Lehmann is now a Stuttgart player

Jens Lehmann, 38, the crazy old ‘keeper has left Arsenal for VfB Stuttgart on a free.

We all knew this transfer was coming. Lehmann has been out of the team for most of this season and is ageing. Wenger allowed him a farewell 20 minutes at the Grove where he got a standing ovation in the last home game of the season against Everton. That was his last apperance in an Arsenal shirt.

Hopefully Lehmann will be fondly remembered for his antics whilst at Arsenal. He was almost ever present in the unbeaten season of the Invincibles, and played a large part in some of our more recent successes under Wenger.

Although very, very, very temperamental, and generally mental, Lehmann has been a good player for the club. Some dodgy moments aside we should remember him as an eccentric keeper who brought us a period of success.

He said this:

“The talks with the leaders of VfB Stuttgart were very pleasant from the beginning,” he told Stuttgart’s official website.I look forward to Vfb and the Bundesliga and I want to play my part in a successful 2008/2009 season.”

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Flamini In Milan. Highlights Arsenal 1 Everton 0

Highlights here.

The game itself was a little dull, Bendtner got a good headed goal and we won 1-0. Wenger said:

“You could see that it was a little bit an end of season game.”

It was, we played some good, football at times, but nothing special. A few points though:

  1. Song had another solid game at centre back, I like him more everytime I see him.
  2. Jens came on for the last few minutes, obviously a farewell appearance.
  3. Traore came on and did well down the left wing, his cross set up Bendtner’s goal. I wouldn’t be suprised if we see him there next year, he looked exciting!

Gallas Strips At Arsenal, Emirates Stadium

Gallas Gets Naked

The players came out to do a farewell lap of the pitch, Gallas threw his shirt into the crowd just in front of me, I didn’t get it though, Jens staying on afterwards, and getting a standing ovation from the fans. He said:

“I had one or two tears in my eyes, It was a great farewell for me. This farewell will always stay in my heart.”

He has been a great player for, even if he is mental. I hope he does well in the future.

Flamini seemed a little awkward, and it seems he has flown to Milan to agree terms with AC. No suprise there, we could see it coming. Not much we can do, he was fantastic this season, but we’ll just have to find a replacement.

Who Will Be Captain?

Morning All,

It seems Fabianski will get his chance in the next few games, with Lehmann almost definetly leaving this summer.

There’s a report here that Flamini will stay, but until we hear anything official it can’t be a done deal.

There is also some debate over the captaincy see here. Wenger:

“I want to analyse the season after it has finished. At the moment he will be my captain until the end of the season.

“I believe he has learned a lot this year and I can only say that his commitment and desire to do well was exceptional. For the rest, I wouldn’t like to go into any individual assessment at the moment.

If Gallas isn’t captain next season I can’t see him staying. I don’t know who it would go to really, maybe we need to bring in someone who can really lead the team. Love him or hate him, Gallas was good in the first half of the season, but the Birmingham game really sums up what happened to our season and his actions there were not those of a leader.

Who else do we have who can captian a side?

We need some reinforcements, Nick Townsend talks here.

Wenger says he’s targeting to quality players, that might be all we need I think, a winger and a defender, maybe a striker too?

What positions do you think we need to reinforce??

Flamini Contract And Reading Preview

Reading, Saturday 19th April, 1245 KO. Ashburton Grove

I’ll be at this game. Click here for BBC preview.

Line Up

Lehmann

Toure Gallas Song Clichy

Walcott Gilberto Fabregas Hleb

Adebayor Van Persie

There’s a good chance Theo Walcott will get a start today, he has impressed going forward, and now that some of the pressure is lifted maybe Arsene will be thinking a bit more attack minded.

Song will probably start again, unless Wenger has a reshuffle and puts Toure at centre back and Eboue on the right. Senderos probably won’t be back. I think Le Boss wants Song to get some games under his belt to step up for next season. He performed well at the African Cup of Nations so it will be good to see how he does.

Of course Mad Jens is in there as well! Apart from that unchanged.

Coppell commented earlier in the week about changing the Reading line up after their defeat at Craven Cottage, which has been hyped up a lot. Reading have a poor away record, but in the Premiership everyone is good enough to beat anyone on their day, and Reading are scrapping at the bottom of the table. We still have to see this season out so a good performance and plenty of concentration will do fine for me!
We are still linked to loads of players, none of whom we will sign.

Also Wenger had this to say about Flamini’s contract situation:

“We are getting close to ‘yes’ or -no’”

He wants to stay and I believe him. But as long as he has not signed, he is free to sign where he wants. We have set ourselves a target at the end of April to finalise the situation, one way or the other.

