If Lehmann goes, how will he be replaced?

If Lehmann goes, how will he be replaced?

It seems like the entire Arsenal squad has had something positive to say in the aftermath of their seven-goal demolition of Slavia Prague.

Walcott will always draw comparisons to HenryThe man who has been in all the headlines after scoring twice in his first start of the season is 18-year-old striker Theo Walcott and he had some things to say about being compared to Thierry Henry. Walcott is blessed with the same pace as his former teammate and the second goal he scored against Slavia was typical of an Henry in full flight. Despite this, Walcott was quick to distance himself from the Frenchman and empasised that he is very much his own man.

“People are going to compare the second goal to Thierry but it was my own goal. People are always going to compare me to Thierry – the way I run and everything – but as I keep saying I will be my own player.”

And so he should be. The comparisons with Henry will always exist but as long as Walcott does not feel burdened by them he will continue to develop well. If he can be even half the player that Henry was in his prime then I think the fans will be pretty happy with that. Unlike a couple of readers of the blog, I wasn’t expecting Arsene Wenger to start Walcott up front on Tuesday night and it was just great to see him play so well and grab a couple of goals. It will be interesting to see whether Wenger continues with Walcott against Liverpool on the weekend. I have an inkling that he may revert back to Eduardo da Silva for the unpredictability factor but whoever it turns out to be, I’m confident they can get the job done.

Adebayor knows scoring goals isn’t everythingStrikers in a positive mood

The one player who will almost definitely start up front against Liverpool is the ever-reliable Emmanuel Adebayor. The big man had another good game against Slavia Prague despite failing to get on the scoresheet, and spoke about the importance of the team over any one player.

“For me I think it’s one of the best performances we have made, playing the way we did and enjoying ourselves. The most important thing is for the team to win. No matter if it is me that gets injured or like Robin has done, the players that come in have to do something special.”

Regular readers of the blog know how much I like Adebayor and this type of comment just makes me smile. For him to be so happy with performance after a game in which his side scored seven goals and he did not even get one says a lot about his mentality towards the rest of his team. It also suggests that he knows his role in the team is not just about goalscoring, but about working hard to create opportunities for the players around him, something he again did well against Slavia.

Another player who has been waxing lyrical about Arsenal’s squad, albeit before injuring his knee, was Robin van Persie. The Dutch striker recorded an interview with Sport Magazine before his injury and revealed that he believes the current Arsenal team is the best that he has played for.

“The present team is by far the best I’ve ever played in. Most analysis bases quality on status but we have a good young team without status or years of experience. We’re technically tremendously good.”

The way he talks sometimes you get the impression that he’s about to explode with pride about the club he plays for. Even despite the obvious bias, he does touch on a nice point about the tendency for football analysts to judge sides based on their reputation or status rather than the actual quality of the players. When you consider that van Persie came to the club when the likes of Henry, Bergkamp, Pires and Ljungberg were all still part of the side you realise how big a compliment he is making about his current teammates. Whether they can turn their technical ability into trophies remains to be seen but if the side can continue to build on their good start then they have every chance of doing so.

Will Almunia remain first-choice for the rest of the season?The great goalkeeper debate

One man who is proving more important to the side than many people would have expected at the start of the season is Manuel Almunia. He has played twelve games so far this season and kept a remarkable nine clean sheets during his time in goal, despite constant criticism from his goalkeeping rival and “teammate” Jens Lehmann. Almunia responded to Lehmann’s latest comments and spoke about how much he has been enjoying his time as Arsenal’s starting goalkeeper.

“If I read the papers and listen to what other people say about me and all these things I will turn crazy. I don’t want that. When I’m playing well I honestly don’t mind other things. Now for me life is fantastic and I want to take my chance.”

There are still many people that doubt Almunia’s ability to perform at the top level but after his good performances and Lehmann’s comments there is certainly no reason why he should be dropped at the moment. There is a high probability that Lehmann will be out of the club when the transfer window reopens and if that’s the case then Arsene Wenger will have to bring a third goalkeeper to the club. The big query will be whether or not he believes Almunia has what it takes to be first-choice on a long-term basis and if he not, it will be interesting to see who Wenger brings in.

