Freddie Ljungberg’s fear that Arsenal are too unbalanced with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette in the same side was proved right against Liverpool.
During the Swede’s time in charge on an interim basis after Unai Emery was sacked in December 2019, he oversaw one win, three draws, and two defeats before handing over the reins to Mikel Arteta.
One of those included a 3-0 home defeat against Manchester City, in which Ljungberg left Lacazette as an unused substitute.
“You need to have balance in your team,” Ljungberg said to beIN SPORTS at the time. “With Lacazette and Auba, we tried in my first two games, but we looked really vulnerable defensively.
“They are both great players that’s why I wanted them on the pitch, but we were vulnerable defensively.
“We’ve taken the route against West Ham where we’ve played one of them to have more defensive organisation and we played well and won that game very clearly.”
Fast forward to Saturday night and Arsenal’s frailties were exposed in their 3-0 defeat at the hands of Liverpool, after Lacazette started centrally, with Aubameyang on the left-wing.
With Nicolas Pepe and Martin Odegaard completing the front four, it was a very attacking lineup named by Arteta and that ultimately allowed the Reds to dominate the game.
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“I think the first five, six, seven minutes – I’m not 100 per cent sure – were quite an open game, didn’t happen a lot, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said in his post-match press conference. “But after that we were really in charge of the game, were dominant, played good football against the line-up of Arsenal with all this counter-attacking threat.
“What was the most important thing in defending was how our counter-pressing was, and that was absolutely exceptional tonight and it was very important.
“So, we took that quality away with the counter-press, didn’t use our chances obviously [in the] first half but we knew we have to keep going, we have to do a few little things even better in the second half [which] we tried to show the boys in half-time. But the result is the result of the performance, and the performance tonight was obviously good enough that we rather would win the game in the second half than we would lose it.”