Lukas Podolski puts Arsenal ahead of personal glory

Olivier Giroud returns from suspension this weekend

Lukas Podolski does not care who scores the goals to fire Arsenal into the Champions League next season - so long as they get there.

The German forward netted a brace in the 4-1 win over Wigan on Tuesday night, which pushed the Gunners back above Tottenham and also confirmed relegation of the FA Cup winners.

However, with France striker Olivier Giroud available again after a three-match suspension for Sunday's crucial end-of-season clash at Newcastle, where victory would secure at least fourth place in the Barclays Premier League, Podolski could be moved back out to the left flank.

Podolski, 27, has produced consistent displays since his summer move from Cologne, with 16 goals in all competitions.

"We needed the three points (against Wigan) and got the three points so we are looking forwards to the next match now," Podolski told Arsenal Player.

"I am always happy with a goal, but the three points were more important for us.

"We are in the fight for the Champions League places and for third place, so now will prepare for the next match."

England forward Theo Walcott continued his impressive campaign with goal number 21 against Wigan, and manager Arsene Wenger accepts he has something of a selection poser as Giroud returns from the ban imposed after a red card at Fulham on April 20.

"I am happy to have him back," Wenger said on the club's official website, http://www.arsenal.com.

"He has been out for a while now and missed some games so he will be full of enthusiasm and can help us at some stage.

"Is it from the start or coming on? I don't know yet."

Arsenal look set to be without midfielder Mikel Arteta (calf) this weekend. Jack Wilshere, the England international set for summersurgery to clear up a niggling ankle problem, is on stand-by.

"In one game you can always compensate. It is more of a problem when a guy like that (Arteta) misses 10 games," Wenger said.

"(for) one game, we will find the resources to do without him if we have to.

"I am convinced we can because he was out for a while during the season and I played all sorts of combinations.

"Arteta was out and we played (Aaron) Ramsey and Wilshere. A few times I played (Francis) Coquelin and (Abou) Diaby, so we had a few combinations that could work."

A partnership which certainly has impressed in the Arsenal defence has been between Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny, so much so, that they are keeping captain Thomas Vermaelen out of the side.

German centre-back Mertesacker has endured plenty of criticism since arriving from Werder Bremen in August 2011, with some suggestions he would be sold in the summer.

However, the 6ft 6in defender now feels very much a key man.

"I do not think they want to get rid of me after this season here," Mertesacker said in an interview with German media website http://www.Sport1.de.

"I have become an integral part of the team and have really earned respect here.

"Sometimes you have to be self-confident enough and just let the press write what they want, but it is always getting quieter in this regard, and that is a good sign."

Should Arsenal win by a two-goal margin and Europa League winners Chelsea draw or even lose at home to Everton, then Wenger's men could yet end the season in third place - or indeed face a play-off with the Blues if all of their statistics are tied come the final whistle.

Mertesacker maintains Arsenal must just focus on delivering the required result following an unbeaten nine-game league run.

"We must really put a shift in against Newcastle and really give everything again in our last game," he said.

"It was a long, gruelling season, but we will do everything possible to win there."

PA

News
Russell Brand was in typically combative form during his promotional interview with Newsnight's Evan Davis
peopleReports that Brand could stand for Mayor on an 'anti-politics' ticket
News
The clocks go forward an hour at 1am on Sunday 30 March
news
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor finds himself in a forest version of London in Doctor Who episode 'In the Forest of the Night'
TVReview: Is the Doctor ever going stop frowning? Apparently not.
News
Voluminous silk drawers were worn by Queen Victoria
newsThe silk underwear is part of a growing trade in celebrity smalls
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
footballMatch report: Real fight back to ruin Argentinian's debut
News
Candidates with surnames that start with an A have an electoral advantage
newsVoters are biased towards names with letters near start of alphabet
Arts and Entertainment
Isis with Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonneville)
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jay James
TVReview: Performances were stale and cheesier than a chunk of Blue Stilton left out for a month
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?