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Just How Bad Was Jens Lehmann’s Performance for Arsenal Reserves This Week?

It’s hard to decide sometimes when the British press are exaggerating stories to sell more newspapers. But when I read earlier this week that Jens Lehmann had a woeful performance for Arsenal reserves, I questioned how true those words were.

Now, thanks to 101 Great Goals, we have video evidence of Lehmann’s performance. And it’s worse than I imagined.

Watch the above video to see the highlights of the match. If you’re short on time, you can fast forward the video to the following segments to see Lehmann’s performance: minute 3:45, minute 4:35, and minute 6:47.

To be fair to Lehmann, this was – I believe – his first game in 10 months after retiring last summer. However, the mistakes he made will hardly give Arsenal supporters much confidence if and when Lehmann will be drafted into the Arsenal first team.

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About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013.
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21 Responses to Just How Bad Was Jens Lehmann’s Performance for Arsenal Reserves This Week?

  1. WHL says:

    Lets hope Wenger puts him in the first team starting this weekend.

  2. jake says:

    Oh come on, it was a test game after nine months without competitive football and he was meant to gain a bit of match practice. I don’t give a damn about those mistakes as long as they don’t cost goals and as long as he learned from them should he start against Blackburn. Why do you reduce his performance to the negative things anyway? One-sided, much?
    At least his errors rarely cost goals which cannot be said about Almunia.

    • Sean says:

      I think we can all understand that there might be a bit of rust but, those were a series of schoolboy errors.

      • jake says:

        Two mistakes are hardly a series. I don’t really care if they don’t cost goals. I’d rather have Lehmann be a bit silly and not at fault for a goal than Al just making one blunder but with the worst result.

  3. Bishopville Red says:

    It’s not just those passages that ate telling. By the second goal, Boateng preferred a lame clearance attempt anywhere over passing to Lehmann.

    The thing that made Lehmann such a good goalkeeper was his aura and attitude. He was NEVER at fault (if you asked him) and if you tried to get anything over on him, he took it personally. Strikers always had to keep one eye on him because there was always a possibility he was going to try to get a piece of you.

    After that whiff that almost went in the goal, he was a mouse. A 41 year old rusty mouse.

    I agree with Jason. Get him in the first XI ASAP. Nothing will help United stroll to number 19 more than someone who makes Almunia look capable by comparison.

  4. brn442 says:

    Gaffer, The same hyperbole you accuse the British press of perhaps(?)Lehman is 41 years old, like he gives a toss about a reserve match. He knows he just needs a pulse to get picked over Almunia.

    • MNUfan1991 says:

      I don’t know, brn. That reserve game makes Aluminum look like the lovechild of Schmeichel and van der Sar.

      • Nali says:

        Two mistakes that didn’t lead to goals make Almunia’s endless series of blunders that caused goals look good? Orly?

  5. Denva says:

    Are you people nuts let him be in the team but not start his performance against RESERVES was average he lacks match confidence and fitness
    we have 2 games before Szczesny Returns to the first team i would rather stick with Almunia for those two games and give Lehmann another shot at the reserves and see his progress

    • jake says:

      Well, Lehmann is actually a bit notorious for the lamer kind of performance in test games, international friendlies and games against weak football nations. It’s like he gets bored out of his mind within a couple of minutes.

  6. Dave C says:

    Hmm… the first one was embarrassing, but anyone who’s ever played on a bobbly field can sympathize. Doesn’t matter how much you keep your eye on the ball, sometimes it takes a bobble and bounces over your foot, and although you know it’s not your fault, its a huge confidence buster. Although, having said that, the pitch looked pretty smooth (artificial turf perhaps), so I’m not sure if he can use a bumpy surface as an excuse.

    The second one, I think we should cut him some slack – the striker just bamboozled him fair and square (although I think there was an element of fluke, since the striker seemed to almost loose his balance as he pulled off his feint).

