In recent weeks we have all been crying out for Podolski to be given the central striker role. Giroud wasn’t doing a good job and his ban looked to be an omen that would allow the German international to finally get his chance down the middle. However, 2 games later and I can safely say I would rather have Giroud playing there.
In my opinion, Podolski offers very little when playing through the middle because our game doesn’t revolve around the central striker. Although he is good for bombing into the box for our wingers to play a low cross in, he lacks the physical presence that allows him to do anything with the ball in the midfield area. The same happens with Walcott when he has played through the middle and although Giroud isn’t very good at driving forward, he can take the ball down in the air, play it to another teammate before making his next run.
It may seem harsh to criticize Podolski after just two games but it’s not just that he hasn’t scored, its rather that he just doesn’t seem to figure in the game when out on the pitch. Giroud was on a poor run of form before his suspension at Fulham two weeks ago, however now he is gone I think we can all recognise that although he wasn’t scoring he was still getting involved in the game and attempting a shot at goal, whilst with Podolski he just struggles to get involved.
Again, I reiterate I don’t think it’s his fault, he puts in the effort, challenging for the ball, driving forward and pressing their players, however what’s become clear to me is that the way we play almost expects the striker to take on the whole defence by himself, something of which you can only expect from Ronaldo or Messi.
Podolski is a great finisher and there’s no doubt about it. He can strike the ball hard, driving it into the back of the net; he can finish with curling free kicks and acrobatic volleys and is just a general all-round good finisher of the ball. Wenger recognises that Podolski is the most clinical finisher at Arsenal and his performances on the wing show that he is a valuable player at the club, however I just don’t think he has what it takes to be a central striker for Arsenal despite what we have all wished for in recent weeks. Arsenal will again be without Giroud for the Wigan game so let’s hope Podolski can make a difference in that game, if Wenger is to continue playing the German in the central role until Giroud’s return.
Or does the German just need more time?