Posts Tagged ‘Jens Lehmann

18
Jun
08

Lehmann’s secret recipe

If there’s a bright side to Euro 2008, it’s got to be former Arsenal (and current Germany) goal keeper Jens Lehmann: he’s crazier than a shit-house rat as we like to say over here.

Yesterday he revealed that he’s given Germany his secret recipe for stopping Ronaldo when Germany face Portugal on Thursday. I’m always skeptical of people claiming to be a “such and such stopper,” like when former Seattle Super Sonics dud Ruben Patterson famously claimed to be the “Kobe Stopper.” If I remember correctly, Kobe Bryant put up, like, 45 points in one game against the Kobe Stopper that year. The point is, these types of stories almost always backfire on the braggart.

But Jens is slightly different. Shall we say, special? In the 2006 World Cup, after Germany defeated Argentina on penalties (with Jens saving two shots) the crazy German pulled a piece of paper out of his sock. On that paper were notes on which direction to dive to save the Argentine penalty takers.

Furthermore, his claim about stopping Ronaldo is based in fact. As I have pointed out here several times, Arsenal have effectively neutralized Ronaldo when the two clubs have met. The linked article above puts Arsenal at only allowing 4 goals from 11 meetings — with his last goal against Arsenal coming off a penalty. Honestly, I’m not sure that any of his 4 goals against Arsenal have come from the run of play. Regardless, pretty clearly, Wenger’s got Ronaldo’s number.

And what is the secret? I think it’s putting a defender in a wing position and having your holding midfielder stay with Ronaldo at all times to limit touches. Then when he does get a touch, the fullback pushes him outside. This limits Ronaldo’s creativity because the touch line acts like a second defender. As long as you keep him near the touch line, you limit him.

No doubt, Ronaldo will have heard Lehmann’s braggadocio and will be pinning the article up in his locker for inspiration. I wish I could take the day off to watch the game now, honestly.

Squad News

Barcelona is preparing to undercut Inter in the race to sign Adebayor. Yes, that’s right, Barcelona are prepared to offer LESS money in a sneaky attempt to fool Arsenal into letting Adebayor go. Barca heard Arsenal say “Ade is worth £32m” and responded with “how about… £24m?” Obviously, Arsenal are going to have to take the offer, it’s a dream come true! They have to sell Adebayor quickly and cheaply because if they don’t, Spurs might beat them to it, what with Barcelona rumored to be after Bobblehead too.

If you didn’t get a chance to see van Persie’s “stunning” goal you can see it in that link there. Uhh, not to take anything away from Robin, but the keeper should have dealt with that ball easily. But that’s what you get in these international competitions: mediocre play hyped as “greatness.”

Albiol’s agent moved quickly to say that Arsenal are not after his player and that his player is happy in Spain. Yes! Another player NOT going to Arsenal. That list is getting pretty long now, isn’t it?

You would think that the press would give up after they have literally gotten every story and rumor wrong so far, but no. Why let a few miserable failures get you down? They are now linking Inler to Arsenal. Expect the denial to follow in 3… 2….

Premier League News

David Bentley is hoping to move to Spurs. Ohpleasegodletthisbetrue. I can’t wait for Arsenal to stomp all over Bentley in a Spurs uniform.

Meanwhile, the English Parliament, not to be outdone by the U.S. Congress’ investigation into American sports and hoping to head off the insanity of Michel Platini and the European Parliament, are planning to form the kangaroo court of kangaroo courts. I don’t care what they’re investigating, I just want to see the testimony of their list of people that they are inviting:

  • Hicks and Gillette — to testify about their stormy relationship. Perhaps we’ll finally clear up who gets custody of the luxury box in the divorce.
  • Thaksin Shinawatra — because everyone loves to hear from an accused human rights violator turned sports owner.
  • Former Chelsea manager and raving lunatic Jose Mourinho. His testimony alone will be comedy gold.
  • Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini — awesome, I need something to write about.
  • Jose Canseco and Roger Clemens — why not?
  • The lord Jesus Christ
  • His best friend and personal confidant George W. Bush
  • That lady who runs the chip shop in Manchester.
  • And, to round everything off, testimony from Colin Powell on where exactly Liverpool are hiding the weapons of mass destruction.

It should be full of awesome and win. I can’t wait to read about it.

