Emery Out, Freddie In: Here’s To Hoping

Arsenal 1 – 2 Eintracht Frankfurt

And so the axe fell. The club put out a cursory statement ending the reign of Unai Emery; Freddie Ljungberg will “take responsibility for the first team as interim head coach.”

The joke about the Spaniard being so far out of his depth that Jacques Cousteau couldn’t save him can wait for another day.

Ljungberg is a popular short-term appointment which may evolve into a permanent appointment. Honestly, as much as I loved Freddie as a player, I cannot see him as Arsenal boss just yet. That said, a year or so at Derby is hardly preparation for a Premier League job but Chelsea took the punt. It’s paying off; will that influence Raul’s thinking.

Make no mistake, Sanllehi pulled the trigger. The recommendation to Junior and Enos meant Emery was finished. Our long-distance owners would not have taken that decision on their own.

Kroenke, dubbed “the most powerful man in sports“, is just a builder and not a very good one at that, and has other things on his mind. Arsenal’s travails? He doesn’t care until nights like yesterday when the ground was barely half-full despite the 49k tickets officially sold.

So, they let the former Barcelona man grow a set and make a decision a fortnight, if not a lot longer, too late. We find out now if he’s Don Raul or D’oh Raul in this change. Questions are rightly surfacing about him and the Kroenke’s, as well as the rest of The Muppet Show. Now, they must prove they know football.

The club needs shaking up, from top to bottom. As with the managerial appointment, the rush for change must not blind us to the quality of the appointments needed or the structural alterations necessary.

Here’s Freddie!

Our immediate reality is that Ljungberg has been given 48 hours to prepare the team for Norwich. How much change can he effect realistically in that time? I’m not banking on a great deal.

The match is a free pass. Lose and it’s almost a shrug of the shoulders. Raul only gave him 48 hours what do you expect. Freddie will be given full credit for any win, however.

He’s got to find a tight defence, strong midfield and rapier attack in a couple of days. Unai couldn’t find any of that in eighteen months so why expect miracles now? What Ljungberg is relying on is the ‘new boss bounce’; the good performance which shows players had downed tools even though they promised they hadn’t.

It’s asking a lot. While individually the players may be better than their counterparts from the early-80s, as a team they are as bad, if not worse.

Last night typified that. One-nil up, we blew it. The game was over as soon as Eintracht Frankfurt equalised and we knew it. Two good shots – I doubt even Francis Drake could have saved us from that Kamada – for the goals but they looked more threatening whenever they had possession. We were left hoping that the referee was a Homer and chucking ourselves to the floor looking for an ill-deserved penalty as time ran out.

There’s no sense in the club’s statement of how long Freddie has to prove himself or if indeed, this is an option. As I’ve said previously, I do not believe now is the time to appoint an inexperienced coach. If there is a sense that Ljungberg is a long-term option then making him #2 as a condition for the new boss is the road to go down.

Freddie The Rebuilder: Can He Fix It?

Unless, of course, we’re writing this season off and using the next six months as a rebuilding exercise. The big clearout can begin in January but continues through next summer. It would need investment from Enos, money he probably doesn’t have given the $5bn cost overruns at the Rams new stadium. As I said earlier, he’s not a very good builder.

There’s a sense of relief in the news. I take no joy in Emery’s demise because he seemed an amiable man but from Arsenal’s point of view, it brings me a renewed vigour.

I don’t know if a sense of optimism about the future is revealed? It’s too soon and we don’t know who the next permanent manager is. Nor are we fully aware of the constraints they will be under, e.g. how many of the squad can they realistically get shot of in the next two windows.

All the while, The Muppet Show is under intense scrutiny. We’ve gone from one example of the footballing equivalent of “Are we there yet?” straight into another. Communication from the hierarchy was non-existent previously and that’s got to improve rather than leaving us to read what David Ornstein, the Man formerly of the BBC in Salford, writes or some other hackneyed source.

Equally, Junior and Enos need to get to grips with the board. It took stories of Sir Chips thinking of resigning for me to remember they existed. Raul may not like the extra scrutiny former players in those seats might bring but his actions so far mean that is probably what is needed.

