Podolski reminds Gunners of his real worth

Posted by Sam Limbert

Arsenal celebrate after taking a 2-0 lead at Fulham through Lukas Podolski.PA PhotosArsenal celebrate after taking a 2-0 lead at Fulham through Lukas Podolski.

Pathetic fallacy is a literary term and refers to the intertwining of aspects of nature with the emotion of key characters in a saga. So the monsoon that battered down on Craven Cottage on Saturday -- following the first-day Premier League defeat to Aston Villa -- was somewhat fitting for some Arsenal fans.

However, those gloomy fears and predictions of dark clouds on the horizon were dispelled with an excellent 3-1 win against Fulham.

- Tyler: Ramsey leads Gunners to victory
- Report: Arsenal rain on Fulham's parade

Given all the talk of the need for new arrivals at Arsenal, one of the stranger things to hear this week was the suggestion that Lukas Podolski could be on his way out. As if to answer those rumours, Arsene Wenger gave the German his first start of the season, and the forward's two goals made it clear that choosing to sell him in the next week would be extremely stupid.

Podolski had a decent first season in England and should be looking to push on this year, and while it was a surprise to see him used so sparingly in the opening two matches, he provided fresh impetus to a team that needed to boost energy levels after a tiring trip to Turkey in midweek. After a full preseason, Podolski looked sharp and willing to get involved. Too often last season he went missing in games. That didn't happen at Fulham, despite the bucketing rain.

After Olivier Giroud's well-taken opening goal, his third in three games this week, Podolski produced two good finishes to remind Arsenal fans of the quality of his left foot. The first came after the ball ricocheted to the edge of the penalty area, and Podolski wasted no time in thundering it back past the goalkeeper before the defenders could react.

His second goal was an even better finish. If the first was all about raw power, the second added precision. A good, flowing, forward move involving Giroud, Theo Walcott and Santi Cazorla ended with Podolski instinctively lashing the ball into the bottom corner.

While there were plenty of games last season in which Podolski didn't seem to be at his best, he's still quickly becoming a fan favourite. If Wenger wants to keep supporters happy, selling Podolski would be the wrong move. The German also seems to understand the mindset of Arsenal fans, and visibly appreciates it when his name is sung by the Gooners. Those who braved the wet at the Cottage, especially those who took a boat to the game down the Thames, were in excellent voice.

The performance wasn't perfect from Arsenal, but the way they stayed calm in some poor conditions, and when Fulham tried to apply pressure in the second half, was impressive. It seemed as if Arsenal had stepped off the plane after the win against Fenerbahce and continued with the same levels of concentration and determination.

Wojciech Szczesny, Bacary Sagna and Per Mertesacker impressed again, whilst Cazorla seems to have put his laboured performance against Villa behind him.

The Arsenal fitness levels did drop near the end, but they were able to see the match out largely untroubled. That was understandable given the midweek exertions, and now the challenge is to be ready for Tuesday's Champions League return leg. The size of the squad means rotation options are limited, but the team are building some momentum again and that needs to continue off the pitch with some signings.

Judging by the young bench Arsenal had at Fulham, new faces have to be brought in during the next week, but there shouldn't be any big departures, and definitely not Lukas Podolski.


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