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Arsenal: Exit Emery, Enter Freddie

Freddie Ljunberg in the dark represents hope and fear.

It was to be Unai Emery’s last game of his Arsenal career and it had everything you would associate with the Spaniard’s tenure at the Emirates.

It was lowly anticipated on the field and highly off the field; never have Emirates been so cold and empty, filled with confusion, lacking identity, style and the aura of playing in a stadium of a big club. Furthermore, it was bleak, unimaginative and full of typical bizarre tactics, player roles and substitutions. The only thing that seems to differ now a days from a typical Emery game is the end result.

When full time whistle was blown, Arsenal not only registered their first ever home defeat of the season but also extended a win-less run of games to 7. To put everything in perspective, this is Arsenal’s worst run of form since 1992 back in George Graham’s era. Never under Arsene Wenger did Arsenal suffer and went so low. “We’ve got our Arsenal back!”?, oh it seems like we have.

A waiting game

While I would like to talk about the game and how it unfolded so horribly yet again for  Emery, frankly it felt like  a passing phenomena acting as a catalyst for everything that everyone knew was going to happen. It was like we were in a waiting game throughout the 90 minutes and the result somehow didn’t seem to matter much.

Recently the Spaniard has often seemed like a dead man walking, sulking deep on the touchline. And tonight, it was so visible. When Kamada scored again to put Frankfurt a goal ahead of Arsenal, Unai Emery was a picture to behold. He looked like a man not only angry but rather disappointed, not at himself or players but rather his luck which seems to have run out. A luck that was so happily on his side last season in that famous 22 unbeaten run but now it seems like that was the only thing standing between his Arsenal and disaster.

It was only yesterday that Arsenal sat 3rd in the table and fans using that to back Unai Emery but now you will struggle to find any man in his support and the most surprising thing that can happen this week is if somehow Emery survived till Norwich.

Emery after deciding to go with near complete first team players, decided to experiment David Luiz as a defensive midfielder while Torreira sat on bench to wonder. The experiment didn’t cause any flashes nor alarms and ended prematurely when Luiz was forced off due to injury in first half.

Frankfurt struggled to string two passes together in midfield while on other hand Arsenal struggled to create even though Frankfurt were so awful. But even with the chances that came our way they were negated brilliantly by Frankfurt’s keeper who had a night to remember.

This was part of the reason that when board saying 5 extra minutes was raised high on the sidelines, Emirates frowned. “5 more minutes to bore ourselves to death?” Oh for God sake!

So, it was rather fitting that in that moment Emery’s lone warrior and protector Aubameyang stepped up to convert another individual moment into the back of the net for Arsenal opener. A perfect tribute to send off Unai Emery, I would say.

But sadly, that is how good the night went and after this, it was a disaster and a disaster that we all knew was in the store. Frankfurt looked a different team in the second half, though it has to be said that Arsenal hardly exhibited any control in the game ever since David Luiz went off and was replaced by Guendouzi.

This little period of pressure resulted in Kamada scoring a brace with one a great curling drive off his left foot and the other a half cleared Arsenal clearance punished on the edge of the box.

Emery, who has shown himself to be proactive in making subs, looked rather shell shocked and a man who looked like he had given up. His substitutions rather went with the flow rather than to change the flow as we saw Arsenal trailing and both Lacazette and Pepe left on the bench to look on helplessly. Though it has to be said, that injuries were kind on Arsenal as well.

Boos echoed across partially filled Emirates and the sack was eminent which at the time of this writing has been put in effect with Freddie Ljungberg taking the role of interim head coach.

Emery was never an Arsenal manager, it just took us 18 months to understand that fact.

Hope and fear

I don’t know what to expect from Freddie but I do know that he knows the club, players and has personality we can associate with Arsenal and hope he will do in his best to cherish and protect the values that Arsene instilled in this club. Will he be the long future? That is too early to say!

This is the first time in my lifetime I have witnessed a manager being sacked at Arsenal midway into the season and it has left me feeling scared and fearful of the future. That is because I always knew what to expect from Arsenal. No matter the results, Arsenal were always a guardian of high values and principles and we knew that at the end, no matter how bleak the situation became, we had trust in the process to see it off. But now I don’t feel the same. I don’t know who at Arsenal are guardians of their values and principles, I don’t know if we will see the light at the end of this dark and I don’t trust the men in charge of running this football club to make the right decisions.

I hope I am wrong! I hope I am!

21 Comments

  1. Nice piece Omi. Dont worry mate, I felt the same when Terry Neil got the boot and can remember being at my football clubs Xmas party and talking to one of the coaches about being worried that Arsenal my make a mess of things and go dont. He was a bloke in his 40s who was a Chelsea fan. “dont worry” he said ” Arsenal wont go down”. Somehow I trusted him, and he was right so far.
    Weird thing is concentrating on the future always gives a person anxiety, its a normal psychological trait, its because we cant see it or control it how we would like.
    Well at least we can move onto another period, we dont know how it will be, but I think Freddo might gives us a lift. The lads like him, they understand him, they know he was a good player…Norwich will be upset they thought they had at least a point in the bag.
    Q is, would Fred have gotten rid of some of our great players like Emery did? Some terrible damage has been done…
    Thanks again.
    COYG!