The long-distance owners aren’t here and he is operating how he wants. Not ‘out of sight, out of mind’; more ‘out of sight, Enos won’t mind’.

Fred Up With All This?

The club’s governance has long been an issue but it is bubbling up once again. Indeed, this whole scenario shows the issue absentee owners bring. Enos is feted in the NFL but over here, KSE has zero credibility. They are learning a harsh lesson that fans hold owners to higher scrutiny over here and football fans are especially volatile.

This morning sees a belated first step taken. It doesn’t bring them any goodwill and anybody who rejoices in Emery’s unemployment on a ‘personal’ level needs to take a long, hard, look at themselves.

What we have now is another opportunity to try for the top four. My guess is that without a strong series of wins in the next eight weeks, that which is already out of reach will move to become unattainable.

The rollercoaster ride continues. The question is are we uncontrollably sliding down the track or through the nadir and beginning the slow climb to the top.

’til Tomorrow,

35 thoughts on “Emery Out, Freddie In: Here’s To Hoping

  1. andy1886 says:

    Thanks YW, good news of course but as you rightly point out no reason to feel antipathy towards Emery, he simply wasn’t the right man for the job.

    Agreed that Freddy isn’t ready. Yet. My concern is that Raul will get in another ‘flavour of the month’ candidate because I genuinely believe that he doesn’t have the knowledge to pick a good manager from a bad one.

    My list of wants would include a proven PL boss who has over achieved on limited resources because that’s exactly where we are compared to the top tier clubs (like it or not). So while it may not be Freddie maybe we’re ready for Eddie??

  2. Michael says:

    A bit late, but at least they made the decision. It would be a minor miracle if we put on a decent show at Norwich, but hope is there now. If its true that Freddie doesn’t have his full licence he can only be “manager” for 3 months I believe, but would stand corrected.

  3. YW says:

    TBH Andy, they could do with taking a fortnight or so to make the decision; let the ‘Freddie love’ die down a bit. It’s gone way OTT for no discernible reason, IMHO, beyond the fact that he isn’t Unai.

    In all honesty, Howe or NES would suit us. We need someone who can organise and in dropping a two-goal lead last night, NES established his Arsenal credentials beyond question surely?

  4. andy1886 says:


    Absolutely YW, the last thing we need is our own Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (no insult to Freddie intended).

    It’s likely to take weeks or months to do a deal anyway so Fred will get a few games, but ultimately a rookie isn’t what we need. People might point to Lampard but he’s had barely half a season so it’s too early to say if he’ll ultimately be a success.

  5. Woolwich Freddie says:

    Good Morning,

    A measured response, YW.

    The next few games will show if the players esteem Freddie, or if he is inextricably linked to Emery in their minds. In the short term, all we’re looking for is increased effort I would say. After a few games, another appointment should be ready. January at the latest but with window-related decisions made earlier. You know, in the dreamland where we have a competent hierarchy. At least we got what we wanted earlier than expected, if later than ideal.

  6. HenryNorrisDialSquare says:

    Great read YW and agree that there is no joy in Emery’s sacking from a personal perspective.

    Whether or not the muppets can get the next appointment right remains to be seen.

    But my thinking is they must have someone in mind or they wouldn’t pull the trigger. I think mid season, getting NES, Howe, Rodger’s when their respective clubs are doing reasonably well isn’t going to be cheap. Also why would you leave a job where you’re doing well, to go to a poisoned chalice of a job.

    I don’t think the timing is right for a Howe, NES or Rodgers. I do think an Allegri or Poch could make better progress with this squad than the aforementioned in the interim.

    I agree giving Freddie the reigns for a short period would be preferable for the same reasons.

  7. C says:

    Never want anybody to lose their job, but from a sporting perspective, this season just always seemed like it wasn’t going to happen. Freddie, well if reports are to believed, he runs and is extremely hands-on even when Emery was there, so I doubt his voice and vision will be that hard to translate.

    I do imagine we will see some changes in the XI though. Wouldn’t at all be surprised to see Torriera at DM, Pepe/Lacazette/Aubameyang playes from the start together and a back 4 that doesn’t include on of Sokaritis or Luiz.

