Freddie Ljungberg and Steve Bould have been tipped to step in for Unai Emery if the Spanish head coach gets sacked in the coming weeks.
The Mirror report that Arsenal are still publicly determined to give Unai Emery time, but the sense is that he’s running out of it now.
This is expected to be a make-or-break month for the coach and starting out with a draw against 19th-placed Southampton doesn’t help. You’d expect that another defeat or two in the coming games would send things over the edge.
With few long-term options in the frame as things stand, however, Freddie Ljungberg and Steve Bould look the “more likely option” than an outside hire to take over on a temporary basis.
Both former Arsenal players have spent time in charge of the u23s, with Ljungberg leading the team to a second-place finish in the Premier League 2 last season and Bould taking over for this campaign.
As a close follower of the u23s, I have to say Ljungberg has impressed me more so far.
Though he hit some roadblocks towards the end of 2018 with various injuries, suspensions and first-team call-ups, he came through it to put together a fantastic set of performances and an unbeaten run in 2019.
The team were strong in possession but also had an exciting, direct and effective counter-attacking style that led to them scoring three goals or more in five of their final eight games – something Bould’s side have only managed twice in 14 attempts so far by comparison.
Bould’s team are yet to really hit their stride, grinding out results more often than blowing teams away. They suffered a group-stage exit in the EFL Trophy and went seven games with just one league win before their most recent victories over Spurs and Southampton.
They’re still comfortably third in the PL2, and with the teams around them playing against each other over the next week or two they could be title contenders again this season. Ljungberg’s campaign was the more eye-catching of the two so far though.
If the plan is for them both to take over in some kind of co-manager situation, I’d personally vote against that. Arsenal need one person in charge with a vision for the team, then a good set of assistants to help implement it.