Per Mertesacker has labelled Lukas Podolski as Arsenal’s best finisher after the forward struck a 91st-minute winner against Anderlecht.
Podolski has been on the periphery of the team this season but took his chance against the Belgian champions when he came on and smashed in from close range.
His strike came as no surprise to Mertesacker, who knows how lethal the 29-year-old’s left foot can be.
"You can see that he’s our best finisher in every training session. Even with the side of his foot, he has power and that is what you need sometimes"
“It is a difficult period but he showed how vital he is with his clinical finishing," he said. "You can wake him up every second of the day and he will score with his left foot. That is the quality we need in the last five minutes when it is crunch time.
“You can see that he’s our best finisher in every training session. Even with the side of his foot, he has power and that is what you need sometimes. We play a lot of football around the box but when it comes to finishing and shooting, sometimes we lack that.
“There is an element of fatigue [for the German players] because we started when the season started and I have never experienced that," added Mertesacker. "We had already won the Community Shield and we were still on holiday. That was something really strange for us to think about.
“It was such a long season last year, without a winter break and with a World Cup. But that is nearly 100 days ago so I think it is time to raise the game and raise the mentality.
"It was good for me to retire [from international football] so I can focus completely on Arsenal and not switch off and on every two or three weeks.”
Copyright 2020 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.