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05
May
08

Arsenal 1-0 Everton: the Good, the Bad, the Ugly

The Good: a 1-0 winner. Arsenal haven’t had a 1-0 win since December 16th when they beat Chelsea at the Grove. Hell, they’ve only had 5, 1-0 wins in all competitions this year! So, to hear the fans proudly get to sing “one-nil-to the Arsenal!” was kind of fun. The defense kept a clean sheet and looked pretty good doing so. Some people will put it down to it being an “end of season game” but Everton was still playing for a UEFA cup spot and I think they wanted at least a point from the match. Other people might point to the fact that Arsenal won because Everton was missing Cahill and Arteta, which would be like if Arsenal were missing Fabregas and Flamini… which they were. So, full credit to the defense for the 1-0 win.

I’d also like to single out Alex Song here; he’s doing a hell of a job deputizing in central defense. He’s playing the role of attacking defender (watch how he’s very aggressive on defense) to a tee and his understanding of how that position works belies his years. But the thing I think I was most impressed with was his forays forward. There was one play where he carried the ball forward, dribbled around the midfield, and then played in a very neat ball. I have to wonder aloud if he’ll be the person to fill Flamini’s shoes? I guess we’ll find out, that will have to be one of the stories of next season won’t it? A 20 year old taking over holding midfielder? That would be a hell of a story.

Jens… At the 70th minute, Wenger subbed out Fabianski and put in Jens Lehmann for his very last appearance for Arsenal. Thanks Jens, you crazy f*cker, I’ll never forget the Champions League run, the unbeaten season, or any of a half dozen crazy antics that you pulled. Hats off to you for all you’ve done. After the match an emotional Jens had this to say

My biggest memory was probably the Real Madrid game at home, when we played 0-0. Then of course the FA Cup Final and then there was the game we became champions at Tottenham. I was together with Sol Campbell we were the only players who felt disappointed in the dressing-room because we didn’t know we were champions by this time. We had conceded a goal just at the end and it finished 2-2. That was a very, very emotional moment for me. But, I said before, there are more memories than only just playing, there is the reception of the supporters. The respectful kindness of the supporters.

Oh hell, you big softie, come here and get a hug.

In the what the hell? Traore was off the hook as left winger. He came on about the same time that Jens did and made an immediate impact on the match. Is this another preview of next season? If that’s the case, Arsene will have Eduardo, Traore, Hleb, Vela, Walcott, Rosicky, Diaby, and Eboue to fill the wing spots. I think buying a winger is right out. Especially if Traore can play like yesterday for a good spell of games. He looked fantastic and was the one who put in the cross that Bendtner lazily headed home. It was a shockingly good display from the left wing. Color me pleasantly surprised.

The Bad: HEY! Why didn’t Cesc play on his birthday? Too damn hungover? Don’t give me that “he’s injured” crap, I got my Fabregas kit out, waited until 8 am to watch the game on tape delay, I wanted to see him play! Damnit. Oh well, happy birthday little buddy, I guess I’ll have to adjust my phrase now and start saying “he’s only 21.”

Theo. It just seems like his teammates don’t look for him. Forget about the fact that he didn’t have a very good game, it wasn’t his best performance. There were several times where Theo would be wide open and his teammates would look for someone else to make the pass to. Maybe he’s not getting himself into the right position to receive the ball, I don’t know. But it looks to me like his teammates are freezing him out and that’s a really worrying sign. I’d hate to lose the kid as I think he’s going to be a real special talent. Hopefully, the off season will get him up to speed and get the team looking for him.

Bendtner had a nice Sunday stroll, sniffed the flowers, sunned himself in the 18 yard box, found a ball and headed it home. Then he needed a nap, the exertion of scoring the goal was too much excitement for him.

The Ugly: Following AC Milan’s triumph over Inter in the Milan derby and subsequent securing of fourth place and thus, Champions League football for next season, Matthieu Flamini fucked off to Milan for a physical and to try some of their famous gelatto. I’ll say good luck for what you delivered in your time at Arsenal but I’ll also say that I hope your replacement gives you a good lump when we meet Milan in the Champions League next season.

