Podolski must start up front, team-mates urge Wenger
Olivier Giroud is expected to win his Arsenal place back today, but a number of Arsene Wenger's players believe Lukas Podolski deserves an extended first-team run.The Arsenal manager produced a Champions League shock by preferring rookie striker Yaya Sanogo to Giroud, who has been forced to apologise over revelations regarding his private life.
Giroud is likely to be given a shot at redemption against Sunderland, but it is Podolski who a section of the dressing- room would like to see given a greater opportunity.
Podolski played and scored in the FA Cup victory over Liverpool and has been given assurances by Wenger that he will receive enough chances to impress over the closing weeks of the season. But he was dropped back to the bench for the defeat by Bayern Munich, having also been left out for the goalless draw with Manchester United.
Podolski is a popular member of the Arsenal squad and is rated highly among many of his team-mates, who fear the 28-year-old will quit the Emirates in the summer if he continues to be overlooked.
Wenger has promised to make changes today and Podolski could be recalled to play on the left side, particularly if Mesut Ozil is rested, but the German striker is keen to be granted a run of games.
Podolski has often failed to impress when starting through the middle. But six goals in 12 appearances this season have convinced Arsenal players that he is a genuine goal threat who would only get better on the back of more starts.
Giroud has scored just three goals in his last 12 Premier League games, but Wenger is convinced the Frenchman will find his form again. Asked if the number of games had caught up with Giroud, Wenger replied: "Recently, yes, but he will bounce back. His head is in the right place. He will be focused."
Wenger believes Sanogo has the potential to follow in the footsteps of Nicolas Anelka. "When I started to play Anelka, everybody said 'why do you start Anelka, why not buy a striker?' We won a championship with him," said Wenger. (©Daily Telegraph, London)