Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Lukas Podolski, tactical review and possibility on Arsenal

Arsenal confirmed the signing of FC Cologne's striker Lukas Podolski on an undisclosed fee in their official website. Podolski was Arsenal's first signing for next season and he will join Arsenal after the Euro 2012.

Podolski's biography
Full name: Lukas Josef Podolski
Date of birth: 04/06/1985
Place of birth: Gliwice, Poland
Height: 5 ft 11
Previous Club : FC Cologne, Bayern Munich
International Caps (Goals) : 95 (43)
(data from Arsenal.com)

 “He is a top-class player, a very good finisher and a proven performer at club and international level. He is a very strong player and will provide us with good attacking options.", Wenger on Podolski, via Arsenal.com

Lukas Podolski would add some reinforcement for Arsenal's attacking firepower, where they were too dependent on their captain, Robin van Persie. Gervinho, one of the biggest signings on the summer to help van Persie upfront is yet to show his maximum capabilities, with some awful finishing in front of goal, despite showing some glimpse of technique.

The signing of German striker, who is also capable of playing on the left wing, could persuade Robin van Persie to stay in Arsenal, following his statement requesting signing of world class players for the club. Lukas Podolski, internationally, is an excellent playerThe ex-Bayern Munich striker has already collected 95 caps and 43 goals for German National Team, just in age of 26. However, in club level, he didn't fulfil his potential in Bayern Munich during his spell in 2006-2009, with just 17 goals on 55 appearances. However, he did display some excellent performances with FC Cologne, with 18 goals from 30 games.

However, where will Podolski fit on Arsenal FC next season?
There would be several probabilities on how Wenger put Podolski on Arsenal's first team. But there would be two most likely option Wenger would take.

1. Left Wing in 4-2-3-1
Arsenal has been using this formation (and it derivatives 4-3-3) for the last three season. This formation would allow only one player playing on the central forward, and should van Persie stay in Arsenal, the captain would be guaranteed one position on the central forward, and Lukas Podolski would play on the left wing, like what he did in German National Team for recent years. He could be like Robert Pires or Freddie Ljungberg, winger with a high goalscoring rate, and with tendency to drive trough opposition's defence, instead of crossing. Podolski is also known for this cannon left-footed shot. With the introduction of Lukas Podolski on the right wing, Gervinho would sit on the bench, or switched to the right flank with Theo Walcott not included in the starting eleven.

1. Familiar formation on the last three years. The players already used to play in this formation.
2. This formation gives more rooms for midfielder, as Arsenal have a lot of central midfielder, as well as defensive midfielder. At least 9 midfielder Arsenal have, assuming Wenger is not selling anyone (Song, Coquelin, Frimpong, Arteta, Wilshere, Diaby, Denilson, Ramsey, Rosicky).

1. van Persie might be dropping deep to the middle and no one playing on the opposition penalty's area
2. This formation has tendency to be leakable through the wing, as the winger plays too advanced.

How would Arsenal looks like
Sagna - Koscielny - Vermaelen - Gibbs
Arteta - Song
Walcott - Rosicky - PODOLSKI
van Persie

2. Striker in 4-4-2
Arsene Wenger is familiar with this formation, with using this formation since his arrival in Arsenal, with all his trophies won during his era were all during the 4-4-2 formation era. The famous invincibles Arsenal were using 4-4-2, and so does the double winning - and the Old Trafford conquerer - squad in 2002. Podolski could move upfront with Robin van Persie, with both of them capable of playing deeper, particularly Robin van Persie.

1. van Persie would be able to drop deeper, and plays in the Berkamp's role, or Podolski would drop deeper to play behind van Persie. Both of them capable of playing in the second striker
2. van Persie and Podolski wouldn't be too isolated upfront.

1. Podolski is not a real no 9, so does RvP, despite all the goals he scored, both of them are more like a second striker, instead of real no 9.
2. Might need time to implement 'new but old' formation as most of the players.
3. Midfielder not as strong as 4-2-3-1, plus not giving the midfielder more time to play. As said before, Arsenal have a lot of midfielder, except Wenger want to sell midfielders this season. Rosicky might lost his best again, with playing as playmaker in the central midfielder instead of advanced playmaker role.

How would Arsenal looks like
Sagna - Koscielny - Vermaelen - Gibbs
Walcott - Arteta - Song - Chamberlain
PODOLSKI - van Persie

Conclusion : Both solution looks probable for Wenger, but Wenger is likely to opt for 4-2-3-1, looking for the players Arsenal have, with plenty of midfielder available. The choice of 4-2-3-1 would be more clear if Wenger decided to bring Yann M'Vila, a French defensive midfielder, who Wenger admired a lot, to partner either Mikel Arteta or Alex Song.

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