Arsenal’s injury woes continue to ease and it looks set to get even better after the international break. Santi Cazorla, Theo Walcott and Lukas Podolski look set to return to the fray after the last set of qualifiers. While the other 2 are also positive news for Arsenal, it is the return of Podolski that interests me even more. The German has been out for 6 weeks but he stated on twitter yesterday that he was nearing a return but with the surplus options available to us on the wings owing to the arrival of Ozil, what fate awaits the German?
Before he got injured, he had only a Premier league start and that was against Fulham where he bagged a brace. Then, Arsenal had no Ozil which meant Cazorla and Wilshere didn’t have to contemplate having to play on the wings. But things have changed and they now have to.
Certainly, as things stand now, Podolski won’t be a sure starter on the wings, even his bench role there is in doubt. He might just be on the cusp of realizing his ambition of playing through the center. Since joining Arsenal, he has had to play on the left wing despite his complaints that he wasn’t comfortable there. Guess the reason why Wenger played him there was because Arsenal lacked a natural left footer to play on the left wing. Hence, had to turn to the German. But now that Cazorla and Wilshere will have to make do with the left wing and allow Ozil wound his magic from the middle, Podolski might just be drafted to the central position that he has always coveted.
Arsenal are short on the striker front as there is only Giroud and with the Gunners chasing glory on multiple fronts, the Frenchman is clearly not enough body upfront. The argument that Arsenal will have to buy in the winter window erupts but the winter isn’t tomorrow and before it opens, Arsenal have season defining matches to play. Podolski could be a decent cover for Giroud. I know he doesn’t have the movement and hold up play ability of the former Montpellier striker but he sure knows how to finish. With creativity littered around the field in persons of Wilshere, Cazorla, Ozil, Walcott, Rosicky and Ramsey, Podolski is guaranteed to get plethora of chances and with his finishing ability, plenty goals.
Bottom line is that as Podolski returns, he might not be going on to the wings but rather to the center forward position.