Manchester United one player appears to have got off lightly.

Lukas Podolski was miserable and anonymous; he failed in both his defensive and attacking duties on Saturday. A few goals early in his Arsenal career along with his regular role in the German national team has meant many have left the 27-year-old out of their damning verdicts on the 2012/2013 Arsenal team.

I’m yet to be convinced that Podolski is what the North London club need. The German international reminds me a lot of Dirk Kuyt, a striker who’s adapted to a wide role, and often provides graft but rarely creativity. Kuyt was able to complement Liverpool at their best but also didn’t have sufficient ability to improve the Reds as they degenerated. Joining an Arsenal side in transition facing a real struggle to get to fourth in the Premier League, I’m not convinced the German forward will bring the creativity and guile that has been lacking from Arsenal in recent fixtures.

What was so disappointing from Podolski against United was just how little defending the German did. One of his most impressive attributes is that for somebody brought up as a striker he often does his fair share of defending. In my opinion his only impressive performance at Euro 2012 was against Holland when the former Cologne man did a great job alongside the German captain, Philipp Lahm frustrating Arjen Robben to the point of despair. The two doubled up excellently to leave one of the most dangerous attackers in world football ineffective and irrelevant in a crucial international game. On this occasion Podolski was rarely ten metres from his full back, fast-forward to Old Trafford at the weekend and Podolski left the inept Andre Santos to his own devices against one of the most dangerous wingers in the league in Antonio Valencia.

The other area in which Podolski reminds me of Kuyt is that he isn’t good enough to play through the middle for a big club. The ex-Bayern Munich striker has only been tried as the main man up front once for Arsenal against Sunderland where he was substituted early into the second half after an anonymous display. The Dutchman’s career on Merseyside similarly found him to be inadequate up top on his own, where Fernando Torres went on to flourish. Like Kuyt, playing out wide and not being a natural winger means Podolski might chip in with ten or so goals but won’t often provide great service for the rest of the team.

My main point is Podolski represents one of the key problems that has made Arsenal irrelevant in both the Premier League and Champions League, he’s good but not great. As seen with Germany, Podolski can complement world-class players such as Bastian Schweinsteiger, Philipp Lahm and Mesut Ozil, but he isn’t one himself. The Gunners are a football club full of £10 million signings who are good but not great. Players that demand decent wages but you will not need to break the bank to keep.

Unfortunately for the Gunners, Podolski symbolises the current decline at the club which has seen their former rivals move well ahead of them as highlighted in the drubbing they received at Old Trafford.

Have I been too harsh on Podolski and Arsenal? Let me know your thoughts on Twitter: @jimmylowson   


  • Bob A
    3 years ago

    I totally disagree with your posting Podolski other than a few games have had to play in midfield to back up the RB when Gibbs played he was allowed to move upfront moving infield and causing problems, he works like a trogan which is more than can said of some of the team. I just think that given his proper role, not have to make up for other defficiency by other players then you will see the real player.

  • Alex
    3 years ago

    The truth is, with the current 11 players we have, atleast 4 of them are in the wrong position.
    This is the case with the front 3 at the moment, and definitely Giroud and Podolski. For Montpellier, Giroud played up top with someone, and this was again proven when he played with Chamakh. He plays with the other partner well and improves greatly.
    With Podolski, he played the entire last season up top with FC Koln. Here he scored 14 goals, currently he is anonymous.
    Therefore, I think Arsenal should change their formation to a 4-1-3-2 formation.
    Szczesney, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny (Vermaelen can not defend and is definately worse than the other two) Gibbs,
    A new defensive mid (Fellaini, Mvila?)
    Arteta, Cazorla, Wilshere
    Giroud Podolski

    Let me know what you think guys!

  • Da Big Man
    3 years ago

    I agree that Podolski has been poor in recent games, but then again who in the Arsenal team hasn’t? Arsenal’s problems this season started when Gibbs got injured. Look back to the Norwich and Schalke games, where Santos was at fault for all 3 goals conceded. How Wenger chose to play him at Old Trafford is truly beyond me. When Podolski was playing alongside Gibbs they seemed to have a good understanding. Ramsey playing as a Winger is just as hopeless, we need to start giving Gnabry a chance as he at least has some spark and pace to him. I agree with the last comment that Giroud looks like he needs a player alongside him to work with, who he can flick balls on for etc. Podolski has already shown what he has to offer. A great finish in a tough Mountpellier game, a fantastic free kick, a goal and assist to sink Liverpool at Anfield as well as a great assist for Giroud’s first goal. Perhaps Podolski’s recent performances in a lack luster Arsenal team prove he might not be ‘world class’, but I believe once the team starts playing again we will see him back to his best.

  • Jd
    3 years ago

    Well, tbh, Kuyt is much slower and not as good technically as Podolski. So cant compare in terms lf attributes, but yes much simmilar on contribution.