what he wanted. The big problem as I see it is that now with a caretaker manager we don’t necessarily have anyone to categorically know how they want the team to play – and to be backed in the transfer market with the players to make that vision a reality.

    I think it is a bit of a muddle.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Great points FH. Makes you wonder ( and sincere apologies to PG and Shotts for going against the grain) but should we be more compact in defence and drop the wing back attacking style? At least steading the system for a while. Surely the more robust and less leaky we are then more confidence is gained (imo). I think Dixon actually really wants Arsenal to win. We might not hear what we want, but I think he does. But everyone ( including us) has an agenda, so theres always clashing and ideological conflict. If he didnt care, he wouldnt say much.
    I wouldn’t let the defence over the half way line for five games and see how it pans out.
    But Im a dinosaur, and Im sure someones got a meteor aimed at my head at this moment!
    The game has moved on from the GG years, but anything’s worth a try? When we look theres not that many systems open to teams.It is a problem that we keep getting caught time and time again. I felt a bit sorry for Chambers, hes not really given a pos to stick in but has to keep moving around. The whole team is crying out for stability imo.
    The thing I got from the talk was thinking about how much damage has been done by Emery, its shocking,really shocking. Worse than Ricoh, worse than anyone in my time, and that was 1886.

    aftv: ” get Brendan Rogers in”
    Mr Rogers: ” Im staying at my friendly neighbourhood Leicester, we’re second in the league and you lot are a mess, run by oddballs who dont know anything about football. Ask Tom Hanks he might stand in for me”

    But cheers to Mr George and Captain Shotts, to me always a good listen.


  5. Foreverheady

    Excellent post.


  6. Interesting quotes from Pires.

    The Frenchman told Canal Plus: ‘This was a complicated and difficult game, stressful even sometimes.

    ‘The bottom line is that the team is still sick. Freddie or someone else, they are going to have to find the right medicine.

    ‘They are going to have to be patient but this is a little bit what has been happening since the start of the season.

    ‘We are weak, we are not calm. When you are lacking confidence, you take less responsibility. You try fewer things.

    ‘I think going forward things look very good, but defensively, and Freddie knows this, with Per (Mertesacker), a lot of work is required.’

    Liked by 1 person

  7. fa cup 3rd round draw

    Arsenal v Leeds


  8. FH and Bob, good points! You would think that a responsible organization would have seen the necessary change sooner and by acting sooner would have given the new coach a fighting chance. Right after the Leicester game Emery should have been let go and Freddie would have had a chance to practice and prepare for a relatively soft but busy period before man city and the Xmas blitz…now the tests will happen during matches, not ideal.

    Will be interesting to see how this works out!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. George a few posts Ive done have gone awol. Are the in the spam box? As usual theyre not to hot but…will keep trying. Hope this one works.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Maybe Im doing something wrong. Thanks for looking George. Liked the talk.


  11. Engaging exchange, chaps. It complements Adrian Clarke’s Breakdown to form the most sensible, evidence-based, to-the-point analysis out there.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Freddie Ljungberg faced the media for a pre-match press conference for the first time as our interim head coach on Tuesday.

    The Swede discussed how he has adapted to the role, the threat Brighton will pose, what the future holds for him… and why he didn’t wear a club suit.

    Read on for a full transcript:

    on what he’s taken from the Norwich game…
    Of course there’s a lot of reflection after a game, I’ve watched it twice now. The general feeling is probably the same as I had after the match, we started extremely well, played very well offensively but had a problem transition-wise so they got shots on target and chances just from the transition of an eight-yard sprint, which we need to stop. So that’s something we will focus on. Other things is that my feeling that we got in behind their midfield and behind their backline a lot, has been backed up by data within the club, which we have been sky rocketed up to be one of the top teams in the league to get into the pockets and behind them. That feels very good that it has been backed up by the data and the feeling I had after the game, and of course we will try to keep on doing that. My feeling was that I wanted to win the game, very disappointed not to win it, but if we play a transition game like we did, we won’t win any games, so that’s something that I can coach and try to improve.