The suggestion has been made that Almunia could continue as number one for the rest of this season and then Lukasz Fabianski could take over a year later. If that is the case then I doubt Wenger will break the bank to bring in a superior goalkeeper to the other two. If he believes that Almunia isn’t good enough on a long-term basis (as many readers of the blog would agree) and Fabianski is not quite ready yet, then a top notch goalkeeper will need to be purchased. If he brings in a top quality goalkeeper then it could force Fabianski into playing the waiting game for longer than he may have originally expected. Either way, a lot will depend upon Lehmann’s reaction to the recent comments made by Wenger and the performances of Almunia. If the Spaniard can produce the goods against Liverpool and Manchester United in the coming weeks then the picture will no doubt be a lot clearer – and it won’t look good for Lehmann or indeed, perhaps, Fabianski.

What do you think?

Have your say on today’s post by leaving a comment.

39 Responses to “If Lehmann goes, how will he be replaced?”

  1. MexicanGunner
    October 26, 2007 at 8:43 am #

    Sunday is the real test for Almunia, honestly we just see him against one big team (Barca)and of course all of us think that hes not good for big teams so Sunday he can shout all our mouths!!

    I hope to see Walcott at the start

  2. CHRIS
    October 26, 2007 at 9:50 am #

    have never really compared theo with thierry. theo is much too short for that sort of comparison. haha. i just got this logic from the messi-maradona deal, talents both juxtaposed initially because of their size. anyway, our boy theo shouldn’t let all the pressure get to him, he should settle according to his own pace. i sure am glad with his improvement, i have to say.

  3. CHRIS
    October 26, 2007 at 9:55 am #

    ~with RVP, he has so much positive energy. i can’t wait for him to be fit and be back to the squad.

    ~i’m sure ade will start in the scouser match. no doubt. i’m feeling a bi confident, with liverpool being in bad shape and all – gerrard playing like crap, alonso still not 100% fit, torres totally not fit, hyypia’s head being inside his ass, rafa’s rotational system gone awry, and whatnot.

  4. CHRIS
    October 26, 2007 at 9:58 am #

    i don’t believe sunday will be the test for almunia. i think the MANUre match will be.

  5. Spanish Fry
    October 26, 2007 at 10:15 am #

    Fair points, Chris. I think if Arsenal can take three points away from Liverpool and go into the match against United still clear on top and with a game in hand, it will make a world of difference. The boys will be able to play with the same confidence that they have played with so far this season and it could be too much for United. A couple of great games are coming up, no doubt about it.

  6. Ronaldo7
    October 26, 2007 at 10:33 am #

    im getting pumped for this united vs arsenal game……united are looking sooooo hot right now even with all there injuries….they have continued where they left off last season but with a better squad….european glory and world glory for united….watch out arsenal the kids will be taught a footballing lesson

  7. Spanish Fry
    October 26, 2007 at 10:36 am #

    What footballing lesson is that? I also can’t wait for the game and I can’t wait for Arsenal to get the points. As I said, Manchester United will be in big trouble if Arsenal can get three points against Liverpool because all the pressure will be on them. You could be trailing us by five points and a game in hand if things don’t go your way.

  8. Ronaldo7
    October 26, 2007 at 10:41 am #

    this is a experienced hard battled side united have……at home they will not lose to arsenal….will be interesting to see what happens wtiht he liverpool game….is it at the emirates ? if so id say arsenal should have enough to beat liverpool unless torress plays

  9. One_Touch_Genius
    October 26, 2007 at 11:15 am #

    Ronaldo7 our game against liverpool is at Anfield whereas we are at the Emirates for Man U. If we do the business against Pool theres no reason to suggest we can’t take 3 points at home against a United team that SHOULD come to play football, thats the only threat Arsenal face…

  10. CHARLIE
    October 26, 2007 at 12:15 pm #

    I hate to say this,but Lehmann is one of the best keepers around. However, it is about the team this year; not another inividual. Almunia is okay, not world class. More importantly,like Flamini and the rest of the gang, team work and being part of a team. That’s the theme for the season. I feel Lehmann if he plays will be a disruptive influence; he should go now!

