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Podolski: Arsenal can pounce

Lukas Podolski hopes Arsenal can take advantage of the managerial changes at several of their Premier League rivals.

Last Updated: 07/07/13 at 12:07 Post Comment

Lukas Podolski: Arsenal ambitions for the new season

Lukas Podolski: Arsenal ambitions for the new season

The Germany international striker helped the Gunners finish in the top four once again in his first campaign at the Emirates since moving from Cologne last summer.

Podolski netted 11 times and also weighed in with 10 assists in 2012/13, putting him in the Premier League's top 10 performers in terms of goal contributions.

With last season's top three, Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea, having switched bosses, Podolski is determined to see Arsenal make the most of their stability and mount a sustained challenge.

"The hope is that this season Arsenal will be at the top of the league. English football, thankfully, is not like Spain where you only have two teams - Barcelona and Real Madrid - who fight at the top," said the 28-year-old in The Sun.

"In the Premier League, you have five, six, even seven top, top teams. It's very difficult but I know that Arsenal are one of those top teams who will be involved

"You don't know how the season will work out. A few of the other teams all have new managers, so it's difficult to say.

"But they will be strong and equally, Arsenal will be strong."

Tour excitement

Podolski will be back for pre-season training at London Colney on Monday having been given an extended break due to his participation in Germany's friendlies in America in late May and early June. On Thursday, he will be heading for Indonesia and the start of the club's pre-season tour of the Far East.

"It will be good to be back in training and I feel fit," he added. "This is a very important time of the year.

"This will be my first tour with Arsenal and I'm really looking forward to it. I hope Arsenal can have a good pre-season and, hopefully, all of us can be injury free. It's good to have Jack Wilshere back but we need all our players to be available.

"Last season was a good season for me. I scored a lot of goals and made a lot of assists so I was happy.

"I came from a small team like Cologne so it wasn't easy but, hopefully, this year will be better."

A month ago, Podolski was being linked with a return to the Bundesliga with Borussia Dortmund but was quick to deny the transfer talk.

The striker is likely to face increased competition for places in North London next season, with Gonzalo Higuain expected to arrive from Real Madrid for a fee of around £23million, but he is not fazed by the prospect.

"It's always good when good players come in. I don't worry about a specific player. And it's certainly not a problem," said Podolski.

"I'm strong enough and I have qualities. And when good players come in, I'll play with good players.

"Every season, players come in and players go. But I think it's good news if top players come in."

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