Lehmann in hot water again

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Just how much more controversy can Jens Lehmann get in this season?

Was this deliberate?After losing his place in the Arsenal side early on in the season after two blunders, criticising his replacement Manuel Almunia and his manager Arsene Wenger and strongly indicating that he will be leaving the club in the January transfer window, Lehmann’s behaviour is again a focus after supposedly making a rude gesture to German fans during his country’s simple 4-0 win over Cyprus on the weekend.

The big goalkeeper has been accused by the German media of making a middle finger gesture whilst scratching his face to fans who were chanting for reserve keeper Robert Enke to replace him on the pitch. Unsurprisingly, Lehmann has denied the accusations, claiming them to be ‘nonsense’. Whilst the photo included might tell a different story I’m inclined to believe Lehmann at this stage. In saying that, it wouldn’t surprise me if the accusations did turn out to be true.

The relevance of all this to Arsenal is that if Lehmann’s gesture is found to be deliberate then it will just serve as another indication to me that the big German is not ready to come back into the side at the expense of Almunia. Whilst Lehmann received praise from Germany’s international manager Joachim Low after his performance against Cyprus, I still feel that he will be on his way out during the transfer window. I for one won’t be too bothered about it.

Diarra could take a leaf out of Mathieu Flamini’s bookDiarra confused about role

One player who is currently on the fringes that I would definitely not like to see sold in January is Lassana Diarra. The French midfielder has been mainly used as a substitute so far this season and more often than not played at right-back rather than his preferred position at central midfield, something the 22-year-old has admitted he is a little confused about.

“It is true that my situation for my club is puzzling. My position is in the midfield. At Arsenal I don’t feel in competition with Bacary Sagna, as I am a midfielder. The midfielders are outstanding, but I work fine in training sessions and I am waiting for an opportunity.”

I think he’s got a right to be a little bit frustrated by Wenger’s consistent use of him at right-back rather than in central midfield, but at the end of the day all that matters is the team and Diarra is just a part of a bigger entity. I think the important thing for Diarra to remember is that he has not been brough to the club as a right back, he has been brought here as a central midfielder with the ability to play in a variety of positions. Although he is not currently getting to play in the position that he wants he should view his situation as very positive because his versatility increases his value to the club in the long run. He just has to look at Mathieu Flamini for evidence of that.

Eduardo could make himself very unpopular with the English supporters this weekFinal Euro qualifiers

The final round of Euro 2008 qualifiers will be played on Wednesday night and after Israel’s 2-1 win over Russia the door has been opened for England to book their place in Austria & Switzerland for next summer. Although the are playing Eduardo da Silva’s Croatia, who currently top the group, England only need to draw and with Croatia already through they really shouldn’t have too many problems. However, after Russia’s loss to Israel, anything is possible.

Although the likely outcome of the match is that England and Croatia both qualify, things would be quite interesting for Arsenal if Eduardo scored the goal to end England’s hopes. If this were to happen then Eduardo would very quickly become public enemy number one in the Premiership so for his sake, as well as that of England, I’m hoping that this doesn’t happen. However, if England do get through then I sincerely hope the level of their football at the Championships lifts from the dismal form they have been showing of late.

A team with players like Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard, Sean Wright-Phillips, David Beckham and Rio Ferdinand should be doing a lot better than they are and that has, in my opinion, been down to the managerial skills of Steve McLaren and the lack of effort being put in by the bigger players. If England do qualify they could do worse than to sack McLaren and let some more grounded players like Gareth Barry, Jermain Defoe and Micah Richards play in the place of the superstars who don’t seem to care about putting in 100%. Just my two cents worth on an issue that, as a football supporter who likes seeing good football, bothers me a little bit too much.

What do you think?

Have your say on Lehmann, Diarra or England by leaving a comment.


34 thoughts on “Lehmann in hot water again

  1. As an england fan i was biting my nails as Israels winner went in. Io was screaming!! I would like to see Diarra play a bit more, that is the reason he left Chelsea, not enough playing time and we have Fab missing for the Wigan game, but that is what you get for having to many Cm’s: Diaby, Denilson, Gilberto, Diarra, Flamini, Fabregas!! On Lehmann, although i think he didnt swear, it wouldnt surprise me if he did, if Germany prefer their 2nd keeper an so do Arsenal then he has no future left i’m afraid, sell him in Jan and get Green!

  2. diarra and diaby should play against wigan, because both of them have played together for france and france u/21. flamini needs a rest and cesc is oviosly suspended. one person who i think must leave in january is gilberto. i would hate to see him go, but hes playing days at arsenal are over. i think diarra is the new second choice defensive midfielder right now….i think wenger will let gilberto himself decide if he wants to go…..but if he stays, ill be more than pleased!!!

  3. It depends. Gilberto leaving will be down to him, and he seems to want to stay at the club regardless of whether he is playing or not. I think he will play an important role this season – injuries have to crop up at some stage and he is such a calming influence on the team when in the side. I don’t see any need to rest Flamini against Wigan when he was just recently rested against Slavia Prague and has had over a week off during the international break. He will be fitter and readier than anyone come the weekend.

