Has Lukas Podolski Been a Hit or a Miss at Arsenal?

Karl Matchett@@karlmatchettFeatured ColumnistAugust 22, 2013

TOYOTA, JAPAN - JULY 22:  Lukas Podolski #9 of Arsenal looks on during the pre-season friendly match between Nagoya Grampus and Arsenal at Toyota Stadium on July 22, 2013 in Toyota, Aichi, Japan.  (Photo by Masashi Hara/Getty Images)
Masashi Hara/Getty Images

Arsenal haven't been overly active in the transfer market this summer with regards to incoming deals, but several players have departed the Emirates Stadium this summer.

According to reports from Massimo Marioni at MetroLukas Podolski is in line to be the next one—with North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur said to be one of the interested teams.

The German played in 33 of Arsenal's league games last season, scoring 11 times, but is this enough to have classed him a success?


Goals and final third contribution

In terms of pure numbers, Podolski looked like one of the standouts of the entire league. Mainly playing from his left-sided role in the attack, he netted a goal every three games and recorded nine assists—both more than passable totals.

However, despite the high assist total, he created fewer chances for his teammates than most of Arsenal's other attackers, 31 in total, with the likes of Theo Walcott (38), Jack Wilshere (47) and Santi Cazorla (95) all easily surpassing him.

Podolski also only managed 54 shots during the season in total, with a 61 percent success rate in hitting the target.

So was it a high level of quality chances created, both by the German and for him, or did he benefit from Arsenal's style of play of aiming plenty of balls in towards the near post area of the six-yard box?


Is consistency Podolski's biggest problem?

Podolski was a regular in Arsenal's team, making 33 league appearances and 51 appearances in all competitions for club and country.

Despite that large number of games, he completed the full 90 minutes of matches on just five occasions all season—just twice in the Premier League for the Gunners.

His strength and pace, the direct threat he poses down the flank and his record of scoring goals from wide positions all make him a good option for managers to call upon, yet his inability to constantly turn in match-winning performances means he's quickly one to get the hook, too.

He also appeared to go through patches of finding the target last season and spells where he fails to do so.

Five goals in nine games from early November to the end of the year showed his capabilities, but he then managed a single strike in the league from that point until mid-April.


Hit or miss?

Which is it? Podolski certainly had a good impact on Arsenal's play at times last season, yet there remains a lingering expectation that the Polish-born forward should be even better.

Perhaps he doesn't quite fit the tactics Arsene Wenger wants, or maybe he just needed a year to get acclimatised to the Premier League after spending his entire career beforehand in Germany. Either way, the question Wenger needs to ask is, at 28 years of age now, is Podolski going to improve significantly?

If he departs, is there a better option out there for Arsenal, which none of Gervinho, Andre Santos or Andrey Arshavin have proven to be?

Arsenal have so far been unable to strengthen their senior team this summer, and there are areas of the side which need improving, so it seems improbable that Podolski would be added to the outgoing list of players right now—especially when he has done, at the very least, enough to earn a second season at the Emirates.

Verdict: Hit. He hasn't lived quite up to the expectations of success, but Podolski has offered more than enough to suggest he can remain a part of Arsenal's team.