Freddie Ljungberg reveals the reason behind his Arsenal team selection at Everton: ‘I picked a team that I b

Freddie Ljungberg says Arsenal’s resounding defeat against Manchester City prompted him to make several changes for their clash at Everton.

The Swede, who was in charge of the first-team for the final time before new boss Mikel Arteta officially takes over, made five changes for their trip to Goodison Park following their 3-0 defeat at home to Man City last weekend.

The likes of Bukayo Saka, 18, started at Everton

Getty Images – Getty

The likes of Bukayo Saka, 18, started at Everton

Senior players including Alexandre Lacazette and record signing Nicolas Pepe were benched.

Mesut Ozil was not in the squad, citing an injury, but Ljungberg stated that the German would not have been picked anyway, even if he was fit.

He said: “Mesut wouldn’t have been in the squad anyway given what happened in the last game [kicked his gloves when being substituted].”

Ozil kicked his gloves away after being taken off against Man City

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Ozil kicked his gloves away after being taken off against Man City

It meant the likes of Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe and Gabriel Martinelli were given the chance to shine.

And the kids helped the Gunners get a point as they played out a goalless draw in a thoroughly dull Goodison Park clash.

But Ljungberg said he was very proud of the team.

Speaking to Nigel Adderley, he said: “I picked a team that I believed in, that had the energy because I wasn’t happy against Man City.

“Of course, they are very young but we controlled the game, controlled the game without possession and that’s what I’m happy about.

“The first half Everton had energy but they died down. In the second half we controlled it more and more.

“I’m really happy because that’s what I want to see from an Arsenal team, dominant in possession and of course we want to build more and more.

“Tactically they did well and did what I’ve asked them and of course I’ve coached some of them when they were very young so maybe it’s easy for them to understand how I want things.

“I’m very proud of them – look at Emile Smith Rowe who wasn’t very close to the team [in the past]. I thought he did so well at Standard Liege and I felt I wanted to give him a chance and he took it.”

Ljungberg also revealed he will have a chat with Arteta on Sunday to see where his future at the club lies but would like to continue working with the first-team.

He added: “The club has said they want me to stay and I’m going to have a chat with Mikel Arteta.”

Arteta will officially take charge of Arsenal

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Arteta will officially take charge of Arsenal

Listen back to Freddie Ljungberg’s interview above!


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