So Carlo Ancelotti was sacked by Napoli last night and immediately Arsenal fans are deciding in which side of the fence they fall with regards to him potentially at the club. Those that are against his signing point to the Bayern era and how the players rebelled against the Italian, those who are for Ancelotti point towards the success he’s had at Milan and Chelski, plus the litany of players who have all said what a great man he is.

As for me, well, as I said on the radio on Monday night I am not overly fussed who it is, as long as they can turn around our fortunes and for me that means they need to have a few attributes.

Tactically flexible

With Wenger we had a free-form jazz artist who simply wanted his bands to play the notes they felt like it. He rarely looked at the opposition, was rigid to his formation and team set up and towards the end of his reign as Arsenal boss that played against him, because even the most average managers were talking about how they knew exactly how to set up against The Arsenal.

We don’t want somebody who will be so steadfast in his set up that the opposition know exactly how we’ll play and how to beat us.

Understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of his players

Specifically here I’m talking about recognising that players playing in their most natural positions is t just the right way to go, it’s the only way to go. Freddie got a reaction on Monday night because he played:

  • Chambers as a centre half – who played well
  • Torreira with instructions to sit deep – who played well
  • With wide forwards to stretch the pitch – both of whom played well
  • Auba through the centre – who was ok but ultimately still scored to make the game safe.
  • To me it doesn’t feel like rocket science and so any new man coming in needs to be able to recognise which players fit best for the balance of the team and make sure that he can get a tune out of it. Don’t just accommodate players because of their reputations; we’re all coming to the realisation that Auba and Laca just don’t work together so it should be one or the other.
  • Build a rapport with players

  • There’s a few Negative Nancy’s in the press who have been smirking and besmirching the Arsenal players all hugging each other and Freddie on Monday night after an away win, saying things like “it’s only West Ham in the league” but for me those individuals miss the point entirely. It didn’t matter whether it was West Ham or Liverpool, home or away, league, cup or ‘winning takes every trophy for the next decade’ knockout one-off super match, the reactions were of relief and unity from the whole squad. They have been through the confidence-sapping mill with the performances and what has felt like an endless slump. They’d hit rock bottom and were dragging along the surface.
  • So when I see them all hugging Freddie and each other I saw a team that is looking like it wants to fight for the coach and the players and that’s why those players reacted. In that short clip of Freddie with the players we saw just how much a rapport with your players can bring you, so no matter who the next manager is, they need to bring somebody in who will engage with the players and build that relationship. We can’t exactly say that Emery really ever delivered that kind of rapport with his players, can we? If he did nobody saw it on the pitch, on the training ground, or even when in the Europa League press conferences when players had to sit next to the coach.
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  • Perhaps the decision for a new coach has already been made. Perhaps Ancelotti has been fired a little too late in the day. Perhaps the noises about an appointment this week are just speculative nonsense from journalists trying to appear like they’ve got the next ‘scoop’. I don’t know. I just know the kind of person that I want in charge and they have the attributes I listed above, but perhaps also they bring something new to the table, something fresh and ideas that the players will buy in to. That’s what we need. And fast.
  • Catch you all tomorrow.