    Reply
    • next time I promise to write things properly. duh! It should have read: Arsenal might make a mess of things and go down.
      Curse of the Cruttwell, but which one? (for Heady).

      Reply
    • Yes, I agree that thinking about future always leaves you normally anxious and in fear of what might happen. But I would say that if you do know about some of the controlling factors you do feel rather optimist about the situation. But for Arsenal, I cannot feel optimism right now because I don’t feel the club is doing things at Arsenal what we cherish and we are.

      I do believe Freddie would love to have Ramsey in midfield over Ceballos every day of the week!

      Reply
      • Thats fair enough, we all have to look after emotional welfare. One thing I will say, outside of fixing or crystal balls, is that all sights on the future are bets, this or that our. Predictions are based on what was, mixed with what we hope or what was mixed with speculation of the future with that. In this sense pos and neg are the same. (soz, Im sure you know this already).
        Personally, what I think what we cherish and are in more of a state of flux. Wenger took us to a level that was beyond the 1930s.He set up some fabulous values, but he built on what was already there, thats what Highbury was, a treasure trove of experience and history. But we’ve failed to build on that, in this small step, but perhaps one step back is two forward, certainly Freddie is more of the Wenger mind than Emery or any of those George listed expect Arteta on PA. Whoever came in was always going to have a tough time after AW. Maybe it was one reason Arteta didnt come in?
        We can ask ourselves, what are we? What are the values ? Are they Wengers values, Arsenal values or are they the same? There are no beginnings and no ends, just changes. But we are faced with certain transparent figures who Arent making things easy, but the players are the key to it all.
        As an ex player that was a success he will know what players will want and how to get the most out of them. How far we can go? I dont know, nobody does, but at least this last chapter since the night of the Notre Dame fire is over. or did this really start last Xmas?For that which we call good or bad cannot be seen in the long run. Emerys failure might be a wonderful thing in the AFC history, to go so low to then bounce back and beyond.
        Even for Raul, Freddie will be a complex figure, and a challenging figure. But Raul needs success as well, otherwise his master will give him the boot too.
        Certainly though there are patterns that have lodged itself in the evolution of AFC, one being that we’ve never really been an inter Europa title challenger in the way Liverpool or ManUre have been (Chelsea only did it as they had stacks of cash). For me thats lodged in our dna, and I would love to see us be a major player. Even Wenger couldnt really smash that barrier down.
        Depending on how long he stays Freddie will also have to grow, its a big challenge.
        Personally I feel this was a severe wound that should have been healed after Baku. Unnecessary, and a major fault in the management of the club.You can see their thinking, but theres only so much of giving rope before it lashes back and hangs you. And we are a strangled club. But all things can heal and quickly when theres a need.
        Anyway, we shall see. The Arsenal road goes ever on.

        Reply
    • So it’s done. Finally.

      Freddie will give oxygen to the little sparks of Arsenal football we saw in every game. Hopefully Raul doesn’t steal that oxygen..

      I was surprised we lost yesterday.Its so strange. Earlier in the season when I said to abandon hope people were still expecting wins.. now I predict a win borne of impending freedom and Shotta mocks my predictive skills 😛

      Such is the life of a blogger who doesn’t claim to know all. Just enough to know what makes sense and what doesn’t. Freddie makes sense. I hope he does well enough to stave off the possibility of Raul bringing in another of his buddies. Until we can get him out of the club (looking for Sir Chips to make Stan understand) that is the best we can hope for.

      Leaving aside all the worries and analysis. How great is it that the one with red hair, our invincible, is now in charge of our club. All the best to him and even though I’m not expecting any miracles, I’m excited to have the Arsenal brand of football back.

      Reply
  2. Thanks Omair – that sums it all up rather nicely. It has been a most strange period of time, and I think you have every reason to be fearful. The players have played so badly recently that it is almost impossible to imagine them ever playing well again. And yet hope and leadership can have remarkable effects, so perhaps things will start to improve. If Unai had stayed in post I would have approached the Norwich game with weary resignation. Now he is gone I find myself already looking forward to it, and keen to see how things now evolve.

    Reply
    • I feel the same way but after Emery’s era I am rather cautious of it. Before, I believed that I can support any manager unconditionally but after Emery I don’t believe that. With Freddie, I feel the same. As long as he shows commitment to Arsenal philosophy and our style of football that we so loved under Arsene, he has my support and with Freddie I am hopeful of that as well. He knows the squad and the club and its values and what Arsenal Football Club actually means.

