Friday, June 14, 2024

Ljungberg: They broke through us too easily

Freddie Ljungberg says Arsenal showed flashes of work in training during the opening stages against Norwich but he admits they still have much to improve defensively after stuttering to a 2-2 draw at Carrow Road.

The Swede was thankful for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s cool head in front of goal – the Gabon striker netted twice – and a series of fine saves by goalkeeper Bernd Leno, who almost singlehandedly protected a point as the home side pushed for a winner.

After the game, the Gunners interim head coach tried to strike a positive note.

“We started the game really well, that’s how I want to play football,” he told Sky Sports.

“But we need to work on the transitions, we dominated and they break us too easily.

“The players showed a great mentality. Away from home, they went down twice and came back and that shows the desire. In the second half, we got tired and lost a bit of structure. We have things to work on.

He added: “In the beginning, I saw a lot of things we worked on in training, but we need to score goals and take the lead. That was pleasing.

“We got into really good positions, but we need to finish and score goals and take the lead.

“The players, they work so hard and they’ve been great since I’ve been here, very supportive. They listen and do the hard work. All that [coming back] is nothing to do with the coach, that’s all down to the mentality of the players that they can come back like that. They showed what type of players they are.

“I want this club to do well, it is only winning that counts: I wanted to win the games so I am disappointed but I have also seen some positive things.”

Freddie also touched on Aubameyang’s first leveller; scored from the spot at the second time of asking. The striker’s initial effort was saved by Tim Krul only for VAR to rule that Norwich players had infringed on the box before it was taken.

“I think I had a heart-attack twice,” he said, “but from what I heard it was quite obvious, that’s what the rules are for.

“The most important thing was for Aubameyang to have the mental strength to score the second penalty after missing the first one.”

Related articles


Notify of

newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Olivije Žirod

Freddie’s job for this game (and for the future games) was to realese the handbrake going forward. He did that at some point but you can’t expect miracles after 18 months of cut-back football.

ricky rick

Eh. I thought the handbrake was released, the problem was keeping the car on the road and not careening from side to side like a basketball game.


Exactly. Our defense has been fkd for 5 seasons now we don’t need to be “releasing the fkn handbrake”!!!


It’s not the coaches. It’s the players.
An absolutely average squad. I blame the recruitment.

Prince Gunneralaysia

Our defending is like.. Always waiting for the next man to put pressure..


Looked much better already, thanks fiöor thst Freddie! We were really unlucky to concede first one, but thats what you get with Mustafi. He was so badly out of his depth against poor opponent that if I would be him, honestly, I would say just that sry guys I am not up for this, I go to local bar to play pool and thats where I stay. Xhaka was better, he aas really good! Passing faster, making tackes, getting tucked in and showed good composure. Guendouzi looks like a great player, but he runs recklesly around and is partly on… Read more »

Olivije Žirod

Both goals were Luiz’s fault (also Guendouzi’s for the 2nd). Why always blaming Mustafi? Did he had a good game? No. Was he better than Luiz? Big yes!


Agree with you, Luiz is a liability, but Mustafi was terrible too..he got roasted all through the game by Pukki.. That bit in the end he just fell on his face trying to catch Pukki.. It’d be funny if it wasn’t so sad..I overall think we were better though, our press was working better, we were faster, braver when playing out from the back.. But there is glaring poor quality littered through the squad: our defenders are terrible, ozil upgrade badly needed.


There were couple of incidents where he was doing same old mustafi things, going down under pressure ..leaving space for people to shoot , not closing down etc


Mustafi was DEFINITELY at fault for the 2nd. And I think both were at fault for the first. But the 2nd one is all Mustafi he chose to leave the player so much space while he wwas so concerned about getting back to his position he forgot the danger is with player with the ball not the empty space that no one is in. He chose to defend the empty space and left the player with the ball. That’s Mustafi 100percent MUSTAFI fault. The 2nd goal definitely


This is 100% spot on! I was wondering the same; he (and luiz) rither left ackers of spsce for pukki & co instead of closing down and then made a complete muppet out of his self again when he was closing in, as Pukki was taking a dog out for a walk and had no issue in walking past Mustafi whenever he wanted. I keep thinking that low line would protect us, but if you keep on giving space lile that, Leno is getting so much practice that he will ein ballon d’or in keeping us in the prem. There… Read more »


I agree with much of what you said, however, Willock not being good enough for the PL is total poppycock.


