Movers & Shakers: Can We Afford The Inexperienced One?

“Shouting into the abyss”; a phrase read yesterday which struck a chord. That is, after all, what we are doing. Arsenal have muffled Highbury House and London Colney with everyone walking around gagged and wearing headphones over balaclavas. No-one is saying a word because they cannot hear the noise outside.

Amid all the reasons for Emery’s removal is the usual list of suspects to replace him. The appointment, when it eventually happens, will tell us a lot about how The Muppet Show views the remainder of the season.

Are they ambitious, determined to give a top-four finish their best shot or is this campaign toast, with the new head coach coming in to reorganise and reinvigorate a beleaguered squad?

The latter will see an experienced man come in. Raul could banter us by appointing Sam Allardyce or Tony Pulis; maybe even ‘Appy ‘Arry. If Tottenham can appoint Mourinho, anything is possible this season so why not Redknapp? Or Pochettino, even.

That’s too hipster for Raul, I think. The Argentinean is easily dismissed for the glaring omission on his CV but let’s be honest, every unemployed manager looking for a new job failed in his last one so not having won any trophies is hardly a sin in footballing terms.

OK, not every manager looking for a job is a failure. Max Allegri, overlooked at the last round of interviews, has taken a season out since leaving Juventus. His sin is a familiar one, shared with Arsene: not one Champions League trophy between them.

Reportedly, he is learning English during his time out from the game, preparing himself for the possibility of a move to the Premier League. Could it be Arsenal? I wonder if we have a big enough chequebook to interest him?

Loose Fit

It’s always harsh to dismiss a manager for that reason and in Allegri’s case, doubly so. However, Juve were never strapped for cash and while we’re not short of a bob or two, our transfer pot isn’t big enough to p*ss in by comparison.

Nonetheless, he is a serial winner with a well-organised philosophy. The sort of clear thinking which makes him an ‘attractive’ appointment. A big-name to galvanise the troops and certainly earn their immediate respect.

Nuno Espirito Santo brings the same organisational quality and knows our weaknesses like the back of his hand, having yet to see his Wolves side lose to us since returning to the Premier League.

His side are well-organised, drilled and know what they are doing. It’s this aspect which Arsenal are sorely lacking and which hopefully, he would bring. The criticism is that Wolves are punching above their weight without a flamboyant style.

Which brings about an interesting philosophical question: what is the Arsenal way? To me, it is a strong defence, well-organised midfield and an attack which knows where the goal is. All the double-winning sides in the club’s history fall into this category.

The argument that Wolves don’t play attractive football is sheer snobbery and let’s be honest, we haven’t for several years either. The obvious problem is that I doubt Wolves would let Arsenal talk to him although that’s never been a problem in the past for any football club ever. Even Arsene admits to talking to Real Madrid without the club’s permission.

Whatever the pros and cons of experienced bosses – and you can make similar cases for Eddie Howe, Rafa Benitez, Brendan Rodgers although why he’d leave Leicester for us is beyond me – the elephants in the room are always Mikel Arteta and Freddie Ljungberg.


At which point, we must decide what to do with this season. Is it a write-off to allow them the chance to get sorted and the experience for next year? To feed off the obvious goodwill which comes from being a (relatively) popular former player? Why not throw in Dennis Bergkamp as a coach whilst we are at it? An old boys reunion with Patrick Vieira the frontman?

There is one danger here. Any former player risks their reputation and their popularity by taking the reins. If the Arsenal captaincy is a poisoned chalice, that’s nothing to what the head coach’s job is for a former player. Let’s be honest here, it isn’t going to end well. It never does.

For a start, will everyone buy into the nostalgia and for how long? A season? Two? If things do not go well in 2020/21, how soon before the former player is deemed another dud coach?

I wouldn’t have an issue if the appointment was made for the long-term with either Ljungberg or Arteta. It must, however, be accompanied by an uncharacteristically frank admission from The Muppet Show: We’re writing off this season, rebuilding, reorganising and coming back twice as strong next time.

Is that something people can buy into? It’s nothing more than an admission that we’re taking a punt. OK, it’s a well-qualified punt, but a punt nonetheless.

Having said I don’t have an issue with such an appointment doesn’t mean I don’t have doubts about it working. In Arteta’s case, did he play in the same squad as anyone still at the club? Bellerin is the only one I can think of. He’ll come in with no experience and only the ‘kudos’ of being Pep’s assistant. Is that enough to get the squad on his side?

Wrote For Luck

Ljungberg is known as a coach to the players but his role in this season’s debacle is questionable. How much input does he have? He’s vocal on the sidelines but how deeply embedded is he in the mire?

Raul says Freddie impresses everyone with his coaching and attitude. Is that enough? Doesn’t that make him too much of a ‘safe’ appointment in the sense that he’s ‘in-house’, he’s ‘one of us’? Or ‘them’?

