Arsenal striker Lukas Podolski returned from injury in their 3-1 win over West Ham on Boxing Day. The German striker scored his first goal since August on his return to action, and has spoken about his happiness in coming back into the team:
"I have been out for a long time, four months," Podolski said. "It was not easy, but I was happy to play again. When you are out for a long time it is not easy, but I am happy to be back.
"I have never had a muscle injury before so it was a new experience and not easy.
"It was a hamstring injury, my left one. They take a long time. It is nearly four months since I played.”
Podolski’s return will be welcomed by Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who is short of attacking options. Only Olivier Giroud and Nicolas Bendtner are natural strikers, and Giroud’s lack of form has become a concern for Arsenal fans.
Podolski was unhappy to be sidelined with injury while his team-mates were at the top of the table, and has now set his sights on maintaining their winning ways:
"When you sit on the bench or in the stadium or on the couch at home it is not easy to watch," he said.
"You don't have the feeling with the team and in the dressing room. But that is the way it is in football, so I am all the more happy to be back.
"Every match is important now, every match is about three points," Podolski added. "We are top and of course we want to stay there.
"It is not easy because there are five or six teams who are all strong this season, but we have a strong team and we will fight."
Arsenal are top of the Premier League ahead of Sunday’s trip to Newcastle, when they can seal their position at the summit until New Year’s Day. Lukas Podolski will be fighting to make the starting line-up alongside Jack Wilshere, who will be returning from a two match suspension.