Sky Sports pundit and former Arsenal ace Charlie Nicholas has laid into a specific Gunners quintet while raising an issue with Freddie Ljungberg’s early selection decisions.
The Gunners officially confirmed last week that they had parted company with Unai Emery, with Ljungberg put in charge as interim head coach as the search got underway for a long-term successor.
His tenure started with a draw against Norwich City at the weekend, and while he prepares for his first home game as Arsenal host Brighton in midweek, Nicholas hasn’t pulled his punches with the issues that he has identified in this current group.
“They had a bit more spite about them at the weekend but Freddie, why are you picking Shkodran Mustafi? When are you going to learn about Calum Chambers? I also cannot understand how David Luiz is in the team. He just doesn’t want to run. He is only interested when he gets the ball at his feet. Sokratis Papastathopoulos is a shocker and Mustafi is even worse. Granit Xhaka also cannot run,” he wrote in his Sky Sports column.
“It is such a huge mess. I honestly thought Freddie would not be close to getting the job, but now, I do not know how long he will have in charge. In the end, it may not be their number one target who they end up getting.
“Regarding Freddie’s selection, what have you done there that was different to Unai Emery? I didn’t get it. It might be his first pick, but could also be who he has got fit.”
In better news for Arsenal fans, Nicholas has in fact predicted a 3-1 win for the north London giants against Brighton despite the issues with personnel that he noted above and so all concerned will hope that it will indeed be Ljungberg’s first win.
It’s difficult to disagree with his criticism though, as all the names he has specifically mentioned above have all been identified as weak links in this Arsenal side on countless occasions in the past.
Perhaps Emery’s long term successor will have identified that before he arrives at the Emirates, although there has been no indication as of yet as to how long Arsenal fans will be waiting for that appointment to be made.