Freddie Ljungberg must change lack of commitment in Arsenal’s DNA | Jonathan Liew

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Interim manager has unenviable task with players so hesitant in contact they defend like every part of their body is their face

Perhaps it was unfair to accuse Unai Emery of having no vision for Arsenal. On the contrary, he had dozens of them. Three at the back, four at the back. Two up front, one up front. A diamond midfield, three in midfield, nobody in midfield (or Granit Xhaka, which very often amounted to the same thing). Pressing, not pressing. A high defensive line. A low block. And, of course, their signature tactic: gormlessly gawping while a spirited opposition team cut straight through them before standing with hands on hips, deciding who to blame.

There is a particular pathos to Arsenal in the seconds after they have conceded a goal. It’s like a scene from an Alan Ayckbourn play: all wounded looks and outstretched arms, wild accusations and smouldering treachery. In a way, this is a trait that long pre-dates Emery, and on this early evidence will outlast him too. As Teemu Pukki and Todd Cantwell imperturbably slotted home Norwich’s two goals, the cantankerous debrief could begin in earnest. What was that? And where were you? Me? I was over there, covering for him. Hang on, is it our kick-off?

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