Thursday, June 1, 2023

Ljungberg: I try to make it simple for the players

Freddie Ljungberg says he’ll look to keep things simple on the training ground while he’s in charge at Arsenal, in part because he has no time to implement wholesale changes.

The Gunners claimed a point at Carrow Road in the Swede’s first game in the dugout as interim head coach as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang twice pegged back Norwich to secure a 2-2 draw.

The 42-year-old has been tasked with steadying the ship after Unai Emery was sacked on Friday following an abject run of results and performances. The club insists that they will take their time finding a long-term replacement.

Asked about how long it would take for him to implement his own style, Ljungberg told his post-game press conference: “I say in the pre-season, in five or six weeks, you can implement how you want to play football. That’s the good thing about pre-season.

“It’s not what I have and I just try to do small building blocks and try to change things in a slow tempo, so hopefully we can understand it and practice it, but right now we have players who need to recover and we probably only get one and a half (training sessions) again before the next game.

“That’s football, for me I just try to make it as simple as possible for the players and hopefully we can get better.”

Before the game, Ljungberg apologised to youngster Reiss Nelson for having to leave him out of the squad. Interestingly, much like Unai Emery, when it came to making second half substitutions he too overlooked record-signing Nicolas Pepe in favour of teenagers Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli.

“Pepe is a very good player,” replied the Swede when asked why the winger wasn’t given a chance at Norwich. “Like I said, I try to look at what players have done in training and that’s how I judge them.”

Arsenal now sit eighth in the Premier League table, seven points adrift of the Champions League places. Despite the gap they have to close, Ljungberg’s insists that the club has plenty of time to turn things around.

“100 per cent [we can finish in the top four],” he said. “People drop points here and there and we drop points, it’s a crazy league at the moment. I hope and think Arsenal can finish in the top four.”

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I genuinely hope this club actually do get a long term manager in. The way we’re run it wouldn’t be inconceivable for them to just keep Freddie as long as possible whilst they fuck around with everyone, both damaging us and Freddie.

Dave M

Yeah this is it. Freddie is too close to the current squad, I just can’t see how it will work long term. I hope he can get them firing and playing with some pride. But we 100% need a manager from outside the current setup. And one that will put the players in line. Things are just too comfortable and we don’t have the right characters for laissez-faire management. They’re killing Pepe, it’s just terrible player management. While he and Torreira sit on and watch Xhaka throwing his toys and being brought back into the fold. Xhaka put in another… Read more »


Dave M – Good post. Xhaka is bang average and needs to be moved on ASAP.


I feel like people looked at our starting line up and couldn’t understand why we didn’t play Mo Salah or Kevin DeBruyne. Exactly what team did you want Freddie to put out? Yes he took a gamble on Mustafi, who has arguably been our most reliable defender this season, albeit his games not coming in the prem. You say we need someone from outside the current set up. Well, whoever comes in, do you know who they are going to play? Granit Xhaka. David Luiz. Kolasinac. And you know what formation they’ll probably play given our squad balance? 433. Or… Read more »


Excellent, HelderHughes ?
I enjoyed today a lot more than I have in ages! And I think things will improve….



Dave M

Why would it mean a new manager plays xhaka? We have torreira. We have tierny, we have pepe. I got no problem with Luiz he’s OK to get us through the season, but him and mustafi… I mean come on man. How long before holding actually gets some run, I mean it’s hardly like the guys ahead of him are impressing. Same with torreira actually playing as a DM for a while. If he’d have been given half the chances xhaka had had since he came in and had a run of games (in his position) then we might have… Read more »


It’s a lovely thing hindsight. We don’t know Arteta would have done any better and if you’d asked most Arsenal fans, they would’ve said the steady hand of experienced Emery seemed the right call. Hell, it was only a few months back that some of us were hugely optimistic. Remember? I know it seems like we are omniscient and these managers are buffoons but this is the third manager to play Xhaka as a DM. And it’s the second manager who doesn’t fancy Torreira as a deep lying midfielder. There must be a reason. That doesn’t mean that we aren’t… Read more »


@helder – “mustafi our most reliable defender this season”…what the fck are you drinking?!

