It was never going to be a classic game given the dead-rubber nature of the contest from an Arsenal perspective but there were enough nice moments to give the home fans a decent show in the final game of the season at Emirates Stadium.
For those who missed it, Nicklas Bendtner scored the only goal of the game on 77 minutes to ensure that Arsene Wenger’s side came away with a 1-0 win against Everton which means they will finish the Premiership campaign with an unbeaten home record. Good stuff.
Away from the goal there weren’t too many other highlights apart from a late cameo appearance from Jens Lehmann in what will surely be his last game for the club. The German goalkeeper was given a substitute appearance by the manager to give the fans an opportunity to say thank-you and goodbye to a player who has given it his all for Arsenal during his five-year stay at the club. The big fellow was quite sentimental following the match and thanked the fans for their support.
“The moment at the end was an amazing feeling for me – after five years and a lot of emotional moments. It was a great farewell for me and I am really grateful to the supporters and they will always stay in my heart.”
While Lehmann essentially signed his death warrant when he openly criticised Manuel Almunia in the early part of the season I feel he deserves a lot of credit for the performances he has put in during his five-year stay at the club. If you watch the interview I’ve linked to above you can see how genuinely proud he is to have been such a big part of the Arsenal Football Club.
On a personal level he has been a great favourite of mine over the years and achieved some wonderful success as well. His penalty save against Villarreal will always be remembered as will the general craziness and entertainment value he brought to the game on a consistent basis. In a sport where players are becoming more and more like robots it’s important to have characters to keep things interesting and Lehmann has always done things his way, something which should not be forgotten in a hurry. I wish him all the best both at Euro 2008 and for the future.
So Jens is off and it is almost certain now that Mathieu Flamini will be following him out the door this summer. Indeed, reports suggest that he may have already left for Italy with AC Milan’s vice-president Adriano Galliani claiming that the Frenchman is set to sign a four-year deal with the club within a couple of days should he pass his medical.
I’ll comment on this one a little bit more when the move is made official but in the meantime I just want to convey how disappointed I will be when Flamini eventually does sign for Milan. For me he has been the revelation of the season in England and the most consistent Arsenal player during the entire campaign and I feel he will be very, very difficult to replace.
As for a replacement I think it’s fair to say that the player who is eventually brought in will be someone of an unknown quantity – anything else and I would be quite surprised. Could it be Lille’s Jean Makoun who comes in? As always, we’ll have to wait and see. More tomorrow.
What do you think?
Have your say on Crazy Jens’ final game, Flamini’s immenant departure or the potential of Makoun signing by leaving a comment.