Lukas Podolski was delighted to make an instant impact on his return to the Arsenal team.

The Germany international claimed an assist for Theo Walcott’s second goal at West Ham United on Boxing Day and then scored the third himself with a smart finish.

It has been a difficult season for the 28-year-old after suffering a hamstring problem, but Podolski is ready to play his part now.

Every morning you come in, you have treatment, you work hard to get fit while the others are working outside. It is not easy for the head

Lukas Podolski

“I have been out for a long time, four months, so it was not easy,” he said. “I have never had a muscle injury before so it was a new experience. It was a hamstring injury and they take a long time [to recover from].

“Every morning you come in, you have treatment, you work hard to get fit while the others are working outside. It is not easy for the head.

“When you sit on the bench or on the couch at home, it is not easy to watch. You don’t have the feeling [of truly being] with the team and in the dressing room. But that is the way it is in football, so I am all the more happy to be back.

“It was important we got the three points here because the last few matches we drew or lost and you’re always happy when you get an assist or score a goal.

“I remember last season we had a lot of injuries and a lot of problems. Now we have only one or two, so it’s good. We have the three points and it was a derby, so it was good for the fans.

“Every match is important now, every match is about three points - we are top and we want to stay there. It is not easy because there are five or six teams who are all strong this season, but we have a strong team and we will fight.”

Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source Rob Kelly 27 Dec 2013