  8. Dalm says:

    And what if Freddy has been a part of the problem so far .,,,,.

  9. fell says:

    That’s that then.
    Yogi’s reference to the massive cost overun at LA does perhaps shed a glimmer of hope on future ownership.
    Perhaps the now mostly self funded $5 billion dollar is being referred to as the $6 billion dollar stadium might force Silent into considering selling Arsenal to Aliko Dangote as he’s nearing to completing his refinery which he claimed was his sole focus.
    The again it could be KSE’s plan to drain every last penny out of the now unseen coffers
    I’d like to be glass half full on this … but meh!

  10. Paulie Walnuts says:

    Despite our current problems I also feel sympathy for Emery.

    I wonder if things would have been different had we bought better but the buck stops with the manager so there was little alternative to sacking him.

    Who knows what Freddie will bring apart from better songs but I’d rather wait a while & get the right man than appoint the wrong guy (or girl) too quickly.

    The rumours that we were interested in Mourinho do little to make me confident we’ll get things right this time.

  11. YW says:

    What is staggering is the decision to sack him was taken after Southampton but Junior and Enos only rubberstamped it when Raul, Edua and Vinai flew to the USA on Monday. WTF? Why not use a phone, take the decision and give FL a full week’s prep, using EF game to try things out?

    Typical fucking KSE. Can’t organise a piss-up in a brewery.

  12. YW says:

    I just said the same thing to my son, Dalm. Got accused of being cynical. Moi?!

  13. andy1886 says:


    I don’t think that it’s an issue, no way they would give him the job full time unless they’ve taken total leave of their senses (like ManU).

    This season is done anyway, no CL and possibly no European football at all.

  14. Gunnerlocutor says:

    Hard to really argue with any of that but I choose to be a bit more optimistic at least for the time being. First, the nightmare of the last couple of months is over. We can look forward once again to watching the Gunners play. Let’s hope the positive vibes and some clear instructions from Freddie will unleash the considerable talents of this squad, create a nice “new manager bounce” and propel us up the table. And, there’s still the Europa League that we can absolutely win. Can’t wait to watch the Gunners thrash Norwich. COYG!

  15. Birdkamp says:

    I mean, Ljungberg was peripheral last season, but the style of football, or lack of it, has been pretty much identical throughout Emery’s time.

    We were out-shot and outplayed plenty last season, and as far as I can see the big difference is that we haven’t been getting away with it this campaign.

  16. Reloaded says:

    I wouldn’t bank on the Rams overrun having a positive spillover effect on Arsenal changing hands. The local California taxpayers will be one the hook for that project.

  17. Alex Ice Cream says:

    Finally the farce ends and another one might be about to begin.

    I don’t think NES is the man for us, other than a spell at Valencia he hasn’t been tested at the highest level. His record in Spain is worse than Emery’s.

    The pressure is different at Arsenal and he will be expected to be more positive in his play than the counterattacking style of Wolves.

    We need a young coach with vision – Poch, even Arteta.

    I am also sceptical about Raul generally and more specifically his links with Jorge Mendes. Look at the summer recruitment by Raul – Luiz, question marks over Pepe but Tierney looking good.

    Martinelli is a freak but that was Edu’s work.

  18. Wailesy says:

    Freddy has a tough job in front of him. This squad is fractured, and yes he could be part of the problem. Give him 3 games max. I really want poch but he and Emery are good mates and maybe Poch doesn’t fancy it. I’m not keen at all on Howe or NES but I’d take Allegri. What’s his English like?

  19. Blue Yonder says:


    If Freddie was/is part of the problem, who was it last season?

  20. YW says:


    Out of interest, if NES isn’t the right man because of his record, how can a coach with no proven experience in the #1 role be acceptable?

    Pochettino hasn’t won a single trophy in his time in England or in Spain? What makes him right for the job?

    There’s myriad contradictions in all our requirements for head coach. I suspect this is going to be a lot more painful journey than many expected.

