Is the writing on the wall for Lukasz Podolski?

By Avenell Dave

It's hard to think what sort of team we would have now if we had been able to keep the stars who have left us in the past few seasons.

If we had nailed RvP down to a new contract, retained Cesc and Nasri and maybe even Song (as a squad player, mind), and had then been able to supplement it with the types of signings we are now being linked with, we would be in a far greater position to challenge for the big prizes. 

We are now playing catch-up, trying to sign the match-winners who will make a difference not only to the squad but to the first team, players who can help us win games when things are not going so well. 

The pain of the Villa match remains but when I try and think back objectively, there is an argument that with the injuries and decisions that went against us, we may not have won anyway.

What top quality players would have done is help us push Villa back so that they didn't get the contentious opportunities in the first place. 

Do we have any match-winners in our squad presently? I don't think so. 

Walcott and Wilshere are both players other sides may want but we don't have someone like an Henry or a Cesc even to score goals out of nothing or carve openings that win us games when things are tight.

Where does this leave Lukasz Podolski? 

The German hasn't started this season and there are rumours that he may return to Germany. 

Despite his eccentric personality and sometimes indifferent fitness, I think he's been an asset to the squad.  

He scores goals, he creates chances and he has experience at the very highest level. 

But there seems a question mark about him because he's currently getting the same sot of treatment that Gervinho got towards the end of last season.

As it is, we find ourselves three points behind every one of our rivals and face a trip to Fulham whose strike force of Berbatov and Bent is certainly capable of causing us problems.

Even with Koscielny out, I still believe we have enough to beat them on Saturday but we have to get back to the discipline we showed at the end of last season, rather than pushing forward at every opportunity and leaving ourselves vulnerable.

Arsene Wenger seems confident that Bacary Sagna can do a job at the heart of defence and it will be interesting to see if he is as composed and assured as he was when he took over from Koscielny on Wednesday.

Let's hope we can get the same result that we did in the spring. 

Addict XI

Szczesny

Jenkinson Sagna Mertesacker Gibbs

Ramsey Wilshere Rosicky

Walcott Giroud Podolski