Thursday, April 25, 2024

Freddie: I’ll talk to Pepe to tell him what I expect

Freddie Ljungberg says he’s going to have talks with Nicolas Pepe to make it clear what he expects from him as an Arsenal player.

The Ivorian hasn’t yet properly found his feet since his £72m arrival from Lille in the summer, and while acknowledging his quality, the interim head coach says it can take a while for players to come to terms with English football.

The Gunners face Brighton at the Emirates on Thursday night, looking for a first Premier League win in almost two months.

It remains to be seen if Pepe will be involved, but the former Invincible is keen to explain what’s needed from him.

“Nico is someone who is a very, very good player,” he said.

“But sometimes when you come from a different league it takes time to adapt; off the pitch and on the pitch.

“Nico is someone I plan on talking to. I’m going to have a little chat with him about what I expect and how I want to play.”

Time is an issue though, because the games – like Kyle Walker – come thick and fast at this time of the year, something Freddie is well aware of.

““t would be great if it was a game Saturday to Saturday and we had a few training sessions to keep on working with things,” he said.

“But we do as well as we can – that’s going to be an ongoing thing that we are going to work on, depending on whether I am here for a long time or a short time.

“We have a lot of quality but that’s one thing we need to fix asap.”

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Sorry but when Xhaka strolls back into the team as soon as Freddie comes, I don’t like this. Pepe has looked brilliant in periods, but he’s not been given a chance for ages now. £72 fucking million, I cannot stress how ridiculous that sum still is for Arsenal. We need him to work. Fucking play him. When we have Auba hanging out on the wing every match trying to painfully dribble, how the hell can you have Pepe sat on the bench..


If three different coaches keep picking Xhaka despite what fans and pundits think, there must be something in him they all see.


Agree. And I’m not a fan of him at all. I dont really want him starting but I’m not there in training. And we have only seen glimpses of other players in our squad we As fans deem better. I’m also starting to get the view that we have the worst fans. The other day I hear us fans were abusing four players for not giving a mascot fan boy a high five (the rest of the team apparently did). Seriously, who the heck cares. We’re just a constant barrage of abuse and I’m starting to despise so much of… Read more »


Online arsenal fans are mainly kids or idiots…not a true reflection of our wonderful and diverse fanbase that we have. Arsenal fans on the whole are class

The Gooner

Says an online Arsenal fan. Deductive reasoning will tell us that 9 are either of the two. #COYG

Bodie CI5

Trouble is its no good doing it in training and not when it matters on match days, surely the managers can see it to.

Martinellis belly

I think there’s an element of confirmation bias here. The idea is out there that Arsenal fans are toxic so we look for examples of that behaviour.
Not to say we don’t have toxic fans, we do, just that every club also does and we are no worse. Look at the abuse Mason Mount got the other day for a poor performance for example.
Also fans change based on what’s happening on the pitch. That’s inevitable. Every action has a reaction.


I think there is an element of confirmation bias here. The idea is out there that Arsenal has a bunch of weak sub par players that A bunch of hyper critical fans look for that behavior. Also, players change and respond to the appreciation and support of the fans, every action has a reaction.


And yes, I did vote up my own reply because it is so damn good!


2 were fired and one probably won’t last long. Mustafi keeps getting picked by this same logic, I’m sure they see something in him we don’t either right?


I actually think his hand is more forced than we all think. we have 4 fit midfielders to play in the flat 3 we played vs norwich. but also a new coach comes fresh chances for all players, for all we know freddie could be the one to unlock xhaka. which is another point, before we knew our players had flaws and we accepted them, now if a player isnt perfect we vilify them. in fairness in xhaka’s case him being slow on the ball/turn/decisions is a fundamental flaw for a player in the centre. whereas walcott’s lack of a… Read more »


Good perspective here. How long will Arsenal take to longstanding issues in central midfield and defense? We didn’t need Pepe as much as we need a top class central defender


…and a Xabi Alonso type central mid…


2 of those 3 coaches got the sack!


They are making do with what they have

Dave M

Yeah and some success they’ve all had with him eh? Maybe they can’t see the first from the trees. Likeable sure, good trainer probably, but that shouldn’t be the basis for picking a guy especially given his rubbish play and our rubbish results.


Two of them lost their jobs over it, so that’s maybe not the best metric.

Cyprus The Immortal Gooner

Three different coaches pick him because we haven’t got a better option the last 4 years. He is not a DM that can protect the defense and his repetitive mistakes have cost us in many occasions. These are not just opinions but facts. Xhaka wouldn’t get in the starting eleven of half the Premiership teams.


Sorry what does this have to do with Xhaka. Thing is I don’t think Xhaka is good enough for pre 2008 Arsenal but it’s been a different Arsenal since then. Now he is good enough. Unless you want to get rid of about 10 (Sokratis, Chambers, Luiz, Mustafi etc) of our squad and buy all better players then Xhaka is good enough.


Good enough for what. Standing still?

God is a Gooner

Granit by name..


