Daily Archives: July 5, 2015
Yesterday had a great feel from an Arsenal perspective as Alexis Sanchez and his compatriots did what was needed to win the Copa America for the first time. Things almost went awry for Chile late on when Gonzalo Higuain fired a shot to the side netting but we had to wait for the lottery of penalty shootouts to decide the contest and I’m sure every Arsenal fan was elated that Alexis Sanchez won the game for his nation with this peach of a penalty…
Congratulations to Chile and I hope Alexis can get some good rest ahead of the forthcoming season. He has played 76 games in 14 months for both club and country and if there’s anybody that deserves some good rest, it’s Alexis.
However, there’s a player that will not be wearing Arsenal’s colors next season as the club has confirmed that Lukas Podolski will be joining Galatasaray after three seasons with the Gunners. Podolski was an important asset to the club when he joined in the summer of 2012 but as the seasons progressed, he found himself on the fringes and finally fell out of favor with Arsene Wenger.
Nonetheless, some fans (me included) are going to miss the German and here are the things I’m going to miss about him.
That Thunderous Left Foot
Podolski had a reputation of blasting balls into the opposition net from his FC Bayern and FC Cologne days. He even did it a couple of times at international level but when he joined Arsenal, he showed that the trend was going to stop anytime soon.
While I was obviously happy that such a blistering piledriver went into the net, I spared a thought for Montpellier Herault’s goalie, Geoffrey Jourdren. His hapless attempt to salvage anything from the shot proved how hard Podolski had hit it and there was no way in Hell that goalie was going to save the ball.
Arseblog likened Podolski’s left foot to Thor’s Hammer. I’m sure are all in agreement with that assessment.
His Clinical Finishing
Even Arsene Wenger confirmed in a press conference that Podolski was the best finisher in his team,
“He’s certainly one of the best finishers I’ve ever seen. When he is physically ready, he will of course help us. If there’s one you want to see in front of the goal in a shooting position, it’s him.”
There are some strikes I remember Podolski execute superbly and I wonder where he had the audacity to even attempt them. He smashed in 31 goals in 81 appearances for the Gunners and at the end of the 2013/14 campaign, he had the best conversion rate (26 percent) in the Premier League. This record has been bested by Diego Costa and Juan Mata.
Podolski was one man many Arsenal fans wanted to see in a one-on-one situation because the odds of him finding the back of the net were always very high. Shame we won’t be seeing this anymore.
His Connection with the Fans
This will probably be one of the things I’d miss the most about Prinz Poldi. Whether it’s on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or on the pitch itself, Podolski knew how to work his way to the hearts of the fans, and he was loved for it.
Many fans won’t be quick to forget his antics in White Hart Lane after the Gunners recorded yet another victory on that ground. It was like party time there and Podolski led the efforts.
We all know that there’s no substitute for experience in world football and the most recent acquisition of a legendary veteran like Petr Cech showed that Arsene Wenger knows what an experienced and talismanic goalie like the Czech Republic shot stopper could offer to his team.
Podolski, 30, falls into this category of footballers that have been there and done that and there were games where he made his vast experience count for the team.
Take the away game against West Ham in the 2013/14 season for instance. The Gunners were struggling in that game and it seemed as if they weren’t going to make a breakthrough. On came Podolski from the bench to grab a brace and even set up Theo Walcott for Arsenal’s third. Or do you wanna remember that home clash against Stoke were Tony Pulis hordes tore a script from the Jose Mourinho Bus Parking for Dummies manual and it seemed as if they were going back home with a point. Up stepped Podolski to deliver a close range free kick under the wall to give his side three vital points.
There are many games Podolski won points for his team, even though it seems as if he was undervalued, his experience came in handy in those situations.
With Lukas Podolski off to Turkey, he will be missed at Arsenal. While it was evident that he was surplus to requirements at the Emirates, he was still hopeful of making a contribution in the coming season but the Gunners preferred to cash in on him now, instead of waiting for him to leave on a Bosman at the end of next season.
Galatasaray got a glimpse of Podolski’s wrath last season in the Champions League when he scored a brace against them and they’d be happy that he’s in their books now to aid them in their campaign next season.
I wish Podolski all the very best and I hope he does well in Turkey.
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