Arsenal’s embarrassing defeat at the hands of Manchester City this evening laid bare for all to see that the Gunners need to appoint a new (preferably experienced) manager as soon as possible.
Arsenal welcomed Pep Guardiola’s champions to the Emirates a short time ago, for their latest Premier League outing.
The Gunners headed into proceedings keen to build on their most recent Premier League result, which saw the north Londoners finally bring to an end a 9-match winless streak across all competitions.
A visit to capital rivals West Ham eventually saw the visitors emerge with a 3-1 victory.
When all was said and done in north London this evening, though, the hosts were brought back down to earth with a thud.
A reshuffled Manchester City side made short work of Arsenal, exposing the Gunners’ weaknesses in ruthless fashion.
Kevin De Bruyne put the champions in front inside two minutes, as a flowing move forward eventually saw Gabriel Jesus’ delivery across the face of goal rifled into the roof of the net in sumptuous fashion by City’s midfield talisman.
A brilliant start from Manchester City and a fantastic strike from Kevin de Bruyne! 💥
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) December 15, 2019
And it was 2 just 12 minutes later, as De Bruyne turned provider, setting up Raheem Sterling’s simple finish with a typically-pinpoint cross.
The hosts, and home crowd for that matter, were shell-shocked, with an increasingly-uneasy atmosphere inside the Emirates having reached new levels 5 minutes from the interval, when standout performer De Bruyne added City’s 3rd, and final goal, courtesy of a wonderful left-footed strike from distance.
11 – Since his Premier League debut for Manchester City in September 2015, Kevin De Bruyne has both scored and assisted in 11 different games in the competition, more than any other midfield player. Masterful. #ARSMCI pic.twitter.com/ushTzI6Nj7
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 15, 2019
Ljungberg needs replacing
While, as evidenced above, Manchester City proved irresistible over stretches this evening, particularly in the first-half, in truth, the Sky Blues were made to look even better by a hapless Arsenal side.
Though the Gunners at least on occasion looked dangerous going forward through the likes of Nicolas Pepe and Gabriel Martinelli, their complete and utter lack of organisation and defensive cohesion was laid bare for all to see once again today.
Each and every time City poured forward, the visitors looked as though they could find a way to goal, as Kevin De Bruyne drifted in and out of the sizable gaps between Arsenal’s back-4 and midfield with minimal effort.
As such, on the back of yet another sub-par defensive display, the capital giants’ back-4 will no doubt again be heavily-targeted by the club’s fans, with Freddie Ljungberg, like predecessor Unai Emery, having failed to find the correct formula to hold a dangerous opposing side at bay.
But the Gunners’ shortcomings flow so much deeper than their less-than-stable backline.
There is a fundamental problem with this Arsenal side, from top-to-bottom, that needs addressing.
The north Londoners do not move, react, communicate or ultimately play like a team.
The club’s stars, particularly in the middle of the park, too often look unsure of their exact roles, with the disjointed, largely-aimless displays of Matteo Guendouzi and Lucas Torreira versus City having summed up the Arsenal of this season so far.
No, Arsenal’s squad is not of the standard required to challenge for major honours. But it is also not one so severely lacking in talent that they should be dwindling behind the likes of Wolves and Sheffield United in the Premier League table.
This team possesses good players. They just do not, and have not for some time, played as a cohesive unit.
And, evidently, based on his early fortunes in the Gunners’ dugout, Freddie Ljungberg is not the right man to unite this fractured squad, and lead them into a new era.
This is no slight against the Swede. He was thrown into an unfamiliar role following Unai Emery’s sacking, and would have required a miracle to turn this ailing Arsenal’s fortunes around, having never managed at the top-level of the game before.
The board at the Emirates now need to be brave, and pull the trigger on a managerial appointment as soon as possible.
No, they shouldn’t rush their decision based on panic following a string of bad results, but Arsenal now sit the same distance from the top-4 as they do from the relegation zone.
And this is unlikely to improve any time soon if those in charge of the club persist in moving forward with Freddie Ljungberg.
Mauricio Pochettino, Max Allegri, Carlo Ancelotti. There are highly-regarded, experienced tacticians currently out of work, and others who could well be coaxed away from their current clubs. Making a definitive decision and moving for one, sooner rather than later, is now a must for an Arsenal side slipping further and further into crisis.