Robert Pires says the Arsenal team are still sick from all the things that have gone wrong this year, and they need the right medicine.
After just one training session with the full squad, Freddie Ljungberg took charge of his first Arsenal game as interim head coach over the weekend. The 42-year-old oversaw a 2-2 draw with Norwich City away from home.
There were some positive signs in the performance, but also clear indicators of the work still to be done. Robert Pires gave his thoughts to French TV channel Canal Plus, suggesting Arsenal need to be patient as the new coaching staff rectify the situation.
“I felt the same way as Jérémie (Aliadiere), this was a complicated and difficult game, stressful even sometimes,” Pires said (via GFFN). “The bottom line is that the team is still sick. Freddie or someone else, they are going to have find the right medicine.
“They are going to have to be patient but this is a little bit what has been happening since the start of the season. We are weak, we are not calm. Jérémie knows this when you are lacking confidence, you take less responsibility. You try fewer things.
“I think going forward things look very good. But defensively, and Freddie knows this, with Per, a lot of work is required.”
Anyone expecting Ljungberg to come in and solve the deep-set problems in the squad in three days was setting themselves up for disappointment.
There were valid arguments about some of Ljungberg’s substitutions – the absence of Nicolas Pepe for example. You can also see why he made those changes though.
Arsenal had brought on Pepe to try and save the game against Leicester and Southampton and he didn’t manage any more than Bukayo Saka did against Norwich. It’s not possible to say objectively that bringing on Pepe would have made a difference.
If we’re discussing talent, of course we expect Pepe to go on and be a big player for the club. He just needs some of the medicine Pires is talking about first.
That’s one of the many problems Ljungberg has to sort out, and it will take time.