Ozil/Auba Disappoint, Tor-Guendo Weak, Leno/Martinelli Only Sparks: BoD Cannot Hide behind Freddie Anymore

Imagine being Freddie right now. An amicable guy with a glass half full attitude. He saw how OGS turned a disengaged Red Mancs team into a winning machine during his first months of interim management, so why could he not put some smiles back on our Gunners’ faces and win some games too in due course?

See the source image

Well, the difference is that Mourinho is strong on system but not/no longer strong on getting the best out of his players, especially during the third year of his stay at any club. So the Norwegian could indeed just mainly focus on remotivating his players and the results came instantly. OGS and FL are quite similar characters: easy going, likeable Scandinavians with huge pedigrees with, and respect for, their respective clubs. Good lads and good nr.2’s, and who knows, possibly good nr.1’s too. But interim management is quite a different challenge from being the permanent big cheese: OGS is experiencing that this season and there is no doubt that it would be a big challenge for FL too if he was so lucky.

Unfortunately, Emery left an Arsenal side behind BOTH low on confidence and motivation and weak in terms of structure and tactical knowledge.

You have got to feel for the Fredster: he has been given an almost impossible assignment with no clarity from the BoD re his future, hardly any coaching support, injuries in  the most vulnerable on-pitch department, and a team that has not only lost its mojo but has utterly unlearned how to play as a unit with a strong tactical/football-philosophical structure. Freddie may not be too dissimilar to OGS personality wise but his interim assignment is much harder than the Norwegian’s was last season.

Against the Blue Northern Oilers he basically had two options: sit back and absorb pressure or attack and hope to score more than them. He went for the latter and we had no luck: KdB produced a Bergkampesque performance – he really looked like Dennis yesterday – fully benefiting from loads of available space in and around a make-shift, low on confidence and frankly poor Arsenal defence. It was never a game and we were outclassed for 90 minutes. Oh how the tables have turned.

A midfield pairing of Guendouzi and Torreira – for many the best Arsenal midfield combo – was no match for MC, and despite doubling up on the wings with full backs and attacking midfielders/wingers we were also second best on the flanks all game long.

Ozil struggled to impose himself in such a set-up and how much he will have wanted to be in De Bruine’s shoes yesterday. Auba floated all over the pitch and kept looking for his one or two opportunities but they never came. Both disappointed on an afternoon were we badly needed their leadership.

Martinelli fought like Ljungberg used to do and Pepe kept trying to make something happen but they were fighting a machine, and guerrilla warfare in open field is always doomed to fail. Leno was phenomenal and saved us from further pain, Saka did well filling in for the Bosnian Bear, Torreira did his best to fill the immense gaps on the pitch, but it was in the end boys against men and it hurts.

We all knew this game came much too soon for Freddie, and I am not blaming him at all. It was a painful game to watch and one to forget very quickly for the supporters. The richly awarded members of the BoD cannot afford the latter, though. You oversee a club with huge history and pride, with a massive reputation all over the world of beautiful winning football, with a fabulous newly build stadium in one of the richest cities of the world, and we are in limbo-land. 

It’s time for decisions and decisive actions, for clear and open communication with the supporters and for leading our proud club out of the wilderness again.

By TotalArsenal.

22 thoughts on “Ozil/Auba Disappoint, Tor-Guendo Weak, Leno/Martinelli Only Sparks: BoD Cannot Hide behind Freddie Anymore

  • 84 commented in previous post:

    Let me try the 8 positives (if you allow me to, TA):
    1. The youngsters had a good game against Citeh.
    2. The energy by Saka, Martinelli and AMN is evident, and they did well in attack. Saka did well in LB too and not managing to concede a goal when he was on the pitch.
    3. Ozil tried to create chances and did relatively well prior to him being subbed.
    4. Chambers did well mostly and there is some positives to his play. Tried to do more of a DM and ventured forward to midfield during attacks.
    5. Sok had a good game and did well to stifle the Citeh attack.
    6. Pepe tried and tried, and created a few chances to keep Citeh at bay.
    7. Willock had good moments when he came on, and created some chances for the team.
    8. Lucky number, and what a save from Leno to prevent a fourth goal from De Bruyne.

  • City had lost 4 drawn 2 epl matches this season. They aren’t that of a juggernaut anymore. That they had a stroll was yesterday was that we were very poor. We need a fresh start and the starting point is telling ourselves the home truth.

    Our line up did not excite me. It was top heavy at the expense of the MF that was to be winning the ball back to feed them with. Auba had 24 touches despite running around all 90minutes. I pitied him.

    The bright points were the young ones of course discounting the 20 yr old Guendouzi whom I think needs to reconstruct his game at this early point of his career. As I saw it, Torreira fought bravely and at one time winning a fierce duel with twice-his-everything KdB. I hope we hit our nadir yesterday. It can now be only up.

    I sympathize with Freddie’s on his job conditions but as something of an insider on an obviously temporary hire, he need not turn it into a moan.

  • Olympiacos – our old foe. It was usually a straight forward tie – we would win at our soil and then lose with our C team at theirs in a dead rubber. The only time things went the opposite way was in 2015-16 when we surprisingly lost both of our opening games (Dinamo Zagreb 1-2, Olympiacos 2-3 – Ospina conceded a goal straight from the corner) and needed a two-goal-margin victory on the last day of the group stage. Giroud delivered a hat-trick to secure us Ro16.

    If you think we are a weird team, take a look how their CL campaign went.

    In their first game, they were two goals behind at home against Spuds only to claw back and get a draw (it coincided with our game v Spuds that went according to the same script).

