You’ll be pleased to know I am penning this piece in a suit. Not my birthday suit but properly attired to show my proudness in carrying out this role of providing daily entertainment.
Try as I might, and I did try, I could not find a picture of Paul Scholes as Oldham boss wearing a shirt and tie. Was the Ginger Pr*ck saying “Don’t do as I do, do as I say”? If he’d followed his own advice, he might have lasted longer than 4½ weeks at Boundary Park.
Mind you, 4½ weeks sounds is like a cut-price Fellini film. Which is entirely fitting given Scholes is a cut-price pundit, wheeled out when the budget won’t stretch to anyone half-decent. A Poundland pundit.
Meanwhile, back at the Arsenal Big Brother house, it’s Day 5 and Freddie is in the diary room after another day of tears and tantrums after he introduced defensive coaching into the routines…
Freddie, the man with Sven and Arsene as the angel and demon on his shoulder deciding good and evil, is learning how to be positive in a public environment. He defended Sunday’s defending even though he knew that a chocolate teapot is more useful than our back four.
We conceded goals in transition, y’see. That’s the same transition Unai Emery frequently referred to when he didn’t want us to be Transformers. Dear old Unai. Freddie thought he was “a great leader, and a fantastic coach” while he did “a great job”. We’ll beg to differ on that one, Fredster.
But it got things out of the way. We learned Freddie is diplomatic although he seemed barely able to keep a lid on the criticism of Sunday’s performance. Should be interesting when we drop the bad performance which is waiting in the wings.
Freddie is a Devil
His boiled Norwich’s goals down to sprints.
The main thing I saw in the game is that we let them get into situations where it was just a sprint. It was not about football or technical stuff, they just went in a competitive sprint with our player.Freddie highlights the weakness in our play
The fundamental problem at Norwich was that we looked like we ordered the full-backs to get forward and forgot to instruct the midfield to cover. If we did issue the latter instruction then the midfield disobeyed it; lacked the discipline to carry out a relatively simple move to ensure gaps in the defence were plugged.
Still, he’s got a plan: “We want to stop that.”
While it was too soon to effect major change in his first game, let’s not forget Freddie has been part of the coaching set-up all season. This is not a new problem; it didn’t just emerge on Sunday because Norwich were devastatingly good.
It’s that element of his appointment which gives me an uneasiness about Ljungberg as a long-term head coach. Maybe he raised these points with Unai and was given short-shrift by the Spaniard. That being the case, he has some tough games ahead in which to put it right.
They shouldn’t be tough games but given our form, that’s exactly what they are.
The one thing I will say about Freddie is that watching his ‘bench cam’ there were reassuring signs of a different attitude. The best example was when Leno saved from McLean; a small clap of appreciation but he looked furious that the Norwich midfielder was able to run through the heart of the defence so easily.
Just the small matter of putting the myriad faults right.
If You Won’t Give Peace a Chance, Give Freddie a Chance Instead
The search for a new boss is dominated by procrastination and the need to give Ljungberg a proper shot at the title. I’m not sure how long The Muppet Show has in mind for Freddie to be interim before they make a decision but if it is a serious intention, then it’s hard to see him out by Christmas.
Unless we’re dreadful and showing no sign of improvement.
In the meantime, we see daily increases in rumours. The Athletic is obsessed with us appointing Mauricio Pochettino. It’s hard to know if he’s the #1 choice or just a good mate of a writer on the site. The Telegraph told us Pochettino’s mates told him to wait for a better job. Did they or were Torygraph hacks fed up with not being courted by The Athletic so decided to spite it?
Then Goal came up with the Marcelino link. You’d think that The Muppet Show would be wary of appointing another failed Sevilla and Valencia ex-coach but apparently not. Unai didn’t burn fingers badly enough. Either that or every member of The Muppet Show has a decent payoff clause in the event that they get cancelled.
Arsenal’s hierarchy is in an invidious position. They can’t talk openly about targets because of football’s tapping up regulations but that doesn’t stop targets ruling themselves in and out of the role with the space of 24 hours.
Do they interview while Freddie is in situ? “We might have a vacancy; we’re just waiting to see how this fan favourite gets on. If he drops a b*llock, we’ll call you.” It’s hardly the most flattering of approaches, especially to a coach six titles to his name.
First, there’s the small matter of Brighton to overcome. You can read my Novibet preview here.