Jens Vs Almunia… Who is King of the Keepers?

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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!

19 Responses to “Jens Vs Almunia… Who is King of the Keepers?”

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  1. Gunnersaurus

    ahh… shit

    I’m a fan on the spanish man! But i think thats because i hate Jens so much!

    He is a good keeper, I just have a disliking for his character. The sames disdain I carry for Eboue and savage really! As soon as he has gone, I will be happy!

    Would I get someone else in? Maybe not – but if casillas was available, I’d snap him up.

    Like Wenger says, if someone good is available, we have the clout to pounce.

  2. grovedigger

    All of our team you would have to say is world class, or will be world class, Almunia is neither and Jens was, but is no more.

    It’s time we had a world class keeper.

    Green I like and has potential, but there are many that are better than what we have.

    Fabianski is not ready by a long way yet.

  3. robert

    Whatever happens i dont think we will get a new goalkeeper this winter because, all the good ones have already played in the cleague this season. That means we would not be allowed to use him in the cleague this season. the only good ones i can think of are buffon green and gordon non of them are likly to leave.

  4. gazzap

    I really dont think either Lehmann or Almunia are the best keepers around. Lehmann perhaps was for a couple of seasons but I dont think he was good last season and he made 2 huge mistakes at the start of this one. to me, that says he is getting worse with age and you know what?…you dont ever get any younger.
    Almunia is a very good number 2 but that is all he is. he is capable of coming in and doing a very good job when your number 1 is out, but game after game season after season, there a few too many flaws in his game. remember, you cannot have a top quality keeper sat on the bench for years, so thats why MA is happy to sit on the bench.

    I need to see more of Fabi to make up my mind but what I have seen so far has been very encouraging. If he can show he is as good as we think, I would make him number 1 next season and MA number 2. If MA dont like it then he can leave and we will buy someone else. But our number 2 keepers always play in the cups, so they end up getting plenty of games.

  5. Bud

    STOP this fuckin negativity……. we were unbeaten till Middlesborough and that game was everyone fault, not Almunia’s………… fuck me, why are you lot such a bunch of Neg-Ferrets ??!!!

  6. Pedro

    Bud, terms like ‘Neg-Ferret’ will not be tolerated in Le Grove…

    My point is the team has played so well we didn’t need a superstar keeper, now we are on a downer we need him to step up and he hasn’t.

    He hasn’t let us down, he has just been average. Just like Hoyte was last year, you couldnt slate him but you could suggest a better right back would improve us.

    I think we deserve a world class keeper.

  7. chris GOONA

    i agree with you ‘Bud’, most of the arsenal supporters on here are so quick to look at the negatives!!… its like they have forgotten we are sittin top! So we arent playin so well at the moment in the league, but we had 4 away games in a row to tricky places to teams that wuld love to take points off of arsenal. Everytime i see Lehmann play i get nervous, look what he done on wedensday taking the ball round the striker, we simply dont need his childish behaviour on and off the pitch. Almunia will be a great number1, wait n see!…

  8. John W

    Almunia is not a good keeper. Have you noticed that whenever he plays, most of the time we have to score atleast two times in order to win? And yet in the unbeated season, we had a good number of games where we won 1-0.
    Last Sunday, I have a snicky feeling we would not have lost despite the fact we were crap. Had Lehmann been in goal and guessed right on that penalty, he would have saved it. A good keep would have palmed the 20 yard schemer that preceded the second goal out.
    I really want Lehmann to come in on Sunday. He’s fired up, hungry and definitely wants to prove some thing. That could be the right mindset to win us that game.

  9. jimmyfingers

    ahhhhhhh, the loneliness of the late-night blogger, here to post incredible insights that will never be read, or replied to but here goes nothing.

    Firstly Jens. No, we can’t have him back. Give him a run out in games like the Steau one but Almunia has done enough to keep the number 1 shirt. I’ve always found Jens amusing but he’s shown just how much of a mecenary player he is this season: its all about his career and his international prospects, not what is best for the club. He’s got no real love for Arsenal and his behaviour demonstrates that. He doesn’t deserve to wear the shirt again.

    Feeling good about Sunday. The ‘Boro game feels like a real abberration, a freak result born out of fatigue, successive away games and a lack of leaders on the pitch. We shook off that confusion against Steau and several leaders seem ready to return. Think we are going to be really up for the game and expect us to send Chelsea back to the west and their fans back to the south with a thorough thrashing weighing heavily on their minds.

  10. Geoff

    Oh to be the early sad blogger that also never gets answered, at least I made your wish come true Jimmy!

    Bring in a new keeper, neither are good enough.

    The Middlesbrough game was a toe up the arse, as I said earlier in the week, I believe the team will be back and the Chavs will get a nasty shock at the Grove.