At the age of 29 Lukas Podolski has already played 115 times for his country notching up 47 goals. It seems as though the German winger has been around forever, but his record speaks for itself and his value to the Arsenal side should not be understated.
Having played just two seasons in the premiership Podolski has the 3rd highest strike rate in the competitions history at 0.65 goals per 90 minutes. Offensively he is one of Arsenal’s biggest threats and during his two-year stay at the club he has amounted 28 goals and just under 20 assists in 69 matches. These stats have proved vital to Arsenal over the last couple of seasons. Compared to the likes of Liverpool, Chelsea and Man.City we generally create less chances and score less goals. In the Arsenal side Podolski is the only player that takes his chances at an adequate rate and therefore he is a vital cog in our attack.
The problem with Podolski is that he tires very quickly and as a result very rarely completes a full 90 minutes. Because of this he can’t fulfil his role of being a winger efficiently enough as he struggles to get back and help the defence on a regular basis. This leaves Wenger with a constant predicament, either to start him, hoping he’ll do the business so that he can brig him off after 60 minutes or to bring him on as an impact sub to change the game. When watching games it also seems that Podolski drifts in and out of matches. His technical ability often lets him down and he tends not to get involved in the possession based style that Arsenal adopt. He’ll often hang about on the wings waiting for an injection of pace into the attack and try to run onto a through ball that he can either cross or take a shot at.
A player of this sort is often seen as a luxury, something that many Arsenal fans would say we do not need. However though, his eye for a gaol and general success in scoring goals means he is a player that Arsenal must keep. In the current squad there aren’t many out-and-out finishers, and despite the fact Giroud scored 23 goals last season I’d never consider him as a good goalscorer. He’s not someone you could rely upon to score from his first chance in a match, whereas Podolski definitely carries this quality.
Realistically, Lukas Podolski isn’t the greatest team player and he doesn’t have the ability to run all game long for the better of the side. His role as a winger may be restricted on the defensive side of things, but his record at the other end of the field is something to admire and he can produce a goal out of nothing for himself and his team-mates. Ultimately Podolski should be kept at the club because he is the only player with a true eye for goal. His record speaks for itself and he has shown he can perform at the highest level, even if he does wonder in and out of matches. An impact from the substitutes bench seems to suit Podolski more in my eyes, and should Arsenal sign another left-winger it’ll be interesting to see what Wenger does with the German hotshot.