Welcome to another week of “What’s the score?!” With the football season finally over, all attention is obviously going to be on the comings and goings over the next 12 weeks or so, bearing in mind the transfer window doesn’t officially open until July 1, and remains open until the August 31. Let us hope that we get our business done early then we can all have a break before the new season commences! Everyone needs a break surely?
Apart from irrelevant friendlies and the U21’s taking place in Israel (and of course the Confederation Cup) there is no real football until August.
The #ITK’s have been in full swing once again this week with some really funny stuff to be honest, but I do think the best one of all is that at least three or four Liverpool supporters (I won’t embarrass them by mentioning their Twitter handles) were tweeting incessantly on how they were getting ‘Yaya’ Toure – Duh, wrong brother! Are people really that thick?
As always, every #ITK has a reliable ‘source’ as I said in last week’s article, but as I was reminded the other day by ‘H’ The not so fat London Taxi Driver, now Marathon runner, the only truly reliable ‘sauce’ is Heinz Tomato Ketchup!
However, it would of course be remiss of me not to mention that there has been lots of rumours on Cesc Fabregas circulating in the last few days, and his return to Arsenal. Will he, won’t he? Well, let’s just wait and see shall we! My only other comment on this subject is that he WON’T go to Manchester United. Enough said!
The ‘Madman’ should return
Now that the season is at a close, I thought it may be a good idea to have a look at the goalkeeping situation. Interestingly enough, as I pen this article, there does seem to be some supposed ‘breaking news’ on this very subject, but I will cover that later in this post.
Prior to the away leg at the Allianz Arena against Bayern Munich, Arsène Wenger chose to make a number of changes. Many, if not all were horrified that he chose to drop Wojciech Szczesny in favour of Lukasz Fabianski, who had not made a first team appearance.in well, a very long time, as I mentioned in my article back in mid-March, Arsenal’s Pride Restored; Sort of!
The changes that Arsene Wenger made for that game, which I do believe, along with many others changed our season completely, but I digress.
Anyway, Szczesny’s mind for whatever reason had not been right for a while and in hindsight, Wenger did do the right thing by ‘dropping him’ to make him realise he needs to perform at the highest level for every single game. No exceptions! Personally, I still think he is a better keeper than Fabianski, but at 22 he is still only young. However, so is Joe Hart and to be honest, at present, there is no comparison!
Although Fabianski didn’t have a lot to do during the Bayern Munich game, he was reasonably safe and secure in goal (despite his kicking still being shit). He did however make a very good save from Arjen Robben that drew plaudits from many a commentator. In his subsequent first team appearances before the recall of Szczesny, Fabianski didn’t do an awful lot wrong in fairness to him.
Apart from Szczesny’s dip in form, Fabianski had returned from a long-term injury and was at that time offered a new two-year contract. He was, as he still is, reluctant to agree anything long term as he believed (and apparently still believes) he would only ever be understudy to Szczesny. It was reported that Arsène Wenger promised Fabianski a fair chance at being ‘first choice option’ and told him that he would keep his place following the Bayern Munich game, only if he played well. Arsène Wenger was true to his word, and Fabianski did keep his place for the next four games until injury struck once again and Szczesny was then immediately recalled.
I am not one wishing to question Arsène Wenger’s way of operating, however I do have to ask if it is actually ever productive for any player knowing that one bad game could see him dropped and having that ‘issue’ hanging over his head? Is it possible to get the best out of any player under those circumstances? Let me know your thoughts. I would be interested to know. Comment below or tweet me @jeremylebor
Putting all of the above to one side, it has been whispered very softly that Szczesny perhaps upset Arsène Wenger over and above his own issues or drop in form, by suggesting to both Wenger and the other coaching staff that he did not feel the training sessions he was receiving were tailored specifically enough to him, and/or to correcting/resolving any faults in his game. Way to go Wojciech, big cahooners with that one young man!
So why did Szczesny decide to voice his concerns? Fabianski told him that his own rehabilitation work with reserve/youth goalkeeping coach Tony Roberts was of tremendous help as they had worked on specific faults in his game and on the mental side of the game too, which is key for any player, but more specific in my opinion for a goalkeeper.
Enter from the left, the Goalkeeping coach.
I for one have said time and time again, certainly over the last two seasons that Arsenal need a change of goalkeeping coach. With all due respect to Gerry Peyton (and I am trying to be kind here), he is not what I would consider as ever having being a world class Goalkeeper, certainly not one who should be coaching at the level of Arsenal first team squad. Maybe I am being unfair to him, but I think you get the point I am trying to make! Specifically this year, Gerry Peyton has been somewhat restricted in his role at Arsenal due to some health issues, which of course is unfortunate, however, perhaps now is the time for a change in the goalkeeping coach scenario and methods adopted once and for all?
