Lukas Podolski is a player who I, and a vast number of Gooners, love. For me, he is among the top five players in the Premier League when it comes to shot technique – his manipulation of the ball during a strike is astounding! Not only that, but he is one of the few players in our current squad that offers something different, while still holding onto familiar qualities the majority of the team possess. His ability to deliver deliciously curving and dipping crosses from the flank, along with a mixture of strength and pace, make him a formidable opponent to any full back. Not only that, but his shot power and accuracy gives us a player who can score us a goal from outside the box – something very few Arsenal players can offer on a consistent basis. These characteristics, combined with standard Arsenal flair, ball control, and short passing efficiency makes the German a vital component in our squad. Well, that’s my opinion anyway. As for Wenger, things seem to be a little different…
Despite averaging a goal a game in the Premier League this season, Lukas has only been awarded 3 appearances. Now, I highly doubt the boss sees Podolski as a bad player – far from it in fact. He too must know what the 28 year old can offer us on the pitch. So why won’t he play him more often? Personally, I think it is all done to one thing: Podolski’s sense of humour.
Every so often a player – who would appear to be developing well at the club – appears to be locked out of the first team squad under Wenger. First, we saw it with Alex Song. Alex appeared to be very happy at the club, and had just had a storming 2011/12 season with the Gunners before he was shipped out and sold to Barcelona. The fee was below average and the circumstances suspicious, yet no one questioned the manager’s decision due to the pressing issue of Van Persie’s contract situation that summer. The reason various news outlets gave for Song’s departure was his behaviour off the pitch; which according to the rest of the squad was relaxed and playful. Throughout that year, numerous players in the squad reported Song to be the joker in the pack; the one always pulling the pranks; the one keeping the laughs coming. At Christmas time, he would arrive at training dressed as Santa. When our purple strip was announced, he proclaimed he wanted to dye his hair to match it. Before training began, he would pose for pictures with his latest crazy fashion outfits. To put it lightly, he was a little eccentric.
The same can be said for Emmanuel Frimpong. Despite showing promise two seasons ago, he has slowly faded out of Wenger’s first team plans. This season, the Ghanaian has appeared more times on YouTube videos playing FIFA than he has for our first team. A frequent tweeter, the midfielder is certainly a wise cracking type of guy – the sort of person you would love to go out for a pint with, but not necessarily have in training everyday. Although the fans find his constant jokes, mad quotes and crazy views entertaining, Arsene Wenger might not be too happy with them when the squad is preparing for a big game.
And finally, the third of the musketeers would appear to be the aforementioned Lukas Podolski. In the words of Theo Walcott, Lukas is “a bit mad”. From adopting Alan Partridge’s catchphrases, to documenting his unorthodox tours around London, our latest fan favourite would appear to fit the mould of a player Wenger might not want around the club.
Although only speculation, it certainly seems odd that three players, with similarly excitable and outgoing personality traits, would all suffer the same cold shoulder from Wenger –even when they play well. Perhaps Arsene likes his players to maintain 100% focus during training sessions, and might see these types of players as a danger to that philosophy? Perhaps their jokey characters are just masking lazy players underneath? Perhaps it is simply a coincidence, and Le Professor rates other players far more highly than the ones mentioned above? We may never know.
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