The man might not have red hair in 2019, but damn, I love him as much as when he did. The classy Swede delivered a fantastic win against West Ham. The first time we’ve come back from a half-time losing position in 8 years. It wasn’t perfect, but it showed that the players respect the manager and it showed that contrary to popular opinion, we have good players.
Freddie shook up his starting 11 with some big decisions. Martinelli started, Luiz saw the bench, Pepe played out wide right, Torreira started again. The changes had nearly zero effect on the first-half performance. I was so bad, it Gooners calling helplines up and down the country. Truly awful. No confidence, mistakes all over the pitch, and a real lack of ‘give a fuck’ from key senior players. We even had the cheek to go a goal down after Xhaka failed to put his head on the line.
Second half was a different gravy. Arsenal came to play. Mesut Ozil set Kola off on the overlap, the Bosnian slipped a clever low ball into Martinelli, the Brazilian made up the yardage and made no mistake with a clean finish on his Premier League debut. Dedicated to Big Unai, king of the overlap, RIP.
Arsenal kicked into gear, the passing improved, West Ham were put on the backfoot. The second goal didn’t take long, Auba linked up nicely with Pepe, back heeling into his path, the Ivorian was given all the time in the world to cut inside and unleash 3 months of fury on a fizzing top corner shot. Arjen Pepe, amirite?
The third goal came courtesy of Pepe returning the favour, he dinked a lovely chip to Auba who fashioned a volley that clunked over their keeper. Has Auba move on from Lacazette, has he found a new younger bro? Maybe… maybe.
Freddie chalked 3 away points and cleared West Ham’s stadium by 80minutes. Perfect.
Now, it’s clear there were still a lot of problems. We created next to nothing despite dominating possession, we still had to rely on some good keeping, there were some bad senior performances, but look… we won, the players looked like they cared, no one crashed Freddie.
Think about how hard the Swede has had it. He took over from a manager that couldn’t speak English, didn’t have a vision for the football, and had tried and failed to kill senior players. Emery exited with 9 backroom staff, Freddie’s only hire has been Per Mertesacker. He’s propping up the whole thing and he’s doing it with a serious amount of class.
I love how he speaks in the press. There’s no ego there, he puts all the credit with the players. He’s calm, almost Wenger like. His eloquent prose is like waterfall yoga music with noise-cancelling headphones on a plane for of children. He has sauce, that’s for sure.
Whatever happens, when the club do hire a new manager, I hope they don’t forget what Freddie brought to a very messy situation. I am hugely impressed.
The real shame? He has to play City next, then embark on a horrible run.
That said, it’s important to counter some of the misery when it comes to our squad. It’s way better than people are making out. We have people that can score, our front three is electric, we have one of the best French kids in the world, we were 2 points off 3rd last year. There’s plenty to work with for a new coach.
Hopefully, Freddie can hand over a squad that’s found a bit of swagger. We’ll see. Europa first, then a massive game at the weekend.
Right, see you in the comments BUT LISTEN TO THE PODCAST. x