    on being in charge at the Emirates for the first time on Thursday…
    It has been quite hectic, so I haven’t thought about it that much but of course it will be a proud moment. I thought it the other day, when I made my debut for the national team, when I made my debut here, and made my debut at Norwich as a manager, they are three of the proudest moments that I have had.

    on why he didn’t wear a suit at Norwich…
    It was so quick, the suit was at the dry cleaners so I couldn’t get it ready! No, I have seen the Premier League and seen coaches in a tracksuit, coaches with a suit, and I have seen coaches with a sweater, so I will decide on a matchday what I will use.

    on whether he has been fitted for a club suit…
    We will see if I have one or not, we haven’t had one fitted yet with the club suit but I can’t see that is a discussion but I will make sure you know what I wear.

    on the challenge Brighton will pose…
    Yes, I watched them a little bit, they look good, they change formations a lot, so we will see what they come with. They try to play out, defend well, they look very organised but for me we need to concentrate on our own game. We play at home so I take into account how I think they will play but I have to develop the gameplan how we want to play football and that’s what I try to concentrate on.

    on how he thinks he can change our fortunes…
    I think the only way to change an atmosphere in the stadium is by how you play. Like you said, the fans were amazing at Norwich. I felt like they got more and more energy the more that we played in the first half. We were on top of Norwich and I think the Arsenal fans got energy from that. That helped. But they were great, even when we went 1-0 down or 2-1 down, they were even louder and they helped us. That’s important for the players. When it comes to the Emirates, the fans want us to win football games. They want us to play good football and I think the only way to try to get a good atmosphere and get them going is to try to achieve that. Whether that’s me or someone else as a coach, I don’t think that matters so much.

    on whether criticism of defence is justified…
    No, I think my players try to defend. Of course you can have different types of players in the squad. That’s just a fact, that you have different types of players. We’ve had a gameplan we’ve tried to execute and I want to defend. Of course we need to try to find solutions. If players are not super quick and we say, ‘You’ve got to sprint for this or that’, that’s going to be difficult for that player. In general terms, we try to put out a structure so that everybody knows what to do. The main thing I saw in the game is that we let them get into situations where it was just a sprint. It was not about football or technical stuff, they just went in a competitive sprint with our player. We want to stop that.

    on not winning a league game for almost two months…
    What I try to focus on is going forward. I’ve been here, I’ve done two training sessions now and I don’t want to talk about the coaches before. I think Unai did a great job and was a great leader, and a fantastic coach. That’s not for me to judge. I look forward. The main thing for me was that when we were at Norwich, we hadn’t won an away game since the first game of the season. I felt that the players could react that way and in my opinion, we played well offensively. It was good. But now we go forward.

    on whether he’d be happy to step back into his old role if a new head coach comes in…
    Yeah of course. I work for the club and what the club wants me to do, that’s where I’m going to be. Of course I’m very proud to have this opportunity but the future will tell what happens.

    on how many changes he’ll make for Brighton…
    It would be a bit silly of me to tell you what I’m going to do! We’ll see. We’ll need to look at the fitness levels of the players and who’s fit, who isn’t. We have some players who were still injured before. We’ll see.

    on what he can fix in the next couple of days…
    Yesterday was a recovery day for the ones who played. Again, today, they have to recover because we play a lot. We’re training but the ones who played at Norwich will join us tomorrow in a short session. Of course we look at videos and the small details. I think it’s vital to change against Brighton. Of course, like I said before, if you have a pre-season for six or eight weeks, there’s a lot of things you can work on. Here you have to think, ‘That little piece is very important so that’s what we’re going to focus on’. That’s what we want to do.

    on speaking to Arsene Wenger…
    No (not yet), I would really like to speak to him. I’m in contact with him but I haven’t spoke to him because it’s been a bit hectic, but it’s on my list to do so.

    on the change from last Thursday’s defeat to Frankfurt…
    I’ve tried to build on what you saw at Norwich, that’s what we’re going to try and build on. At the same time, Brighton is a different opponent, they are very well organised, I think they look good so it’s going to be tough for us but, of course, we are going to try and build on what we did in the last game.

    on his involvement in potential January signings…
    I’m going on a match by match time now so there’s nothing that I will get involved in. I think we have a very good squad but it’s up to the big bosses of the club in regards to what they want to do.