      Reply
  3. Brilliant job Omi. Am sure when I asked you to be my match reporter you never dreamed of being the person to say goodbye to Emery and to welcome Freddie. Life is like that; being at the right place at the right time which is the story of Freddie Ljunberg. I am inclined to share Millsy’s optimism for the future. Afterall it doesn’t take much to be a better coach for Arsenal than the disaster that was Unai Emery. For the past year I repeatedly said he was ill-suited for Arsenal and it took only 18 months for the verdict by Josh Kroenke on behalf of the family business. Note it wasn’t a statement by the Board which is why I retain much of the fear Omi speaks about. I simply don’t trust Josh to be a guardian of the values and principles that served this club for over a hundred years through good and bad times. So all supporters of Uncensored, we may be a small minority but we have a lot of work to do fighting for these values. Come On You Gunners!

    Reply
    • Shotta you make it sound like an honor that I did the report the day he was sacked but I can assure that I do not feel that way. I feel doubtful of the future because this day can be a beginning of anything. But one thing is for certain that board has now finally admitted that they made a mistake and now when all the spotlight once again is on the board, I have a guilty feeling they are going to fluff their lines once again.

      But whatever they do, we will always make sure that club values and principles are never compromised!

      Reply
  4. I feel elated and that a burden has been removed from my shoulders.

    My advice would be that the first thing to be done is to consign Guendouzi to the under 23s which is where he should always have been.

    His only redeeming feature was to run around a lot, which suited UE’s mantra, but was useless to the team.

    Now, maybe, he will learn how to pass the ball and how to defend if he wants to have a box to box career.

    Next Tereira and Xhaka should be reinstated in their correct positions and Ozil given the free reign that we know he enjoys and produces from.

    Perhaps we might be expecting too much to see a reinstatement of some sort of Wengerball, but I hope that, over the next few games, we will be getiing soemthing like our old Arsenal back.

    I would be very surprised if Freddie has not already been on the phone to AW for his advice.

    I really do feel that the super managers are not for us.

    Arteta and/or Viera would do for me as I feel that the old boys will do a good job. Arteta has had a few years of training under the master, Pep, so I think he would be ideal.

    Frankly, a block of wood would be better than what we had seen recently.

    Reply
  5. Well Shotts,
    IMO Sir Chips blew away the shield that Raul was attempting to prop up in front of his gimp.

    The Master of Football Relations eh? Yet again showing his skills…

    Fingers crossed this veteran Gunner can turn his sites onto the big target now.

    Thank you Sir Lord Chips.

    Now let’s all help him to:

    Get
    Raul
    Out
    Of
    The
    Club

    Reply
    • Lets hope Freddie is his own man and resist Raul’s plans to bring in players he doesn’t want or need. In fact Freedie will need at least one, maybe two in the January window. He will have the full backing of the fans even those blaggers from “We Care” who are still protecting Raul. That is how I see this unfolding.

      Reply
  6. Were the bookies on the money?

    After getting gazumped by that clown Levy on one Mendez Man has our own clown gone for another Mendez Man?

    Is this clown that easy to predict…

    Fingers crossed that Sir Chips’ puts Raul’s predictable petty plans back into depths of the Arsenal to be lost and forgotten. Just like Emery.

    Reply
  7. Great posts to go with Omi’s piece guys. Clicks all round from me.

    Reply
  8. George and I have recorded a special podcast after the sacking of Emery to be published tomorrow. Look out!

    Reply
  9. Glad to see the wind mill go, I’m sure the players are relieved too, who likes a micromanager?? Will be interesting to see how Freddie takes this on, I am with Jjgsol, Guen needs to learn the game. He may yet turn into a very good player but right now he isn’t. I thought that on both goals yesterday both he and Papa were poor. They both wimped out….

    The big question will be what Raul and Edu do now. I have no faith in either, imo Edu lost credibility being attached to Joorabchian. If we go to a coach beholden to a super agent that will be the end of Arsenal having any special values…so I really hope Freddie does well and forces their hand! I look forward to a-game for the first time this season!

    Reply
  10. Confirmation that Ozil and his agent understood that they had support within the club beyond the dressing room before they castrated Raul & Unai’s attempts to bully them out the club last season and at the start of the Summer.

    Raul’s first significant defeat to the Old Gunners’ Guard.

    perhaps the O’Leary play was a neat little step over and dummy resignation threat, a feint to draw the crooked Kranke’s into action by the cheeky old buggers.
    Would you put such sneakiness past Sir Lord Chips and the Good Doctor Agent given their finesse in stringing up Raul time after time over the last several months?

    Raul will obviously be looking to hang the inexperienced Freddie out to dry.

    to hoist all his own horrific decisions upon the rookie coach’s shoulders before the Kronke’s as he looks to line up another Gimp next Summer.

    He’s been so predictable and easy to call so far. Easy money again? What are the odds?

    Here’s hoping that today is not the last round that the upstanding Gunners at the club land upon Raul’s noggin. More power to their artillery. That’s what I say.

    Reply
    • Apparently MO told Emery to fuck off on his way out. Already said he was no coach. If all that is true, MO brill be my eternal hero to the day I die. Is the Turkic German made of stern stuff? Artillery away!.

      Reply
    • I think now we have reached the state where slowly fans will begin to look beyond the players and the managers and towards those making decisions. If they also get the next appointment wrong, you won’t hear fans calling for managers head but rather Raul’s.

      Reply

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