“I never ever understood” – Arsenal Legend Jens Lehmann Criticizes Mikel Arteta Decision, Delivers Blunt Premier League Verdict

Arsenal Manager Mikel Arteta Champions League
Arsenal Manager Mikel Arteta Champions League

Arsenal icon Jens Lehmann has admitted he never understood why Mikel Arteta dropped Aaron Ramsdale in favor of Brentford loanee David Raya. He also discussed the Gunners’ Premier League aspirations, advising them to be more brave to win the league and the UEFA Champions League.

Jens Lehmann Believes It Was Aaron Ramsdale-David Raya Swap Was Unnecessary

Arsenal manager Arteta made a bold and controversial call in the summer, signing Brentford goalkeeper Raya on loan. Ramsdale, who had served as the team’s first-choice goalkeeper until then, eventually made way, with the Spaniard replacing him in Premier League and UEFA Champions League fixtures.

Ex-goalkeeper Lehmann has criticized Arteta’s call, saying he never got why Arteta dropped Ramsdale from the starting XI.

In an interview with the Daily Mail, Lehmann said:

I never ever understood the Ramsdale decision. If you have a good, brave English keeper at a big English club doing well and then you bring in a Spanish guy who has never played for a big club at that level – it just doesn’t make sense.

The ‘keeper is the most important position in the team. If I were Ramsdale, I don’t know how I would react because it’s not easy at that age. When you’re older, it’s different.

Ramsdale has only played 11 matches for the Gunners this season. Raya, meanwhile, has featured in 38 games for the club in all competitions.

Lehmann Believes Arsenal Need To Be Braver To Win Major Honors

After giving his candid take on the goalkeeping situation at Emirates Stadium, Lehmann — the goalkeeper in Arsenal’s 2003-04 ‘Invincible’ Premier League side — discussed his old clubs’ hopes of winning major honors. He lauded Arteta for his performance so far but urged him and his men to be a little braver.

Lehmann continued:

He’s done a good job but unfortunately, you’re talking to a guy who loves Arsenal, wants them to win and not just to be up there. I was very disappointed with how they lost to Bayern Munich in the Champions League [quarter-finals].

Afterwards, they showed a great reaction beating Chelsea and Tottenham. But to be a big club, you have to win trophies. They’re very different to us [the Invincibles] in their approach – much more cautious and slower with the ball. Physically, they run a lot more and have more high-intensity runs but they don’t play faster than us because we were a one-touch team. They all take three, four touches at a time. And if you’re too cautious in football, you can’t win trophies.”

He concluded by adding:

Most of the time, the bravest teams win the league. I would love them to win the title but that has cost them in certain games.

It’s 20 years since we won the league and I hope Arsenal win but it’s not in their own hands anymore and that’s a weakness.”

Provisional Premier League leaders Arsenal will return to action with Bournemouth on May 4. They need City to drop at least a couple of points in their remaining four matches to end their title drought.

Arrow to top