Football

Lukas Podolski must leave Arsenal if snubbed on Saturday

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Arsenal maverick Lukas Podolski is just one of a number of Gunners stars approaching a genuine crossroads ahead of Saturday's date with destiny against Hull City in the FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium, but the German international's case is more pressing at the end of second English season which has been frustrating for so many reasons.

Podolski arrived at the Emirates in 2012 with a track record as a proven international player possessing a penchant for clinical finishing and a driven streak to match, but it's been far from plain sailing for the versatile forward despite fleeting flashes of this quality.

Take this season as a case in point, with the 28-year-old sidelined for nearly four months with a torn hamstring, ruining his chances of getting off to a flier and building on a relatively encouraging return of 18 goals in all competitions during his debut season with the Arsenal.

Before that injury was sustained against Fenerbahce though Gunners boss Arsene Wenger decided not to start Podolski in the disastrous 3-1 defeat to Aston Villa which opened the season, despite his squad being absolutely decimated by injury.

Podolski returned a week later and scored a brilliant brace under intense pressure against Fulham at Craven Cottage, but getting consistent starts week in week out remains a massive problem, one you would not normally associate with a 112-cap international.

Since returning from a prolonged spell on the sidelines things have been far more positive for Podolski in terms of first-team action, but there is still a strong argument to suggest that with everyone fit and firing Wenger would drop the left-sided star in favour of a more disciplined alternative, such as diminutive playmaker Santi Cazorla.

Over the last month though with plenty of team-mates sidelined Podolski has prove his worth as a thunderous, unnerving finisher in the final third when given the ammunition to fire, scoring four times in Arsenal's last five Premier League games, including a brace against this weekend's opponents Hull.

Despite missing just seven minutes from Arsenal's last possible 360 Podolski will surely be one of the most nervous Gunners stars when Wenger picks his starting XI for a first FA Cup final since 2005, it really is time for the boss to either show his faith in fan favourite or both parties should consider moving in another direction.

Arsenal pay Podolski a whopping £100,000-a-week and the club's structure simply cannot justify giving that portion of their budget to a peripheral figure.

From the player's point of view too there is an international starting spot to consider too, will Joachim Low continue to remain loyal to a trusted ally if Wenger snubs him for Arsenal's biggest game of the season.

In many ways Podolski's status as a cult hero could be cemented or erased entirely on Saturday evening, it's not too drastic a claim to suggest the ex-Cologne star should slap in a transfer request if Cazorla is moved back to the left flank or Tomas Rosicky preferred come crunch time this weekend. 

Arsenal team-mates might be signing Podolski's praises in a cringeworthy video released by the club in the build-up to a must-win watch, but it'll be no laughing matter for the proven predator experiences more Wembley woe, after being strangely subbed off after 68 minutes of the FA Cup semi-final against Wigan last month.

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Topics:
Arsenal
Football
Lukas Podolski
Premier League

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