  11. LB
    October 26, 2007 at 12:49 pm #

    Almunia is the man to replace Lehmann based on current form. He keeps the defence calm. Notice how we are not so vulnerable on set-pieces any more? I also think Wenger will start with Theo. With Hyypia at the back, it’s worth the “gamble”. Liverpool will be very nervous, they are not playing well. Their only hope is high balls to Crouch who is guaranteed to start. Adebayor is important in these kinds of games. But long term he is fifth in the line of strikers. You cannot base your position in the team on hustle alone, there has to be an end-product as a striker.

  12. Spanish Fry
    October 26, 2007 at 1:10 pm #

    Yeah, well said Charlie. There was a nice little article saying essentially the same thing on Soccernet. You can check it out here.

  13. RVP
    October 26, 2007 at 1:43 pm #

    Ronaldo, I believe the Arsenal “Kids” have already taught United two lessons last season when we grabbed 6 out of 6 points from them at Emirates & Old Trafford.

  14. Spanish Fry
    October 26, 2007 at 2:06 pm #

    Boo-yah!

  15. Ronaldo7
    October 26, 2007 at 2:27 pm #

    6 points that ment nothing but a 3rd place finish….or was it 4th i cant remeber but no one remebers 3 and 4 everyone remebers the champions

  16. Ronaldo7
    October 26, 2007 at 2:28 pm #

    Boo- yah that spanish

  17. Spanish Fry
    October 26, 2007 at 2:36 pm #

    We’ll see who the Champions are this season then, won’t we??

  18. ArsenalKenya
    October 26, 2007 at 4:19 pm #

    Arsenal will whack them ( Pool and Man U ) left and right. Our lethal weapon is Walcott and Hleb. In the pool game i predict an early score from Fabregas to set the pace of the game for another 6 – 0 thrashing. For the Man U game we know the men to mark and Arsenal will emerge victorious with a 3 – 1 win. RONALDO 7 , PLEASE MARK MY WORDS COZ THIS IS THE REAL TRUTH. MARK YOU I AM NOT A MAGICIAN BUT THE WHOLE WORLD WILL BE WATCHING THAT GAME AT EMIRATES.

    GO GO ARSENAL……!!!!

  19. Spanish Fry
    October 26, 2007 at 4:54 pm #

    6-0 against Liverpool…? Sorry mate, but that’s just not going to happen…

  20. Jay
    October 26, 2007 at 6:03 pm #

    Ronaldo7 – Ee may have come 4th last season, but we also have a better squad, infact i think it is just better team spirit, we didnt have a start to the season like this last season either yet we still did the double over you anyway. So this season we know how to beat you and just incase you forgot how you lost to arsenal last season, we will show you how you get beaten this season. 1 more thing you lost to Man. City yet we beat the little punks. It will be a great game, but drean ob if you think Man. Utd will emerge victorious.

  21. sa gunnar
    October 26, 2007 at 6:03 pm #

    I wouldn’t call man the real champions they to didn’t impress against the gunnars,without ronaldo they are nothing,they might say we depend on fabregas,but that not true for we have hleb and walcott,also diaby.so one man on ronaldo, man would even make it pass our half.

  22. Jay
    October 26, 2007 at 6:04 pm #

    Peope will remember us even if we come 3rd, 4th or 5th becuz we already hold a record this season so far, 7-0 in the champo league.

  23. Spanish Fry
    October 26, 2007 at 6:28 pm #

    Calm down everyone, Manchester are going to be tough. They have a good side and are not just dependent on Ronaldo. They will trouble us, perhaps even beat us, but it will be one hell of a game.

  24. ArsenalKenya
    October 26, 2007 at 6:52 pm #

    Spanish Fry. We beat Liverpool 6-3 last season in the Carlin Cup. It is very possible we can beat them by that margin i.e. 6-0. Fair prediction for this game will be 4-1, Arsenal obviously winnning. For Man U we have 4 men to mark i.e. Ronaldo, Rooney, Tevez and Giggs. The rest will be history but i am very sure that Arsenal will beat them because we will play a high tempo game. adebayor will be the man of the match for this game. Watch this space……………….

  25. PATHANGOONER
    October 26, 2007 at 7:14 pm #

    Its funny! just before the season started people were saying van persie and eduardo will be our new henry. And now its walcott. come on guys, lets appreciate each one of them has his own style and a wealth of talent.
    its awesome for arsenal that so many goalscorers are available.