“April is an absolute deadline because, afterwards, we have to make decisions in the transfer market. My first target is to keep the team together, but we want to continue to respect our wage structure. That is very important. Flamini has to fit in that.”

This is all good stuff, and I think there’s a good chance he might stay. I know thats what we need.

Here Wenger agress with my opinion that defensive errors have been our problem this season.

Arsene looks ahead to the Reading game:

“Now is a good opportunity for us to show mental strength and to finish as well as we can, as high as we can because second place is still possible.”

This is so true for us, we have to play for our pride and for second spot, if Avram and Chelski beat us to it I won’t be happy.

Anyway, I feel sick, so I’m off. Plus I have a game to get to!

Lehmann To Start Again?

Jens Lehmann will probably start against Reading on Saturday.

Reading Previews here and here.

The 38-year old, will get a chance due to Almunia’s wrist injury.

Almunia is going will for a fitness test this morning according to Arsenal.com, but it is touch and go. Lehmann will most likely play again after being in goal against Man Utd as well.

“Maybe Manuel Almunia will be available, I don’t know. I will make a decision on Friday morning. He got injured in training on the Friday before Manchester. We sent him for a scan and there was an inflammation so he could not play.

“But Flamini is not back, Sagna is not back and Tomas Rosicky is out.”

If Lehmann does play it will probably be one of his last apperances for us, he’s on the way out, because he wants first team football, he hates Almunia playing ahead of him and he has caused such a fuss this year that I think Wenger has to offload him.

‘Mad Jens’ has had ups and downs for us, his early days at the club saw some calamitous mistakes, especially in clearances!

But he was in goal for the whole of the unbeaten season and has seen a lot of success with us. This year his moaning and slagging off of poor old Almunia has been pretty low, but that’s Lehmann, a crazy German really. He had the same sort of rivalry with Oliver Kahn when Kahn was Germany’s No.1. Wrighty7 weighs it all up here.

Anyway, elsewhere, yesterday Lauren said here that if we had a few of our more experienced players (like him?) then we would have won something this season.

“I felt I was still able to contribute to the team. When you have experienced the highs and lows we went through and when you have competed against Chelsea and Manchester United in the past, it helps you in difficult situations not to lose your head.”

Fair point, but that’s not the route we have taken. If we still played Lauren then we wouldn’t have discovered Bacary Sagna, and to be honest I think that the side can now mature together. It’s all very well criticising in hindsight, but I think Wenger has a great record of picking the right time to let players go.

Next year with more experience and a bit more steel I reckon we’ll be mounting a stronger challenge. Remember the sort of football we were playing before Christmas? Amazing stuff. If we can keep our heads down then it could be our year.

Ian Wright has left the BBC (Click here) because he felt like they were using him like a:

“comedy jester to break the ice with Alan Shearer and Alan Hansen “

Those guys are pretty awful sometimes, anyway, good on you Wrighty, good luck on Gladiators!!

Transfer news: we’re linked with the Palermo striker Amauri here. Make what you will of it!

Arsenal

Flamini Out For Three Weeks As Lehmann Rants

Bad injury news today: Flamini will be out for about three weeks Wenger says here.


This is a blow for us. Flamini has been a revelation for us this season and we will miss him. Le Boss says Gilberto will come in. I was hoping Flamini wouldn’t be out long, but it seems Gilberto is going to get his chance. Wenger said:

“It is a big blow but Gilberto has a lot of quality and experience. He will come in. He can help the team recover and focus. Robin van Persie is available. He had two good sessions yesterday and today. He looks to be OK and we’ll see how we go from here. But Bacary Sagna is out.”

So it looks like RVP will start on Sunday, pity about Sagna.

I really think Walcott has warranted a starting place too. He has been really good all season and his inspirational run in midweek really was a big boost for his chances in the first team. His team mates have been praising him here. Kolo says:

“Theo’s run was fantastic, with a great pass at the end. He is a good player and is improving every time. I think he is going to be one of the best players in England.”

Willy Gallas is pretty low after the Liverpool result. Not exactly what you want to hear from the captain before you go into a big game on Sunday. I hope he changes his attitude sooner rather than later. there were doubts about him being captain, maybe these are showing through now we are at a low point in the season. A captian needs to be a leader. Come on Willy..

Lehmann is ranting on about how he would have kept us in the Champions League. Jens is a bit temperamental and after a season fuming on the bench that was probably too much for him. Maybe he was hoping Manuel wouldn’t save the pen. I don’t think it would have made much of a difference anyway, he needs to shut up, pretty soon!

