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Jens Lehmann: Refereeing decisions have contributed to Arsenal problems

Jens Lehmann: Refereeing decisions have contributed to Arsenal problems

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Arsenal assistant coach Jens Lehmann has said he believes bad penalty decisions are one of the reasons behind Arsenal’s current poor run.

With more than half the Premier League campaign played, Arsenal are in danger of not reaching the Champions League places for a second consecutive season.

They trail fourth-placed Chelsea by eight points following Sunday’s defeat at Bournemouth and winning the Europa League currently appears their likeliest path back to Europe’s top flight.

Lehmann told Sport Bild that “in the league we have indeed fallen a bit short of our expectations and need to improve.”

But he hit out at decisions that had gone against them, adding: “We had to accept by far the most bad calls in penalty decisions against us.

“We hope this will balance out over the remainder of the season.”

Arsenal have won three of the last four FA Cups but crashed out of this year’s competition to Championship side Nottingham Forest in the third round.

Lehmann said that while the result “was not as expected, you can’t repeat it [an FA Cup win] every year.”

He said: “We gave the young players a chance to make a case for themselves, but the result was sadly not as expected.

“Teams like Spurs or City, now regarded as outstanding, have won nothing in the past few years.”

Lehmann, 48, joined Arsene Wenger’s coaching staff at the beginning of the season and is one of several Germans on the staff.

But while he believes that “Arsenal is German as never before,” he said: “With Arsene Wenger and some other people from France working here, there is still a French influence.

“Players come and go. For instance, you don’t know if Mesut Ozil stays.

“But Per Mertesacker will head the academy from the summer on. That’s going to be a big loss for the senior squad, because as a captain he is listened to.”

Mattias is ESPN FC’s Arsenal correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @MattiasKaren.

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