The euphoria over the last minute victory against a battling Anderlecht last night does not mask the fact that Arsenal were poor for large portions of the game and struggled to break down a solid looking Anderlecht defence. The Gunners won via two moments of brilliance late on in the game, and Podolski was the hero of the piece, coming off the bench to score the winner, which was also his first goal of the season.
In the post match press conference, Wenger addressed question as to the German’s performance and his future. Podolski has been frozen out of the first team this season and is reportedly very unhappy; the German was even said to be considering a January move away from the Emirates. But Wenger stressed that he always knew that Podolski was a quality player and he has no intention of letting him leave.
Yes, I don’t need to add too much. We know Podolski can always score. He is frustrated and I understand that of course. But he’s important as well and he showed that tonight and he will be important in the coming months. It took him a while to get back to a good physical level [after the World Cup] and now he’s nearly there.
He was never close to leaving. He has 115 caps for Germany – that is not a coincidence, that shows you his quality. I think he is a guy you want to have the ball in the box. His shot is fantastic, his accuracy is great and he has very short back lift. He nearly scored before and I know when he comes on he can score.
Thanks to Podolski’s strike, Arsenal took all three points from the game and have almost assured their qualification from the group. The next target for the team is a win against Sunderland over the weekend, and it will be interesting to see if Wenger hands the German forward a start in the Premier League.