The Manager Arsenal Needs


We (the fans) are demanding that the players pick themselves up. That is fine but at the same time what we demand of them we should also demand of ourselves. Any worthy relationship must be a two way movement. As mortals we trip every now and then but the blame is not to find the resource to get up. Get up we must but first we need to take stock as painful as it might be.

Emery had to go. His presence had become poisonous to the system irrespective of whether he was culpable or not. Freddie is temporarily brought in to hold fort while a solution is sought. This process is where we have to tell ourselves the home truth otherwise we would be caught in a vicious cycle that can only see us sink deeper. Decay, as we know, is inherent in life being like a musical tuning fork whose vibrations gradually decay but which can be kept alive by regular introduction of fresh impulses at appropriates moments. The technical gurus would talk about the need for regular re-engineering of processes.

Arsenal tried to introduce this fresh impulse when they asked Wenger to go. But Wenger’s going was the easier part of what was being sought. To destroy is easy to build a lot more demanding and it is here that we seem to be failing woefully. This is a direct indictment on the Arsenal hierarchy.

By Premier league standards we have good enough players but a poor team. As somebody said (can’t remember who) our squad is like good players recruited for three teams. In other words there has not been a central vision guiding the project. Our recruitment has been like a tale told by an idiot full of sound and fury signifying nothing. Little wonder that somebody else said that this team is un-coachable. Note, not the players but the mix.

This should be our ground zero in our venture for a new coach. Unrealistically, a lot of us want the coach with the tactical magic wand who would instantly bring us back to our top winning ways. That would be great assuming there is such a magician. Unfortunately that might not even be the man or woman that we need. Am all for the short term but am more for the longer term. Those at the wheels of the club have failed if they join us in seeing the battle for the war. We need a coach with an encompassing vision that is in harmony with that of the club. This is assuming the hierarchy at the club have the skill to pursue the vision of the club. If they don’t (am beginning to have my fears) it’s time for their nunc dimitis.

I might not have spelt what am trying to say clearly. For greater clarity let us take a casual glance at the Invincibles. Confronting us immediately are visions of world beaters: Vieira, Bergkamp, Henry, Pires, Gilberto, Ljungberg  ….. close to all the names on the sheet. Today we would strain to mention two names in the current team in the same breath and yet every player in our current squad was recruited in the last six years. Ladies and gentlemen our current mess starts at source, at the first block laid, at the recruitment level, be it the players, be it the coaches. It’s beginning to look like the fellows at the helm of affairs need to buckle up.

We don’t need a coach who works with ready made materials because we don’t have the stuff he needs. We need a coach who can tear down and rebuild. That means we need time too. My pain of today would be tempered should I know that tomorrow would be fine. If we are unable to handle today’s pain for a greater tomorrow then let’s get ready for a requiem mass for our big love. God forbid.


By PE.

28 thoughts on “The Manager Arsenal Needs

  • Lovely post written straight from a Gooner’s heart. Well said, PE.

    Let’s give Freddie lots more time whilst the club looks for a quality replacement that fits with the vision and values of the club, as you said. The problems are systemic and to do with confidence, and FL has his work cut out. We know that now. I am all for a new experienced manager and the sooner the better, but also realise that Freddie cannot do miracles just by lifting the players’ spirit as OGS needed to do with the Mancs when he took over. Emery left us with a reasonable player moral but in a tactical mess, and it aint going to be fixed overnight. But the toughest part to deal with is the supporters’ negativity and impatience; it really makes me want to switch off from the whole thing.

  • Agreed with both PE and TA.

    We are lacking the players we need to re-energise the team with but with the 12th player support the team can be energised.

    We had a mess of a team under Emery and Fred had a mess to handle, but we still need to get behind Fred and the players so that they can do what they need to with the help of the supporters.