  26. CHRIS
    October 26, 2007 at 7:19 pm #

    What the eff is Ronaldo7 doing here anyway?!?! Trying to undermine the best team in England right now??? Bug off and go to your MANURE swingers blog.

  27. ArsenalKenya
    October 26, 2007 at 7:39 pm #

    Spanish Fry: You should warn Ronaldo about posting anti-arsenal stuff on this blogg. Why is he intruding? ( If possible block his postings permanently ) We are the best team currently in Europe, Top of the League and top of the champions league table.

    Dream team for Sunday match

    Almunia

    sagna Toure Gallas clichy

    Hleb Cesc Gilberto Rosicky

    Walcott Adebayor

    Subs: Diaby, Eduardo, Flamini, Lehmann, Eboue.

  28. ArsenalKenya
    October 26, 2007 at 7:47 pm #

    I would love to get six points from our game on Sunday.

    As this is not possible, I’ll settle for three.

  29. Tubes
    October 26, 2007 at 10:52 pm #

    you cant block someone from posting just coz he dont support arsenal! he´s not being abusive towards anyone, he´s just a confused young man who has been mislaid in to supporting a team full of cunts. he´ll soon see the error of his ways!

  30. Yuppie Scum
    October 26, 2007 at 10:53 pm #

    I like our chances at Anfield on Sunday for all the obvious reasons – L-pool’s in the dumps and we’re flying high – a big reversal just doesn’t seem very likely. However, I’ve got a bad feeling about Man U. I have this nightmare that they’ll be very aggressive, we’ll get frustrated, and Almunia will poo in his pants. Hope I’m very wrong on that one…

  31. Spanish Fry
    October 26, 2007 at 11:30 pm #

    Yeah I’m not going to block Ronaldo7 – he’s quite a good friend of mine. To his credit he’s usually good value, just supports the wrong team. If I was to ban everyone on here who supports a different team then it means I couldn’t really comment on the Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool blogs I often get involved with and that would be a shame. As long as people aren’t rude with their language and bring something to the blog then they are most welcome.

  32. Spanish Fry
    October 26, 2007 at 11:32 pm #

    On a separate note, I think a few people should read what PATHANGOONER had to say. It’s short, but straight to the point and very, very accurate. Good work mate.

  33. ArsenalKenya
    October 26, 2007 at 11:33 pm #

    Pull his pants and let the cat in……

    He won’t do that but i know he will be very careful to avoid making any mistakes.

  34. trojan
    October 27, 2007 at 12:57 am #

    Almunia

    sagna Toure Gallas clichy

    Eboe Cesc Flamini Rosicky

    Walcott Adebayor

    Subs: Diaby, Eduardo, Denison, Lehmann, Sanderos.

    My dream team in beating liverpool

  35. Andrew
    October 27, 2007 at 2:01 am #

    My prediction for the Liverpool match is a win, though a lot depends on Mascherano for me. His battle with Flamini is key. I’m not too worried about Torres since Toure and Gallas are the quickest center-back pairing in the world and probably won’t be caught out by pace. Crouch is more of a worry for me, and not just because of his hat-trick last season. I really hope Gerrard plays in the center, since that will open up a lot of gaps. He does the whole headless chicken thing, and Fabregas, Hleb, and Rosicky will be able to exploit that. This will most likely be the team played I feel.

    Almunia
    Sagna
    Gallas
    Toure
    Clichy
    Rosicky
    Flamini
    Fabregas
    Hleb
    Walcott
    Adebayor

    Liverpool look very average with Hyypia at the back and Voronin and Kuyt up top. People have talked about them getting “fired up for this one” but I can’t see that it’s going to matter when the back four are deathly slow, the midfield lacks creativity, and the strikers aren’t very quick. I’m not saying Arsenal will slaughter them, but I can’t see a loss on the horizon.