Arsenal have successfully drummed it into our heads by now that there isn’t any money for transfers. It’s now looking like £25m… minus any contract renegotiations. With Wenger focused on trying to save Hleb and Gilberto that means one signing, max this summer. This isn’t ugly to me, but I fear that some of the bandwagon Arsenal fans might turn up the heat on Wenger and Arsenal and that might get ugly. I heard some Everton supporter saying that people are calling for Wenger to get fired. That’s a load of Tottenham, that is. I don’t know a single real Arsenal supporter calling for the termination of the greatest manager that Arsenal have had in the modern era. So, let’s put this ugly rumor to bed: Arsene Wenger has a job for life at Arsenal. He has been instrumental not just in football terms (winning 7 major trophies) but in terms of doing what the board need in order to make Arsenal a club that can not just survive but compete against billionaires. Wenger isn’t going anywhere, folks. This crap about him wearing out his welcome is either Tottenham propaganda or spread by people who LITERALLY have Spurs for brains.

So, if you’re one of those people, please stop for Christ’s sake.

See you tomorrow.

10
Apr
08

madness

I got something in my eye

Kicking off the post meltdown madness, our old friend Jens Lehmann has decided to let it be known loud and clear that he’s a bitter old man. I swear the press wait for any slight slip in Arsenal’s form to seek comment from Lehmann and so the prospect of getting juicy new quotes following the defeat at Anfield must have been dizzyingly exciting. And boy did he deliver!

On Almunia:

To be sitting on the bench behind somebody who only started to play when he was 30 is not funny. I am very angry.  FIRE BAD!!  JENS ANGRY!

On Wenger:

If the coach had spoken to me before the start of the season then I would have been able to decide if I wanted to sit on the bench. PLAY JENS EVERY GAME OR JENS SQUISH SKINNY COACH! He has a different opinion and I don’t really believe he can be happy with it.

On Arsenal getting kicked out of the Champions League:

For me personally, it is a tragedy, HURRRGARBBLE JENS ANGRY MUST KILL! particularly since I did not have a chance to prevent it.

Yes Jens, it is a personal tragedy for you that Arsenal lost at Anfield. And yes, Jens, Almunia is not as funny as you. And yes, Jens, Wenger plotted your demise, it wasn’t the lapse in concentration in your first two games and the complete disorganization of the defense when you were in the sticks, instead it was a conspiracy. A vicious plot to keep the greatest keeper of all time repressed. I’m sure it has something to do with the fact that Wenger is French, and you know, the whole World Wars I and II thing…

In true tragic fashion it’s never the others who cause the downfall, it’s always the hero, and Jens has done more than his fair share to cause his own downfall. From member of the invincibles, to Champions League goat, to mouthy, petulant, baby; you brought it all on yourself Jens and yet your hubris won’t let you admit it.

As Shakespeare once said to King Lear, please just shut up.

Speaking of petulant, mouthy, whining former Arsenal players… current media darling David Bentley has admitted that he had a gambling problem. Now, as soon as I read that I literally prayed that he’s the player involved in the match throwing scandal. No word yet, but if there’s a god…

Another tidbit that comes out of the article is that he was deep into his addiction while at Arsenal and that gambling and not football was his passion:

I would wake up in the morning and the first thing I would think about would be to have a bet rather than play football. All I wanted was to have a bet.

And just last week he was urging Theo to leave Arsenal because “Wenger never gives youngsters a chance and moving was what saved mycareer.” You’re a lying little sack of shit aren’t you David? You had the talent to play at Arsenal and you blew it on gambling. Well, here’s to a short and terrible career.

And finally, of course the press are all in a frenzy with the “I told you so’s” about how shitty Arsenal was going to be this year. Yes, their dire predictions of a 5th-8th place finish for Arsenal have finally come true and a half season of hand wringing as Arsenal took the top of the league can finally and gladly come to an end. My favorite part though is how some of the papers have decided to help Arsenal out with some friendly advice about who they should have bought this summer and in January. Here’s a smattering of their suggestions:

Johnathan Woodgate: yeah, after his “impressive” stint at Boro (following 9 appearances in three years for Real Madrid) he would have been the perfect signing. I see Woody’s “resurgence” as a sign of just how appalling Tottenham’s defense is rather than how impressive he has been. Woodgate, the stalwart defender who let in 4 goals against Chelsea. He’s the perfect replacement for Senderos!

Jermaine Defoe: surely this is a joke. First Woody and now Defoe? Why not just transplant the entire Tottenham squad? Then Arsenal would be assured a spot in the middle of the table.

Lassana Diarra: Diarra was only in the squad 6 months before he started having a go at the manager. Can the kid play? Sure, but do you want someone on the team who stirs up trouble (other than Jens, because he’s so funny!)? It would be nice to have some cover for Flamini, but remember that Diarra wanted to start ahead of Flamini.  He pretty much refused to play cover for Flamini and let the whole world know about his dissatisfaction with the situation. Letting Diarra go was the right decision.

