Ljungberg calls for swift appointment at Arsenal following Manchester City loss

Freddie Ljungberg has called on the Arsenal hierarchy to make a decision over the managerial position after they slumped to defeat to Manchester City.

The 42-year-old took charge on an interim basis last month following the sacking of Unai Emery but has been unable to oversee a turnaround in fortunes.

A 3-0 home loss to the reigning Premier League champions means the Gunners have won just one of their last 12 games in all competitions.

Ljungberg’s position remains unclear as the club continue to plan for a full-time successor to Emery: with the likes of Carlo Ancelotti, Mikel Arteta and Patrick Vieira in the running alongside the former Sweden international.

With the club now as close to the relegation zone as they are to the top four, Ljungberg feels it would be in everyone’s best interest if an appointment were made sooner rather than later after he was also told he could not recruit his own backroom staff before a decision is taken.

“I think, as I’ve said to the club, it’s a great, great honour to do this,” he said.

Ljungberg replaced Uni Emery last month as interim Arsenal head coach
Ljungberg replaced Uni Emery last month as interim Arsenal head coach (Bradley Collyer/PA)

“Of course, Per (Mertesacker) is the academy manager and he’s doing two jobs in one go. I think it needs clearing up to make a decision so that everybody knows.

“That’s something I’ve said. It’s totally up to the club. I’m very honoured and trying to do things as well as I can, but I think that it would be good to make a decision regardless of what it is.”

Arsenal were jeered off by their own fans at half-time but, by the end of the game, the supporters were singing their support for the club as anger appeared to turn to apathy.

“Of course, I’m an Arsenal man and we try everything,” added Ljungberg.

“But at the same time we need to be a little bit realistic. There is a gulf in quality between City, Liverpool and the rest. They showed that.

“But for me, I was actually happy and proud of the fans. In the end, they responded positively to the young players that came on.

“Of course they can see there’s a difference. But I was proud of the fans when they sang in the end and showed that they appreciated the young boys trying.”

One man linked with the job is Arteta – who captained Arsenal during his playing career but is now on the backroom staff at Manchester City.

Manchester City assistant Mikel Arteta has been linked with a return to Arsenal as head coach
Manchester City assistant Mikel Arteta has been linked with a return to Arsenal as head coach (John Walton/PA)

“I spoke many times,” City boss Pep Guardiola replied when asked about the possibility of Arteta leaving for the top job at Arsenal.

“He is part of our group and an important person, but what will happen I don’t know.”

This three-goal victory for the visitors cut the gap to leaders Liverpool to 14 points, with De Bruyne the star of the show.

Up to double figures for @DeBruyneKev 🔟#PLpic.twitter.com/Yo9fx0pfMo

— Premier League (@premierleague) December 15, 2019

Guardiola described the Belgian as “extraordinary” before adding: “It was a nice game and we won it. Kevin made two incredible goals and one assist. I am happy for the three points.

“He sees passes and actions that normal human beings cannot see. Having a special vision and his assists, I always say you have to score more goals.

“Always we speak to him about that and today he scored two incredible goals.”

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