Arsenal News: Lukas Podolski Proving Value for Money as Robin van Persie's Replacement

Arsenal fans appear to have found a new goalscoring hero, one who is helping them forget how their last one left the club. Lukas Podolski has hit three goals in his last three games and is beginning to look like excellent value as Robin van Persie's replacement.

The Germany international began Arsenal's UEFA Champions League fightback against Montpellier, with a calmly-taken equaliser, setting the Gunners up for a vital 2-1 win. The goal showcased Podolski's knack for cool and precise finishing and the greater movement he has brought to Arsenal's forward line.

He began the passing move which led to the goal, by exchanging a series of passes with Abou Diaby in midfield. Podolski then returned to his left-wing berth as the attack gathered momentum.

Eventually the ball was worked back into the middle, where Diaby threaded a nice pass to Santi Cazorla who then fired the ball into Olivier Giroud. The Frenchman deftly laid the ball into the middle of the box where Podolski finished the move.

He had been intelligent enough to read the flow of play and make a subtle run from the left into the middle. Once Cazorla received the ball, Podolski became the centre-forward, while Giroud drifted towards the left.

It's that kind of fluidity that has enabled Arsenal to rediscover their scoring touch and Podolski has been at the forefront of it. Crafty movement and a deadly left foot are the two attributes that link Podolski and van Persie.

However, does a three-goal salvo show that the ex-Cologne star can adequately fill the void left by the wantaway Dutchman? Despite leaving under a cloud, van Persie set a very high standard for goalscoring during his last four seasons with the Gunners.

In three of those years he scored at least 20 goals, with the 37 he netted last seacon representing his most prolific haul. That's a tough act for any player to follow, but Podolski certainly appears capable of being around that 20-goal mark by season's end.

Perhaps more important, is how he'll manage it. Partly because of where plays and partly due to his style, Podolski can regularly find the net, without even being the chief focal point of an attack.

He is a roving player, content to occupy a variety of positions and strike from different angles. That's a key difference compared to how van Persie achieved his greatest successes with the Gunners.

The Netherlands international eventually became a pure central striker, with Arsenal's attacking play funnelled directly to him. Podolski's multipurpose remit as a wide forward, means Arsenal won't have to rely on him for their goals.

His movement and threat will create space for and benefit from, the production of others. Arsenal are getting all that from a 27-year-old who cost a mere £10.9 million.

Compare that to the £24 million they fetched for the 29-year-old van Persie in the final year of his contract. That's the very definition of great buisiness.

 

 

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