Henry Winter writes here, about how we have to learn to win ‘ugly’. We have heard this before to be honest but it still makes an interesting read.. He also thinks we should have strengthened the squad and I agree to be honest.

Fergie says Manchester United are ready for Arsenal. Ok ok Fergie, blah blah blah.

Alright thanks guys, thats it today!

Gallas Gets Us There

A good 2-0 win over Wigan this weekend. We were without Fabregas (suspended), Flamini (thigh), Diaby (back) and and Gilberto (fatigue). Also we lost Hleb for 3 weeks, these Opta stats on Setanta are interesting.

The match itself was not particularly entertaining. I went down to the Armoury to get a stripy scarf before the kick off, but they were all sold out! They are really popular right now..Its great when all of the North West corner start jumping and swinging them, the atmosphere is improving all the time in Ashburton Grove.

Wigan came out to defend and that is what they did with little in the first half of note. Diarra and Denilson in the centre of the park looked ok, but not as incisive as Fabregas & Flamini who are the centre of the team when they play.. We missed that a bit I felt.

Second half, more and more frustration from the crowd and players.. A dirty tackle on Denilson from Bent a few minutes after a shove was the cause for a bit of a scuffle.. Bent got off with a yellow.. We came close a few times but Wigan still defended well. I started to think we wouldn’t score. Adebayor was very quiet. It looked bad when Walcott went down and was stretchered off after a bad tackle from Heskey, it seems he is ok and not badly injured, he played well which was very pleasing. The Boss brought on Eduardo and Bendtner (who looks very promising). The in the 83rd minute a good passing move saw Gallas play the ball near their area and continue with his run forward, making it to the near post as Sagna put a great cross in.. The header was immense and the celebrations were great, Gallas ran over to us as he seems to a lot now and all was happy, the frustration over, within a minute we broke again, Bendtner making an excellent run and playing it to Rosicky who played a good shot just inside the penalty area in off the post.. Wigan were undone from then and it was a great feeling when we heard Man U lost, so top of the table by 3 points and a game in hand. Not Bad..

I really am warming to Gallas, Toure says here about how great it is to be playing with Gallas as captain! I was sceptical about him but he really is showing his worth. Leading the side, scoring goals when we need them most and looking solid in defence. The resilience and patience of the team is amazing and there is an interview with Wenger here.

Meanwhile, Gilberto going the other way, out of the team with transfer stories rife, the Sun has story on him wanting to go to Juve.

“I would adapt myself well to the Italian league, however Juve should know that I have no intention of starting a war with Arsenal.”

This is fair enough for Gilberto, not in the team now, he obviously wants to play and if that means moving in January so be it. I worry about this as he brings experience and consistency to the team, and while we are playing well it is fine without him in the team, but what happens when we are facing tough opposition with a weakened midfield and little cover. It does seem a bit dodgy, but ‘Arsene knows’ what hes doing!

Our Premiership next game at home is Chelsea on the 16th. That will be a cracker! Cashley Cole says in an article here:

“Compared to what happened to the England guys, I am sure I will get much worse when I go back to Arsenal”

I’m sure he will, he’s a complete idiot and I have very little respect for him. What a *£$%.. Clichy is better than him, as has been shown this year..

Anelka, good on him for the goal on Saturday, has said:

“If you look now at the situation Arsenal are in and look at where I am, then you could say maybe I should have stayed.”

That is so funny, I remember how petulant he was, the whole saga, him joining Real.. What an idiot, now look at him, played for Man City, now Bolton, fighting relegation. Just shows how some players don’t realise how great Arsenal is to be at till they leave. Anyway glad we sold him cause since he left there have been some excellent seasons I wouldn’t change!

Finally a little on the trial of Tresor Mputu, loads of people are reading the articles on this guy, Wneger says here:

“He is a creative player and wants a chance in Europe. He has impressed so far.”

So not giving to much away, that would only fan the flames of speculation, but it sounds interesting, Wenger seems to like him!

See you tomorrow, Sevilla on Tuesday..

Usmanov The Fencer? Theo, Lehmann

Good morning to you all on this most fine Monday, I have to be off by 8.30 so I shall write fast…

The Guardian has done an excellent profile of Alisher Usmanov, the man who desires to gain a controlling stake in Arsenal with Dein through their Red And White Holdings company.. Here’s the summary

There’s coverage about his alleged crimes during the 1980s in the Soviet Union for which he was imprisoned. Usmanov was convicted of financial crimes, but, according to Russian journalists, rape too. In September Schillings, his legal firm, took action to remove similar allegations from the website of Craig Murray, the former British ambassador to Uzbekistan. There are also suggestions of relationships with drug traffickers and questions on his close connections with former KGB. He said:

“You are trying to turn the acquaintance of any Russian with members of the KGB into a crime. This is simply not appropriate.”

