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Podolski is the perfect answer to Arsenal’s Ozil riddle

| 22.02.2014

Mesut Ozil’s penalty miss and subsequent abject performance during Arsenal’s galling Champions League loss has left Gooners with a bitter taste in their mouth regarding their £42m record signing.

The German’s failure to convert from 12 yards not only let a visibly rattled Bayern Munich off the hook in the first-leg of their last-16 tie, but it capped a miserable few weeks for a player who has drawn far more dissenting voices than praiseworthy ones in recent times.

Of course, Wojciech Szczesny ‘s red card can be viewed as the ultimate game-killing moment, though ‘what might have been’ will form a low-lying layer of cloud over Arsenal heads for some time to come.

Ladbrokes clearly see it as an uphill struggle for Arsenal to repeat the heroic 2-0 scoreline they achieved in Munich last year – which would take the second-leg to extra-time when the teams meet again in a fortnight – labelling it a 40/1-chance.

But in the meantime, what to do with poor old Ozil? Although Ozil has been widely criticised for not caring enough about the cause or even being accused of laziness, he actually covered the third most ground of either side against Bayern.

And having started Arsenal’s last five games, spanning three competitions, a few games on the bench is just what the doctor ordered.

Starting with their home Premier League games against Sunderland next, where the Gunners can be backed to at 2/7 to bounce back with three points, all Arsene Wenger need to do is recall Lukas Podolski.

The German’s season may have been affected by injury, but when he plays he scores goals – six in 12 games to be precise – the last of which came in his most recent appearance against Liverpool.

This not only improves Arsenal’s goal threat, but it means Santi Cazorla can shift inside to pull the strings leaving Podolski to occupy the vacant left forward position.

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Christian Crowther

Give Christian a sport with anything remotely spherical in it and he’ll happily while away the hours watching it on the box. However, he’d much prefer writing about, playing or betting on golf, football, cricket, tennis, snooker.... you get the picture.