Let’s start with a basic premise – we all love our Lukas. Top bloke, committed to the club, and a fine player.
I cannot recall a similar player in the Arsenal shirt; immensely strong, a lethal finisher who possesses phenomenal shooting power and in the prime of his career at 28 y.o.. Yet despite having over 100 caps for the German National team he cannot find a set place in the Arsenal side. Why?
More to the point, why is everyone calling for another striker when we have statistically one of the best strikers in world football in our Polish/German (born in Poland, left as a two year old)?
It is perplexing.
A few Pod stats: 111 caps, 3rd highest appearances for Germany. 46 international goals, 5th highest for Germany. In 2013 he scored after just 9 seconds vs Ecuador, the second fastest goal of all time (first is a San Marino gaol against England!!.). Winner of the German League and Cup Double. Since 2010 he has played 115 games and scored 51 times.
Mr Wenger says he is the most lethal finisher at the club. Yet ….
Write down your Arsenal first XI (when all are fit!), is Poldi in it? Why not?
For Germany Prinz Poldi plays on the left with licence to drift towards the centre, just the same as he does for Arsenal but with one major difference, his fullback is Philip Lahm and his defensive MF Schweinsteiger! He doesn’t have the defensive responsibility which a left sided attacker has at Arsenal.
It seems that Poldi plays deeper on the left than he does for his country, he is regularly seen on the edge of our box tracking back. Unlike Theo, he doesn’t have the pace to join Giroud upfront on the breakaways and therefore if he is to be involved the play has to be slower from the back. I would like to see him played much further forward in the Pires role – I don’t recall Bobby crunching into tackles too often – and I think this is what Mr Wenger bought him for. Poldi may not have the artistry and guile of Pires but he is certainly as dangerous.
Then there is the question of his combination play with Giroud. Can they function as an attacking duo? We have yet to see evidence of an understanding between the two (apart from one thunderous volley from a cheeky OG pass) though this will hopefully develop as the season progresses. The lightning fast interplay between JW, Ozil, Cazorla, Ramsey and Giroud is wonderful to behold, can Poldolski combine in the same vein? Perhaps – he can certainly finish off the moves.
When we signed Poldi much was made of his failure at Bayern Munich, critics said it was easy to be Jack the Peanut at FC Koln but quite different at The Arsenal or Bayern. At FC Koln he was loved like no other and remains so, at Arsenal he is admired rather than loved and I think this is because he has yet to cement a place for himself.
The early season injury came at the wrong time because he was looking as though he had finally found his position in the team. I recall seeing him pull up as his oak-like thigh twitched and twanged, it was poor timing.
I stated recently that I believe Lukas will leave in summer. Why? For two reasons: Firstly, he is too good a player to sit on the bench, especially at a time when goal scorers are in such shortage therefore he will be much in demand all over Europe. Secondly, the rumours of Draxler; a left sided MF who is likely to be groomed as a TH14 type player. Mr Wenger will not pay €40m+ to see him sit on the bench, so who loses his place?
That said, it could be Giroud who gets dropped. If Drexler can play in the middle an attack of Podolski, Drexler, Ozil and Walcott is frighteningly good, or drop Theo for Gnabry and have an all-German frontline!
But Drexler may just be paper talk and Podolski may well become an essential member of the team. I certainly hope so but it is clear Mr Wenger is looking for another striker.
Another cloud on his horizon is the return of Oxlade-Chamberlain who is certain to be a fixture in the team (though given the unfortunate timing of his injury, next season is more likely), plus the rise of Gnabry and Mr Wenger’s penchant for developing young players by putting them out on the wings.
If one looks at the current squad and the marvellous form of Cazorla and Rosicky plus the return of Ramsey, I just cannot see how Podolski will get a run in the team
It is interesting that Mr Wenger picked 18 y.o. Gnabry to start the last three games when Podolski was fit and on the bench. What must Lukas think about that, especially in a World Cup year? (yes, I know SG plays on the right).
Having Podolski on the bench is a major asset, he is a game changer when he comes on for the final 20 minutes but do you think that is satisfactory to an established German International?
Judging from his activity on social media Podolski seems to be really enjoying his time in London. It is time for us to find out whether he has a future as an Arsenal player. Poldi’s time is now – or is it?.