Have to agree with most of this. Xhaka is a much better player when he doesn’t dwell on the ball and doesn’t commit the occasional big mistake in front of our own goal. I still want to see the back of him though. Mustafi is a better defender than we give him credit for but sadly he’s too weak in his mind to be relied upon. Same could be said for David Luiz who would thrive in a lesser league but is not suited for the kind of game that’s played in the Prem. Guendouzi needs more guidance from an… Read more »

Greg in Seattle

Agree with Richard’s point re Auba and Laca 100%. This has been awkward to fit together from day one and we need to make room for Pepe. I really want to see the Ozil/Pepe combo.


You nailed it here. But wgat a fcking dilemma to say whom should go then. I didnt mean that Willock is not going to be PL level one day, but like many of youngsters after couple of good performances they start to fade from the scene. Maybe it the stability and consistency, its hard to deliver week in week out especially at cm position, which requires so much physically etc. Proper fluid 442 with 2 dmc’s played as dmc (not amc, to be precise) and fast wingers would perhaps bring balance to this mess. With these 4222 4231 4321 4132… Read more »


And what about nketiah? Martinelli is a winger. To me, Nketiah is the back up striker and Martinelli is a serious contender to start on the wing. I think we should get Champions League next season and do this:

Laca/Auba – PL and CL
Nketiah – Starter in cups and PL sub

After that season, sell one of the main strikers, get some money and push Nketiah further into the first team.


Ideally in a team with one striker you have a star, a very good one and a hungry youngster. Our problem is Laca/Auba both being regarded as stars. In my mind Aubameyang should start and he could rotate with Lacazette so they’re both fresh for all matches. Sadly we haven’t seen too much of Nketiah, but I was very impressed with Martinelli’s positioning and finishing when asked to play centrally. I understand that he likes the left wing and he’s used to it, but with his skillset it’d be a waste for him not to play as a striker. Realistically… Read more »

Ben Eagerbeaver

Thumbs down is for thinking that Lacazette is good enough.

Patty knight

The players are downright pathetic. Club is rotten to the core. most of the blame needs to go to the cunt who brought Ozil chambers xhaka mustafi kolasinac to this club

SoCal Gunner

Ironic a Patty calls one a cunt


Is that ‘cunt’ the most successful Arsenal manager of all time?

high gooner

not only one the most succesful Arsenal manager of all time, one of the nicest man alive too!


I think entitled and judgemental fans carry a good chunk of the blame too.

Emmanuel Pete

The only rotten thing here is your attitude. It stinks.

Paul Roberts

Do not feed the troll.

Spanish moyes

Blogs i find it hard to phatom how a post like this can get through. Ive had post with nowhere near being this tasteless get moderated out of existence. Im confused?


With Mustafi, Luiz and Xhaka all on the field at the same time I feared for the worst. I get that we’re stretched at centre back, but playing Xhaka ahead of Torreira was a big surprise and ultimately it didn’t pay off defensively. And let’s not forget that this was Norwich, 19th in the prem. Freddie has his work cut out for him.

Greg in Seattle

It’s Freddie who picked Xhaka and he was fine, but they haven’t sorted out the Guendouzi/Xhaka double pivot and they may never. The Luiz/Mustafi CB pairing was dire. Neither a nails defender.

Patty knight

Hope all the loverboys now realise why laca was is and never will be good enough for the French team.
Nearly 60m wasted on a sub par player


Poor troll form. Gtfo


Lmao lool at the downvotes for speaking the truth.
Laca is average as hell away from home and loses the ball as much as Alexis did. Even at home, he is slightly better than average and that’s it. People act like he is some godsend because he was marginally faster than Giroud but look at his game. He barely even reaches through balls.


Bore off


Some of the comments here are bizarre. I thought the performance was as good as we can hope with Freddie only a couple of days at the helm. The most important difference I saw today was a greater willingness to go forward. Let’s see what happens after a couple of training sessions. In the long run, though, we will need a more marquee manager who knows how to organize a team.

Mr. Gordon. Phillips

I think you’re right. We obviously need a better centre half and defensive midfield player. Guendouzi was put in his place by Freddie and he can’t shoot but keeps getting picked. Don’t understand why Pepe isn’t given a chance but at least we had more shots than the opposition.

Back to the basics please!

The starting line up was really…’safe’, as if the team management wanted to avoid losing at all costs. Xhaka and Mustafi both starting was a little hard to digest but understandable, what wasn’t was Ozil playing out wide. As usual the defence looked all over the place and not well drilled at all…Leno was good though. Still, we played well going forward, more chances created and an overall positive intent shown, add to it two goals coming from behind and a point away from home… I’ll take it, reluctantly.

Fireman Sam

Yep. At least it wasn’t a loss. I was dreading that prospect for Freddie’s first game.


