Who will restore the passion to Arsenal? Not Freddie in my book.

Interim Head Coach is not the long-term solution

Who will restore the passion to Arsenal? Not Freddie in my book.

One point from first two matches does not offer much hope

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This has been a barren year for blogs from #RockyTheKing. I spent the latter months of AW’s reign writing critical blogs and I penned one blog in December 2018 entitled “Centre Backs needed methinks” when I said of Wenger’s successor, ‘Unai Emery appears to have what it takes to get the team refocused despite squad rotations and absent key players’. As the season panned out, the litany of Emery’s failure to know his own best side combined with his over reliance on some youth players paled into insignificance compared to his handling of the Xhaka incident.

Freddie Ljungberg is a true Arsenal legend, who can forget how we changed the ‘We love you Freddie’ chant from ‘and he has red hair’ to ‘has no hair?’ He was an inspiration in so many pivotal AW victories. Yet as a manager/coach I do not see him as the answer for The Arsenal. I respect the honest opinion that others might call hype and loyalty that Layth Yousif brings to GoonerFanzineTV but is @laythy29 really being objective after two games? We need to say it as it is which is why I break my self-imposed silence. Arsenal deserve better. As great as Freddie was as a player, he had an opportunity in his first home game to make a statement. The statement that he made for me was ‘more of the same’ - Arsenal look lost. The substitution of Willock for Pepe at half time suggested that even Freddie does not know his best side from the onset. In his first game at Norwich, Freddie put his faith in Mustafi, and then plays an out of form Xhaka against Brighton.

Arsenal under Freddie look just as lost as under Unai Emery, devoid of passion, unable to press, committing unforced errors aplenty. I recall when we played teams that had recently changed their managers, I had a sense of foreboding, a sense of fear playing that team, for often those very same players that had contributed to their former manager’s fall from grace would rediscover their mojo when another coach took over. I think of Claudio Ranieri, who guided Leicester to an amazing Premiership title and his successor Craig Shakespeare who got Vardy playing at his best again. I think of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer replacing Mourhino of Manchester United and his amazing run of victories before he was given a permanent deal. Yet I saw no renaissance with Freddie’s team selection or formation. Freddie had an opportunity to make a statement, to put down a mark to claim the permanent berth at Asburton Grove, in my opinion, although it is early days, he failed and quite miserably.

#RockyTheKing has never shied away from saying things which the ‘True Gooner’ disliked and the establishment rejected, the opinions and blogs I have written which ran counter to the headlines of hype. In answer to the criticism that will follow me as night follows day, I say this. Use the evidence of your own eyes at the Brighton defeat and tell me that I don’t have a fair point here. Look at the team formation and tell me why for once why Freddie could not break with tradition, play Aubameyang down the centre, with Ozil playing in the hole as a true number 10 like #DB10 of old? Why not start with Pepe out wide on one flank with say Martinelli or Nelson down the other? Yes it would mean a return to the bench for Lacazette, but Lacazette can’t even get into his own national side.

My last blog was entitled ‘Centre Backs methinks’, and my view has not changed. Without a George Graham-esque back four, without a Patrick Vieira or Gilberto figure in front of the defensive line, Arsenal will continue to make costly defensive errors. I wish Freddie well, but my future would see a shake up of Arsenal directors and a rejection of the Kroenke failed dynasty. Arsenal appear devoid of passion from top to bottom. I don’t agree with booing of our players during the game, but when they put on the shirt and fail to deliver by the end of the game then I will not condemn the outburst of our fans who have paid good money to see success. What other means do frustrated fans have to voice their instant disapproval? I do not have all (or you might believe I lack any) of the answers. Give me the attacking formation as outlined above, with Mikel Arteta as coach, two new centre backs and who knows? Could it be any worse than this performance against our now bogey team Brighton?

Keep the faith Gooners, because no one else seems to want to.

