Former Arsenal midfielder Freddie Ljungberg has said fans of the club may be “regretting how they behaved” towards ex-Gunners boss Arsene Wenger, with Mikel Arteta having overseen a Europa League semi-final defeat by Villarreal on Thursday.
Arteta, also a former Arsenal midfielder, insisted he is still the right man for the job at the Emirates Stadium despite his side’s 0-0 home draw in the second leg against Villarreal seeing them fall short of the final after a 2-1 loss in the first leg.
Ljungberg, who won two Premier League titles and three FA Cups under Wenger in a nine-year spell in north London, said Arsenal had hit “rock bottom” with the semi-final defeat by Villarreal. He also suggested that the club were performing better with Wenger in charge before his 2018 exit than many supporters realised.
“I flew back from Sweden to say goodbye to Arsene,” Lungberg said on Thursday, per the Daily Mail.
“The fans were complaining about him at the end of his term. Now maybe they are regretting how they behaved towards him. He’s so big at this club.
“It’s disappointing to see [Arsenal now]. I love the club and respect them, but to be ninth or tenth in the league and not challenging for the Europa League spots and we have to rely on the Europa League… that’s quite hard to take.”
Arteta replaced Emery in December 2019, with the current Villarreal coach having lasted a little over a season at Arsenal.