    In their second game, they visited their brother club Crvena Zvezda and lost in weird circumstances. At some forums, members are suspicious that it was a case of “3 for 3” in which both teams agree that each team would win their home game so no points get spilled. Anyway, Olympiacos scored first only to get a player sent off and concede three goals afterwards (only three goals Zvezda scored across six games).

    Their first game against Bayern was no exception to “the cursed opener” rule. Oly scored first only to concede three in succession. They lost 2-3.

    In the reverse fixture, Bayern won 2-0.

    In their fifth game, Oly came to Spuds, had a two-goal lead only to lose 4-2.

    Finally, in their last game, against their brother club, Zvezda missed a penalty at 0-0 but would have gone through anyway if Oly didn’t get a suspiciously clumsy penalty from a Zvezda substitute who had entered the pitch only a few minutes earlier. Olympiacos converted the penalty to win the game 1-0.

    Their manager is a Portuguese (TA will love it 🙂 ) and Mathieu Valbuena, a tricky dribbler, is their biggest star.

  • Mesut Ozil gets a pass from me. And maybe for some time.
    As Mesut seems a smart man– and a considerate and ethical individual? I have difficulty imagining what he has, and is, experiencing personally over these last many months.

    Standing criticism over his being photographed with his country’s president (who also stood as Mesut’s best man). Ostracization, then resignation from his national team due to racial and/or religious animus. Faced with robbery and possible violence during a criminal attack. Now vilification, on a global platform by the Chinese government– for raising awareness with comments deigned to question probable violent human rights abuse and religious persecution.

    This isn’t some snowflake millionaire being depressed with social media criticisms. These aren’t things easy to ignore. These are things that will reshape your life.

    And I’m supposed to be upset with Ozil’s inability to drag a subpar football team to respectability versus one of the best teams on the planet– who happened to have a player performing as if the embodiment of Dennis Bergkamp at his apex?

    Eff his salary. I’m amazed he wants to get out of bed every day.


  • Per Arseblog:
    “Arsenal’s managing director, Vinai Venkatesham, and chief contract negotiator, Huss Fahmy, have been pictured leaving Mikel Arteta’s home in Manchester; the clearest indication yet that the 37-year-old Spaniard is being lined up for the vacant head coach role.

    The duo were snapped by tabloid press late last night after reportedly holding talks with the ex-Gunner for a couple of hours.”


  • @JW1

    Has anyone thought about the possibility that Vinai and Huss had visited Mikel to have sex with him?

  • Funniest pair of comments found– as I dove deep into the comments over at Arseblog regarding the, ahem… footie-call:

    Comment by ‘Amusa’:
    Wasn’t he in London?
    I think the F^ckers have just gone and robbed his house 😂

    Reply by ‘nevermind’:
    Probably went through his drawers looking for a decent midfielder.

    (Badda-bump! 🥁)


  • That was a chastening defeat, TA. Some need a lot of time to recover from that one. Nice analysis of the similarities (and differences) between the Solskjaer and Ljungberg managerial situations at two big clubs, each being an ex-player of the club’s they were called upon to manage. And I think you’re spot on! It’s all in just how “healthy” the sacked managers left things. Emery did leave us in shambles; lads were shot of all confidence and seem unsure what positions to take when defending.

    Poor Freddie. Must have been so frustrated with what’s happening with his club that he had to call on the club’s executives to make a quick decision for a permanent manager. To think he will be a bit affected reading how our management seeks to make Arteta the permanent manager. I feel there is not much between them, with regards to experience in the dugout except that while Freddie assisted Jonker, Arteta worked with Pep at a club that plays great football. Overall, while Arteta had always earned rave reviews about his coaching and leadership qualities (even as a player), so for me, if he is picked, I shall not be disappointed. It will help us buy time and I bet the fans will be more willing to allow him some latitude (for a change).

    If/when Freddie is relieved of the responsibility of managing the first team, I hope he takes it well and move back to his old role, seamlessly.

  • My apologies TA. Your write up is so much better than my 8 positives.

    We are facing some periods of uncertainty but while we have good tactics and strong mentality by the youngsters, the older players need to step up as they have good visions but nowadays they are the ones being affected by the change of manager, not the youngsters.

    I hope that our good work can turn into a good win away against the blue half of Liverpool, and with closer play we can do it. Saka at LB will help us in defense, and we need to put Auba on the bench and Laca back on top.

  • Admir, JW, v funny. 😆

    Cheers Eris, if it is Arteta, and it really looks like it will be him this time, we will all support him and give him time. It would be good to see who he will take with him and what Freddie’s role will become. I have to say it does not give me a good gut feeling.

    Your eight were good, 84. Keep them coming.

  • I would want Fred to be back at u23 manager. He has the skills to grow the youngsters, having been coaching them for a season.

    However Arteta might want him as an assistant, having seen his tactics in the last match. We were outclassed but the positives were not hard to see by all.

  • It is official per Arseblog:

    Arsenal have reached full agreement with Mikel Arteta over the role of head coach, and all that’s left is to negotiate his release from Man City.


  • Freddie? Most def stays.
    He’s the guy who delivered the majority of the squad. The youth players.
    Freddie’s been an able assistant. He stepped into the breach when asked.

    We need more Freddie, not less.
    We need Freddie to sustain what he and Per have formed and built.

    IMO? What’s needed from Arteta first– is restore the club’s health. Take the hatchet from Sanllehi’s hand. Stanch the cultural bleeding. Put the club on a path to recovery.


  • Jw1, apparently Ornacle has mentioned that we are far from agreeing Arteta becoming our new head coach.

    I don’t know where this comes from but it looks like Arteta coming in is a given.

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