  36. India-Gunner
    October 27, 2007 at 5:14 pm #

    Liverpool vs Arsenal Player to Player

    Almunia Vs Reina -> (L)
    Reina is better. He is at least tested in big match.
    Sagna Vs Finnan -> (A)
    Sagna has more bites. Overlap run and defence duty is the best in the league now.
    Toure Vs Carragher -> (50%/50%)
    Toure quicker than Carragher but Carragher has upper hand in the air. All depend on how Togonator Vs Crouch performs. Both are not prolific strikers and need lots of chances to score.
    Gallas Vs Hyypia -> (A)
    Too obvious. Gallas is miles away better than Hyypia.
    Clichy Vs Riise -> 50%/50%
    Clichy is more pacey than Riise. But Riise can score thunder bolt goal. Defence wise I believe Clichy has the edge but playing against tall strikers like Crouch/Kuyt/Torres he might struggle a bit.
    Hleb Vs Benayoun/Gerrald (Pennat already out) -> (A)
    Hleb is much more better than Benayoun. In case AW plays Eboue. That would be 50%/50%. To be frank, we can’t predict which Eboue will turn up. If he plays like he did in CL then Eboue is better. Benayoun is decent player but not a top winger. Pennat’s cross is better than Benayoun. I believe Crouch will be missing Pennat cross from the right. If Rafa deploys Gerrard on the right that is good news. Gerrard cross is better but he likes to cut in and if he loses the ball that would expose to Clichy or Rosicky pacey counter attack.
    Flamini vs Mascherano/Sisoko/Alonso/Lucas -> (A)
    Too hard to predict Rafa will field which player in the defence midfield. Whoever is playing I fency Flamini performs better than any of them to protect the defender. The only exception is probably Mascherano. If he performs as he did against Chelski with his break-up play. Hleb/Fab4/Rosicky may find it is hard to play our free flow game. The solution probably is the long ball to Adebayor to by-pass Mascherano.
    Fab4 Vs Alonso/Gerrard -> (A)
    With Fab4’s current form, I would choose Fab4 any time. I believe he can score against Liverpool on Super Sunday.
    Rosicky Vs Babel -> (A)
    Rosicky had 2 good warm games against Bolton and in CL. So I predict AW will field him on the left. If he stays fit Liverpool defenders will in trouble again. Babel is good player but this is his first season in EPL so I don’t think he can perform well against us.
    Adebayor Vs Crouch/Kuyt -> 50%/50%
    All 3 players are prolific and need tons of chances to score. I predict Rafa will field Crouch. Last season we basically lost to Crouch aerial threat alone. Hopefully Gallas and Toure learn from last season. It will be crazy if Rafa not field Crouch on Sunday. Togonator’s work rate is there for everybody to see. So if he can turn 1/4 of the chances I will be more than happy.
    Eds/Walcott Vs Torres -> (L)
    Torres is more deadly than Eds/Walcott. Just hope that he injured himself while warm up ;-)! I believe AW field Walcott. It is obvious that AW’s policy is field the top form players. Eds needs more time to gel with the team. I believe he will be the player to watch in Carling Cup & FA Cup.

    Arsenal Sub: Lehman,Gilberto,Diarra,Eds/Bendtner,Eboue

    Liverpool Sub: Hobbs,Lucas,Voronin,Kuyt,Benayoun/Mascherano
    -> (A)
    Arsenal has more player from the bench that could change the game.

    Team work -> Arsenal
    Player to player comparison looks like Arsenal is miles away at the moment. But I believe the main battle will be Flamini Vs Mascherano. I hope Rafa won’t field Mascherano or Mascherano doesn’t form up to par which means Liverpool won’t be able to stop our free flow football. If Mascherano is outstanding then Ade has to perform well to get the point(s). Anyway we still have Bentner to offer the aerial threat.

    My prediction: 2-1 to Arsenal if Mascherano doesn’t start. 2-2 if Mascherano start.

  37. Jonah
    October 27, 2007 at 6:02 pm #

    I actually like hearing Ronaldo 7’s comments cos he usually just exploits how cocky some arsenal fans are getting. I think Arsenal are a good team, but lets be honest we still haven’t seem them play a top class team. Away at Anfield is a very tough ask for any team, and I think if Rafa fields his best team with Mascherano and Torres, Liverpool will win 2-1. I hope not cos I really don’t like Liverpool.
    Peace out (from a neutral supporter)

  38. tom
    October 27, 2007 at 9:21 pm #

    nice comment andrew.

    SF – game is on fox monday: live – 255am – 5am, and rpt 430pm – 6pm

    🙂

    should be good

  39. Spanish Fry
    October 28, 2007 at 4:27 pm #

    Just warming up with a late match preview very soon. Will be watching it at the pub.

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