Ozil has been on the slide for a long time, his importance to the team increased for every week he sat on the bench. But performances like today, and since his return, are now the norm, and have been for years, he’s finished as a top level player, and there was a reason he was sitting on the bench to begin with, however we’re likely stuck with him for another 19 months, because he likes London, and the size of his pay cheque…. We told Mustafi directly to f*ck off, but he didn’t take the hint…. We’ll likely be left… Read more »


What if… It takes more than a day to fix over a year and half of fearful coaching and confusion of how to play our game.

Going to take a good amount of coaching and defensive/midfield drilling to get the players to move and link the way we need to. You could still see the old Emery automatisms. Give it some time before you make sweeping judgements.


Give it some time? Sweeping judgements? Ozil is into his 7th season Mustafi into his 4th season Xhaka into his 4th season Luiz is 32 Chambers is into his 6th season Kolasinac is into his 3rd season I never mentioned Freddie’s coaching, he’s been in the job a couple of days. I’m suggesting some of our players are just not good enough, and no amount of coaching is going to improve them, or iron out their flaws. I’m suggesting we have a flaky dressing room, full of over paid, and overrated players, due to years of poor scouting, poor recruiting… Read more »


I think Freddie’s right here. As bad as Luiz and Mustafi were, they were left exposed by our midfield time and again. Why not play Torreira to add some more pace and nous on the cover? I also think playing such a narrow midfield when our first choice full backs were out didn’t help.


Freddie, mate, STOP PLAYING MUSTAFI. Put in a mannequin, a bag of cement, a pot plant – anything is better than that busted flush loser.


All those voting me down – fill your boots, go ahead. Fact is, that muppet cost us YET ANOTHER two points today.


You misspelled Mustafi…’s spelled L.U.I.Z.

Patty knight

If you have players like Luiz mustafi xhaka kolasinac chambers Ozil you can count yourself lucky not to be playing league two


Just to add some context: It is being repeated that this has been the worst Arsenal start since the 1975/76 campaign. At the end of that season we were 17th only 6 points from the relegation zone. I’m hoping history doesn’t repeat itself this time


The trouble is, most of the people on this site (and a good many others) weren’t even a glint in the Milkman’s eye when George Graham was in charge, never mind Bertie Mee, Terry Neil or Don Howe. They’re so used to Wenger keeping us in the top four, they really don’t know that the dangers of relegation start right here and now in December. We’re half a dozen Mustafi howlers away from being right in the shit. People think just because we’re Arsenal Football Club, we’re immune. Well, thanks to the likes of Mustafi, we are most certainly not.… Read more »


I’m just happy he isn’t claiming that “tactically we did what we wanted”.

No way

Xhaka was awful again. Central defence is more central sieve. We should sell stuck records in the Arsenal store that say. Side A New DM, Side B Buy a fucking defender

Ya gooner

Xhaka was better offensively today as he moved the ball quicker and dithered less. Defensively he was pretty bad though, he just can’t seem to time his tackles


Someone to anchor the midfield please. Please! Freddie listen to me please.


I think we saw a different, more positive approach, but the exact same flaws that will prevent us from doing what we want. All our senior centrebacks are oxygen thieves, Xhaka is a liability who simply doesn’t do enough things well to justify the many things he does poorly, you can’t keep playing Chambers at RB, Kolasinac is a dud, and we don’t have a Ramsey replacement because Willock just isn’t ready. S That’s, conservatively mine you, 6 players out if 11 that just aren’t playing at “CL quality” level football. So I worry that you can change the playstle… Read more »

Greg in Seattle

The lack of technically excellent players (and I totally agree) mean we attack via routine play down the flanks and hopeful crosses. We are not hard to defend because we are the same in attack as 15 other PL teams now. We don’t possess and carve apart teams in small spaces any more in ways that would have teams nervous, in ways that were difficult to prepare for. Even Girous was miles more technical and creative on the linkup than Laca or Pepe is unique with his pace and ability to attack on the dribble, dragging defenders to him to… Read more »


Totally agree about chambers xhaka comment good call.


Best post-match comment have read for a while – hit the nail on the head about many of our current players. Agree totally.


Didn’t get to see the game but was so hoping to wake up here in the United States to a win for Freddie. Hope to see a better result on Thursday.

On another note not related to this story, but any Formula 1 fans here? Does anyone else see a resemblance between Freddie and Jacques Villeneuve?


Yes, but Freddie was a far better finisher.




Same old defensive problems, but the workrate and intent of the players seem to have improved drastically.

Given how little time Freddie had to work with the team as “his” side that’s all we could really ask for. Let’s see what happens now he’s got a little time to impose his ideas on the side


Shit result against a shit team. Line up was crap. Same old Emery-ball. We will never fix our shit defense with mustafi playing. We will never fix our shit midfield with Ozil “playing”.

