With Arsenal’s recent signing of striker Danny Welbeck, and firing Frenchman Olivier Giroud now back in contention following his injury, Lukas Podolski seemed resigned to the role of Arsenal’s ‘bit-part player’. Keeping the bench warm, having a customary stoppage time run-out and (presumably) washing Arsene Wenger’s car have been Podolski’s pastimes of late, but on Tuesday night the big German’s performance certainly gave Wender food for thought. Not only did he score a fine brace, he also had a 93 per cent pass-rate, displaying accuracy, pace and power. His second goal, and Arsenal’s fourth, was the icing on the cake.
Saturday’s dismal performance against Stoke, a game where they were 3-0 down at half-time (eventually losing 3-2), saw a slew of Gunners fans slating Wenger, and the manager himself criticism his player’s work-rates. His team gave him the perfect response against a lacklustre Galatasary, however, with Podolski, Aaron Ramsey and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on devastating form. Although they failed to top their Champions League group, Wenger will be pleased with an emphatic response to harsh criticism.
Fans and critics alike have commented Arsenal’s current position is down to one player – the swashbuckling Alexis Sanchez. Last season, it was the resurgent Ramsey who propelled such stories, and on Wednesday night he gave fans a reminder of his scintillating prowess. Lately, the Welsh marksman has been dogged by niggling injuries, but his probing and positive play proved that despite all the talk being focused around Sanchez and Jack Wilshere, Ramsey is still a formidable player. His second goal, a stunning 35-yard volley, is one of his finest strikes, and one his fellow Welsh marauder Gareth Bale would doff his alice band to.
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