    The third one is just pure embarrassing though. School boy, lazy error, and he didn’t even seem to be busting a gut to make ammends afterwards. I don’t buy this “oh he wasn’t taking it seriously” b/s. He should be taking it seriously if he wants to get starts.

    To be fair, there were a lot of school boy errors from all the players involved. I’m no expert in reserve level footy, but to be honest I thought it would be more serious than that.

    • Sven says:

      I’ve followed his career since he played for Schalke and believe me, he is only at his best when he is under pressure in a “real” game. I can’t count the times when he practically created dangerous situations for himself in test games and the like. I think he is an adrenaline junkie.
      Overall I agree with everything what you said though.

      • Sven says:

        I forgot to mention: The Gaffer, why not mention Lehmann’s awesome save instead of blaming Lehmann for a goal he was never at fault for?

  7. gooner92 says:

    have to say there were not 3 mistakes at all, there was 1. the first was a stupid back pass and it bobbled on the horrible pitch could have happened to any keeper in the world. the second was hardley a mistake and the last was

  8. Flick says:

    I agree, how was the second one a mistake? The striker scored and the goalkeeper always has the disantvantage in one against one situations!

  9. Arse Rob says:

    Man is any Arsenal fan worried about how awful the reserves looked. Tough to judge on the short highlights but not encouraging. I think Almunia has to start. But man how do 3 goalkeepers get injured in one club at one time. Classic Arsenal. If Lehmann plays, how can Almunia again step in if it goes horribly. I feel really sorry for Almunia. Hopefully he gets a good deal in the summer to another club

  10. Evan says:

    Lehmann is past it. Those were errors that I would see in a 10 year keeper. Not a keeper trying to get a place for Arsenal. Arsenal need to get a decnt keeper fast.

  11. Bishopville Red says:

    Man, I love the “he doesn’t care about games that don’t matter” lines.

    NEWSFLASH: If you’re 41 years old, been out of the game for the better part of a season and want to step into the starting XI of one of the best teams in England, they ALL matter.

    Two episodes say it all:
    1) the back pass that almost went in for a goal. Lehmann looked deeply embarrassed and sheepish in the aftermath. The old Lehmann? Would have bollocked everyone from the passer to the deepest striker before considering blame. Easily would have brushed it off and went about his business. Lehmann 2.0, it seems, let that dictate the rest of his day.

    2) The second goal is the key. The defenders stopped even trying to pass their way out of trouble, and went for a very un-Arsenal-like hoofing of the ball instead. Tells you all you need to know about how much the back line rated Lehmann’s comeback effort.

    • Sven says:

      In twenty years I have definitely never seen him yelling at the defenders after a funny accident like that. He used to do this after conceding a goal, even when he could have done better to save it, but when he himself made a mistake like that he looked either embarrassed/devastated, quickly apologised or laughed about it. Just like most goalkeepers do. I’ve seen Buffon and Cech laughing their ass off about themselves when the exact same thing happened to them.

      Look, of course if you’ve got bad luck like that at the beginning of a game it will have influence on your performance and also on the confidence of the other players. Even Lehmann was not always 100% confident and was sometimes rattled by a mistake and not able to shake it off for the rest of a game, even when he was at his absolute best. He’s not a robot!

  12. Brickthrower says:

    Ok Lehmann was a great goalie, but seriously, what drug are you people on? He can not be in a first team match. All of you making excuses for the mistakes are absolutely insane. His warming up was lethargic. He didn’t even move on the goal that was called back; frozen in his tracks. Those mistakes are major. He obviously was pissing himself anytime the ball got played back to him. Might as well put James Shea in at this point.

  13. Kevin says:

    Anyone who watched Lehmann last season in Germany knows he was in decline, fast decline. He looked awful all season long and there was a reason why he was out of work till Arsenal came calling. Arsenal will definitely not win the title if he plays in ANY of their games. Arsenal would be better off playing their under-18 keeper.

    I have to say I was beginning to question Wenger’s ability to get his team to win a trophy this season. With his recall of Lehmann I’d say he has lost it. What is he thinking?

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