Per Mertesacker hails "vital" teammate Lukas Podolski

Arsenal's Lukas Podolski celebrates scoring with team mate Yaya Sanogo against Liverpool during their FA Cup fifth round match on February 9, 2014
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Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker defends teammate Lukas Podolski, claiming that the German striker is going through "a difficult period".

Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker has defended teammate Lukas Podolski, claiming that the 29-year-old striker is going through "a difficult period" and is crucial to the team.

The German World Cup-winning forward previously hinted that he may leave in the January transfer window after becoming disillusioned at the lack of first-team opportunities at the Emirates.

However, he scored the winning goal in Wednesday's 2-1 victory against Anderlecht in the Champions League.

Mertesacker told The Telegraph: "[Podolski] is in a difficult period, but how vital he is, he showed with his clinical finish. You can wake him up any second in the day and he will score with his left foot. So that is a quality we need.

"We play a lot of football around the box, but when it comes to finishing and shooting, we lack that."

Podolski's goal against Anderlecht was his first in 185 days.

Arsenal's Polish-born German striker Lukas Podolski celebrates with teammates after scoring during a UEFA Champions League group stage football match Anderlecht vs Arsenal at the Constant Vanden Stock stadium in Anderlecht on October 22, 2014
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