Belfast Telegraph

Wenger ponders keeper decision

Veteran goalkeeper Jens Lehmann faces an anxious wait to see whether he will make a remarkable comeback for Arsenal in the Barclays Premier League this weekend.

The 41-year-old made his first appearance in the club's colours for nearly three years when he played 90 minutes for the reserves on Tuesday. In front of goalkeeping coach Gerry Peyton, the former Germany international was on the end of a 2-1 defeat by Wigan at Robin Park.

Now manager Arsene Wenger has to decide whether to give Lehmann the nod ahead of Manuel Almunia on Saturday in the home match against Blackburn.

Lehmann came out of retirement to help ease the Gunners' goalkeeping crisis after injuries to Wojciech Szczesny and Lukasz Fabianski left Almunia as the only fit senior man.

Almunia, 33, may have only just found himself back in the first-team picture, but the Spaniard is already under the spotlight once again after poor performance in the 2-2 draw at West Brom on March 19.

Lehmann's last appearance for the Gunners came against Everton on May 4, 2008 ahead of a move to Stuttgart. However, he donned the gloves again in front of about 200 fans at Wigan and was beaten in the 18th minute when Jordan Robinson got on the end of a free-kick by Daniel Redmond, only to be ruled offside.

Arsenal's young side were reduced to 10 men when skipper Ignasi Miguel was sent off before Jordan Rugg's shot got the better of Lehmann but his shot came back off the post.

Lehmann was left red-faced a minute before half-time when he miscued a kick from a back-pass, but the ball trickled wide.

He came off second best in the 52nd minute, though, when Callum McManaman put the home side ahead. He showed a cool head to outsmart his more experienced opponent. Lehmann then got his bearings wrong on the hour and Jonathan Breeze smashed in a shot past the goalkeeper only to see it blocked.

Joe Holt added a second in the 83rd minute from close range before Rhys Murphy pulled one back from the penalty spot on the stroke of full-time.


From Belfast Telegraph