  21. Blue Yonder says:

    Ordinarily, last night’s game was one we expected to win but, somehow, you knew it was likely to be a defeat. Players voting with their feet? Hard to say but they’ve certainly been greasing the skids for him – despite protestations to the contrary.
    I hope the board takes the time, this time, to do due diligence in finding Emery’s successor. Hiring Emery was a rush job; little more than a month to replace 22 years.

  22. Blue Yonder says:

    The next manager almost has to have EPL experience. Learning on the job is not a luxury we can afford.
    Eddie Howe?

  23. C says:


    The Pochettino lack of silverware is something that I have said myself. Gooners want Pochettino but also want silverware….last I checked his cabinet is empty as a manager and that is despite have arguably one of the best CB pairings, a world class striker, a World Cup winning GK who some say is top 10 in the world, a collection of really good midfielders and Son who, while a cheap shot artist and a diver, is a superb player. So if all those things worked in his favor, and he still couldn’t win fuck all…..what makes him the right manager?

    For me, if we are going down the young manager route, than give Vieira or Arteta the job and a strong backroom staff or dabble with Allegri. If we are going wildcard, I would rather it be a true wildcard like the Ajax manager or one from South America.

  24. Dcn says:

    ManU has shown us the way… the way backwards. Missing Mo was a blessing- he will wreck Spurs after a bit. Letting an interim manager with little experience become permanent because of the feel good factor: awful. Freddie won’t be permanent and I believe they will go for experience in this hire.

    In the interim, let’s see a rationale approach to picking and directing a team:
    4-4-3 every game
    Tierney and Hector bombing forward
    Holding in defense
    Torreira as a holding mid
    Pepe in every match, with Laca and PEA
    No Xhaka ever. No Sokratis ever.
    Play on the front foot and try to win 4-3, 5-4 because this group will not keep clean sheets.

  25. consolsbob says:

    So, YW, the whole NES/superagent business is just bollocks?

    I am genuinely interested as what one can read about it elsewhere is extremely unsavoury and dangerous.

  26. YW says:

    Curiously, CB, I answer that very point in tomorrow’s post.

    “Freddie: The Prose and Con Artists In The Running” will be here at 7am

  27. consolsbob says:

    Ah, on the cusp of the future still!

  28. Wailesy says:

    Blue Yonder,

    I agree and I’ve said before the spiral started after Christmas last term. Freddie was coaching the 23’s which is intrinsically tied to the style of play in the 1st team. I’m sure he and Emery worked closely on tactics and strategies. That’s not to say Freddie agreed with them privately. Like all of us I hope he can get a bounce but it’s hard if only for the fact that most of the backroom staff will stay meaning the energy around the training will be too similar. I hope that makes some sense, it was a big night!

  29. Blue Yonder says:


    I was wondering about the support staff. Josh, in his sending-off announcement, thanked Emery and his staff, etc., which sounded like the group he brought in were going as well.
    Logically, a new man brings in his own people but, since (for now) that’s Freddie, I’m not quite sure who the new support staff will be.

  30. Noon Gunner says:

    Is Arsenal alone in seeming to make the role of Assistant Coach something of a mystery, or do all big clubs do this? Bould seemed to have negligible influence on the one area we desperately needed him to improve: the defence, and on matchdays he might as well have been a cardboard cut-out for all the value he appeared to add sitting next to the Zipper King. And whenever something needed rapid thinking through on the touchline in the past 18 months, Emery turned to his Spanish mate, never Freddie as far as I could see.

    Pep, on the other hand, is frequently seen in feverish discussion with Arteta. Was Emery guilty of the same flaw as Wenger – an over-inflated sense of the responsibility resting solely on their shoulders?

  31. Noon Gunner says:

    I bet Emery’s parting words to the squad were along the lines of “So, guys, who would you like to replace me? Please fill in the cards I’m handing round and I’ll give them to Raul as I leave.”

    Maybe we’ll get 5 managers!

  32. nicky says:

    Let’s not talk about who will be Manager after Freddie.
    Better by far to back him 100% in the task before him.
    As for Emery, I could never understand a word he said in interviews, so how the players managed at Colney I don’t know.

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