Sunday, August 19, 2007

For better or worse, Jens is still the best we've got.

Long-time readers of Goonerboy (yes, I'm talking to both of you) will know that I'm a big fan of our mad German keeper. I went as far as to entitle a post 'Jens Lehmann, I love you' in the wake of our victory against Villareal, in a game which now seems an age away.

Clearly, Jens has had his peaks and troughs in form since joining the club. He was, in what remains a largely unsung role, the keeper for the majority, if not all, of the unbeaten season. The next year, a series of howlers led to Manuel Almunia taking his place in the side. Manuel's, er, 'abilities' led to Jens's hasty re-instatement, which in turn led to Jens's finest season at the club, 2005-6, where, if it had not been for us all being desperate for Thierry to stay, Jens would surely have been voted player of the year.

Jens's contribution to the club can perhaps be summed up in his role in the famous Champions League campaign of 2006. His saves against Madrid and Villareal got us to the final; his mistimed run perhaps cost us that game. That's what you get with Jens: a goalkeeper who can both win and lose you a game at almost any level, whether it be world-cup quarter-final, or away at Blackburn.

It's undeniable that he's started this season in remarkably poor fashion. His error, and his error alone, cost us a goal against Fulham and two points against Blackburn. And looking at Jens, something seems up. He seems a shadow of his former self. Where is the pure ire, the self-confidence, the, well, madness? Watching him play, he seems distracted, shorn of confidence, almost like his mind is elsewhere, which, for a player like Jens, is so odd it's almost unsettling.

But the fact of the matter remains this: he's still better than Almunia and Fabianski is a complete unknown quantity. Either we throw the young Polish lad in now, or we do nothing. Almunia will cost us more points than Jens. Almunia has cost us points and games before, and he'll cost us as many in the future if we reinstate him. There is a vocal section of the fanbase which wants Almunia to be started in the team, but I genuinely believe this will be a regression from our current situation.

What makes all this even harder to stomach is seeing Craig Gordon already pulling off blinding performances for Sunderland. Yes, £9 million is a lot of money. But £9million for a world-class keeper who could be your number one for a decade? The transfer pays for itself.

But as things stand, let's get behind Jens. Something is clearly up and we should support him.

As for the game today: a point at Blackburn is not to be scoffed at. We could, and perhaps should, have won, but I would have taken a point before the game. All the game served to demonstrate, ultimately and apart from Jens's keeping problems, is how thin our squad is. With Gallas out, was loaning out Djourou really such a great idea?

14 comments:

Clive said...

Goonerboy,

Your support for Lehmann is admirable, but at the end of the day I don't really car id "something is up" with him. If he has issues off the pitch then he has my sympathies, but he needs to sort them out off the pitch.

Almunia was not as bad as you suggest, and is more confident and experienced now than then. He deserves a run and Lehmann deserves some time on the bench. Preferably at a different club.

Anonymous said...

like milk thats smells in the fridge, time to put him in the rubish bin.

Anonymous said...

To be honest I think you're being remarkably kind to Jens. Whether they've cost us points or not, Jens has been responsible for more stupid antics from bookings, dives, bullshit which helps put off his own defense during set pieces, terrible kicks and laughable moments of stupidity than any other player I can think of. He's USUALLY a great shot stopper, but usually being a great shot stopper isn't enough when Arsenal need to keep clean sheets. Being in the invinsibles team was hardly a year he was great either, Whether it was that season or the one after, I remember him doing his utmost to cost us games like against Panathanaikos where we were winning 1-0 away and he fucked up entirely for 2 goals or some shit like that. He fucks around on set pieces like no one I've ever come across before and it can't be good for the concentration of the defenders to have Lehmann's antics delaying play because he feels some strange need to fall over every 30 seconds whenever a striker stands near him. The only great year he has ever had was the one during out great CL run, but even in that year don't tell me he never fucked around in the league.

I can understand your situation with Fabianski being unknown (although Wenger should see how good he is in training to have a good idea) but I think you're being completely unfair on Almunia. He's played really well for years now and for some reason is still tagged with a bad rep he earned after about 2 poor games at the start of his time here (the same as Cygan really) because his face doesn't fit. Not only has he played well consistently for ages now and doesn't have the bullshit around him associated with Lehmann but for all the times he has conceded goals over the past few years, how many times has it been Almunia's fault? Very, very few times. As for Lehmann, he has been doing his utmost to fuck around at this club ever since he joined and should count himself lucky he had the brilliant combo of Toure and Cambell in front of him during the invinsibles year.

Lehmann out, Almunia in. Enough is enough for fucks sake.

Anonymous said...

alumina or aluminum or whatever shit it is we does call him in trini, is the worst keeper in the world. This man letting ball fly through he leg and he embrass we in cl finals. Hard luck for he, Fabinski is the man, he should be playing now, give Jens a sub role this season and then sell him. Fabinski is the real shit man.

Wes said...

I surely would give Fabianski a chance. This is what should have been done in pre-season. If he is not good enough why buy him.

tunadog said...

LEHMAN OUT NOW...in fact he should have been shooed ages ago.Apart from his regular bloopers which have occured since he arrived cant you see that our falibility at set pieces & the subsequent panic in the defence is entirely down to his antics. A goal keeper should give confidence to his defense this buffoon simply unsettles everyone. Time to return to the fatherland Jens

Anonymous said...

One thing you are clearly not taking into account is the affect of belief. The youngsters battled a blackburn team who are fast becoming the dirtiest team in the prem. It didnt matter how much they kicked and pushed, the boys stood up and pushed back. They ran their hearts out amids thousands of abusive supporters and a manager who has forgotten the meaning of what football means. Blackburn are the new Bolton of the English prem and we should have beaten them . We deserved to beat them but Jens let the team and the manager down. He let the fans down but most of all he let the team down. He needs to be dropped now and Almunia needs to play the next game. Jens needs to be shown that silly mistakes are fine in the reserves.

Anonymous said...

Fabianski should play.
Lehmann may be very good but he is too erratic.
Another frustrating thing is, whenever Chelsea drops points, we seem to drop points as well.

Anonymous said...

I like you like Jen's. However i would give him a rest if only we had more than one other player older than 27. only Kolo is now able to play against city, no time to try the kid keeper.

Jen needs to be told one more funk up and he is droped

Anonymous said...

PLEASE PLAY FABIANSKI !
lehmann is really crap and we can´t concide goals from his stupid errors !

Anonymous said...

That last post was from Alex Hg

Dong Zhou said...

I think Jens is being made a scape goat for our team's poor second half performance. Jens has won us many games, has done so this season against Sparta but it isn't enough for fans who seem to think that an unknown is better then Germany's 1st choice and that Almunia who let in three against Liverpool, Spurs (three of which were his fault) and who didn't make a save against Chelsea are the great keepers we need. Had Jens saved the shot, we would have still defended and allowed Blackburn chances, one of them could easily go in and we draw anyway.

Anonymous said...

Jens should stay in the squad, hes just having a rough patch. yeah hesa bit rusty but its only the second game of the season, Id rather have him screw up while both liverpool, man u and chelsea are dropping points. we still got 36 games to make up for it so stop bitchin about it and support the man for petes sake

Anonymous said...

Watching Lehmann is now like watching James/Grobellar - i'm just waiting for the one cock-up in every game that you know is going to come. And please guys dont pass it back to him because his kicking has always been iffy. Almunia has got to come back in.