  4. just saw on newsnow that diaby and flamini got injured playing for france and france under21(setanta)……….now wenger has to experiment with his cm pairings a bit?

  5. That is it Lehman must go very soon. The man is a real idiot he can’t keep his mouth shut. I heard some rumours that Barcelona wants to swap Eto for RVP. If I was Wenger I’ll tell Barcelona to shove Eto where the sun don’t shine. RVP will remain a gunner for a long time.

  6. Leave Jens alone. If you think Almunia is the best for Arsenal keep him. When the big matches come and the winter northern games are up and Almunia’s mistakes become evident, I hope you don’t cry for Jens. At least he is good enough to play for Germany but Almunia? His juniors Cassillas and Reina are better than him. Bad for Spain but excellent for Arsenal? Obviously, we’re not interested in fighting for the title that’s why we’re still keeping Almunia in post.

    He has exhibitted worse mistakes in his brief as No. 1 than the two committed by Jens.

  7. Howard – We are more than interested in fighting for tht title otherwise Gallas wouldnt have tried so hard to score agaisnt Man U n same wiv Fab agaisnt Pool. We are top of the league and unbeaten in all comps so Almunia may not be as good as Lehmann but he is good enough to keep us at the top of the prem, chamo league, unbeaten and 1 more thing he has played 6 cl games and conceded 0, thats conceded 0!! So i vote for Almunia to stay.

  8. Arsene always talks about togetherness and team spirit without it you don’t win anything.lehman may be the best keeper in the world but still anyone who calls the boss a liar must go. we don’t need that kind of atmosphere in the training ground.If Almunia makes mistakes he’ll face the chop at least he keeps quite and doesn’t upset the team. Hopefuly Arsene will get a top keeper in January and show the (lame man) the door.

  9. Jay- NO idea really quite few names have been linked with Arsenal one of them is Robert Green and the other is Jussi Jaaskelainen of Bolton.I would love to see Buffon or Cech at Arsenal but I don’t think its possible.We have to aim for top quality.

  10. Wenger has always struggled to bring in really great keepers. It seems to be the only flaw in his recruitment skills. Jaaskelainen would be a decent buy but his best years are probably behind him now. Green is a good goalkeeper as well. I don’t know if a new goalkeeper to top Almunia is a necessity, if he does the job well then I think Fabianski can take over in a year or two if he’s up to it. If I could have any goalkeeper in our side it would be Petr Cech and then probably Gregory Coupet from Lyon – although he is getting on a bit in years as well. Top keeper though.

  11. If i could choose a keeper i would choose Cech bcuz he is just top quality which is why it angers me that he it at Chelsea! Also I would like to get Callais, he is really good. Getting either Ustari, Kameni or Ochoa is a good idea also!

  12. Almunia isnt good enough for us to win the title with. Carlo Cudicini would also be a good pick up but Chelsea wouldnt sell him to us. Robert Green, or even Buffon who at one point said he would play for Arsenal, and if the violence does not stop in Italia at the games, that might help Buffon to make the decision to leave for Arsenal as i know alot of players are getin tired of what is taking place in the Serie A.

  13. Demetrio, just on that topic, how is the violence in Italy at the moment? Things look very shaky and when you hear people like Kaka speaking out about the issue then there must be some real problems. Any thoughts as an Italian Arsenal fan?

  14. And just on this statement: “Almunia isnt good enough for us to win the title with.” – What if we do win the title with him? Will that prove his worth?

  15. If we do win the title with Almunia then great, but i think we need someone better between the post. I dont think its him as much as its the defence at the moment. The back 4 are amazing. But if they have an off game, i think thats when Almunia will have a problem.

    The violence in Italia before and after games is ridiculous, away fans get hurt just about every time they travel. The problem is, is that you have groups of people who go to these games who are there just to cause problems, not to watch the match. Many people in Italia are frustrated and so they use violence at the matches as a way to release it. The fact that a police officer was the one who killed the Lazio fan doesnt help. Police are already hated by many in Italia, so you might later in the season see police beind targeted at games or in riots after games. I expect it to happen and if/when it does, it will ruin Italian Football because they will suspend the games for months. Service stations are being recked, riots in the highways after games between traveling and home fans. Its getting out of hand.

    I think you will start to see many big names starting to leave the Serie A if the fans do not calm down. If Wenger has his eye on any young Italian or even a guy like Buffon, now is the time to go after him. I also think now, alot of young talent may look else where, maybe follow Toni’s actions and leave Italia for league football in other coutries.

  16. Why are so many people frustrated in Italy at the moment? And what about the racist banners etc? Are they all related? Apologies for all the questions but I am very interested in this from a sociological point of view.