Good enough to be better than most of our other options. It’s a dire fact, but that’s the whole point. Let go of the denial and look at where we are until we improve on it. He was better than both Guendouzi and Willock, and when Torreira is played out of position he’s better than him too. We need at minimum a top shelf CB and a top shelf CM if we have any aim whatsoever of regaining our place among the top 4. And then we have to be led by someone that knows what to do with the… Read more »


Amen. Consider everything relative when picking our midfield.

La Défense

Sorry, but Pepe is a waste of money. The new generation Gervinho. Instead of investing in defense we blew our record signing on a Ligue 1 player who isn’t very good.


4th highest goal involvements in Europe last season. He hasn’t played for a month and I’m not writing him off yet.

Frank Bascombe

La Defense… Pretentious, ignorant and opinionated… Congratulations.


I think it’s simplistic to question every decision a coach makes. We are not present at training, we do not have the inputs to the decision making process that they do. Freddie does (and unai did), and both it would seem deem Pepe a player who is very good, but not ready yet for the premier league. I suppose we have to take it for face value, a coach should not be dictated by fan opinion, which though often correct in a broader spectrum, becomes rather biased when making singular calls of drop him and play him. Let’s just judge… Read more »

Viju Jacob

Freddie needs atleast a few games, not some hours. Having said that, even as someone who supported his candidature, his team selection at Carrow Road was a shocker, and even I went, “same old, same old”. I thought he’d stamp his style from the get-go.


I will give Freddy a lot of rope here, I cannot possibly list all of the reasons I defer to his experience, club loyalty and football abilities and IQ over a bunch of fans.

Thierry Bergkamp

Pepe has been shit, what brilliance have you been seeing? His feeble shooting? Or maybe it’s his playground level passing? He doesn’t deserve to start, or come off the bench ahead of others. Don’t let his price tag cloud your judgement.


Yeah I absolutely hated those two free kicks.
His record at Lille shows he is a very good player. Its not his fault that he has come into a team in crisis and been dropped before he has had a chance to find his feet.
Most of the players have looked shit. That is what happens when they cannot understand what the coach is asking them to do and he changes it every match. I just hope Freddie can settle everyone down and keep it simple, as he promised.

Thierry Bergkamp

You’re actually blaming Emery for a professional footballer constantly not being able to get simple passes on target, or shooting way off target from a few yards out?
For me his poor level in open play this season, sticks in my mind more than 2 free kicks.

Martinellis belly

This is so strange. Theres this section of the fans who think Pepe is terrible and then another section (mine) who are very excited about the potential he’s shown. By far the best dribbler in the squad, lightning quick and the best set piece taker we have too. Its like were both looking at a red piece of paper and one says its red and one says its blue. Ironically because of your nickname, he reminds me of Thierry when he arrived. Flashes of skill and pace but very weak and poor finishing. Its called getting in the zone he… Read more »

Thierry Bergkamp

I never said Pepe is a shit player. I like his pace and dribbling, the potential is there. My comment was in response to the top comment, who said that he’s looked brilliant in flashes. A few good dribbles and terrible end product doesn’t warrant a starting spot ahead of others who’ve looked better than him overall, regardless of his price tag. If the manager wants to see more from him, I’m happy with that. I believe he will come good, once the team does, but right now, he’s definitely not doing enough


Lets get a bit of perspective, Fabinho did not make his league debute for Liverpool till late October, Pepe was drafted into starting lineup beginning of season without having a proper pre-season due to AFCON. He should have been eased into it in my opinion, I think he is a damn good playerbut just needs time to settle acclimatize.


Auba’s dribbling is pretty good it’s just a waste to have in out there doing it when he’s better centrally.


The fact you mentioned the £72m and not whether he actually fits into the way we want to play is part of the reason I question whether people getting exercised about his exclusion from the team right now are really looking at the bigger picture, and not only that he’s had 2 or 3 excellent chances to score and fluffed them all.

He’s poor defensively…and makes Ozil look like Sergio Ramos defensively.

He will come good I have no doubt, but I trust Freddie.


I can’t for the life of me fathom how arsenal coaches fail to see the most obvious team selection staring them right in the face. It’s so blindingly obvious it borders on comedy. Just play your best players in their best positions. Pepe, Ozil, Torreira. Just fucking play them whete they were bought for and this same flailing team will be tearing teams apart.


I think the issue is balance. Torreira is good at his DM role but horrid at playing against a press. Same with xhaka.

I would like to see all Guendouzi, Torriera and Xhaka in the middle with Pepe and ozil up top with Auba in the middle. Laca drops to the bench. For all his qualities, Laca is still not as effective as Auba in the middle of the front 3.

Viju Jacob

Guendozi is a nightmare.

Hiiiii guys

Gendouzi in my opinion is the best centre midfielder in the squad and reminds me of Vieira type of box to box player he’s so young give him a chance.