Twitter@GoonerRocky #RockyTheKing


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  1. ArsenalMagna

    Dec 08, 2019, 18:32 #115764

    Bard Bould definitely had influence at first as evidenced by the revolutionary tactical changes he brought. Reports (and the reversion of tactics showed this) were, from Kev and co., that Wenger got fed up of Bould getting all the credit, so reverted to type. I'd be happy to overlook Bould selling out whilst under Wenger's reign, as he'd only be an interim manager before an Allegri type came in the summer. I do agree we're only likely to get Arteta or PV4, which is worrying frankly. Also alarming is that we seem to have about a £40m operating loss currently, based on the latest financial figures. This is what so many of us on this site, yourself included, predicted and warned others about years ago. If he'd left in 2011 we could have reached the top again, but his fanboys kept him at the top to our club's detriment.

  2. Bard

    Dec 08, 2019, 18:04 #115763

    Arsenalmagna got that mate. Trouble is Bouldy sold his soul during the Wenger era. I dont think he was given an opportunity to coach the defence. He kept his mouth shut and collected his wages. There is no doubt Stan is under pressure or at least son Josh is. Thats why I think they will go for Paddy or Arteta. These appointments will help deflect fan anger from them. In effect they will happily throw them under the bus. I hope Paddy and Arteta tell them to go f*** themselves. Ideas of Poch are fanciful, why would he want to rescue a sinking ship with no money to work with. He has done that and will be looking for something bigger and more stable.

  3. Seven Kings Gooner 1

    Dec 08, 2019, 13:52 #115762

    Hi Guys - strange how we were all correct about the demise of Arsenal and how we know what needs to be done. How about getting a meeting with Josh Kronke and tell him what needs to be done, tell him and his family to find another club to invest in. If he does not sell up just boycott the club, do this now as it will save us all so much time later. If we do not force change start looking up directions to grounds like Derby Swansea etc. It is so much later than we all think.

  4. markymark

    Dec 08, 2019, 13:24 #115761

    CG - I’m a little surprised Bielsa has not been poached yet. Apparently even Guardiola has paid visits in the past to this guru master. There’s a certain view going that change is coming at City. Not sure if this is more or less likely to see Arteta jump ship.


    Dec 08, 2019, 11:06 #115760

    Watched Bielsa's Leeds yesterday as I have on several occasions - not much money, no big names but they do the basics so well under that old maverick, but influential, coach. It was interesting to see even Eddie N. coming from our Colney creche running around harrying & hassling. Same at Everton & Man U. yesterday - really elementary stuff but apparently beyond the comprehension of Arthur, Dick, Freddie & The Suits. I really hope things continue to go tits up so that a proper Stanley Out campaign can build some Momentum ( apologies to anyone of a sensitive political disposition for the use of that last word!).

  6. Andrew15xv

    Dec 08, 2019, 10:19 #115759

    @ItsRonAgain2. Hear, Hear I think we are well and truly F*cked. I'm sure like many, I have taken a step away from supporting Arsenal like I used to and take a guilty pleasure in our misfortunes, hoping something will actually 'happen'

  7. ArsenalMagna

    Dec 08, 2019, 10:11 #115758

    Bard, I say that because Steve Bould sorted the defence out with players generally weaker than what we now have... Doctrine counts for a lot in football. This team can defend if they have to, they just can't attack AND defend properly - just look at the United away game where we kept them locked out very well, playing for a draw, till a foray forward we made let them counter and score. I totally agree with you and Ron that the culture at Arsenal is rotten - I actually said there needs to be a fundamental culture change in my original post - but pouring money into purchases would be reckless before having got in a proper coach who understands balance, which they haven't had at Arsenal since 2008/9.

  8. Bard

    Dec 08, 2019, 9:47 #115757

    Arsenalmagna, Im not sure what you have been watching mate if you seriously believe that we just need a couple of players to bounce back. I agree with Ron we are in deep s*** from top to bottom. The culture is rotten from the top down. Looks increasingly like we will appoint one of our own. It makes sense purely and simply because it will quieten the down the fans. Paddy is a proper legend and Arteta is well respected. It means that even though the results are unlikely to improve because the team are rubbish the fans will give them the benefit of the doubt and stop harassing the board. As a club we have become the masters of bulls*** and everything else except football.

