Freddie Ljungberg has called on his senior players to deliver against West Ham on Monday night as he faces the prospect of guiding Arsenal into double figures without a win.
Arsenal haven’t won a league game since they beat Bournemouth on 6 October so it’s no surprise to read the club’s interim head coach Freddie Ljungberg is calling on senior players to deliver.
That run of poor results, of course, isn’t all Freddie’s fault but as we head towards Monday’s game against West Ham, he knows that he has little-to-no room for error because the club didn’t sack Unai Emery weeks ago.
In short, Ljungberg needs a miracle to undo 18 months of Emery damage in just a few days. He could also do with his senior players pulling their fingers out of their holes and helping him.
“I haven’t said I’m going to build the team against specific players but I felt I want to play the experienced players when it’s such a difficult situation like it is at the moment,” Ljungberg said.
“[I decided not to] pick all the young players that are going to change the future of this club. I made a conscious choice to put down the older players to take the responsibility and change the games.
“We do [need our big players to step up against West Ham]. We need to change this downward spiral.
“It is going to be a great occasion but maybe that is good for our players.
“They can relax a little bit and concentrate on the game and hopefully do what they did when we came out for the second half [against Brighton].”
There has also been a lot of talk this weekend that the players are refusing to back Ljungberg but this seems more than a little disingenuous from the press.
Players have not reportedly responded to requests for comments from the media. Such a blanket of silence tells me they are under instruction from the club to keep their mouths shut. It is far from uncommon for Arsenal to go into media lockdown following poor results, as we know.
No doubt the papers peddling this mischief know full well that’s the reason, too.
Still, ‘Arsenal instruct players not to speak to media’ isn’t quite as sexy as ‘Arsenal players refuse to back Freddie Ljungberg,’ as a headline, is it?