Jens Lehmann gets adrenaline rush from surprise return
Jens Lehmann could quite happily hang his gloves up again now - but admits the adrenaline has returned after his shock Arsenal comeback.
The 41-year-old, coaxed out of retirement to provide emergency cover by Gunners manager Arsene Wenger last month, unexpectedly found himself playing at Blackpool on Sunday after first-choice Manuel Almunia was injured in the warm-up.
His sudden appearance was his first competitive game since leaving Stuttgart last summer and his first in an Arsenal jersey for almost three years.
Arsenal are now assessing Almunia's fitness after what is believed to be a minor knee injury but Lehmann, who won the title with the Londoners in 2004, is ready to play again if required.
The German said: "If it was my last game ever I am happy because we won, but let's wait and see what is going on. I love playing football and when you finish it is a little bit boring because you don't have the adrenaline anymore.
"That is what came back to me and I am quite happy about it. I was quite surprised - I thought Manuel was playing and all of a sudden he picked up an injury.
"He (Wenger] told me I had to play. I couldn't really think about it. I couldn't afford to be nervous and I just played."
Lehmann had a quiet first half at Bloomfield Road but was heavily involved in the action after the break as Arsenal won 3-1 to cut the gap to Barclays Premier League leaders Manchester United to seven points.
Abou Diaby and Emmanuel Eboue put the Gunners into a commanding position but the Seasiders, fighting for survival, hit back. Gary Taylor-Fletcher pulled a goal back but only after Lehmann had brought down DJ Campbell and referee Lee Mason had played advantage.
It could have been argued that Lehmann should have been sent off.
Taylor-Fletcher was at the centre of more controversy moments later when knocked over by Laurent Koscielny but Mason refused to award a penalty.
Blackpool poured forward in search of an equaliser but Robin van Persie settled Arsenal nerves with a third 14 minutes from time.
Blackpool remain in serious trouble at the other end of the table after winning just once in their last 12 games.
The Seasiders are just a point above the relegation zone and they are anxious to rediscover their early-season form.
Ian Holloway's men remain fearless in attack but fortune has not favoured them since the turn of the year and they are defensively error-prone.
Campbell said: "It is tough taking a defeat, especially with the points we need at the moment.
"We are still out of the bottom three but we are still in trouble and have got another six games left.
"We have got to move on now and hopefully get results against Wigan, Newcastle and Stoke."
Blackpool's away record is superior to their home statistics but their future is likely be settled at Bloomfield Road.
The Tangerines will face Wigan, Stoke, Newcastle and Bolton at home in the closing weeks with difficult trips to Tottenham and Manchester United to come.
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Saturday 25 May 2013
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