Saturday, March 26, 2011

Arsenal FC: Could Jens Lehmann add Leadership to the Gunners?

Arsenal's Manuel Almunia made a number of important saves in the games against Barcelona and Manchester United and has the opportunity to establish himself as the no.1 keeper for the Gunners. The injuries to the in-form Lukasz Fabianski and talented Wojciech Szczesny has provided the opportunity for the forgotten Spaniard to show his quality. However he might have to fight for his place with none other than his old rival Jens Lehmann for the place.

Lehmann was training with his former club in England in order to gain his coaching badges but is apparently ready to answer Arsene Wenger's call for an emergency keeper signing. The injuries to Fabianski and Szczesny which have ruled them out for more than two months have left Wenger with few options and young James Shea made the bench against Manchester United.

The German goalkeeper retired this season after a two year spell with Stuttgart and looked set for gaining experience for being a goalkeeping coach at Arsenal. However the tendon injury to Szczesny has meant Wenger has to sign an emergency keeper and he did admit that he had a keeper in mind. Though he did not reveal the name, the media reports are concurring that the keeper most likely to join the Gunners on a short term contract is Jens Lehmann.

Lehmann is regarded as one of the finest keepers for Arsenal in the last decade and many supporters believe that Wenger failure to replace him with a top notch goalkeeper is one of the reasons for the title drought. The German was excellent in the 2003-04 "Invincibles" season which was the last time that Arsenal won the Premier League. With only 10 games to go in the League, the Gunners have a good chance of regaining the trophy after seven years.

At the age of 41, it is expected that he will not be possessing the same quality that he showed in his prime. But he has the experience of winning titles and his mentality will add something different to the dressing room and he will be of great help to Wenger in inspiring the Gunners who are currently down on confidence.

He has made mistakes in the past but if he still has good fitness, it will be an intelligent decision by Wenger to sign Lehmann. There are not many good options for a good emergency keeper and he might have had to sign a Championship keeper. However, Lehmann has vast Premiership experience and will instruct the defenders on what to do in tricky situations. He has excellent leadership qualities and that is exactly what the Gunners need in this situation.

He might not be the ideal keeper that Arsenal require to win the League but he will certainly be an important member in the squad and as Sol Campbell showed in the previous season, a leader will always be useful in these title run-ins.

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