Usmanov has investments in a subsidary of Gazprom, owns Metalloinvest and Komersant a newspaper. According to Tom Wise MEP his jail pardon came from heroin trafficker and mafia lord Gafur Rakhimov, apparently his mentor.. Usmanov says he only knew him as he was his parents neighbour!

Then there is the case of the death of the man from the Komersant office building, Ivan Safronov, defence correspondent, which he may be linked to.

He admits he considered buying Spurs, but fell in love with English Football when England won the World Cup 1966!?!

The article suggests that possibly Usmanov is using Arsenal to hedge his bets in case of any sudden decline of fortune in the former Soviet Union countries for him as Putin rounds on oligarchs in Russia.

Also he competed on the Uzbek Fencing team.

All I hope is that he keeps hands off Arsenal and away from England, it would be a bad day for Arsenal. The board have entered a lockdown on selling shares for the next few years, which is good as this prevents him increasing his 23% stake. The slogan goes – Love Arsenal – Hate Usmanov, I couldn’t agree more…

Moving on! Website ‘The Voice’ has an article about Pele being an Arsenal fan saying

“Arsenal are my favourite team right now and I think they are the best performing team in the Premier League.”

Its always nice to get praise, especially from one of the World’s most famous players of the beautiful game.. You just have to hope thought that:

1. This sort of praise doesn’t go to the teams heads and they keep playing well.

2. That the team doesn’t get too much hype too early on in the season..

SkySports report that Lehmann has received praise for his performance in the Cyprus match.. It seems to me that Low really wants Lehmann to be playing first team football at Arsenal so he can justify playing him for Germany. A lot of the debate surrounding the transfer has involved Lehmann’s international career, which he probably sees ending after Euro 2008, so he is probably desparate to play more, having been stuck behind Oli Kahn for all those years.. In any case, fair play to Lehmann, and he did make some good saves.

Duncan White says that Theo is the future for England and that McClaren should play him against Croatia. McClaren has obviously not agreed with this view because the Scum’s £16million, 40 goal a season, world class hitman, flop, Darren Bent has been called up…… Anyway enough of that, the article still makes interesting reading, and some good points about Walcott.

“Just playing has been giving me more confidence. If I get more games, I’m sure I can improve further.” Theo

This is what we want to hear from him, the more he scores and plays the more confident he looks and I think he has a bright future as long as he keeps his head down.. The guy is bloody quick.. Interestingly one of my mates played against him at schoolboy level a few years ago.. He told me that they just got the fastest guy on the team and the harshest tackler to mark him and he ran the show.. Anyway…

It looks like Steve Bruce will become Wigan manager today, so I guess we will see him in charge for the first time against us on Sat…

Also according to the Guardian Willy and his French chums were sharing a glass of champagne as Scotland’s defeat ensured their Euro 2008 qualification.

That’s all, I’m off for a jaunt, enjoy this most grey of Mondays and the cold weather…

Walcott’s Rage, Lehmann Crazy

Firstly a very strange article here about Jens making insulting gestures to fans during Germany’s 4-0 win over Cyprus.. Apparently he claims he was scratching his head. I don’t know why he would have done anything like that.. Jens is a bit mad but that just seems random, unless he was being abused by the fans??? I didn’t watch the game but I’ll have a look on the net later to see if there are any videos of it!

Also Chelsea have been linked with Luka Modric in several papers, some claiming we have also joined the race as we have been interested for a long time.

The Mail here has an article about Theo’s ranting at Milner and Stuart Pierce while claiming his penalty on Friday evening, Psycho says it shows his coming of age!! The Guardian also has coverage here.

Also the Scum have been linked with loads of players all over the place, Villa is apparently coming, as well as the Beast, who Ramos worked with at Sevilla, if he plays like he did for us then I would be happy for them to sign him. Also the People have an article about how David Comolli, our ex-scout, now their Director of Football wants to sign Diaby, Denilson and Traore. I doubt this, although the £7 million price tag on Diaby could be good if he is really desparate to leave.. In any case I can’t see why we would let any of those players go to Spurs….

Not too much else going on, Scotland lost out on the Euro 2008 finals last night through a late Italian goal to make it 2-1, and Israel beat Russia 2-1 to give Engalnd an undeserved chance of qualifying.

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