After the Black Friday departure of Unai Emery, a fresh start was needed at Arsenal. The club was classy enough to call the dismissal a “part ways” but it was hinged on recent results. Emery sent a “classy” letter too.
The sacking of Emery paved the way for Freddie Ljungberg to steer the battered Arsenal ship away from troubled waters as interim coach. His first assignment was a trip away at Norwich with Pukki and his gang of yellow submarines.
It was never going to be a stroll in the park for Arsenal with no win in the previous 7 games. As much as the Gunners tried not to extend the winless record, Freddie’s fresh touch couldn’t immediately extinguish Emery’s scent.
Freddie made some changes in the line up: Mustafi made his first Premier League start of the season, displacing Sokratis with his weird techniques. Xhaka made a return to the Premier League after the incident at the Emirates that earned him a freeze and the captain band.
The shadow of Emery still lingered on the bench, accompanied by Pepe and Torreira. When Saka was subbed on for Guendouzi, I thought it was Emery that brought on Saka while Freddie took of Guendouzi. It had no effect as Norwich pegged Arsenal back with the scores at 2-2.
The two first half goals conceded were about the two chances created by the home side in the first 45 minutes. It was not a good testament of Mustafi’s inclusion but you could excuse that Chambers absence left the German and Luiz scrambling for how to prevent Pukki and Cantwell from scoring.
Aubameyang and Leno saved Freddie’s blushes. The attacker scored a brace while the goalkeeper made multiple saves to keep the scoreline at 2-2. Ozil was credited with an assist in FPL. His free kick was blantantly handled by Zimmerman. Aubameyang stepped up twice to score once, thanks to VAR’s intervention to enable a retake of a saved penalty.
The Gabonese was unmarked in the second half to draw Arsenal level again after a corner kick was not cleared by Norwich City. Two goals from set pieces, Arsenal’s creation from open play needs to be discussed on another. Ozil had to be subbed off in the 89th minute for young Martinelli. Torreira almost made it 3-2 to Arsenal in added time but his short was blocked
Arsenal made improvement in the game compared previous away matches. They had more passes in the opposition box and had more shots than the opposition for the first time since Adam.
Freddie may have not had a blazing start but the Arsenal on Sunday was a better version of what was in the Emery era. It is a fresh start that needs games to become an identity.
Next up is Brighton and Hove Albion. The Gunners will hope to keep a clean sheet, an act they have forgotten how to play. Will Freddie be blessed with the services of Bellerin and Tierny? Will Pepe or Torreira start?