Mustafi is a useless cnt and along with xhaka, Ozil and Sokratis, should be punted immediately.


If you take his performances in the cups he’s been the most reliable. David Luiz has made some terrible errors. Sokratis has been very poor. Holding has looked really off the pace (mostly due to injury). And Mustafi has been pretty sharp.

Fans like Mintoes once again proving that the Arsenal fan base is about as calm and considered as a chicken in a washing machine. And leave out the “fck” and “cnt” mate. If you really feel the need to swear, which you should rarely in civilised discourse, please just do it properly. Fuck. Cunt. It just feels better.

Cyprus The Immortal Gooner

We can have 10 managers who play Xhaka as a DM but nobody can change my mind that he cannot protect our defense as a DM because we can all see he can’t. We haven’t got a proper DM for ages (don’t know about Torreira) and that’s why he gets that role. Do you reckon he would get in the starting eleven of half the Premiership sides??

Dave M

I never said arteta would work out. In fact personally I thought he was a bad choice at the time (I actually thought that would be your response). But at least there seemed a plan in place to make that decision rather than a hasty about face and panic choice of a guy with a very patchy record except in Europa. Ya there is a reason they all play xhaka because clearly he trains hard and is likeable. You need to understand that influences managers. Torreira plays effectively with the national team at DM and when he gets a run… Read more »


I get what you’re saying bruv and take your point. However, even though Emery was a terrible manager for us, I don’t actually think one single midfielder we have at the club is fit for purpose. Xhaka isn’t good enough. Willock isn’t there yet. Ceballos is wonderful but in very small doses. Torreira for me hasn’t knocked hard enough on the door. When Xhaka was out we looked just as vulnerable. Guendouzi is learning his trade and it often shows. Ozil is Ozil. When you’ve got that many question marks in a part of the field where the game is… Read more »


“Bruv”? Please use brother in civilized discourse. Also, get fkd.


Bruv is a word mate. Go look it up while the grown ups talk.


@helder – you need to go back to school son…your command of the English language is worse than Emery’s…

Dave M

Bruv (don’t worry I like the word too 😉 I agree our mid has been shite, which is exactly why we should give an alternative a go for a while. Torreira(DM)-Douzi(CM)-Willock(AM). Give them a consistent run. Why not, the rest have failed. Xhaka – we agree should be toast at Arsenal – ill-suited to the league and team and he (should have) burned his bridges too. Willock – might not be quite there yet, but the alternatives have been Shite. I am 100% about giving him extended run. Was pleased Freddie gave him a start. Torreira – When Xhaka was… Read more »


You’ve restored my faith in humanity. I genuinely wonder whether some people understand exactly what we’re dealing with in regards to the squad we currently have? We have quality up front and quality in goal and everything else is a mish mash and that’s not Freddie’s fault, if we’re honest it wasn’t even Emery’s fault entirely. I still can’t believe he asked for Stefan Lichtsteiner or Sokratis or Luiz, all sackable offences. Mustafi tries but he isn’t a PL defender. We don’t have a credible defence and we haven’t had for years and yet people want to slate Freddie…unbelievable. Whether… Read more »


It’s clearly not simple enough for Mustafi to understand.


Either Rodgers wants Arsenal? Or he wants a pay rise at Leicester? This from Rodgers Wiki page: Weeks after guaranteeing Watford’s survival, and following the resignation of Steve Coppell as Reading manager, Rodgers quickly became the favourite to succeed him and rejoin his old club.[19] He initially distanced himself from reports linking him with the job, saying that his “concentration is-fully on Watford”. However, he eventually agreed a deal to become the new manager of Reading on 5 June 2009, after a compensation package worth an initial £500,000 with Watford was agreed, which later rose to £1 million. Just watched… Read more »


Under emery we never had a system. Freddie wants to build one, so lets just support him. We can judge him as a manager later.


That’s incorrect, we had too many systems




Great to hear that Freddie is simplifying things, it almost sounds like a subtle dig at the Emery approach which left players baffled. Our squad is unbalanced, yes, but the attacking quality is only behind Man City an Liverpool. As long as we give them freedom and don’t stifle them with over the top focus on the opposition and strategy, we will flourish under Freddie, he just needs time.


