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When Arsenal signed Mesut Özil, the expectation level was huge, justifiably so, he’d cost the club £42,500,000. Lukas Podolski cost Arsenal less than a quarter of the Özil fee, but in many ways, he should be just as important to Arsenal’s fortunes.

A quick glance at Podolski’s career statistics and you can be forgiven to wondering why Arsenal didn’t pay £25 million + for him, after all, we sold Adebayor for that figure to the pale blue shirted lottery winners. In a nutshell, you’re looking at a wide playing forward who, when fit, scores a goal every other game, with 111 international appearances for Germany (46 goals) by the age of 28. He also turns up for the big games for his (adopted) country as well, he was the most promising young player of the 2006 World Cup, beating Ronaldo and Messi and the second highest scorer in 2010.

Lukas was injured in scoring against Fenerbache in late August and it’s taken a long time for him to return, but now he’s back I think he’s going to be vital for a few reasons:
  • Giroud badly needs a rest
  • Podolski could and should be in the top three strikers in the premier league
  • He’s at his peak, 28 years old is exactly when a top quality player knows what to do to win games
  • What can we expect from a partnership of Podolski and Özil? I’d love to know the number of assists Özil has provided for Podolski’s 46 goals?
I am slightly surprised that he’s been held back until yesterday, but, and this is an over-used phrase, he really is like a new signing.

Always lovely to win local derbies and although we huffed and puffed against West Ham, once we had equalised I thought it was going to be a question of how many we’d score. Nevertheless, it’s crucial that Arsenal don’t make silly mistakes and it’s clear that the frequency of games and the limitations of the depth of the squad are starting to take its toll. When Arsenal were on the great run, a feature was the way the whole of the team was defending by pressing the opposition and putting huge pressure on the ball. This hasn’t been quite as evident and it’s not down to desire but tired legs, Mr Wenger will know this, but he needs to be bold enough to risk rotating. Giroud, Özil, Matersacker, Gibbs and Szczęsny all need a break.

We have three games in just over a week, obviously home to Cardiff is an opportunity to rest a few, but I’d suggest giving Giroud, Özil and Mertesacker a break until Spurs at home in the FA Cup on the 4th January. We have Wilshere back for the trip to the north east and Koscielny should be fit as well. Start Podolski and Walcott up front and play Flamini.

Arsenal have been top of the league for longer than at any time since the 2007 – 2008 season and I think we’re right in the mix. We still have Oxlade Chamberlain to come back and the window opens in five days. I know that we’d love to see a recognised “big name” striker, but that isn’t going to happen, these rumours about Diego Costa are ridiculous, but it is a good opportunity to buy a central defender, who can cover one of the full back roles.

By Ian Byrne
Different Themes
Written by Ian Byrne

Lifelong Arsenal supporter.