The former player needs to establish an identity and a move toward Arsenal’s fast attacking ways of old could be the ticket

It was offered as a throwaway line but, when Bukayo Saka explained after a breakthrough performance in the 3-0 win at Eintracht Frankfurt in September that Freddie Ljungberg had been instrumental in helping him understand Unai Emery’s instructions, the alarm bells sounded loudly. He was hardly alone in not grasping exactly what Emery required of him and, while the manager’s persistence in working in his fractured English was highly respectable it frequently led to confusion on the training ground. Ljungberg has no such problems and it is remarkable how effective short, simple messages can be. He certainly has the ear of Arsenal’s younger players, many of whom worked with him closely in the academy, and has quickly established an easy rapport with the first-team figures. That may bring its own drawbacks in the longer run but, for now, a little clarity may be enough to get a tune from a befuddled squad.

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