This is what we have said and are saying… Unless there is a total overhaul, similar to what Guardiola did at City, nothing would be achieved with the bunch we have presently. Surely there are the David Silvas and Kompanys in our lot who can be kept (Laca, Auba, Leno, Tierney, new Pepe and the youngsters excluding Douzi) the others just are not good enough, are not good fits with the league or shit themselves too often to be taken seriously. And most of this bunch were bought by Arsene Wenger, who put the faith in them and persisted with… Read more »

Olivije Žirod

It wasn’t Wenger’s fault that the team under Emery became so bad going forward. We would be much more patient if we actually play good football. Norwich have worse squad but at the same time they play much better football. They just don’t have the quality. You think Ozil and Xhaka would be the one who would Guardiola rid the first? They are both his type of players. Also blaming Ozil… Look at the team we have atm. With whom can Ozil combine? With Auba? As much as he is world class goalscorer he is below average when it come… Read more »


Oh fuck, another Emery apologist.


He’s right and it’s a good approach. It’s not the time to make big changes all at once. Small building blocks at a slow tempo is the right way. First big job for him so he’s smart not to try too much too quickly at once.


Chelsea lost so we’ve actually closed the gap to top 4 by a point. We got out of jail today thanks to Leno – and no thanks to Freddie’s terrible substitutions – but looking forward to Brighton on Thursday (streamed on Amazon) and I’d expect to see wholesale changes in that one; fitness permitting, perhaps Bellerin, Holding, Tierney, Torreira, and Pepe in for Chambers, Mustafi, Kolasinac, Xhaka, and Willock.

Ex-Priest Tobin

Really disappointing team selection despite this being his first match. Mustafi coming back into the fold was not what anyone was hoping for. You better start listening to the fans Freddie, or you’ll soon be going the same way as your predecessor.


It’s very telling that he said this about Pepe: “I try to look at what players have done in training and that’s how I judge them.” 100% agree with going with the players that are working the hardest and performing the best in training, but there is something seriously wrong if our record signing can’t prove himself worthy of playing time in training.

Glen Helders left foot

I’m sure Xhaka and Mustafi are amazing in training but there fucking shite come match day, poor start from Freddie and an extremely worrying team selection and substitutions


I think we would have lost that with Emery in charge, it wasn’t great but you could see there was a plan and the players kept positive and fought back. Early days. Norwich are at the bottom of the league but they’ve always been a difficult team for us and they were hyped to take advantage of our poor form. Their goalkeeper is vile and their manager is a right whingeing cunt, it was nice to upset them.


I think he is one eye on europa. Still not a given.


To all Özil haters…welcome back!!
Yeah sure…we lost because of him.
As well we got our penalty because of him. And we got our goal from the corner because of him.
You looking at him not blocking one move…howabout Mustafi and Luiz…oh no they are not at fault for not closing down the shooters…coz its still Özil fault. Total biasness on anything is Özil fault is back!


Ozil is a cherry on the cake player. When all the other pieces are in place, he can be quite, quite brilliant. However when there are missing pieces he is just peripheral.


When you’re going to start afresh, you stop seeing things pessimistically at the same time. That’s why the negativity of gunners has waned. What a great chance for Mustafi and Xhaka to ruin us in a new light!


Wow I thought this squad was capable of beating relegation zone teams just “on class”, being properly motivated, but things turn out worse much earlier than 15 dec…. with midtable Palace we had goals disallowed, and penalties awarded against us by var to hold us at 2-2 draw. Now var is actually on our side to give us the same 2-2 draw against a relegation team. … dismal People are trying to make sense out of the starting eleven, “formation” and the “game plan”. Looks like there was no plan. Looks like freddie just pays back to the players who… Read more »


On Xhaka, some fans need to look themselves in the mirror, yes players earn galactic wages and fans pay a premium watch their team, but if that entitles fans to express frustration in any insulting form, they kill the very reasons why players should feel pride & loyalty to the club. I don’t fancy Xhaka, and yes his habit of silly tackles leaves can make me loose it as well, but he is still a player in my club, and if he is not good enough, if it is the management that should take action. To many fans are in… Read more »

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