After writing a rash piece about who I thought could be leaving Arsenal this winter, I reassessed what I wrote and then considered some of your comments.
One of the comments from Hadley read:
‘I really do feel that too many Arsenal ’supporters’ have been too quick to jump on the anti-Jens bandwagon which has been perpetrated by the media and opposition fans ever since he joined Arsenal. Yes he is eccentric but as far as I’m aware he hasn’t shot anyone – I’m sure that much of the anti-Lehmann baiting over the years has been partly due to the fact that he is German (you even said it yourself with his ‘German Antics’.)
Robbie Keane stamps on his feet like a pathetic spoilt child and Sky say he is just ‘using his experience’, yet when Lehmann pushed him away HE is accused of being childish. If Keane jumped on my feet like that I’d nut him one. Did anyone stop to consider that maybe Wenger has mainly kept faith with Almunia because he has done okay and wants to send a message to the rest of the team that if you come in and do well you wont immediately be replaced by experience (a la Flamini.)
I don’t know what Wenger sees in training but apart from those 2 freak lapses of concentration Lehmann’s performances this season and last have been excellent – against Wales he saved 4 one on one’s. Whether Wenger’s stats or what he sees in training tells him that Jens is deteriorating or not I don’t know but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him return to the team and sooner rather than later. Almunia is a nice guy and a decent premiership keeper but he is not (at least yet) in the highest class that Lehmann is (or at least certainly was) or that Seaman was. We’ve now conceded 7 in the last 4 games so it’ll be interesting to see what Wenger does midweek.’
This got me thinking… had Jens shot someone? If he did, how did he dispose of the body… I reckon he would cannibalise the remains because consuming the evidence is the best way, right?
Jokes aside, maybe I was too rash in judging Lehmann.
Maybe you can compare this situation to a beautiful woman (This metaphor can be reversed)?
When you are with a beautiful woman you are much more likely to forgive her misgivings. i.e. Personality deficiencies, mood swings, nagging, but if you are with and ugly woman, they tend to hack you off pretty quickly and you are a lot quicker to criticise.
Lehmann is perhaps the ugly woman of goal keeping. He is unorthodox, he whines and moans at corner kicks and he often has a moment of handling madness in a match that resonates in the mind long after the game. I think his craziness highlights his flaws because everyone is watching him after he causes as scene.
A keeper like Cech (Perhaps the
Vanessa Feltz Agnes Dean of the Keeping world) keeps his mouth shut and just gets on with it. He has made mistakes this season, but no one is crowing about his ability.
What I am saying is people love to blame Lehmann. People blame him for letting in 30 yard screamers, people moan about him letting in bullet 2 yard headers and people moan about him hoofing the ball when he could have laid it off.
So half a season in, with Almunia at the helm, what do we think as Arsenal fans?
Almunia has never really set the goalkeeping world alight with a commanding performance. Many of you will say he hasn’t done much wrong this season but lets be honest, he hasn’t needed to do this much this season. My Granny could have played in goal most of the matches this year… seriously… she is good.
Almunia made a mistake in the ManU game which in the end cost us the 3 points. Since then he has been ok. He played well at Villa, he let in a soft goal against Newcastle (MYLES PALMER SAID SO) and he rushed out needlessly against ‘Boro.
Overall you would have to say he has been average.
So who is the lesser of two evils (Is that fair?)?
Jens Lehmann has huge experience, he has played some amazing games for us and I think we might need him coming into the crucial part of the season. Can we afford another Almunia rush of blood to the head against Chelsea? Can we finish the season league winners with Almunia in goal? I don’t think so.
So if we let Jens back, will he revert back to his corner Theatrics and shoddy handling?
Gunnerblog and Goonerholic think that Wednesday’s game was a good bye Jens game, and if I’m honest, I would probably agree with that. Too much bad behaviour from the German over the last three months!
Wenger has been making some interesting noises though, Wednesday morning he said,
‘His ‘long-term future’ depends on, at 38, what you call a ‘long-term future’,” the Frenchman said. “We haven’t spoken about that.’
That would indicate to me that he is off in Januaury or it is being discussed. However after the game on Wednesday he said,
‘I feel he had a good game, I don’t think he can do a lot on the goal. I decided to play him because he’s a hundred per-cent dedicated in training, because he’s a top class keeper and I want everybody to keep in competition if I can. For example, Fabianski behind is top class and he will play on Tuesday in Blackburn.’
Make what you will of Wengers comments!
For me personally, I have more confidence in Jens than I do in Almunia. I think he makes the better saves and he is more likely to rescue a game for you than throw it away. Almunia has been solidish (sic) this season, but he hasn’t excelled by any stretch of the imagination. I think what this whole article points to, not just with me but with all Arsenal fans, is that we are not happy with the Goalkeeping situation at Arsenal. The same was true last year with the right back slot, an issue was superbly rectified in the summer.
So what do we know? Well, Jens is off in the summer, thats for sure. I don’t think Almunia is a long term solution, so I think we should either put Fabianski in as number one next year (and hope), or purchase a keeper who merits the number one jersey at a club like Arsenal. I think goalkeeper is the one position in football you don’t get the chance to make mistakes in. You can either hack it, or you’re out (Manninger, Wright, Taibi). There is no bedding in period like normal players get, so let hope Arsene gets it right this summer.
I know I have been a critic of Jens in the past, but he is still a quality keeper who offers us more than the average Almunia. That said, we know that Big Al will be starting on Sunday against the mighty chavs, a game that I pray isn’t decided by a goalkeeping error!
On the subject of Chelsea, Arsene Wenger is giving nothing away with regards to who will be back, it seems players once thought injured may yet be un-injured (<-not a word I know)! I feel I owe Blogger Geoff an apology, for it was he and he alone who suggested Wenger maybe using a some form of smokescreen to confuse Avram and Co with regards to injuries. Read here for confirmation of the shocking truth.
Let your thoughts be known in the comments section! See you there!