Arsenal saved the best for last as this pre-season was brought to an end with an impressive outing against Podolski’s former club Cologne.
It was indeed the German ace who stole the show with an exciting display on his debut in an Arsenal shirt. The Gunners won 4-0 through goals from Vermaelen and Gervinho which were sandwiched by a terrific brace from the man returning to his old ground, Lukas Podolski.
With the season’s opener against Sunderland now looming, Arsene Wenger wasted no time to test out his latest recruit Santi Cazorla as the Spanish midfielder started in midfield along with fellow new faces Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski.
Arsenal were in rampant mood from kick-off and Giroud’s dangerous effort from the left had to be parried away for a corner by the goalkeeper. Santi Cazorla then stepped up to deliver the set-piece and Thomas Vermaelen was right on the money to head the ball home from close range.
The Gunners sensed this could be a nice work-out and threatened the Cologne back-line before the home side buckled again under pressure as Oxlade-Chamberlain was fouled in the penalty box.
Podolski, who had announced his wish to score ahead of the match, stepped up and coolly converted the spot-kick to make it 2-0 in favour of the visitors.
Cologne finally came to life after that goal and went inches away from pulling a goal back as an effort which saw Mertesacker and Arsenal’s defense beaten went just wide off the bottom corner of the net.
But Arsenal continued their domination on the scoreboard and just before the break, Podolski netted a fantastic goal. He first found Kierran Gibbs on the left with a long ball before racing into the box to smash the left-back ‘s cut-back pass into the net. His second goal of the game and a tremendous way to end the first half.
The second-half saw a much-changed side enter the field for the Gunners and after Gervinho went on an astonishing solo run and netted Arsenal’s fourth goal, Podolski was withdrawn for Robin van Persie of all people.
The Dutchman interestingly took the captain’s armband from Vermaelen after being introduced but failed to really catch the eye with his display as he looks to improve his fitness following his short holidays after Euro 2012.
The scoreline was a bit harsh on Cologne who did hit the woodwork and had a few spells where they troubled the Gunners’ defense.
But today really belonged to the quality show from Wenger’s men.