Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has hailed his club’s forgotten man Lukas Podolski after the World Cup winner made a telling contribution in the side’s 2-1 victory against Anderlecht yesterday, as reported by the Daily Star.
It was Wenger’s birthday yesterday, with the French manager turning 65, but Anderlecht almost spoiled his big day.
The Belgian side went ahead through Andy Najar, with a win possibly hurting Arsenal’s hopes of progressing in the Champions League.
However, Kieran Gibbs struck in the 89th minute to bring things level, and Podolski had a telling impact from the bench, scoring a late winner and helping Wenger to an important victory.
The German international has been consistently linked with a move away from the Emirates Stadium, with arch rivals Spurs said to be considering a £10 million move for him.
Wenger said: “Poldolski we know can always score. He is frustrated and I understand that of course. But he’s important as well and he showed that tonight and he will be important in the coming months.
“It took him a while to get back to a good physical level [after the World Cup], and now he’s nearly there. He was never close to leaving in the summer.
“He has 115 caps for Germany, that is not a coincidence. That shows you the quality. I think he is a guy you want to have the ball in the box.
“His shot is fantastic, his accuracy is great and he has very short backlift. He nearly scored before and I know when he comes on, he can score.
“It was a nice end to a game. I had hope. It didn’t look like it would happen, but it did and that means we took all the risks and in the end it paid off. It was vital for us to have a chance to qualify. We are in a strong position now. It’s down to us now. Win our home games and we are through.
“The group is in our hands. Let’s first qualify and see how far we can go.”
Arsenal now sit second in Group D, trailing leaders Borussia Dortmund by three points after their huge victory against Galatasaray last night.