We love you, Freddie!

And so the axe has finally fallen. And not before time! Hallellujah! The performance and result - and possibly the size of the crowd - were the final straws for Arsenal's owner and Board. The fans had, of course, had enough long before now.


There's no point going into detail about the Frankfurt match, except to say that it followed a familiar, depressing pattern. But it was clear beforehand that pretty much everybody had given up on Unai Emery, and that it was only a matter of time before his head finally went onto the block.

Certainly the fans had seen enough weeks ago, players were hardly knocking themselves out (see Lacazette's reaction to his equaliser at the weekend) and the Board have finally been forced to act (I understand that it was Stan himself who cocked the bullet for Vinai and Raul to pull the trigger). There's negligence from the Board here; it was clear that there was no turning back weeks ago, so why not do the deed during the Interlull?

Questions were being asked after the capitulation at the end of last season. And the summer honeymoon ended at Watford - quite some time ago. And it's been downhill from there.

So what's next? Well for starters, there's Freddie Ljungberg. And for my female readers, I offer you this:

That photo, of course, is from his days as the face of Calvin Klein ... and it's a damn fine reason to give any man a job, in my wife's opinion. As she said to me earlier: 'You can keep your Mourinhos - it's no contest!'

I'm not really sure what we can expect from such an untested individual, but he knows the club well, can speak perfect English, and can be expected to stamp something different on the team. Perhaps with the aid of that other heart-throb, the ubiquitous Robert Pires. But he doesn't have the requisite badges, and so must surely be merely a temporary measure whilst a new man is sought.

Freddie has quite a task on his hands, but his first thoughts as imparted to the press were that he wants to put a smile back on the faces of everyone associated with Arsenal, and that would be an excellent start.

There's a lot of chat out there about the 'short-list' of possible candidates, but from what I read it's made up of Allegri, Rodgers, Ancelotti, Arteta and Nuno Espirito Santo. Each of them has both pros and cons, and I'll  run down the most important of them before I give you my verdict; the man I'd like to see taking over - and why.

Max Allegri
Pros                                                                       Cons
Vastly experienced                                                Doesn't know the Premier League
Knows how to set a team up defensively                 Language skills untested


Brendan Rodgers
Pros                                                                       Cons
Went close to winning the title with Liverpool     Had 'only' won trophies at Celtic
Has transformed the Leicester squad                    Didn't come over well in 'Being Liverpool'


Carlo Ancelotti
Pros                                                                       Cons
Vastly experienced in many leagues                      Is getting on a bit
Won the title with Chelsea not long ago               Query whether his methods have been superseded

Mikel Arteta
Pros                                                                       Cons
Been learning under a master coach                      Has zero managerial experience
Knows Arsenal and the Premier League well     


Nuno Espirito Santo
Pros                                                                       Cons
Has done a fine job at Wolves                               Not done quite so well elsewhere
                                                                           Jorge Mendes connection taints him


Of other possibles mentioned in the media, Pocchetino would be unlikely (but OK by me), Benitez has no reason to leave his vast salary in China, Eddie Howe is just a No, Chris Wilder would be left field, and the likes of Freddie, Paddy and Thierry are simply lacking in the requisite experience and gravitas for the job at this stage of their careers (despite knowing the club very well). Tuchel or Ten Hag, anyone? They're not being mentioned at the moment.

And before I name my preferred candidate, a word about the owner and the Board. And it is that he/they need to very quickly get with the times and change their outlook on football, and Arsenal's position in it in particular. More decisive action is required, from decisive individuals, starting right now. It is time to start with a clean slate in order that the club does not go down the route that Manchester United went down. Lessons must be learned from that, and this managerial appointment is crucial for not just the rest of this season but for possibly the next 15-20 years. Once you slip, it's a very slippery slope and it's very difficult to climb back up it.

And my preferred choice is... Brendan Rodgers.

Reasons: He knows the Premier League well. He has transformed the Leicester squad from an underperforming rabble under Claude Puel; he is ambitious; his teams play attractive, progressive football and despite the current trajectories of the two sides Arsenal is a bigger club than Leicester City and is likely to remain so for a considerable time.

I'm expecting disagreement... But here we go. I've said my bit, and I need to get this out into the ether. I'll be back Monday.

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