Lukas Podolski backed to lead the attack for Arsenal by Arsene Wenger

The Gunners play already relegated QPR this weekend

Lukas Podolski has all the attributes needed to successfully lead the Arsenal attack, according to manager Arsene Wenger.

The Gunners must again do without 17-goal hitman Olivier Giroud when they travel to relegated QPR for tomorrow's late afternoon kick-off as the Frenchman continues his three-match ban.

German Podolski was preferred down the middle to Theo Walcott against Manchester United last Sunday, when it was the England forward who fired the home side ahead inside two minutes before the new Barclays Premier League champions recovered to draw.

Overall, though, Podolski produced a solid display, if without any real chances to add to his 14 goals and was replaced by Gervinho for the closing stages.

Wenger accepts he has a tactical decision to make again this weekend, but feels Podolski, signed from Cologne in the summer, has what it takes to play in a central role.

"It believe so, he has the qualities because he is a good finisher," Wenger said of Podolski, who is reported to be set for surgery on his troublesome ankle at the end of the season.

"He has a good technique and because we have a game based on very quick combinations I believe he can be a part of that. Overall I am convinced in the coming games he will show it.

"A definite decision has not been made, but if there is an opportunity then there is a good chance I will do it."

Wenger feels collectively the team deserves credit for continuing to maintain an attacking threat, with 99 goals from 50 games in all competitions this season, despite the departure of talisman forward Robin van Persie for United last summer.

"You want to know that you can score at least two goals in every game because it gives you a good belief," the Gunners boss said.

"Overall, and considering we lost a world-class striker, I believe we have compensated quite well."

Walcott, meanwhile, feels he has already laid a claim to be deployed down the middle.

The 24-year-old is Arsenal's leading scorer with 19 in all competitions - which included hat-tricks against Reading and Newcastle.

The pacy England international hopes to make the most of any more opportunities which come his way.

"I played a few games there and I would like a few more towards the end of the season," Walcott said.

"I scored a lot of my goals this season when playing up front, so I have shown what I can do and it is up to the manager to do what he sees is best.

"I am sure another chance will come.

"I set a 20-goal target for the season, but the biggest goal for me is to help Arsenal finish third or fourth."

Goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski is still sidelined by a rib problem but, other than long-term absentees such as midfielder Abou Diaby, Wenger expects to have a full squad for the run-in, his team on an unbeaten eight-match run which has taken them back into the top four of the Premier League, a point behind Chelsea and two ahead of Tottenham, albeit having played a match more.

"It is a good position. We have done well recently," Wenger said.

"Maybe we benefit from the fact there is only one game per week, so the squad is a bit more stable injury-wise."

PA

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