Jens Lehmann gives damning verdict on Arsenal's collapsed title challenge

The former Gunners goalkeeper, who was part of the 'Invincibles' title winning side in 2003-04, says his former side have "thrown away" the title.

Former Arsenal goalkeeper Jens Lehmann has given a damning verdict on the manner in which the club's Premier League title challenge has collapsed in 2016, claiming that they have thrown their chance away, as quoted by the Daily Star.

The Gunners were virtually neck-and-neck with the Foxes early in the new year, but have won only four league matches since early January, and now find themselves 13 points adrift of Claudio Ranieri's side.

Even worse, after Tottenham Hotspur's convincing 4-0 win over Stoke City on Monday night, the Gunners are eight points behind their rivals with just five matches remaining.

Lehmann, who played nearly 200 games in five seasons at Arsenal and played every match of their unbeaten 'Invincibles' league title win in 2003-04, admitted he has been hugely disappointed to see his former side surrender their challenge.

The 46-year-old German said, as quoted by the Daily Star: "I think this time it’s a little bit more disappointing than before because everybody thought Leicester could be caught at the end of the season.

"They could, but unfortunately only by Spurs and not by Arsenal. Have they thrown it away? Yes, it’s a fact, of course they did. The table now is different.

"If you’re an Arsenal supporter there have been better times. The Arsenal when I played there was probably a little bit different than it is now but that’s football and it always contains disappointments for most of the teams who would like to win the trophy but don’t manage to do that at the end of the season.

"Disappointment is a consistent follower of the daily football business."

However, the former goalkeeper was unwilling to point the finger at his former manager Arsene Wenger for the way the season has turned out.

He added: "I only know that Arsene Wenger was the most successful manager in world football at buying and selling. If everything is obvious then everyone could do it. You can’t get me into any criticism of Wenger."

Arsenal now face a fight to even finish in the top four, with Manchester United having closed the gap to just four points ahead of the Gunners' clash with West Bromwich Albion on Thursday night.

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