As an interim, Freddie fits the bill but I’m struggling to think of an interim since Bertie Mee who cut the mustard as manager. None of Burtenshaw, Rice or Houston made the grade as the top dog when their chance came, although I don’t think Pat had any ambitions in that sense. I can’t remember if Steve Burtenshaw went on to manage anyone.

In many sense, Freddie is reminiscent of Don Howe. Great coach, not cut out for managing. Maybe that’s the difference between then and now. The admin which Don had to deal with is now farmed out; the head coach is all about the first team. Is that the change which will make Freddie survive and then thrive?

I will say that I believe the mess we’re in demands an experienced set of hands to resolve. One who is clearer in their thinking than Unai and who can command the respect of the players immediately.

One of football’s great romantic dreams is succession planning. It never really works long-term. Other than the Liverpool ‘boot room’ which saw Bob Paisley, Joe Fagan and to a very much lesser degree, Roy Evans enjoy success, I cannot think of a managerial production line which worked in football.


The club’s current situation is such that we’re desperate for a ‘feelgood’ factor and it seems Freddie Ljungberg is designated as the embodiment of that.

I cannot see that as being enough to justify his appointment and in a way, damns Ljungberg. What happens when it ends in tears, as it surely will because everyone managerial appointment does?

We’re in desperate need of strong leadership and I don’t see an inexperienced coach bringing that to the table. Can they organise Sokratis and Sideshow Bob? Do they have the cojones to drop either? Mind you, if we’re talking cojones, should we be considering Troy Deeney as head coach…

All of which presumes The Muppet Show is sharpening the axe. There’s little sign that they are amid the radio silence so let the speculation continue…

’til Tomorrow.

30 thoughts on “Movers & Shakers: Can We Afford The Inexperienced One?

  1. Jonnygunner says:

    I suppose they could organise Luiz and Sokratis…….they could organise them to get on a bus to the airport….and not come back.

  2. Pete the Thirst says:

    Nuno seems to be cut if the same cloth as Maureen. Defend & counter attack. Could he do more with with better players? Maybe, but I doubt it.

    If the Kroenke’s are worried about shelling out the funds the answer has to be a caretaker manager followed by young club insiders.

    So Rafa Benitez til the end of the season with Arteta & Freddy next season.

    Gazidis’ panic appointment of Emery is coming back to haunt us. Did that plank do anything positive in his 10 years at the club?

  3. Pete the Thirst says:

    I think there’s a solid centre half in Sokratis with some coaching.

    Luiz on the other hand has never been a decent defender and for all the guff that was written when we signed him about his passing ability…well it was guff. He’s a defender that can’t defend.

    I suppose they could organise Luiz and Sokratis…….they could organise them to get on a bus to the airport….and not come back.

  4. Wavey says:

    I was a bit late at posting this on yesterday’s comments, so here it is again:

    ‘Now we are going to analyse it and find solutions as to whether we are better with three or two centre backs, the balance, and then work out how we can be stronger defensively and offensively,’ Emery said.

    And that is the man in a nut shell. He analyses everything to death and never comes up with an answer. By now he should know how he wants the team to play and in what formation. You can look at as much video footage as you want, but if you don’t know how to interpret it you are wasting your time. He clearly spends hours looking at videos and then has Eureka moments which he tries to explain to the team. Clearly they don’t get what he is on about because he keeps changing every time. The players may take the responsibility on the pitch, but when they look as confused and disjointed as they do, even in the first 5 minutes of a home game, you have to ask what the manager is telling them. if I were the Norwich coach I would have my players flying out of the blocks to ensure we are on the back foot from the off.

    I have no idea what will happen against Frankfurt, but they should turn us over quite easily on our current form. And I’m going, what a fun night that will be. Would be nice to see the team surprise me and put on a performance.

  5. Wailesy says:

    I have a problem with Arteta or Freddy. We need managerial experience 1st and someone who knows the league 2nd if we can get that.
    I’d be happy with Pochettino. That would really piss spurs off and I rate him. Even Allegri is a risk but one I’d be happy to take.

  6. Wailesy says:

    The board said Emery had a month to save his job with what looked/looks like our easiest run of games in the fixture list. I’m not sure quite what that says about the club’s ambition for this season. Are they hoping he gets through with no losses and a couple of wins to say it’s all yours till May regardless of where we finish as you passed the 4 match test. Or are they saying that even if he scrapes through the next 3 he’s still on notice.
    Not winning against saints should of seen him out the door.

  7. Michael says:

    I would like to see Rafa if he could be persuaded away from China..he ticks most boxes, with little downside imo.

  8. C says:


    I get what your saying, but if there is one person who does know the PL, it would be Arteta. More than that, I think he knows Arsenal and its no secret how much Pep relies on him.

    Plus, I think for all the praise that Sterling is receiving….Sterling and everybody else credits Arteta with helping him unlock his talent and goal scoring….imagine if he could get a hold of Pepe.

  9. Stu says:

    Arteta is too much of a risk for me. He may have worked under Pep and he may know Arsenal – albeit an Arsenal that was mediocre during his time here – but I’m really not buying into him. It may work out; it may not; it may well be better than Emery, but is that the extent of our ambition? I hope not.