    on a lack of Swedish coaches in the Premier League…
    I don’t know why that is, I think there are a lot of great Swedish coaches. Of course, it’s an honour and it feels special. I lived here for a long time now and I’ve just being trying to work as hard as I can to get a chance and they gave me a chance. At the same time, I don’t think it matters where you’re from, I just try to do a job.

    on Sven-Goran Eriksson…
    Sven is intelligent, I spoke to him a lot when he was the manager of England because he was watching our games. I know in the past, some stories of how he treated players and how he made them feel good and things like that. I have stolen a little bit of those ideas. He’s a great coach, it’s been a long time, and I hope I can speak to him soon.

    Copyright 2019 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to http://www.arsenal.com as the source.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Freddie’s presser is such a welcomed change from that of Emery. No respect-ball nonsense, “we want to play our game”, I said previously with the Norwich game now behind him he got something to build on.

    What’s the bloody obsession with what he’s going to where?

    I’m already looking forward to our game tomorrow. If we Freddie can just sort out our midfield, get the right combination going there (read: Xhaka and Torreira) we should be good to go.

    Next two games very important to get a bit of running start for festive crunch.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. I liked his comment, my suit was at the cleaners! What he’s like me now, only has 1 good suit? Reading that he wants to talk to Arsene warms the heart as it seemed that in the last 18months Arsene became the one “not to be named”. I get that they had to move on but anyways here we are. It will be interesting to see what his lineup will be Thursday. I’m thinking we may be seeing a few more surprises….looking forward to the match!


  15. I just saw on Shottas site Mhukahuru post saying that Wenger has said that PL refs must use VAR pitch side monitors. Fkin made me laugh out loud! I bet the Imperialists wont like that!


  16. Promising start for Wenger at FIFA. Right out the gate has told Pgmol they should review VAR policy and use pitch side monitors.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Ed

    Very hard work but got there in end, on last day before they sent people out, and got insurers/solicitors to pay off the debt for Aunt. Had to just keep pushing even when unclear if any of it would get me anywhere.

    Really pleased. Saving her 2 grand was great but better was avoiding injustice of it.

    Thanks again for having a chat on here about it other day!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Great news Rich, glad you stood your ground and got it sorted out. Really pleased for you and your Aunt and Mum and Guv. That was a lot to worry about, I felt really sorry for you guys on that one. All the best.


  19. glad to hear your good news Rich


  20. Cheers Dave.

    Would’ve thanked you and all but for my average memory.

    Now let’s have a nice Arsenal win tomorrow to make it a really good week!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Bloody Liverpool. Was just about to try my Amazon luck (took em up on free trial) and they’re already ahead. Typical of them at minute not to let me enjoy that ‘still level, who knows, fingers crossed’ stage of game.


  22. Arsenal now 10pts behind 4th placed Chelsea


  23. reports from France suggesting that Patrick Vieira is in line to become Arsenal’s Head Coach


  24. Great player, and the fans love him, but 14th in France? Would be a risk

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Emphatic score line, but Liverpool getting away with things….again…could have had a couple reds, but …well…we know who was refereeing that


  26. Lots of managers being mentioned, but really wish they at least give Freddie a chance.
    He cares, knows the club, he can clearly communicate, he seems to have an attacking philosophy, and reportedly, many of the players rate him. He could restore confidence as quickly as anyone, including another Spanish middling name with poor/ non existent English, an ex Tottenham manager who looks like he needs a break, an expensive name who Emery outcoached against Napoli last spring,a Mendes conduit, or a manager who we stand no chance of getting away from Leicester mid season, and boy would he notice the refereeing we get vs that of Leicester!
    We have some talented players, but also issues that will only be solved in time, and perhaps new players, or at least players who have gained more experience, no fancy manager on £15mil a year and super agents at his call can shortcut such things, certainly not in the few games Freddie reportedly has to prove himself.
    This team are poor at defending, but Freddie can , unlike Emery, improve the attacking side of the game, that is a start.


  27. So help me, think I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s game.

    Been ages since felt that way. Think I sort of looked forward to Pool cup game, but pressure’s off in League cup and knew that would be mixed teams for both sides.

    Full on, proper game, can’t remember last time.


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