  • Wow, PE, that was a good one…and I can see the deeper (more spiritual) platform from which you seem to be able to enjoy (in better times at least…) the extreme ups and downs that come with being the supporter of a football club. Of course, I give you a measure of grief for riding each result to those extremes (when the underlying elements cannot possibly be changing so quickly and/or radically), but to each their own–if they have an understanding of the basic challenges inherent in football (pro sports more generally) which are (IMO) a window into life itself.

    (On the other hand, folks who set themselves a framework of “support” as a class-based opportunity to expect perfection–of those most clearly above them–and then hurl nothing but blame when perfection is not achieved…well. I have less time for that. I’m not going to mention any names but one of them starts with an S and ends with imba… BUT, there are many, many others…that, I fear, don’t like my cup of coffee…which, I must say, if they were to actually try it, would truly hurt me…I’m talking about espresso–and reading what I write, right?…)

    Time away seems good, TA…and I thought you did well to take a break in the middle of last season when it was clear that Emery’s football was unwatchable even if it might yield “acceptable” results (CL promotion). We basically had that in our hands but the big characters–the “team” of players, nudged forward (or not) by the “team” of supporters, failed to deliver.

    (Somehow, flashing the cash over the summer got folks back into things… Hmmm… Defenders are expensive, but at least we got one with curls…)

    A reason some might not read my comments (besides being far too long…) is that I’m open about being more loyal to certain characters than the “club” as a whole. Two seasons ago, when Lolo (Koscielny) went down, it was a killer (for me, personally, and the team vs Atletico Madrid in the EL). Then, of course, when the “fans” finally got their BIG victory, seeing the backside of Arsene Wenger… Well, for me, it’ll never be the same. Like I said–and like the blog here in the middle of last season–I had more or less checked out from watching Arsenal games (and onto more important “life” projects), so, when one of the players who had divided opinion (among Gooners–at least during my time at Bergkampesque) played a storming EL final match, I was a bit sad that Arsenal weren’t gonna lift a trophy and get back into the first tier of European football…but I was also quite pleased for Olivier Giroud.

    The way we crap on our World Cup winners–guys who have clearly been important TEAM players and helped those TEAMS lift the biggest of all prizes…Well, it makes me ashamed. Mesut Ozil is German when the Fatherland wins, but a “foreigner” when they lose…and by a foreigner, I mean like an Arsenal player, subject to our critique but never (or at least only grudgingly) our praise. (So, ImbaSil–my not-very-good attempt at Pig Latin/Spanish–if you approve of the way he was shipped out at Real Madrid, there’s the club for you to support… Duh…)

    I was entranced by the experience of being in the midst of a great club (team, fans, manager) back in 2006 while living on the Highbury Fields…I’m less impressed these days… 😦

    Who’s gonna change things round? Accepting what blame YOU can (for any situation one faces) is the beginning of taking responsibility, and, in turn, finding some (actual) power. Some things are too big and it’s not our fault, i.e., we have no power… But, if that’s true about our football club, can’t we at least dig deeper to find something (anything…) good when we do tune in? (Or come here to comment?…) If not, maybe it’s time to look (support? worship?) elsewhere…

  • A manager with seniority and authority is needed…tough talk and no pleasantries until those players not willing to take instructions and put in the effort despite their skill should have no place in the team. Smiling at players, saying they are afraid only reinforces their low self-belief at present. Also, significant imbalance in wages is sure to upset the team irrespective of skill levels. Arsenal is likely to be relegated should they continue with their same thinking.

  • Funny TA– and here I was going to say that Super Frankie’s brain looked to be too big for his cranium– by the look of anguished pain on the front of it. 🧠


  • Thank you PE,
    It will take a few seasons for us to have a viable team and in my opinion one of our biggest stumbling blocks is our own crowd.

    At the end of the Everton/Chelsea game the commentator made an observation he said – “It’s important that the manager connects the team to the crowd”.

    While I agree with the comment I feel that our crowd is among the most fickle in football – these days they appear to think that they are there to be entertained by the team and if the team doesn’t entertain them they are either silent or resort to booing – neither of which will do the team any good.

