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This could all end in tears, Freddie

OPINION: He may be an ‘Invincible’, but what if things go sour with Arsenal’s caretaker-manager?

05 December, 2019 — By Richard Osley

WE love you Freddie, cos you had red hair and so on…

The romantic in all of us wants a former player – one who played in a huge batch of the matches that formed Arsenal’s historic unbeaten run of 49 matches – to come back and save us from the hell of it all.

The realist may worry that going into business with a dear old friend is rife with as much risk as reward.

What we don’t want is things to go sour with Freddie Ljungberg, currently caretaker-manager after the long-awaited dismissal of Unai Emery last week.

There aren’t a lot of examples where a former hero goes back to their old club and turns them into unbeatable champions, are there? Pep Guardiola got to do it at Barcelona but he sort of had the pick of anybody he wanted to sign.

Frank Lampard might get there one day, but let’s judge after his honeymoon grace period comes to an end at Chelsea. He is doing well, but in a season where little was expected of his team.

But usually, it all ends in tears.

And let’s be honest, Freddie’s first audition, in normal circumstances, would not require a callback.

Against Norwich City, he did everything that many fans hoped a change of manager would end. Suddenly, Xhaka and Mustafi were on the pitch again, Chambers was struggling with his awful crossing again, and when it came to the last 20 minutes – with the scores tied at 2-2 – Freddie opted for Saka instead of Martinelli or Pepe.

These kind of calls do not bode well.

So why risk the friendship?

Arsenal should chase down the Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo, purely on the basis that he looks capable of arranging a defence that doesn’t concede two goals a game.

The worry, though, is that Wolves look a more appetising prospect than the grand old Arsenal. That’s a fall and a half.

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