  17. Well for one, the Police in Italia are the most corrupt organization in the world. The wear the uniform and are no better then the criminals.. dont get me wrong, i know there are some who do their job, BUT there are many who breaks the rules. For instance, the Lazio fan was killed after 2 shots were fired, the law states the a cop can fire a warning shot into the air, but then he has to put his weapon away, so that second shot that killed the fan shoulda never been fired. Not to say he is a corrupt officer, he said he didnt know it was football related. And i think he was tellin the truth. But cops after people heard that were on alert becasue people did not react well. Also the politicans are just as corrupt. Every is frustrated at where the country is and how it is deteriorating. All the political parties dont get along, not even with each other, they all have their own agendas. So where else will people let out these frustrations? The answer to that is football. I dont argee with it BUT i understand it. The problem is, people who do these things are thinkin as a mob of angry people, not thinking as individuals, which can make a situation very bad. When these service stations are being tore up, its becasue you have a few who start it, and then istead of people thinking to themselves, thats not right, they join in that mob mentality, and it just gets worse.

    The banners are in a way tied in. You see facist banners, racist banners, and some people will start fights with the facist supports, just becasue they believe in a different polictical party. The racist issues, well me at least, i dont see it much outside of football. It seems like alot of it is football based. But it is also, alot of outsiders who are bringing drugs into the country, which is making it worse becasue alot of Police and politicans are getting a cut of that drug money.
    And all of this frustration is being let out at football games. I think the first step you will see is the banning of traveling fans, which is very upsetting as there will be no good… atmosphere at the games. If it continues, and esp if police are being targeted, which i fear will start to happen now, the league may take a long time off or be played behind closed doors as alot of people are gettin tired of this. Including the minister of sports who wanted to suspend 5 weeks of football after the Lazio shooting. The Juve and Torino game, before the game 15 people were injured. So the Serie A as it once was, we may not see again for a long time.

  18. Thanks for the detailed explanation. It sure is such a shame. Whereabouts in Italy are you from? Do you have much direct contact with these problems or are they quite localised? The racism at the football has always astonished me, both in Italy and Spain. Coming from Australia we just don’t see these sorts of problems emerging on such a large scale. It’s quite frightening in all reality.

  19. Well yeah im from Messina.. I know all too well about the racism and violence. Messina is the home team, and Zoro played for us and i remember in the Inter game that he threatened to walk off the pitch, you see banners that say peanuts and bananas are your pay, stupid stuff like that. Which i dont understand, becasue like i said, i dont see it on a personal level outside of football. As an Italian i love black women as many of my friends and know alot of people who came from Africa, but in football you have the idiots who go do that kinda stuff. Which i think is a way of taking it out on someone not from the country. It is very sad to see such uneducated, ignorant people sometimes.

    I love football with a passion, and would love to play for Messina FC, but not at the risk of injury from flares being thrown from the stands. I think we have other issues to settle starting at the government level. It didnt use to be like this, there was issues and a riot every now and then yes, but nothing as bad or as common as it is in todays game.

  20. Yeah. Argentina is having similar problems as well at the moment. I saw a couple of Boca Juniors matches last season and although there was no trouble at those matches, the violence at football matches over that time was incredible. Such a shame that something as beautiful as football is ruined by such stupidity. Do you think you’ll ever be good enough play for Messina, Demetrio? 🙂

  21. Oh yes.. definitely if this violence continues, i think it will open a lot of chances if guys like Kaka leave. Which is not a good thing because then the level of skill will drop so much, which that is were its heading if this doesnt stop. But Messina are in the Serie B, it doesnt look like they are going back to the Serie A and maybe if they dont get a goal scorer, may drop to Serie C. I have good skill, just being a little over 190.50 cm.. i should be able to head in more then 4 goals (the amount of our leading goal scorer, Biancolino) who is fuse! Plus the team has no pace. I could run circles around them.

    I have seen Boca play and their fans as well. I dont know the reasons behind the actions in Argentina but its a shame that this stuff is becoming more and more common in Italia and Argentina.

  22. I had aspirations to play for Messina, its a, big, but still small club, good to start with as alot of young players do and alot of older players play for teams like this. Now i would like to see what happens to the Serie A. Atalanta and AC Milano have to replay their game behing closed doors, which i think alot of games will start to be.
    Fuse is like the english verson of rubbish.

  23. in Mexico we have a great keeper of 22 years old, now he is the player of the national team but unfortunately he says that he have a pre-contract to sign for Manchester the next year.

  24. If arsene wenger had listened since 2007 he wouldn’t have been in messes. Almunia is just not top quality. Now zcesny can’t be joking with our post. Fabianski is better but needs top quality keeper to compete with. He was winning till he got injured. GOD SAVE MY CLUB, OUR CLUB!
    I mean zcesny on loan fabianski stays with new top quality goalie!

  25. If arsene wenger had listened since 2007 he wouldn’t have been in messes. Almunia is just not top quality. Now zcesny can’t be joking with our post. Fabianski is better but needs top quality keeper to compete with. He was winning till he got injured. GOD SAVE MY CLUB, OUR CLUB!
    I mean zcesny on loan whilst fabianski stays with new top quality goalie!

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