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May 4, 2013

Wenger tips Podolski to shine

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has risked ruffling the feathers of lead striker Olivier Giroud by claiming Lukas Podolski and Theo Walcott are the most prolific finishers in his squad.

• Blog: Arsenal need to be wary

Podolski looks set to retain his place as Arsenal's central marksman in the absence of the suspended Giroud for the game against relegated Queens Park Rangers on Saturday.

And the German international will do so with a glowing endorsement from Wenger ringing in his ears even though he has struggled to nail down a place in the Gunners side and has often been employed in a wide role.

"I believe the central role is Podoldki's best position," said Wenger, as he insisted reports suggesting his German forward will need an operation on a troublesome ankle injury this summer are inaccurate. "Along with Walcott, he is more of a finisher than anyone else in the team.

"(Podolski) 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 (for the QPR game), but if there is an opportunity then there is a good chance I will do it with Podolski.

"It's only his first season. I think as well, he had the European Championship last summer and he came back without a real rest.

"If you look at his numbers, he had quite a good season, but not through the middle, more on the flanks. I'm convinced through the middle he can have a great goal scoring record."

Wenger went on to insist his side will "have done their job" if they win their final three games of the campaign, even if that is not enough to secure a top four finish.

"If we win all of our games we'll make 73 points," he added. "If we're not in the Champions League with 73 points then at least you feel you have done your job.

"There is one chance out of 100 that will not be enough. Don't forget, we won the league with 78 points once (1998). It can happen that it is not enough, but our focus is on winning our games and nothing else."

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