Arsenal Beat West Ham To End Worst Winless Run Since 1977

Arsenal’s German midfielder Mesut Ozil (C) watches his shot go wide during the English Premier League football match between West Ham United and Arsenal at The London Stadium, in east London on December 9, 2019. Adrian DENNIS / AFP

 

Arsenal caretaker manager Freddie Ljungberg believes a weight has been lifted off his players’ shoulders after a three-goal blitz in nine second-half minutes beat West Ham 3-1 on Monday to end the Gunners’ worst winless run in 42 years.

Another miserable night for the Swede seemed in store when the visitors trailed at half-time to Angelo Ogbonna’s deflected header.

However, Arsenal suddenly sparked into life after Gabriel Martinelli scored his first Premier League goal as Nicolas Pepe finally started to deliver on his club record £72 million fee by curling home a brilliant second, before crossing for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to secure all three points.

“It means so much for the players. They have been living under enormous pressure and you see it in their performances,” said Ljungberg.

“You can see the players have been a bit low and you see in the dressing room the relief and how happy they are.”

A first win in 10 games in all competitions lifts Arsenal up to ninth and cuts the gap on fourth-placed Chelsea to seven points in the battle for Champions League qualification next season.

Ljungberg reacted to taking just one point from his opening two games in temporary charge against lowly Norwich and Brighton by making five changes with Martinelli and Pepe among those coming into the side.

Pepe’s inability to make an impact has been one of the major reasons for Arsenal’s struggles, but the Ivorian looked a new player after curling home his first Premier League goal from open play 24 minutes from time.

“Nicolas is an amazing football player, but it is not easy to come from the French league into the Premier League and adjust straight away,” added Ljungberg.

“It was an amazing goal and he’ll get better and better.”

 West Ham ‘dominated for 60 minutes’ 

Not much had improved in Ljungberg’s first two games since replacing the sacked Unai Emery and it was the same tame and lifeless Arsenal for the first hour against a West Ham side that have won just once in their last 11 games.

“I think we dominated the game for 60 minutes and after that in 10 minutes we lose the game,” said West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini, who is under increasing pressure as his side sit just one point above the relegation zone.

Another home defeat means the Hammers have taken just one point from their last five games at the London Stadium and the home side were booed off at full-time.

“You understand the boos because the last five games we played here we didn’t win,” added Pellegrini. “You cannot concede three goals in every game.”

In a first half of precious little good football it was fitting the opener arrived in scrappy fashion as Ogbonna’s attempted header came off his shoulder and deflected off Martinelli to wrong-foot Bernd Leno in the Arsenal goal.

But one moment changed the course of the game when Sead Kolasinac burst down the left and crossed low for Martinelli to slot home his eighth goal of the season after impressing in the League Cup and Europa League.

Suddenly the confidence which Emery and Ljungberg bemoaned had drained away from their players in recent times was restored, none more so than in Pepe, who cut inside onto his favoured left foot and curled into the top corner.

Pepe then turned provider for Aubameyang to slide in for his 13th goal of the campaign.

“At half-time, Freddie told us to play with a higher tempo,” said Aubameyang.

“We have the quality in the squad, and if we believe in ourselves, we can go forward and win games. We will take this second half as an example for the rest of the season.”

AFP

Ljungberg Seeks Wenger Advice As He Plots Arsenal Revival

Arsenal’s Swedish interim head coach Freddie Ljungberg awaits kick off in the English Premier League football match between Norwich City and Arsenal at Carrow Road in Norwich, eastern England on December 1, 2019. PHOTO: Lindsey Parnaby / AFP

 

Freddie Ljungberg intends to tap into the knowledge of Arsene Wenger and Sven-Goran Eriksson as he prepares for his second game in charge of Arsenal.

The 42-year-old interim manager took over from Unai Emery at the Emirates last week after the Spaniard was sacked, with Arsenal languishing in mid-table in the Premier League.

Ljungberg said Wenger, who brought the Swede to Arsenal as a player back in 1998, and Eriksson could offer valuable experience as he looks to build his own career.

Asked if he had spoken to former Arsenal boss Wenger, he replied: “No (not yet).

“I would really like to speak to him. I’m in contact with him but I haven’t spoke to him because it’s been a bit hectic, but it’s on my list to do so.

“He was here for 22 years as the coach so he has a lot of experience. And he probably has some things that he thinks are important that he can share with me and make me a better coach. That’s what I wanted to ask.”

While Ljungberg never played under his Swedish compatriot Eriksson, he admitted he heard good things about the former England manager.

“Sven is intelligent,” he said. “I spoke to him a lot when he was the manager of England because he was watching our games.

“I know in the past some stories of how he treated players and how he made them feel good and things like that.

“I have stolen a little bit of those ideas. He’s a great coach, it’s been a long time, and I hope I can speak to him soon.”

Arsenal drew 2-2 at Norwich on Sunday in Ljungberg’s first game in charge — extending their run without a victory in the Premier League to six matches.

They are in eighth place, seven points behind fourth-placed Chelsea, after just four wins from their first 14 matches.

Ljungberg, who said taking charge at the Emirates would be a proud moment, added the only way to change the atmosphere in the stadium was by performing on the pitch.

“When it comes to the Emirates, the fans want us to win football games,” he said.

“They want us to play good football and I think the only way to try to get a good atmosphere and get them going is to try to achieve that. Whether that’s me or someone else as a coach, I don’t think that matters so much.”

AFP

Arsenal Interim Boss Ljungberg Unsure About Managing Full-Time

Arsenal’s Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (L) and teammates react after Frankfurt’s Japanese midfielder Daichi Kamada scores his team’s second goal during their UEFA Europa league Group F football match between Arsenal and Eintracht Frankfurt at the Emirates stadium in London on November 28, 2019.
DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP

 

Freddie Ljungberg will take charge of Arsenal for the first time as interim manager on Sunday against Norwich but said on Saturday he is unsure whether full-time management appeals to him.

The 42-year-old Swede — who was a member of the Arsenal ‘Invincibles’ side under Arsene Wenger in the 2003/04 season — has been put in charge after Unai Emery’s undistinguished 18-month reign came to an end on Friday.

However, Ljungberg — who was an assistant to Emery — told Sky Sports it was too early to say whether being a manager on a permanent basis would be to his liking.

“We’ll see in the future,” said Ljungberg.

“At the moment I’m learning the trade.

“This is a big responsibility and the moment I’m just taking it game by game.”

Ljungberg’s first task will be to arrest the slump that has seen the Gunners fail to win in seven matches — their worst run since 1992 when George Graham’s side failed to win in eight.

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Arsenal are presently eighth in the Premier League table, eight points off the fourth and final Champions League spot with a third of the league campaign gone.

Ljungberg — who played over 200 games for Arsenal in his nine years at the club and won the FA Cup on three occasions — has revealed no timescale has been set for his spell as Emery’s temporary replacement.

“No, no indication of how long or how short. They just said concentrate on your next game do as well as you can,” he said.

Ljungberg, who away from the pitch was a successful underwear model, said he was honoured to have been entrusted with the job of at least for the moment reviving Arsenal’s fortunes.

“It’s a great, great honour,” said Ljungberg.

“That’s how I feel. I feel this energy inside of me. It’s special.

“Of course there’s sadness because of what’s happened to the club and where we are, but also excitement for what we can do for the future and also for tomorrow.

“Its a great honour and that’s what I said to the players — ‘you guys do the job and I’ll try to help and support you’.

“If you play good football and get results then there’s nothing better than that to raise spirits.”

AFP