Me Kroenke – take a long hard look at the mess we’re in and do something about it. Get someone in there immediately who can fix that fkn defense. Rafa Benitez to the end of the season would be a good move. He’d organize that shit back 4 in two weeks.

Bamzee Blaze

@Mintoes: So you would rather give Rafa the benefit of two weeks to fix our defence but already think Freddie is not doing a good job after two days? Get real mate!


Freddie is a good Arsenal man, but no, he’s not going to be able to fix this fkn mess. We need some proven experience in there and Benitez would do a job for us.


Cant expect miracles after one training session! We need som quality defensive players along with a more fluid team. We all know this! Coyg!


A retaken penalty and a corner is how we scored. Not from free flowing football as we are hoping to get in the near future. Norwich scored from 2 breakaways and the inability of the nearest defender pressing the man with the ball once he had cover (which is u8 level coaching) and a midfield too lazy or slow to get back they score. New players please

Patty knight

Next season could be much worse.if no change is made relegation is a sight not so far

Pepe Le Pew

Mustard is too easily turned, Ozil is still invisible, Laca and auba cannot work together as Aubameyang is technically poor And therefore is wasted on the wing. Guendouzi is brilliant, chambers was good , Xhaka had a good game.


Mustard turns my stomach too


Think Freddie needs to get Bouldy back up to the first team for a bit of defensive training. When he started as assistant manager we were rock solid until Wenger felt it was affecting our attacking play. Maybe Mert can do similar, but we need something. Competence at the back will help with confidence at the front.


An improved performance with plenty of effort, but hardly a surprise the broke through us with that back four. Only a minor criticism though nice seeing a bit of effort from the team.

Venga Bus

Confidence is low.
But why oh why do we exacerbate the situation with the hand waving after every perceived decision against us……….a team like Norwich, quickly taking free kicks while some of our lads gaze admiringly on? Ozil is one of the worst offenders, and if you thumb that down you’re deluded.
Also, Chambers was brutal. I like Chambers but god almighty when will the club ever realise, he is not a right full, he is a centre back. Can we buy a back up right full please?
Christ, the defending was calamitous.


It wasn’t as bad as you make it. He has his weakness but we are with imperfect solutions without Bellerin fully fit (hopefully he will be for europa) AMN is more pacy but lacks full concentration. Chambers needs to play slightly more conservative when on but then we lack threat on the right without him going further up field in support of either Ozil (out of his best position) or Auba (who tends to lose the ball) Mustafi can also be used as right back not any better with pace but likely to be more conservative with similar issues to… Read more »


A little bit more positive than usual but defence is terrible, get rid of the defenders. Next thing to sort out.


As expected. Its been two days since Llugberg has had to step in so it would be ridiculous to expect miracles. With regard team selection, again a bit of a surprise since Mustafi, Luiz and Kolasinac all listed as doubtful due to injuries at presser. BUT considering Standard Liege coming up is a must win, you can see where Freddy feels immediate priorities are at the moment. Luiz-Mustafi always a very questionable pairing albeit we should also bear well to remember they did keep several clean sheets early in eruopa campaign. That said I felt 1) Chambers flank obviously identified… Read more »

Wright Wright wright

Hey @arseblog… it may just be me but I can’t scroll through the player ratings. Usually can’t get passed the midfielders (unlike every opposition)
Is it just my phone or anyone else having the same problem




It’s of course impossible for Freddie to fix that trainwreck of a defense we have in just one week. We’ll not probably be able to fix it within this season, because the combo of non existing defensive structure and a string of second class defenders are toxic. But on the bright side, having a team violating all defensive principles known to man, it can only improve. For starters, train on man vs man marking inside the box and zonal marking outside and defensive positioning when we have the ball in their half. That should improve us easily. And it’s not… Read more »


I like his winning mentality. Try to get goals and a lead at the start of the game and come out fast.

Brave in an away game but if we are to change our mindset and fortunes, that’s the way we need to do it.

Lots of positives will give the players a lift and a little belief.

Der Kaiser

Of course Freddie is right as was Martin Keown’s analysis. However, Karen Carney got it right on Radio 5 when she said our defenders are just too slow and immobile. It is for that reason that they are literally scared and back off. They just are not good enough. We desperately need to sign a young quick centre back in January and any chance we can get the lad from St Etienne to arrive n Jan rather than end of season (even if it costs us more). Leno was great yesterday. I know many do not rate Ainsley Naitland –… Read more »

Der Kaiser

Is Rob Holding fit and does anyone watch the under 23’s & thins there is a young centre back worth giving a go (because none can be worse than Luiz and Mustafi)?

Der Kaiser

Konstantinos Mavropanos, Harry Clarke???

Share article

Featured on NewsNow

Support Arseblog

Latest posts

Latest Arsecast

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x