The German international arrived at the Emirates from Koln in the summer of 2012 after spending the previous nine years of his senior playing career in Germany.
Lukas Podolski has featured predominantly as a substitute since his arrival at Arsenal under Arsene Wenger but has managed to score a total of 19 goals and make 13 assists across 52 appearances in the Premier League, averaging a goal every 161 minutes overall and a goal every 135 minutes this season.
However, one of the suggestions as to why the German hasn’t made more starts and featured for Arsenal on a more regular basis has been his fitness. Aside from his hamstring injury suffered early on in the season this term, Podolski is often brought on as a substitute, suggesting perhaps Wenger doesn’t consider his fitness levels on a par with the most oft used starting XI.
The player himself has now asserted that the Premier League is unlike any other league, and there is certainly a case to be made, given the lack of a winter break as German players are accustomed to in the Bundesliga and the level of competition in England, where three or four teams compete for the title, compared to the two (or three this season) in La Liga, Juventus’ stronghold over Serie A in recent years, Benfica and Porto’s stronghold over Portugal, and Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund’s similar situation in the Bundesliga.
“It is not easy - it is the Premier League which is not like other leagues. Every year, you have six or seven teams who fight to be champions so it is a big league,” Podolski explained.
“As well, the teams who are at the bottom fight every game so it is not easy. You must focus every game.”
It is indeed true that the level of quality across the board in the Premier League is different from the four other top leagues in Europe at least – Cardiff, the basement team this term, are relegated despite winning 7 and drawing 9 of their 38 games with a points tally of 30 and 16 teams won at least 10 games this term whilst the title remained open until the very last game. In contrast, in the Bundesliga, Bayern Munich were crowned champions on April 6 with six games still to play and 12 teams have won 10 or more games.
The Bavarians went unbeaten for 28 games this term and second placed Borussia Dortmund (who are 19 points behind the champions) find themselves a clear 7 points ahead of third place Schalke and 10 points ahead of fourth place Bayer Leverkusen. In the Premier League there are only four points separating champions Manchester City from fourth place Arsenal, and just two points between first and second.