to love a man who's stopped both Ruud van Horseface
and Helder Postiga from the penalty spot and made Kevin
Phillips look like a dancing
Jens Lehmann, now known as simply "Mad Jens",
has endeared himself to the
fans right from the start with his save on the Horsey-Faced
Not bad for a man who raised a
collective "whooooo?" when
linked with the goalkeeping vacancy at Highbury.
He's not only taken on the Premiership in amassing
an impressive record thus far with Arsenal, but
has publicly challenged Oliver Kahn over Kahn's
apparent lock on No.1 for the German national
side. Perhaps it was coincidental, perhaps not,
but in Kahn's next high-profile match, a key
Champions League match against Real Madrid, he
made a mistake any U-12 goalkeeper would be embarrassed
Is Mad Jens secretly a voodoo practitioner, putting
vexes on his rivals? Wouldn't be surprising. The
34-year-old is rumoured to have challenged Arsenal's
up-and-coming 22-year-old goalkeeper Graham Stack
to a mini-decathlon, hoping to prove his fitness
in 400 and 800-metre running contests, throwing,
and the long jump. While many Arsenal fans wish
Lehmann would simply stick to the plot, it's also
nice to have such a strong personality in the squad.
nature, tend to be a bit crazier than your average
some vintage goalkeeper insanity is far better than
antics other teams' players have gotten into this season.
Jens' success and popularity makes one wonder, "What
Dortmund thinking?" Arsenal got an instant mini-legend
in the Community
Shield alone, not to mention a solid goalkeeper, while
Welcome to Arsenal, Jens. It's certainly been more
you've come around.
I hope I'm not the
only person thoroughly creeped-out by the recent
Arsenal hysteria in the press.
From Liverpool fans calling into talk shows and raving
about Arsenal to the likes of Football365 calling Arsenal "the
it's all gone completely insane lately.
With the Evil
Empire crashing out
of the Champions League along with notable sides
such as Juventus, some
are even calling for Arsenal to win it this year.
It's revolting, quite frankly.
Everyone hated Arsenal
at the outset of
the season, but Goonermania appears to be the latest
flavour of the month
-- more importantly, the hype couldn't come at
a worse time for a team
facing a critical juncture in the Champions League,
a massive FA Cup
semi-final, and a run for the Premiership title.
One can't help but be reminded of the hype at the
beginning of the 2002-03
season, when Arsenal were also on an amazing
run of form before eventually
losing out on the championship. Though this year's
team looks infinitely
more mentally prepared, the cliches about football
being a funny old game
aren't for nothing.
The hyperbole is flattering, but somewhat terrifying
at the same time.
Everyone get out your lucky scarves, T-shirts,
dartboards with Ken Bates'
face in the middle, whatever brings Arsenal
There's a lot at stake
now, and everyone's watching.