Arsenal FC: Predictions for Giroud and Podolski's First Season with Arsenal
With Arsenal having completed two signings so far in this summer's transfer window with Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud, all the Arsenal fans will be waiting to see how they perform in their first seasons with the Gunners.
Both of these players have proven that they can be successful in the Bundesliga and Ligue 1; Giroud was the top scorer in the French league, while Podolski managed to net in 18 goals in 29 appearances in the German league.
Now, it will be interesting to see how well these two forwards can do in the tough, physical Premier League.
So, here are a few predictions for Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski's first season in Arsenal colors.
Place in the Starting Lineup
With the way the Robin van Persie transfer saga is going at the moment, it is likely that the prolific scorer will be on his way out of the Emirates.
This would mean that new signing Olivier Giroud could receive a chance to prove himself as a starter in his first season with the Gunners.
The Frenchman really has only one true position, which is being a striker, so expect to see the French top scorer playing upfront next season.
Podolski is likely to start for Arsenal next season as he can play more than one position.
He can play on the left wing, just the way he does with the German national team, or he can play in a more central position, like he did with Cologne.
With players like Mikel Arteta and Tomas Rosicky, who is currently injured however, who can play in that central midfield position efficiently, it is more likely that Podolski will be seen on the left wing.
Goals and Assists
Giroud is a player who has the necessary traits to succeed in a league like the Premier League.
First of all, he has the height and physical presence to be dominant in the air against Premier League defenses. Giroud could be classified as the typical English forward: tall, strong, good in the air.
So with this, one could expect the Frenchman to score around 15-20 goals in his first season, given the playing time he is likely to receive.
Then in terms of assists, Giroud can also use his aerial presence to get up and make good passes that can lead to easy goals.
As a result of Giroud's passing and the fact that he is a striker, I would expect him to have made around four or five assists.
For Podolski, one could probably expect the opposite in terms of scoring and passing.
With Podolski's position, it is likely that he can score, as he is capable of scoring in different forms. But, he probably won't score in the twenties.
I would expect the German forward to score 12 or 13 goals in his first season.
However, he will probably dish out more assists than the Frenchman. From the wing or from a central position, he could make some key passes.
With that in mind, he could probably be expected to have assists in the range of six or seven.
Adaptation to Arsenal and the Premier League
As I mentioned earlier, his physical traits are tailor-made for English football. He has the height, physical presence and finishing abilities to succeed in the Premier League.
Ultimately he shouldn't have a problem adjusting to the Premier League.
In terms of adapting to Arsenal's style of play, it shouldn't be too difficult as well. Marouane Chamakh is a player who is similar to Giroud in terms of height, finishing, etc. When Chamakh was playing consistently in the beginning of the 2010-2011 season, the Moroccan forward was scoring goals on a consistent basis.
With that, Giroud could fit in just fine with Arsenal and can manage to score goals as well.
In regard to the Premier League, one can't be extremely sure with how well Podolski can do in the Premier League.
The German has had some experience playing football with Bayern Munich in addition to Cologne, so that could help in Podolski adapting to the Premier League.
He shouldn't have too many problems adapting to the league.
Arsenal shouldn't be a problem as well. Podolski is a good passer, and Arsenal's game is based off of possession and making good passes.
If he can keep up some good form, then play at Arsenal will be fine for Podolski.
Performances in the Champions League
With the way Giroud has performed in the French League, he can be expected to do well against the French teams Arsenal may face in the Champions League.
Against any team, however, the physical traits that Giroud possesses will make him effective against any defense.
I would predict that the striker manages to score a goal almost every other game, with some goals in consecutive games or two goals in one match.
With the experience that Podolski has coming to Arsenal, he will be able to be successful in the Champions League.
He has completed 101 caps with the German national team and has scored 44 goals in the process; this shows that Podolski has faced many defenses from around the world and has managed to be successful against them.
Yes, even though club football is different than international football, offensive players still have to face a variety of players on defense and styles of defense.
So, he should be able to score some goals in the Champions League against the many defenses he may see this coming season and be effective in his position.
With the physicality of the Premier League, it is possible that both players suffer an injury at some point in the season.
Coming into the Premier League from a slower, less physical league might lead to an injury.
A specific time for suffering an injury can't really be predicted, but I foresee that both players will suffer an injury at some point in the season.
One injury would be around halfway through the season, while the other would be towards the end of the season.
Conclusion: Who Will Have the Better First Season?
Ultimately, taking physical traits and prior seasons into consideration, I predict that Olivier Giroud will have the better start to his Arsenal career than Lukas Podolski.
As I said a couple of times, Giroud's style of play was made for English football. While Podolski's style of play might not be as suited to the Premier League as Giroud, that doesn't mean that he can't be successful in the Premier League.
Laurent Koscielny came into the Premier League in the 2010-2011 season with Arsenal and didn't start out as a great defender. The next season, the Frenchman managed to improve his defense and was a key part of Arsenal's defense.
Even though Kosicelny's defensive position is different than Podolski's offensive one, it is possible that Podolski's breakthrough season with Arsenal will be his second season.
But, in conclusion, I foresee Giroud having a better first season than Podolski.