This season, as part of his general coaching badges, Jens Lehmann has been at the Arsenal training ground. It is no coincidence in my opinion that when present, Szczesny has played some blinders earlier in the season. It has been reported that Lehmann told Szczesny that although any coaching the Arsenal keepers were receiving was of a high standard, the coaching in his opinion was not player specific enough to really get the best out of them. Lehmann has publically stated, and also told Szczesny directly that he could become ‘world class’ with the right coaching, but this has to include more work done with the entire defensive unit, also with the additional use of video analysis to be done as a group on goals conceded. Get in there Jens!
So the answer is? I think it pretty obvious, don’t you?
Apparently preliminary talks have taken place with David Seaman as to his interest in taking up a goalkeeping coaching role, even on a part time basis, and he has been seen at London Colney, on a number of occasions over recent months. Yup, good option, but I think Lehmann is a better option.
Jens Lehmann has also been spoken to, apparently at length, but it seems that Lehmann has suggested an alternative scenario that may suit all concerned. Lehmann, (being the winner he is) does not merely want to be a goalkeeping coach, nope, he wants to go the whole nine yards and be a ‘proper’ coach, He has mentioned that he could do some keeper coaching as part of a wider coaching role. I personally think that is a great idea, and I will explain why.
Jens Lehmann, as mad as he is, without question, is not only a leader, but a winner. G
erman efficiency in all that he does. Blowing smoke up his Arse? Nope, just stating what many refuse to accept! I for one would wholeheartedly like to see Lehmann at our club, coaching the keepers as I truly believe, with the right coaching, Szczesny can be world class, not in five or ten years time, but NOW and I do honestly believe Jens Lehmann is the man to make that happen!
Lehmann was unquestionably a world class goalkeeper in his time, but his whole ethos and make-up does go a lot deeper. I do propose dedicating a full post to Jens Lehmann in due course, as there are many anecdotes as to his time at Arsenal that in fairness do justify dedicating a full posting to him. Watch out for it over the coming weeks, and I will put the details out on Twitter when it will be posted.
Moving to the addition of yet another keeper. Again, the media has been awash with suggestions of goalkeeper’s that Arsenal are going to buy this summer. Asmir Begovic
and Simon Mignolet, to name but two. There were suggestions from a reliable source (no, not Heinz) that in the last week or so a bid was rejected by Reading, from Arsenal, for promising young goalkeeper Alex McCarthy, who although only 23, is definitely going to be one to watch in years to come. I am not aware if there is any further mileage in that situation, but again, time will tell, but to be honest, I don’t think we need another youngster unless either of the present one and two are going to leave.
Moving forward to yesterday (Friday), The Italian website TuttoMercatoWeb reported that Julio Cesar was Arsenal bound on a two year deal:
“The Gunners have made the decisive move in the last hour, giving the Brazilian a two-year contract for £4m per season: the agreement is expected (to be confirmed) in hours.”
A big thank you to @EducatedGooner for bringing it to my attention last night! Cheers Billy!
The heading of the article at TuttoMercatoWeb makes use of the key Italian word ‘scatto’ in their headline, namely: QPR, scatto Arsenal per Julio Cesar – which literally translated means ‘snap’. Another translation, perhaps more apt is ‘click’ – as in, Queens Park Rangers and Arsenal ‘click’ for Cesar.
There has, (at the time of writing this article) as is to be expected, no confirmation or comment been made from either club, and as I always say NOTHING is ever definite until Arsenal make an official announcement! – We will see!
If it’s not worth knowing. Jeremy knows it!
So, here is yet more useless trivia about our beloved club!
Did you know? – In 1925 Arsenal manager Leslie Knighton was sacked by the club chairman Sir Henry Norris. The Chairman advertised the post for a new manager, in ‘Athletic News’, and the advert contained verbiage amazingly similar to what many people do consider to be the current policy at the club. The advertisement included the following lines: “Gentlemen whose sole ability to build up a good side depends on the payment of heavy and exorbitant transfer fees need not apply”. Ooops!
If you have any ‘trivia’ about either the team or the club, then please let me know and I will gladly post them in this section. The wackier the better! – Tweet me @jeremylebor
There isn’t really a last word this week other than to say, bring back Jens ‘Madman’ Lehmann to Arsenal and get him on the coaching staff RIGHT NOW!
Even in the close season, please keep visiting Gunners Town, as we do have lots of surprises lined up, along with our daily blogs full of fresh content as always.
lastly, naturally, along with every other die-hard Gooner… “Cesc, come home”!
So, now you
know the score… until next week – Jeremy!