Much has been said and written about the injury absence of Aaron Ramsey for a large part of Arsenal's season, but was another player if not equally missed then certainly a loss suffered deeply in hindsight?
Lukas Podolski did not play for the Gunners between the start of September and the end of December; that was after scoring a brace in only his second league game of the season. And after his return, the German international took time to rediscover his form - and get minutes on the pitch.
But his two strikes against Hull City last weekend suggested he is now approaching his best. And a quick look at the stats suggests a level of uncanny consistency is also being found at just the right time - both for the Gunners late charge for fourth spot and the FA Cup, and for the upcoming World Cup.
Podolski's last two league matches for the Gunners have seen identical figures in terms of goals scored, scoring attempts and on-target scoring attempts. They have also been his best performances since that match against Fulham way back in August.
|Match||Matchday||Goals||Total Scoring Att||Ontarget Scoring Att||Mins|
|Lukas Podolski||Fulham vs Arsenal||02||2||3||2||81|
|Lukas Podolski||Hull vs Arsenal||35||2||3||3||84|
|Lukas Podolski||Arsenal vs West Ham||34||2||3||3||90|
Some question why Podolski has not featured more when fit, while others feel Arsenal are in need of a new front-line in order to challenge both domestically and in Europe on a consistent basis.
But Podolski is beginning to show what he can do when given a chance. And if that level of consistency continues, surely Arsene Wenger will have no choice but to keep playing him and reap the rewards.