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Interim Arsenal Coach Freddie Ljungberg Urges Club to Appoint Permanent Manager

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistDecember 15, 2019

Arsenal's Swedish Interim head coach Freddie Ljungberg gestures on the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Manchester City at the Emirates Stadium in London on December 15, 2019. (Photo by Ben STANSALL / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. /  (Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)
BEN STANSALL/Getty Images

Interim Arsenal boss Freddie Ljungberg has said the club's managerial situation "needs to be cleared up" after the north Londoners lost 3-0 at home to Manchester City on Sunday.

The Gunners suffered their fourth defeat in eight matches and have lost their last three home matches, sat ninth in the Premier League approaching the midway point in the season.

Ljungberg, 42, spoke to reporters after the game and said: "It's a great honour to do this, but Per [Mertesacker] is doing two jobs. I've said it [the managerial situation] needs to be cleared up, and it would be good to make a decision regardless of what it is."

The former Arsenal midfielder took over as a temporary successor to Unai Emery after he was sacked in November—Ljungberg has won once, lost twice and drawn twice in five games at the helm.

Kevin De Bruyne scored two goals and assisted Raheem Sterling for another as the Citizens ran rampant during the first half at the Emirates Stadium.

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 15: Matteo Guendouzi of Arsenal and Kevin De Bruyne of Manchester City during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Manchester City at Emirates Stadium on December 15, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Robin Jo
Robin Jones/Getty Images

Ljungberg—who made 326 appearances for Arsenal—previously worked as under-23s coach and moved into the first-team coaching setup this season.

Mertesacker, 35, retired in 2018 to become the new Arsenal academy manager and is now assistant in an interim capacity, but like Ljungberg, he boasts no senior managerial experience.

It's difficult to blame the temporary leaders at all for the club's recent poor patch, and Nicolas Pepe told RMC (h/t Get French Football News) it's up to the players to improve Arsenal's form:

Get French Football News @GFFN

Nicolas Pépé on RMC: “It is us, the players, who need to rectify this. With Freddie (Ljungberg) or someone else, it would be the same.”

Carlo Ancelotti is said to be a front-runner to take over at the Emirates after Napoli fired him, though Bordeaux manager Paulo Sousa is also a target, per Tony Mogan and George Flood of the Evening Standard.

Arsenal haven't kept a clean sheet since they beat Bournemouth 1-0 on October 6, and Ljungberg has inherited a defence lacking in confidence, via Soccer AM:

Soccer AM @SoccerAM

Freddie Ljungberg is every Arsenal fan watching their team defend 😱 https://t.co/fusq3mNWwi

It's clear someone with experience is needed to steady the ship in north London, though one must assume Arsenal's board are taking their time in an effort to make the right long-term appointment.

Ljungberg appears more desperate than that and is eager to see someone qualified take charge of the club he loves, with Arsenal's next test being a trip to face resurgent Everton on Saturday.

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