    When I watch other teams the crowds are fully behind them – when their team is down they create an atmosphere that spurs the team on – oh how I yearn for our crowd to become our 12th man and not the opposition’s.

  • It’s all Daily Mirror gossip but here goes ————

    Arsenal face ‘full blown crisis’ after Ljungberg gets them ‘panicking’

    Date published: Saturday 7th December 2019 12:49

    Arsenal are worried that Freddie Ljungberg won’t buy them enough time to bring in the right managerial appointment, according to reports.

    Neal Maupay’s header condemned interim head coach Ljungberg to a 2-1 defeat against Brighton in his first home game in charge on Thursday.

    That came hot on the heels of a 2-2 draw on the road at Norwich City last weekend with the former Sweden midfielder failing to improve the Gunners’ fortunes.

    A report on Tuesday claimed that three managers have risen to the top of Arsenal‘s shortlist to replace Unai Emery with the club’s ‘initial focus is on candidates who are immediately available.’

    Former Juventus boss Allegri and ex-Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino are available, while The Athletic adds that it believes Manchester City assistant Mike Arteta ‘would fall into the same category’.

    However, the Daily Mirror says that the Arsenal board are ‘panicking’ after Ljungberg‘s disappointing start in the dugout.

    The club had hoped Ljungberg would buy them some time as they search for Emery’s permanent successor but ‘there are already fears’ over his start and lack of experience.

    The report adds that Arsenal ‘may have to bring in a manager quickly rather than wait for the right man in the summer’.

    Arsenal are struggling ‘to make a decision’ on a new manager with Brendan Rodgers – who was reportedly their first choice – committing his future to Leicester.

    The Gunners hierarchy ‘are now feeling the pressure’ as they have failed to identify a ‘clear path forward’.

  • Hi Guys !…………… my humble totally correct opinion our biggest problem for many years and I know this will come as a surprise to you is………………..the defense !………….I`m not a top pundit for nothing you know ! hahaha……….and the main thing………communication or lack of it !……………………I suggest if you can (and all you have to do is go on talksport and re-listen to Fridays Jim White show in the first hour from 10 am) listen to Keown on talksport !
    He talks on how they used to practice until the cows came home with George Graham……………how they used to talk to each other constantly, shouting at the Gilberto/Viera etc` to keep the defensive shield in place, so much so that when meeting Gilberto recently Keown said that Gilberto said that he still had Martins` orders ringing in his ears !………….they used to have in game competion between the right side of the defense and the left side, in that they did not like any goals coming in from their side and if succesfull in stopping opponents the oppo` would change sides to try and penetrate down the other half of the defenses flank !
    Also imo, what`s happpened to proper in your face defending ?
    We need the sort who are like a second skin, a defender who is so tight to his opponent that he is like a conjoined twin. We need players who we can give nicknames to like…The Leech ! ,The Rash !, The Shadow !, The Desease !, The Tight Fitting Condom !…………………our current defenders all have the same nickname……….The You`re F##king Shite !
    In my day I was so close to my opponent that I would be attached to him like a conjoined twin when he went for a shit at half time !………I`d be inside the players shirt closer than his deoderant !…..yes, I`m a bit unconventional and would usually end up with a restraining order after police were called to the opponents bedroom whilst I filmed him making love to his wife calling for VAR to be used when he was a shade inside !…………….my nickname The Stalker had to be earned !

    Get Keown/Dixon/Adams in now to show these twerps how to be aggressive, how to communicate, how to mark and how to get a nickname !………………………have to go now as I`m in my neighbours shower as he attempts to scrub his and my back !

  • I really detest the Daily Mail. Even worse than the Sun and Mirror.

    Anything one reads in it is at best fanciful and often downright lies. Much like the current Prime Minister whom they support wholeheartedly

    Freddie and BFG have been in the job for less than 2 weeks!

  • Erik,

    I had a senior moment and posted a piece of Red Top nonsense……………..

    Both Freddie and per were more than capable players and have only been in the coaching ranks a relatively small amount of time and they deserve time to “adjust” the team. I like them both and wish them the best of good fortune.

