Arsenal must start strongly says Lukas Podolski
Gunners came from two goals down to draw with Liverpool
German striker Lukas Podolski accepts Arsenal cannot continue to gift teams a head start if they are to fight their way back into the top four of the Barclays Premier League.
Arsenal were behind after just six minutes against Liverpool at Emirates Stadium last night, when a comedy of errors at the back allowed Luis Suarez to sweep home. When Jordan Henderson waltzed through the Arsenal rearguard once again to knock in a second goal on the hour, there looked only one outcome.
However, Arsenal again showed their superb attacking qualities as first Olivier Giroud headed in a free-kick before Theo Walcott blasted an angled drive past Jose Reina to level, and the home side then had chances to go on and take all three points.
Manager Arsene Wenger felt his side were "too nervous" at the back, and Podolski understands the collective need for firing on all cylinders right from kick-off.
"It is a problem in the last matches that we are losing a goal and then coming from behind," the German said.
"We must start strong from the first minute and score the first goal.
"In the last few weeks that has always been the problem, that we have to fight and come back.
"However, when you are 2-0 down and you come back like against Liverpool it feels like three points, and this is the way we have been playing recently."
Arsenal remain sixth, four points behind Tottenham and three off fifth-placed Everton in the race to secure Champions League qualification once again.
Podolski, though, insists the team have what it takes to overhaul their rivals and even catch third-placed Chelsea, who have an eight-point advantage over Arsenal.
"We must fight for the Champions League places and this is our focus. We want third place and we have a lot of matches to play," he said.
"We are in the FA Cup and the Champions League, but the focus must be on the Premier League.
"Of course we wanted to finish first, but we lost a lot of points in the first half of the Premier League and now the difference is too big.
"All the other teams are really strong so we must fight in every game."
Giroud has impressed in recent weeks, scoring his fifth goal in three appearances last night.
Walcott feels there is plenty more to come from the France international, signed from Montpellier in the summer.
He told Arsenal Player: "It was a fantastic touch for [my goal] and his goal was what he is known for.
"Olivier has been on fire in recent weeks and he is great to play with."
Arsenal lost full-back Kieran Gibbs to a thigh injury just before half-time, which is expected to sidelined the England defender for up to a month.
With just Andre Santos available as cover, Wenger was considering bringing in another defender, with Marseille youngster Nicolas N'Koulou a reported deadline day target.
Arsenal have also been keen to add another quality forward, but Wenger last night played down suggestions a late swoop could be pushed through for Barcelona's David Villa. West Ham's defensive midfielder Mohamed Diame has also been linked with Arsenal.
The club, meanwhile, are set to begin recruiting for a new head of their youth academy following yesterday's announcement Liam Brady will be standing down from his role in May 2014.
Former Arsenal striker Dennis Bergkamp has emerged as a leading candidate. The 43-year-old is currently assistant to Ajax manager Frank de Boer and helping to oversee the Amsterdam club's own succesful player development system.
Latest in Sport
Monaco is a street circuit where driver ability is more important than anywhere else and if we take ...
by Gareth Purnell
24 May 2013 02:00 AM
Three weeks ago as I drove off the Eurostar, I remember thinking what a very long time it was until ...
by Martin Ayres
23 May 2013 05:29 PM
McDowell did brilliantly to land the World Match Play title in Bulgaria last week, but it’s a format...
by Gareth Purnell
23 May 2013 09:13 AM
David Moyes delighted after Rio Ferdinand agrees to stay at Manchester United with new one-year contract
Sergio Garcia / Tiger Woods 'fried chicken' racism row takes fresh twist after 'coloured athletes' comment
After racist remark, Sergio Garcia fights for reputation as Tiger Woods slams 'hurtful' fried chicken joke
New Manchester City manager must deliver five trophies in five years
Major refinancing sees Manchester United slash interest bill by £10m a year
- 1 Pope Francis: Being an atheist is alright as long as you do good
- 2 'He was always smiling': Lee Rigby named as Woolwich victim
- 3 'Sickening, deluded and unforgivable': Horrific attack brings terror to London’s streets
- 4 'Something passed underneath us, quite close': Airbus A320 has close encounter with UFO
- 5 Lord of the Sings: Sir Christopher Lee, 91, to release heavy metal album
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Nook is donating eReaders to volunteers at high-need schools and participating in exclusive events throughout the campaign.
Get the latest on The Evening Standard's campaign to get London's children reading.
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.