Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has highlighted the important role Lukas Podolski could play for the Gunners, after injuries to attacking options Theo Walcott and Nicklas Bendtner have left them somewhat light up front.

Podolski returned from injury in the Boxing Day victory over West Ham and marked his comeback with a superbly taken goal, with his finishing prowess a skill that Wenger sees as crucial.

The Frenchman said: "If there is one (player) you want to see in front of the goal in a shooting position, it is him because Podolski is certainly one of the best finishers I have ever seen.

"He can play that central role when he is completely fit and is one of the potential assets we have there.

"When he is physically ready, he will of course help us."

The German was out for four months after a hamstring injury suffered against Fenerbahce in August, but this incredibly popular player's return to full fitness will be welcomed by Arsenal staff and supporters alike, ahead of the Premier League title run-in.

Podolski looks set to play a part in Arsenal's Monday evening clash with Aston Villa after Wenger revealed he is getting match fitness back.

"He is working hard. This week he looked sharper in training, so he is getting closer now to being completely fit again," Wenger said.

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