Lukas Podolski Set For A surprise Start Against Anderlecht

After a reported illness which left him out of the 2-2 draw against Hull City at the Emirates on Saturday, Lukas Podolski is not only available for selection but could make a surprise start in the UEFA Champions’ League away encounter with Belgian giants Anderlecht on Wednesday night. This season, Lukas Podolski has been more active on social media platforms more than his involvements in the Arsenal play and this would mostly be attributed to the presence of more highly rated attackers in the Arsenal squad rather than underperformance, as his lethargic tendencies in front of goal cannot be undermined. Podolski, 29, was a subject of transfer speculations all summer long with reports suggesting that manager, Arsene Wenger, would sell the player and fund a move for a younger and more potent attackers like Marco Reus and Edinson Cavani, but that wasn’t to be as the German forward himself revealed that he was persuaded to stay by the manager Arsene Wenger amidst a plethora of interests.

The least of Arsene Wenger’s worries going into the game against Anderlecht would come in the forward line as the Gunners despite losing Olivier Giroud on the long term, have more than enough players who could be deployed in the goal scoring department, one of which is the 29-year-old former Cologne FC Captain, Lukas Podolski. However, the title of this article would come as a surprise to many supporters as Podolski hasn’t even started a Premier League match this season making just 5 substitute appearances in total for the North London side. Reports now suggest that Podolski would start against Anderlecht probably alongside Alexis Sanchez upfront for Arsenal, as the manager looks to rest either of Danny Welbeck or Alexis Sanchez. The two forwards have been in fantastic forms since they signed for Arsenal this summer-the real reason Podolski isn’t getting the starts- and resting one of them would really be a welcome idea.

While it is very possible for Arsene Wenger to deploy Podolski as the yeoman upfront, it isn’t very likely as the Frenchman has demonstrated his preference for gangling attackers in the build and frame of Olivier Giroud, Yaya Sanogo and Emmanuel Adebayor. However, if deployed as the number 9, then we would likely have Danny Welbeck rested while Alexis Sanchez would operate from the left wing of attack. But if Podolski would be played on the left wing, one of Alexis Sanchez of Santi Cazorla would likely be rested for this match. However, Arsene Wenger fixes his team, with Podolski starting, it really would be an opportunity for the German to stake a claim on a regular shirt for Arsenal. Podolski expressed recently his unhappiness at the lack of opportunities at Arsenal but a start for him in the match would seem a golden chance for him to  remind the manager and all fans of how important he could be for the team.

Many believe that the chance of Lukas Podolski coming back into the Arsenal squad and commanding a regular spot in the squad looks very slim. This summer Arsenal has signed Alexis Sanchez from Barcelona to bolster an attack which depended solely on Olivier Giroud, who seemed spent towards the end of last season. However, Lukas Podolski, who came into the team the same year as Giroud has had fewer time on the pitch but has demonstrated his lethal tendencies in front of goal, with a good number of strikes for the North London club. Podolski, 29, is mostly deployed from the left flank of attack and his position is seriously threatened by the form and presence of players like Alexis Sanchez, Joel Campbell, Mesut Ozil, Santi Cazorla and even Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, most of who are in their early or mid 20s and can play on the left and some in the middle. Depending on how Wenger wants to play and the tactical approach to a particular game, Podolski was thought to be relegated to being the w 3rd or even 4th choice in the left wing of Arsenal’s attack. As a lone attacker upfront, Wenger seems to prefer the Adebayor, Sanogo and Giroud frame for a traditional number 9 and even though he has scarcely been deployed there by Arsene Wenger, he had played in that position for FC Koln and for Germany in the past. Therefore, Lukas Podolski would be 3rd or 4th choice upfront considering the fact that Wenger might want to experiment Alexis Sanchez in that position for Arsenal.

Now however, Podolski would do well to make selection very difficult for manager Arsene Wenger by playing his hearts out for the Gunners in this crucial UEFA Champions’ League game and probably grabbing a goal or more, to silence his critics and put smiles on the faces of his teeming followers and fans on social media, many of whom have praised is spirit and loyalty to Arsenal with his recent banter on Tottenham Hotspurs, the Gunners’ North London rivals.

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