    Hoping all is well with you and yours.

  • Good to hear from the rational wing of The Arsenal! 👍😀 agree with all sentiments expressed and support for the club. Am really hoping that FL succeeds and that we don’t go on a manager musical chairs. Here’s to the first win of the FL era against the hammers. VCC! 👏

  • Brilliant, PE and a good rallying call to the (true) fans. While the last result was disappointing, these things happen when the task is to bring a club out of a funk, which is what Freddie is tasked with doing.
    One thing which always helps is if supporters pull in the same direction. Does anyone think the United fans believed their club would leave the Etihad with anything? Yet they were there in their numbers, breathing energy into their players. The Evertonians were out to support Ferguson in his first game in charge, despite the team starting the day in the relegation zone. Compare that with the empty seats evidenced in the Emirates on Thursday. I am not saying the players don’t have a role to play rallying the fans (with good, determined play) but, sometimes, maybe the players really need to know we love them, no matter what. Such a reassurance is bound to boost confidence and remind the club who they play for.

    I still feel if we get a first win, we can change the momentum for the better. COYG!!!

  • The bottom line is that the fans at the stadium and on the fb, twitter or instagram channels have to be more supportive of the team, and not whack-the-mole.

    The lads are already playing to their best they could but needs more support from the fans. Let us be the 12th man on the pitch when we are at home and away too.

  • Looking at the table now, it hits you that we are closer to the 17th (right above relegation waters) position than to 6th Place, not to talk of the top 3. That just says we’ve got to start picking up 3 points and this may come down to the players banding together and making the choice to improve. Then, the fans too, making the choice to just support the boys and, slowly but surely, we shall restore confidence, all round.

  • Yeah, TA. Le Coq is as mad as a hatter. But that made me smile…. and then laugh. 😅

  • Had this funny thought.*
    Those rambling styles are just a bit too similar– not to at least consider the possibility.

    That it might just be– that 17HT and Le Coq are– one and the same?! 🤣
    With the caveat that HT… er, “Le Coq” —
    chases his espressos ☕ with shots of Patron! 🥃🧂

    *Disclaimer: Consumed several Corona Extra at lunch. 🍺🍺🍺


  • I have an opinion, but I don’t agree with it. 🙂
    (It is funnier in Hungarian, though.)

    Generally I’m all for being patient with the new manager, doesn’t matter if he is a temporary caretaker (legend), a seasoned international veteran decorated with titles or the successful coach of the record-hoarding women’s team. Because adjustments, change and development take time, and we shouldn’t sacrifice long-term goals on short-term gains.
    With that being said I also have to emphasize that the lack of short-term results are far from being the symptoms of “a strong progress towards the right direction”. So we have three strategies:
    A) being dogmatic, and say: “let’s give Freddie time, patience and money (in January)” to implement his coaching philosophy with the squad, because he is a former Arsenal star, a true fan favorite invincible, and he has WC-winner Per Mertesacker to support him
    B) trying to be fact-based and data driven – which is almost impossible as we watch the games through commentators, read the reactions and tweets of pundits, former players or other wannabe celebrities – and differentiate between a promising defeat, an expected, inevitable loss against a superior opponent, and the avoidable result of amateurish, unprofessional squad- and game management
    C) being dogmatic, and say: “Ljungberg has no experience in managing a first team anywhere (not to mention a top club in a top league), and only a few dozens of games coaching at U23 level and assisting a struggling German team escaping relegation, so he shouldn’t be managing Arsenal a single day longer than we can hire a capable, experienced manager”, and give replacement a top priority with a Christmas deadline, risking that we lose candidates that could only start in the summer

    Personally I’m all for attitude B), and with that regards I’m pretty disappointed about a home defeat by BHA, but I’m leaning towards A) and willing to give Freddie a few more games, including EL and FA Cup ties, but the bar is not at 1:0 but enjoyable attacking play with organized defense.

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