Please provide a thoughtful and well rounded definition of “best” as it relates to individual players. Make sure that you definition encompasses the top 5 strategic methodologies football managers use and how blending each of those tactical methodologies is defined in one player in one specific position. PS also include an analysis of whether or not employing one “best “ player has any effect on who is the “ best “ player to play in an adjacent position….get it?

Paul Davis Eyes

I always thought “Thick and Fast” was the name of that Jermaine Pennant biopic

jack jack jack

“the games – like Kyle Walker – come thick and fast“

Um…do you know more about Kyle Walker than the rest of us Blogs?


You’ve been watching too much Porn Hub mate. Lol

jack jack jack

Not much I can really argue with there tbh


Over your head

jack jack jack

Not really no

my name is bob

I’m afraid that this isn’t reddit my friend

Olivije Žirod

What if there is a problem with his character? It could be one of the more reasonable explanations (and too expensive) as he is just too good to omit him from the first team.


More likely he’s a young guy in a new country joining a club on it’s worst start for 37 years and a manager out of his depth.


Doesn’t explain lack of effort in training, something UE once hinted and now Freddie mentioned twice in 5 days.


Maybe it’s because he’s so demotivated from moving to a new country only to find his new club has so many issue within the squad and the coaching team didn’t know how to use his talents? Just saying it’s a possibility. I recently changed jobs because my last one had me doing stuff I didn’t sign up for. I am a Digital advertising accounts executive and my accounts dept had me chasing payment from our clients way too often. HR then depended on me to be IT support for my department. Lasted 8 months there, the last 2 months I… Read more »


Off topic I know buuuuuuuut anyone who thinks this team is full of useless turkeys should watch todays training session from about 3mins on. Flames you know.

When Freddie shouts “transition!” and throws on another ball, you can see he’s working them hard on recovering shape after losing possession. Man, I hope this works for him because he looks super proactive from this training session. You could almost call him a managerial protagonist…


Don’t use the P word!!


Freddie throwing a ball and shouting transition, what more is there to know in management….? And he’s managed one game more than Arteta, which is one haha 4 year contract material right there.


I know it’s not always easy being an Arsenal fan. But seriously dude, cheer up. It’s like you fell out the pessimism tree and hit every negative branch on the way down.

Just think, you could be a Sp*rs fan. They’ve just had their century’s golden era and didn’t win a trophy.

Chin up son.


If only there was a two week international break to work out some things!

God is a Gooner

I agree, it was so worth keeping emery for the Southampton and Frankfurt games, brilliant decision Raul, fantastic.


Should have been gone before the Leicester game. It was so obvious that we’re going to lose this with him in charge and it was clear that if that happens the chances for a top 4 finish will be as small as Kyle Walkers cunt.

Alan Sunderland's Mighty Perm of Justice

He needs time to adapt “off the pitch”?

London can be a distraction. He came from Lille, remember? ‘Hopefully, he’s not getting distracted’, is the best way I can phrase things. Of course, it could simply mean he’s struggling adapting to the language and getting by with his day to day life.

One thing is for sure. We’re not in a position to waste a £72m signing. He needs to sort his shit out and get on the pitch. Or else we’ll end up with a £72m security guard at the Emirates.


Pepe when come thru and push us to the 4th spot by the end of the campaign. 13goals and 20 asst. guaranteed


Now, that’s the spirit! COYG!


Hopefully a chat with Freddie will work better than watching some videos.


Looks like we are training the quick pass(dont hold the ball too long)again ?


“Hey Pepe. Can you please create and score more goals?” Sure Boss…..”Thank you, great to chat”


The fact that 2 coaches already “need to talk” to Pepe about how he should play is worrying. I maintain my opinion based on what i saw in these 3-4 months that he’s just average and our expectations of him being our savior or something are totally unrealistic. We should accept the reality and move on.


Poor Pepe was having one to one video sessions with Unai, Freddie probably just needs to tell him to forget all that shit and go back to basics. I like Pepe, he’s still young and moving country can’t be easy, so I’m happy to give him some time and I’m sure he’ll be good.


“the games – like Kyle Walker – come thick and fast”

??My favourite sentence ever ?


That’s exactly what I thought when I read it too.


If a player constantly does well in training and warrants weekly selection on match day, where he doesn’t perform well, then 2 things come to my mind:
1. The player shirks competitive matches
2. The training sessions are whack

The Gooner

But he selects Mustafi, Xhaka and Guendouzi. No known winger on the pitch. Aubameyang has to play wing. Freddie could fail like his predecessor


It was one game. Lets at least see what he does tonight before judging Freddie!


Looooool thick n fast. I’m sorry that joke deserved highlighting.


When you pay 72m for a player, you may diminish his hunger. We had opportunity to make more frugal and equally if not more effective decisions in Ziyen or Fekir last summer. Instead Raul went for Wow factor and back loaded us first with 72m (16m commitment for 5 seasons) on Pepe and then 27m for Saliba a relatively unproven player not available to us this season. Money could have been funneled towards a more concrete and immediate solution for emery in a Cback but we elected instead to try and extend on a past sell by date Koscielny (he… Read more »

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