Lehmann's secret recipe

If there’s a bright side to Euro 2008, it’s got to be former Arsenal (and current Germany) goal keeper Jens Lehmann: he’s crazier than a shit-house rat as we like to say over here.

Yesterday he revealed that he’s given Germany his secret recipe for stopping Ronaldo when Germany face Portugal on Thursday. I’m always skeptical of people claiming to be a “such and such stopper,” like when former Seattle Super Sonics dud Ruben Patterson famously claimed to be the “Kobe Stopper.” If I remember correctly, Kobe Bryant put up, like, 45 points in one game against the Kobe Stopper that year. The point is, these types of stories almost always backfire on the braggart.

But Jens is slightly different. Shall we say, special? In the 2006 World Cup, after Germany defeated Argentina on penalties (with Jens saving two shots) the crazy German pulled a piece of paper out of his sock. On that paper were notes on which direction to dive to save the Argentine penalty takers.

Furthermore, his claim about stopping Ronaldo is based in fact. As I have pointed out here several times, Arsenal have effectively neutralized Ronaldo when the two clubs have met. The linked article above puts Arsenal at only allowing 4 goals from 11 meetings — with his last goal against Arsenal coming off a penalty. Honestly, I’m not sure that any of his 4 goals against Arsenal have come from the run of play. Regardless, pretty clearly, Wenger’s got Ronaldo’s number.

And what is the secret? I think it’s putting a defender in a wing position and having your holding midfielder stay with Ronaldo at all times to limit touches. Then when he does get a touch, the fullback pushes him outside. This limits Ronaldo’s creativity because the touch line acts like a second defender. As long as you keep him near the touch line, you limit him.

No doubt, Ronaldo will have heard Lehmann’s braggadocio and will be pinning the article up in his locker for inspiration. I wish I could take the day off to watch the game now, honestly.

Squad News

Barcelona is preparing to undercut Inter in the race to sign Adebayor. Yes, that’s right, Barcelona are prepared to offer LESS money in a sneaky attempt to fool Arsenal into letting Adebayor go. Barca heard Arsenal say “Ade is worth £32m” and responded with “how about… £24m?” Obviously, Arsenal are going to have to take the offer, it’s a dream come true! They have to sell Adebayor quickly and cheaply because if they don’t, Spurs might beat them to it, what with Barcelona rumored to be after Bobblehead too.

If you didn’t get a chance to see van Persie’s “stunning” goal you can see it in that link there. Uhh, not to take anything away from Robin, but the keeper should have dealt with that ball easily. But that’s what you get in these international competitions: mediocre play hyped as “greatness.”

Albiol’s agent moved quickly to say that Arsenal are not after his player and that his player is happy in Spain. Yes! Another player NOT going to Arsenal. That list is getting pretty long now, isn’t it?

You would think that the press would give up after they have literally gotten every story and rumor wrong so far, but no. Why let a few miserable failures get you down? They are now linking Inler to Arsenal. Expect the denial to follow in 3… 2….

Premier League News

David Bentley is hoping to move to Spurs. Ohpleasegodletthisbetrue. I can’t wait for Arsenal to stomp all over Bentley in a Spurs uniform.

Meanwhile, the English Parliament, not to be outdone by the U.S. Congress’ investigation into American sports and hoping to head off the insanity of Michel Platini and the European Parliament, are planning to form the kangaroo court of kangaroo courts. I don’t care what they’re investigating, I just want to see the testimony of their list of people that they are inviting:

  • Hicks and Gillette — to testify about their stormy relationship. Perhaps we’ll finally clear up who gets custody of the luxury box in the divorce.
  • Thaksin Shinawatra — because everyone loves to hear from an accused human rights violator turned sports owner.
  • Former Chelsea manager and raving lunatic Jose Mourinho. His testimony alone will be comedy gold.
  • Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini — awesome, I need something to write about.
  • Jose Canseco and Roger Clemens — why not?
  • The lord Jesus Christ
  • His best friend and personal confidant George W. Bush
  • That lady who runs the chip shop in Manchester.
  • And, to round everything off, testimony from Colin Powell on where exactly Liverpool are hiding the weapons of mass destruction.

It should be full of awesome and win. I can’t wait to read about it.