    I’d rather have Poch appointed and for him to win his first trophy here, but that isn’t going to happen. He is heading either to OT or the Bernabeu.

    Allegri is out of reach. Why would he come to a club in disarray with no chance of the financial backing he would want in place. OT beckons for him or maybe Citeh if Pep decides to retire early.

    So we are left looking at second tier/up and coming coaches. I’d prefer we splash the cash on lifting Julian Nagelsmann from Liepzig. Hell, we could even do a deal with Red Bull and become Red Bull Arsenal. Would be more fun than KSE Emirates Arsenal!!!

    Wing-walking anyone?

  10. Damon says:

    I’m not down with Arteta either tbh. Big step up from where he is to being able to be sorting this shit show out

    If Allegri is going to say he needs £250m to spend each time he takes on a new contract, his probably only got one or two more jobs left that he can take. Ever?

  11. MikeSA says:


    They are desperate to hang on to him and have an excuse to not fire him.

    If we draw the next 4 what’s the bet they’ll claim they’re seeing some improvement and still refuse to fire him.

    Until the stands are very obviously empty during games we’ll just have this bunch ignoring all and any evidence and sticking to their guns.

  12. Damon says:



    This has whiffed of not wanting to have to pay him off and get someone else in for weeks.

    I think they thought the easy run of 4 or 5 games would buy some time and potentially get them through to the New Year. by which point they can muddle through to May with the odd storm along the way

  13. HenryNorrisDialSquare says:

    The amount of money this club is generating and they are quibbling over letting go a manager and his back room staff? When getting a CL spot sees instant return on their initial outlay! Crazy! How narrow minded are the Kronke’s? If this management team can’t see it’s not working, then perhaps it’s them who should be losing their jobs. I know there is no guarantees in football. But surely it’s worth the gamble? The Spuds thought it was worth it!

  14. Dukey says:

    Well it’s definitely curtains for Emery so what is the point in prolonging the inevitable. The players have made up their minds, he hasn’t got a clue and is not good enough to gain their respect. Shame as I thought he could take us somewhere but there is now no point waiting. There are managers out there sitting in the dole office que… Or rather doing their universal credit check and job seekers allowance online that would be able to at least get us playing some football again.

  15. Paulie Walnuts says:

    I don’t see Emery being fired any time soon – unless the wheels completely fall off on the pitch & there’s a fan mutiny off it.

    Our form this season has probably completely taken the powers that be by surprise, so don’t expect a Plan B or any decisive.

    We’re used to procrastination at Arsenal.

  16. Spike says:


    Well, if Ormstein is a credible source, Emery is still around because the “people behind the wcenes” who he has the ear of, apparently think really highly of Xhaka and feel the team have been suffering because of the Swiss Mistakes absence and NOT because we have a shit coach!!

    We are fooked!!

  17. Las says:

    Thanks YW!
    We are disjointed as a handful of butterfly. I’m so embarrased I can’t even read about us.
    Whoever comes sooner is better. Arteta is good, Allegri better the safe bet is Benitez. Benitez made wonders in Newcastle. And… he won the CL. He might be over his peak years but knows the PL and Arsenal and most importantly football.

  18. Dukey says:

    When we appointed Emery I thought it was a good appointment but this season we have been outplayed by every team we have faced. Barry Island fc would outplay us. I was all for giving him a bit more time but once you hear rumours that the players have lost faith in him then that’s that.

  19. Spike says:

    In terms of successors….

    I think Freddie until the end of the season, or Rafa would be fine.

    Then longer term, any of
    Rodgers (think he could be persuaded at the end of the season)

  20. C says:

    VAR strikes again! The ref shows red to Courtious and a nailed on penalty for PSG and VAR somehow calls a phantom foul and gives the ball back to Madrid.

    O, and Spuds are losing 2-0 at home!

  21. Spike says:


    I also thought it was a good appointment. I brought he needed at least a season to implement his brand of football while undoing a lot of the mess he inherited.

    I was right behind him, right until the last 4 games of the season!! The 3 PL games and the Ropey final.

    That did it for me. That and his love affair with Xhaka, his appalling command of english and when he signed Luiz!

  22. Wailesy says:


    I really do see Arteta as Don Howe the 2nd. And that is a great compliment.

  23. Wailesy says:



    Couldn’t agree more.
    It’s so dumb. If we act now I feel we could still get something out of the league. 4th is very doable but i$ be happy just taking a couple of big scalps. We have the squad to at least compete.

  24. Ras says:

    The Daily Mail reports that The Wolves Manager – Nuno is a possible replacement candidate for Emery.

  25. Bufallo says:

    Bookies favourite suddenly…10/11
    Better than continuing like this, whatever

  26. thetotteridge man says:

    When we are this deep in the shit hole, thinking of appointing a novice like Arteta, whose time at Arsenal was anything but shiny, is insane. Poch will come for £12 million and the need of the hour is top 4, and he will do it.

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