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Is Lukas Podolski more of a problem than a solution?

By Avenell Dave

I spoke yesterday about the importance of having dynamic grit in midfield and we're going to need that in spades when we visit Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

The home side can be brilliant or woeful and the toxic atmosphere due to the sacking of nice guy Roberto Di Matteo and the appointment of Rafa Benitez in his place can only work to our advantage.

The thing is, Ch*vski have superb players. Torres took us apart earlier in the season and Demba Ba was tricky for Newcastle recently; we struggle to get near to Juan Mata and with Oscar and Ramires equally tricky and evasive, we will have to be on our toes.

The defence can be steadfast - that's why they won the Champions League last season.

But Wednesday's FA Cup win has given me real optimism that we can win.

We need to carry on the good habits we started, chasing down the opposition when in possession and retaining our shape at all times.

If I was an opposition manager I would target Jack Wilshere. He beats players which creates space.

So let them put two men on him, which take away some of their offensive value and will mean more space for Santi Cazorla.

As long as Abou Diaby and Francis Coquelin (who I fear will be dropped) put in the same sort of shift they did in the FA Cup, we should be fine.

While the players have to take credit for putting in a shift worthy of the Arsenal shirt for the first time in a long time, what I don't want to see is the manager bringing back players erroneously as he has had a tendency to do.

He dropped Per Mertesacker for the home fixture earlier in the season and it cost us and while it may seem wise to play two nimble centre-backs against Torres or Ba, actually Mertesacker's positional sense would work to our advantage.

Which brings me to Lukas Podolski. I know he has played a majority of his Germany games wide left and that he was signed with that flexibility.

But his lack of positional awareness and cover is part of the reason why sides target our left and put Kieran Gibbs under pressure.

For me, he's a useful option in that position if no one else is available but he should really be vying with Olivier Giroud for the striker's role just ahead of Jack.

At the moment, the Frenchman is doing little wrong in my opinion and deserves a run of games to add goals to his already impressive build-up play (that flick that left the ball sitting up perfectly for Jack on Wednesday was sublime).

My neighbour at Arsenal made the very valid point that Podolski neither has tricks, outstanding pace or the engine (90 minutes anyone??) to cope as a wide player in England.

That doesn't mean he cannot play a significant role at the club, just not wide left.

If the same side that started on Wednesday starts on Sunday, I'll be delighted.

Unless we sign Cavani, in which case I give Wenger permission to make a change.


Addict XI


Sagna Mertesacker Vermaelen Gibbs

Diaby Coquelin

Walcott Wilshere Cazorla



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Reader Comments (6)

Podolski has been one of are outstanding players. Ten goals from a area of the field which is not his strong point. Plus he dont moan like Theo every 5 minutes. He is no way a problem as for coquelin your afraid he may be dropped are you serious. He shouldnt make the first team anyway. Diaby when fit is outstanding and there is players much better than coquelin at this stage.

January 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Collard

I agree with Podolski comments.

I was worried after just a few games with Podolski - for someone with his background I expected a lot more classy touches on the ball. The fact is that he is just an ordinary player who rarely if ever makes a difference. With todays Premiership every player is some kind of super athlete it seems to me so ordinary just doesn't cut it.

Place on the subs bench is as much as he should expect - starter - never unless we are desperate. Sorry Poldo!

January 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTC

Wenger has showed that his tactics are either non existent or flawed.
When was the last time we saw him react to a threat with a formation change or useful substitutions.

He is now infamous for playing players out of position and his incompetence as a manager has been highlighted now that there is a lack of talent at the club.

He can't motivate or scare the players and does he inspire loyalty? Don't bother to answer that, we all know the answer.

January 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBill

Podolski alongside Jack is the most hard working player on the pitch, always tracking back. You cant argue with his record so far and as far as not lasting 90 minutes, what about Ozil? He is one of Madrids most important players yet never finishes a game. Completely uneducated description of Podolski and can only assume you arent an Arsenal fan?

January 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSK

Totally agree with your post.

I'm sure Podolski would rather play upfront.

Hopefully next season Wenger we'll rotate Ryo and Gnabry on that wing, who are 'outstanding' young players. Podolski is a bit of square peg in a round hole on the wing i.e. not being able to dribble past defenders - having said this I'd rather Podolski play on the wing than Gervinho.


I can't see Wenger buying anyone in this window. I believe he is going for big names, (Huguain, Villa, Cavani) too add real quality ot the squad and apease the fans, but I can't see clubs letting their better players go mid season, at the prices Arsenal will be willing to offer. And like Wenger said, they are all 'cup tied'. I believe Wenger will wait until the summer, then splash the clash on 1 big name.

People slate Wenger for not spending, but he did have two £30+ million pound bids rejected for M Villa and Gotze a year ago. If the right player becomes available, Wenger will spend - but I doubt it will happen this January.

In Wenger 'I' trust.

January 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Gooner

Ref podolski
I think that a player with over 100 caps understand the job that the boss has given him lets be honest if he's good enough to play there for Germany he's good enough for the gooners I think the guy works his socks off and has every right not to last the full 90 . Also why I'm on the subject why does the boss always bring a sub on in the 73rd min every game it's the same winning losing or drawing Why

January 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBricey

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