  9. itsRonagain2

    Dec 07, 2019, 23:35 #115756

    I hear ‘back to basics’. I hear ‘ make statement’. I hear ‘ coach new defensive rigour’ or words to that effect. I hear play him or him or him there or here. I hear and in the main here Freddie s not for me’. I hear ‘ why no new coach bounce’. What I don’t hear is how the hell can ANY coach going in there arrest the dysfunctionality of the Club, how can anybody coach team discipline , marking, pressing , harrying back to cover etc etc with those players? Mate, that club and those players , the young and the elder ones are schooled in Wengerist lethargy, Wengerist non contact, Wengerist feeble physical approaches to football. It’s a club with a dozen years of dire recruitment. What I think of FL is purely gut feeling based on his easy manner and demeanour that we ve seen for many years. That’s not to criticize him for that. It’s not what AFC need though. What AFC need is a total and complete withdrawal from Wenger. A man steeped in Wengerist ways can’t be expected to do that in 2 games or even at all. The club is to far gone with the majority of these players , it’s culture and it’s habits. Evolution isn’t going happen. It’s seriously needs revolution. Hard nosed expensive decisions in getting rid of so much deadwood. We made a start with Wally and a few others but wd be scratched the surface only. Will it happen. Of course it won’t. The owner there doesn’t know how and doesn’t want to know even if he did. Those running the joint under the owner are toothless and hapless and in addition to that are at loggerheads with each other. FL s done nothing wrong fella. He’s filling in. He s perhaps a skilled craftsmen. Not with blunt worn out tools though he isn’t. Open yr eyes, it’s the ownership that’s the root of the trouble and without change, things stay broadly the same save for some tiffling at the edges. It’s all a recipe for the present accelerated decline. Sad as it is , perhaps we should be grateful and not downhearted. Go to the precipice and see if it generates change or the club falls over the edge. Whichever, the sheer tedium and boredom of the last 12 years is being brought to a head.

  10. markymark

    Dec 07, 2019, 17:02 #115755

    I hear Freddie talk about the transitions but it’s got so bad I think we really need to go back to real basics. . Arsenal May need to worry less about expansive stuff and go very tight with counter attaching breaks Arsenal managed to concede recently with almost 10 men behind the ball so it’s got to be worked on closing down space . The players need a players meeting desperately to sort out their issues. Then it’s s pragmatist in charge . Nothing too radical at the moment

  11. ArsenalMagna

    Dec 07, 2019, 12:01 #115754

    We only need to buy a good CB and DM (if Luiz doesn't work in that role), but do need to shift out deadwood. It's hard to judge most of the players in the squad badly as they've had no defensive coaching at Arsenal for years. I know I bang on about it, but when Bould first joined we played Graham-esque defensive play and it was wonderful - even our attacking play was better too, creating less, but clearer chances. It's a massive problem in football nowadays in general it seems, because unless your team presses like City/Liverpool, which most players don't want to do, things at the back tend to get left too open. There needs to be a culture change at Arsenal where we go into matches with the mindset of grinding out 1-0 wins again, creating less but conceding less chances.

  12. Bard

    Dec 07, 2019, 11:09 #115753

    Rocky I couldnt agree more that Freddie isnt the man to get us out of this hole. The problem is the hole we are in is massive, its not a glitch its a car crash. No decent manager out there is going to bury his reputation by taking this job. There just isnt the money to effect the kind of turnaround we need, circa £200m ? And thats provided Auba and Lacca stay. I suspect there are two problem facing the board. How can they present the next manager as an "inspirational" choice rather than scrapping the bottom of the barrel and how can they pacify the fans ? Empty seats and booing damages the brand badly. The club are as close to sliding into the relegation zone as I have seen since the 60's. So my money is on Paddy, Arteta, or Eddie Howe.

  13. Pauljames

    Dec 07, 2019, 10:32 #115752

    Just looking at today’s fixtures and I can honestly say I want Tottenham and Chelsea to win, their opponents are the teams around us now.Says it all really.