Arsenal began their new regime under Freddie Ljungberg with a draw with struggling Norwich, which led to many already complaining about the Swede’s prowess or perceived lack of.
Just one training session led and so many bad habits to eradicate meant that a game so soon would no doubt lead to many of the similar struggles that befell departed boss Unai Emery, but the theme on social media and the journalists alike post match was to look at alternatives to Ljungberg in the dugout.
The improvement in attack was there for all to see. Plenty of chances created, as opposed to recent matches where we were static up top and easy to nullify. We could well have scored more, but the reason we fell to more dropped points again – was our defensive issues.
Ljungberg attracted most criticism for his selection. Shkodran Mustafi made his first Premier League start of the season in the game and did not have his best match. The much-maligned German was where Norwich had most joy, and our midfield was once again disinterested in providing extra cover.
Jo Willock didn’t have a terrible game, but where was Torreira, where was Pepe? Those were the questions levelled at Freddie, even though as a newly appointed coach, his job was to forget what had happened before and give his entire squad the benefit of the doubt. If he went in with pre-conceived notions based on previous performances, then members of the squad would be unhappy, leading to discord and then we are back at square one – an unhappy camp.
Ljungberg excelled as a player and has been in demand as a coach – that follows the same early path as Pep Guardiola. When Pep started at Barca, he was given a shot – not just one match, before the knives came out.
This isn’t to say that Freddie will be a Pep-style influence for us – but he could be. How are we supposed to know after such a short space of time?
It is only right that the club are looking at other alternatives, as it is still unclear whether Freddie is the answer, but he has every right to be in the frame.
We need to give him and Per time to sort out the obvious issues in the team. Once that is done, then we can judge.