Arsenal vs. Cologne: Why Friendly Will Be Lukas Podolski's Time to Shine

Callum MackenzieContributor IIIAugust 8, 2012

WARSAW, POLAND - JUNE 27: Lukas Podolski smiles during a Germany training session ahead of their UEFA EURO 2012 semi-final match against Italy at the National Stadium on June 27, 2012 in Warsaw, Poland.  (Photo by Joern Pollex/Getty Images)
Joern Pollex/Getty Images

Lukas Podolski is a man with quite a reputation to uphold.

After inking an £11million transfer to Arsenal (The Independent), the former Cologne forward will have his first chance to impress in Arsenal colours in a preseason friendly against his old club this Sunday, August 12.

Although there may be a myriad of reasons why Podolski will electrify for the Gunners, there is still substantial pressure for the Polish-born German international to perform to expectations, especially following a less-than-stellar stint at Bayern Munich.  

To put his performance into context, his 26 goals from 106 appearances in all competitions is significantly less than his 86 goals from 181 appearances for Cologne, leading to questions of his ability to succeed at a big club.

Nevertheless, Podolski will be wanting to make a much better impression on his new manager than those associated with Bayern. A quality performance at the RheinEnergieStadion would be the perfect way to sign off after a successful second spell with the Billy Goats.  

First off, this will be the first time Podolski will be in action for Arsenal since his acquisition. Alongside fellow new recruits Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla, Podolski is headlining what seems like a new financial dawn for Arsenal, spending around £38million on the trio, depending who you believe.

To see him play alongside those two—as well as captain Robin van Persie and young talents like Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain—should be a joy to behold for any Arsenal fans in Cologne on August 12.

Whether or not van Persie stays or goes this transfer window, Podolski will feature heavily in Arsenal's attack this season—in scoring goals himself and creating them from the left wing or the centre of the park.

Seeing him link with Giroud, Cazorla and the likes of Mikel Arteta for the first time will be particularly exciting.

With his Bayern days behind him, Podolski has matured considerably. Still, the onus is still on him to perform at a big club.

A big performance in this first game for his new club would set his—and fans'—doubts to rest a little, giving him the confidence to play well alongside his new teammates.

If anything, playing in a familiar arena will ease him into playing for his new club. A rousing reception for Prinz Poldi will inspire him to put on a show for both sets of fans inside the RheinEnergieStadion.

Though it'll likely take a little time for Podolski to fully adapt to life on and off the pitch in London, his first performance for Arsenal will hopefully be something special.

It will give him a first taste of life as a Gunner to savour before the season begins on August 18, as Arsenal host Sunderland at the Emirates Stadium,