Ribery: fair suggestion, he has been tearing up the Bundesliga and a scoring right winger is needed: English players need not apply.

Igor Akineev: who? Oh some keeper. Meh. Almunia has been fine. Almunia didn’t lose Hyypia on a corner kick. Almunia didn’t tug down Babel. I rather like Almunia, but then, I know fuck all about keepers. So maybe this is a good suggestion and maybe it’s just shit stirring and grasping at straws. When in doubt, it’s usually the latter with the British press.

I don’t know why we haven’t seen the “Why didn’t Arsenal buy Torres and Babel and Drogba and Essien?” story yet. I guess we’ll have to give them time, after all the feeding frenzy has just begun.

Until tomorrow!

28
Mar
08

Bolton v. Arsenal preview

Bolton.

3 years in a row now Arsenal have lost to Bolton.

Bolton.

Arsenal’s Premier League season now hinges on winning an away match to one of the dirtiest teams to ever disgrace a football pitch.

Bolton. Ugh…

There is a ray of hope here though. Bolton no longer have Sam Allardyce and there can be no doubt that Bolton’s home form against Arsenal was largely (pun intended) a product of the Fat Man. Bolton also let Anelka go this January (which prompted me to predict relegation) and they have really missed his presence. So much so that the second leading scorer on the squad (behind Anelka) is midfielder, skipper, and hard man, Kevin Nolan. Unfortunately for Bolton fans Kevin Nolan won’t be on the pitch tomorrow either, because he is serving a suspension for his 10th yellow of the season.

No Sam, No Nicholas, no Nolan: a walk in the park right? No way.

Bolton are fighting against relegation and players like Davies (7 yellow cards) and Diouf (10 yellow cards) are not going to roll over and let Arsenal tickle their tummies. I fully expected the nasty game to be the one against Chelsea and it turned out to be a pretty fair match between the two — by recent standards. And now, with Bolton and Arsenal at opposite ends of the table but their respective seasons hanging in the balance I’m going to have to move the tense match to tomorrow. Throw in 3 years of bitter history, a depleted Bolton squad which will force them to ugly up the game, and it could very well explode.

Or… Arsenal could score early and put them to bed.

Personally, I’m hoping for the latter. The longer Arsenal wait to score, the more belief will creep into the Bolton side… then, one ball hoofed up to a speedy Diouf and… damn, I don’t want to think about it.

Fortunately, it looks like Wenger has studied the tapes of the last 5 matches and is calling for a defensive renaissance.

I believe we will do it but we need to get back to our defensive stability. We were leading with 20 minutes to go at Chelsea and then surrendered it. What we produced defensively was just not us: we can do much better than that.

Yes. “Defense wins championships” we say here in America (because our sports don’t have draws) and in this case it’s true.  Arsenal need to shore up their defense, stat.

It’s important to note, however, that while Wenger was reminding the team to tighten up their defense, he was also giving 100% support to William Gallas. So, while he’s calling out William to lead the team, to lead the defense, he’s not doing it in such a way as to undermine the squad.

Some Arsenal supporters (me included) would do well to take note of this technique. It’s too easy to slide into attacking and blaming when the team has a slump in form. But that’s when the team need us most — supporting.

And so, Bolton tomorrow at 8am PST in a potentially tense match. It would be a nice match to see Arsenal regain their form, wouldn’t it? No one needs reminding that Arsenal have three tough tests against Liverpool next week, do they?

The match is live on Setanta, which normally means me at the pub at 8am, but I’m busy tomorrow and so I’ll have to watch the replay at 5pm.  Here’s to a break-out match for Arsenal, a 7-0 thrashing, and everyone goes home unhurt!   Hell, I’ll take three points and everyone unhurt.

Until then, kickers…

p.s. The Madness of King Kev has struck again! There’s a story that he wants to sign former Gunner, Reyes. Um, Kev? He’s a striker who scored 16 goals in 69 appearances. And when he wasn’t taking up space on the pitch? He was bitching about the weather or the physical play of the PL. Come on, this story HAS to be a fake, right?

p.p.s. The Madness of Jens Lehmann has struck as well! 20 years ago this would have been a non-story but in these day and times, feeding non-alcoholic beer to a toddler is probably a crime. It’s a real shame that, I remember my dad gave me beer when I was very young AND I TURNED OUT FINE.

Cheers.




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