The Arsenal Chap Diaries – Is now the time for Podolski?
There had been indecision about where to play Lukas Podolski, indecision about his application and now indecision on whether he will stay at the Emirates Stadium. This has been the story for the World Cup winning German so far. That is until today, when Arsene Wenger seemed at last to be making a stand on his future.
“Podolski is in the squad tomorrow and will stay with us,” Wenger said on ESPN
This statement has gone against the flood of news that his linked Podolski with Juventus, Wolfsburg and more. The Germans agent also has said there has been no contact and despite the avid glee he may feel in linking up with Nicklas Bendtner again, it looks like he will be staying in North London.
The main problem he has encountered during his time at Arsenal has been the dilemma of where to play him. Normally played out on the left, he has often been hauled off after 60 minutes for being ineffective and yet still many at Arsenal class this as his position. Just because he plays something similar in the German National team, does this necessarily mean it should suit him in his current surroundings?
It seems even Arsene Wenger is divided about where to use him and how he can unleash one of Arsenal’s most prolific finishers.
In April, Wenger told Arsenal.com “I played him center forward a few times and I felt he came a lot to the ball, more like an off-striker than a target striker.” He went onto say “But he is a fantastic finisher because he has unbelievable power and a very short backlift. So the one you want to have a chance is him.”
This may sound like something of a contradiction as even if he came a little deep, he still is by his own Coaches admission, the one man in the team you want the ball to fall to. Olivier Giroud is also perhaps one dimensional but as he is a target man it is understandable that he gets the nod. It still begs the question that if this is the main issue would he not suit a change of formation perhaps playing off another striker?
In May however, Wenger changed his mind saying that he believes he can be effective in the centre. “I believe so, he has the qualities because he is a good finisher,” the manager said on Arsenal.com. “He has a good technique and because we have a game based on very quick combinations I believe he can be a part of that. Overall I am convinced in the coming games he will show it. At the moment, yes [I will play Podolski in the middle]. A definite decision has not been made but if there is an opportunity then there is a good chance I will do it.”
With the-afore mentioned Olivier Giroud seemingly injured for an unconfirmed amount of time, the usual panic about not having enough strikers ensues. Whether Alexis Sanchez should play in the middle is still in debate and Yaya Sonogo is still absent.
Could the answer be under Arsene Wengers nose once again? Could Podolski be the man that could provide cover for Giroud? Admittedly he may take time to settle into the role but Arsenal will create chances, and who did Wenger say he would like the ball to fall to the most?
The solution may not be perfect but had the Frenchman trusted Lukas Podolski and not Yaya Sonogo on what was the collapse of last season and would the North London team have been any worse off?
By Richard Hall
Follow me on Twitter @TheArsenalChap
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