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Arsenal stick with Manuel Almunia despite Jens Lehmann's return

There’s going to be one almighty sour Kraut training with Arsenal at London Colney today after manager Arsene Wenger revealed that Jens Lehmann will not be automatically recalled to first team duty.

For what it’s worth, I agree with the Le Gaffer on this one, but purely from the point of view that the arrogance of Mad Jens seems to be out of control at the moment, as he thinks he should be able to walk straight back into the team.

Manuel Almunia isn’t my favourite keeper in the world, but he’s done a decent job for us since he was given his break. And let’s not forget Lehmann’s two blunders in the first two games of the season - the second of which against Blackburn cost us the only two points we’ve dropped so far. We haven’t heard a murmur from Jens about his howlers, just lots of chest beating about how he is the best.

One of his jibes at his fellow stopper was that Almunia had never won a big game for Arsenal. Well, with the win away at Tottenham, a London derby victory over West Ham (who did the double over the Gunners last season), three Champions League triumphs and six clean sheets, I think Almunia quite rightly can turn around to Lehmann and tell him to shove it.

The bottom line on this, however, is that we Gooners should be happy that there is such a rivalry for the goalkeeper position, as it will surely mean that the players will work harder to try to impress the manager.

Speaking to Arsenal TV Online yesterday, Wenger confirmed he would be sticking with Almunia in goal for the visit of Bolton tomorrow...

“At the moment I will go for stability,” said Le Boss, although I presume he wasn’t talking about Lehmann’s frame of mind. “Jens has just come back and has not played for us - he has played just for Germany.”

Nice to see that Arsene sees Arsenal as a bigger and better team than the Germans - spot on! And he added, “[Jens] will come back and fight to gain his place and I find that is the best solution.”

Couldn’t have put it better myself Prof. The true test in all this will be if Lehmann’s ego can take the rebuff. He’s been a good servant to the club, but I’ll come back to the word that Wenger used - stability. Lehmann can be completely barking at times and I have my doubts that he’ll be able to stomach sitting on the bench.

There have been rumours that he’s seeking a move back to Germany to play out his final years and maybe the selection of Almunia tomorrow, when Lehmann has gone out so publicly stating he is fit, he is the best and he expects to start the game, will be the final straw for Jens.

Personally I hope not. I believe Lehmann is the better of the two keepers (although I think the Pole in the goal, Lukasz Fabianski, has the potential to be the best of the lot) and maybe a little lesson in humility will do Jens power of good as he seeks to win back his starting place.

What do you think? Should Jens Lehmann start for Arsenal tomorrow? Is Arsene Wenger right to stick with Manuel Almunia? And will Jens now put in a transfer request, or will he prove his worth by showing Wenger in training that he remains the club’s No.1?

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Posted by Gordon Masson on October 19, 2007 12:00 PM in News| Players
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Nooooo... What is the Boss doing!! Fair enough Jens is a little mad at times but MY GODDDDD!!!!!!!! Almunia is an awful goalkeeper who is a million miles from his national team! Playing a team like Bolton I'm certain we need someone of Jens's experience... Perhaps Wengers playing a psycological mind game with Jens so that when he comes back in between the sticks he'll be better than ever!

I hope really Wengers decision is the right one and I'd certainly be more than happy to eat humble pie as Wenger is very rarely wrong!

Posted by: Karlos de Flores | October 19, 2007 2:00 PM

I can't believe he's not playing the number 1 goalie. It's completely crazy. Almunia has been saved by the defense and unstable and nervous. Jens has the strength to scare the crap out of Bolton.

This is worriesome.

Posted by: Renae | October 19, 2007 11:09 PM

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