Sunday, 27 March 2011

Diaby, Denilson, Bendtner and Almunia under review - Lehmann to play?

Morning Gooners.

After Nicklas Bendtner's injury scare in midweek, the attacker came through 90 minutes last night unharmed in Denmark's 1-1 with Norway in Oslo. By all accounts he had a decent game.

The only other Arsenal interest last night would have been the involvement of Carlos Vela for Mexico if he'd actually made it on to the pitch. However he played no part in his countries 3-1 victory over Paraguay.

Earlier in the day Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey and Andrey Arshavin were part of their respective countries victory, defeat and draw. 

There is reaction from Wilshere and Ramsey on the Wales v England game as well.

Whilst we're on the subject of Wilshere, the Sunday Mirror are reporting Arsene Wenger had a sit down meeting with Jack about his behaviour off the pitch. I very much doubt there is anything to worry about and I'm sure this is not the first time Wenger has had words with a young player about his responsibilities off the pitch.

There are two Arsenal players who could be in action today. Emmanuel Eboue for the Ivory Coast in his country's game with Benin which is being played in Ghana and Marouane Chamakh for Morocco who take on Algeria.

Elsewhere there is talk of us handing a start to Jens Lehmann in a real game of football this week. According to the Sunday Mirror, the German could make his first appearance between the posts during his second spell at the club when the reserves play Wigan on Tuesday.

If reports of his performance are good, he could be thrown back into the side to face Blackburn next weekend, Steve Stammers reports.

In an interview with the News of the World, Lehmann says he believes the best spell of his career came when he played at Arsenal and he thrived under the psychological pressure Arsene Wenger put him under.

He said:
"When I arrived in England, I made an error because I was in the habit in Germany of asking players to hit shots at me at the end of training. At Arsenal, where I contributed to setting up this little game, I felt Wenger's presence behind my goal. 
"Each shot that I let in, I knew he was frowning and saying to himself, 'He should have stopped that one'. It's the kind of thing that puts you under pressure.
"Even if I did make mistakes, I never played so many good matches as when I was with Arsenal. Wenger got the best out of me, it was a kind of psychological war but it was good."
It would be interesting to see if Wenger has lost complete faith in Manuel Almunia to recall a 41-year-old to play Premier League football after being out of the game for eight months.

My gut reaction is that it would be a risk. Lehmann has only been training for two weeks and I would doubt that could prepare you to play football after such a long time out of the game.

We've seen how the boss has restricted the involvement of Aaron Ramsey with his return from injury and that was even after he'd played football for Nottingham Forest and Cardiff. So would he take a gamble with Lehmann?

Whilst many were pleased with the decision to do a deal with Jens, I'm not sure we expected him to play. And if I'm honest, I'm scared a little at the thought of him playing. Almunia's performance against West Brom is what we've come to expect from him and that is why he has no future at the club. But to play Lehmann until Szczesny is just as worrying.

It's a tough call for the manager to make. But he'll remember we are nine victories away from the title and we must do everything we can to avoid defeat. Everything is still to play for.

Meanwhile the News of the World suggest the manager will have a serious look at the depth of his squad during the summer and in particular the back up squad players.

They say he'll review the situation with a eye over the futures of Abou Diaby, Denilson, Manuel Almunia and Nicklas Bendtner.

And finally, the biggest pile of crap you'll ever read somehow managed to find itself being printed in the Daily Star Sunday.

They say Arsene Wenger wants to sign "Barcelona flop" Ibrahim Afellay.

This is the same player Barcelona beat many of Europe's elite clubs for his signature. And they call him a "flop" having only been in Spain for ten weeks.

It's the biggest load of crap I've read in a long time. And they say even though we want Afellay there is no way we'll part with Cesc Fabregas for him as a make weight in the deal.

And talking of our captain, expect to read a lot of stories today about how Barcelona are not willing to pay more than 50 million euros for him this summer.

Barcelona president Sandro Rossell with Spanish newspaper Sport and told them that because they offered - what I would call a derisory 40 million last summer - the price has now fallen.

Well Mr President, if you aren't prepared to pay what the player is worth you can keep your money and we'll keep Cesc. After all, he's more valuable playing for us than your money is to us.

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