By Tom Finn

October 23, 2014

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was full of praise last night for his German international forward Lukas Podolski after he came off the bench to seal an injury time winner for the Gunners over Anderlecht and put Arsenal in control of Champions’ League Group D.

The Arsenal boss who was also celebrating his 65th birthday said: “We know Podolski can always score. He is frustrated and I understand that of course.

“But he’s important as well and he showed that tonight and he will be important in the coming months. It took him a while to get back to a good physical level [after the World Cup] and now he’s nearly there.

“He was never close to leaving in the summer. He has 115 caps for Germany that is not a coincidence that shows you the quality.

“I think he is a guy you want to have the ball in the box. His shot is fantastic, his accuracy is great and he has very short back lift. He nearly scored before and I know when he comes on he can score.”

Arsenal are now favourite to make it through to the knockout stage of the competition with Wenger hoping that the last minute winner will give them confidence moving forward saying:

“It’s a bit unexpected to take the three points, considering the quality of the match that Anderlecht played tonight.

“It was vital for us to have a chance to qualify. We are in a strong position now. It’s down to us now. Win our home games and we are through. The Group is in our hands. Let’s first qualify and see how far we can go.”

When speaking later to the Daily Mirror the teams other goalscorer Kieran Gibbs added: “It was massive. We didn’t give up and we have made a statement of what we want to do.

“We controlled quite a lot of the game and the final ball was letting us down. That was frustrating for us but we had to keep going and we got the rewards.

“We are determined to do well as a team and everybody is fighting for each other. We have another big game in two days and we have to focus on that now.

“The boys all give 100 per cent for the team. Some days it happens and other days it doesn’t, but we stay professional.”