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Arsenal legend tells all in Monday Night Football punditry role

Published: Updated: 16:16, 28 Nov 2023
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The former Sweden international opened up on his disappointment not to win the Champions League and relived his successes under Arsene Wenger

Appearing on Monday Night Football on Sky Sports, Arsenal legend Freddie Ljungberg recently shared his insights on the one weakness he believes Arsene Wenger's 'Invincibles' had, and expressed his admiration for a 2004 team-mate. He also spoke about his regret at not winning the Champions League.

The Gunners made history in the 2003-04 season by going an entire Premier League season unbeaten, a feat unmatched before or since in the Premier League era. Ljungberg played a crucial role in that side but admits they weren't invincible.

He pointed out a weakness that was exploited by Chelsea when Jose Mourinho took over as manager in 2004.

Mourinho had the key to unlock the Invincibles

Ljungberg explained how teams started not pressing Arsenal out wide, forcing them to cross when they didn't have strong aerial players in the penalty box.

This strategy was first implemented by Mourinho's Chelsea who would let their defenders stay back and handle crosses with ease due to their superior heading ability.

Despite this newfound vulnerability, Arsenal still enjoyed great success during this period, winning three league titles within six years. Their unbeaten run capped off what can be considered a golden era for the club.

According to Ljungberg, this success can be attributed to having a starting XI where every player could claim to be among the top three globally in their respective positions.

Bergkamp top of the tree for Freddie

While reluctant to single out any player as being superior, Ljungberg did express special admiration for Dutchman Dennis Bergkamp.

He praised Bergkamp’s technical ability and selflessness on the field which made him stand out among other talented teammates like Thierry Henry.

Despite being part of two title-winning teams and lifting the FA Cup three times, Ljungberg regrets not winning the Champions League. Arsenal made it to the final in 2006 but lost 2-1 to Barcelona after goalkeeper Jens Lehmann was sent off early on.

Ljungberg expressed his disappointment over this loss, stating that it still bothers him today. He believes that despite having a great team and changing their system for the final, they were unable to clinch victory due to their own shortcomings.

Freddie Ljungberg's reflections provide valuable insights into one of Arsenal's most successful eras. His admiration for his teammates and regret over missed opportunities highlight both the highs and lows of professional football.

Despite identifying a key weakness in Wenger's Invincibles, Ljungberg’s respect for his former team is evident as he acknowledges their achievements while also recognizing areas where they could have improved.

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