Playing against his former club, Lukas Podolski seemed to come into the friendly with Cologne with a chip on his shoulder. Podolski scored twice for Arsenal in a 4-0 trouncing of Cologne that seemed to have problems throughout the match at Rhein Energie Stadion.
The Gunners couldn't have ended their pre-season campaign better. They looked cohesive and incisive as a club and Podolski gave Arsenal fans a preview of what's to come when it comes to the offense. Newcomer Olivier Giroud played aggressively and was denied on several occasions by Cologne goalkeeper Timo Horn. The goal count for Arsenal could have been a lot greater. Arsene Wenger has to be very pleased with the way his club performed in the friendly.
After a week-long training camp in Germany, the team seems to be coming together in ways that no one expected. With a little team bonding and concentrated sessions daily, who knows what a club is truly capable of? This team is basically a totally different squad than it was when last season ended in May. Playing as a cohesive team this early is important for success on Saturday and in the coming weeks. I feel a lot better about Saturday's opener against Sunderland and actually believe Arsene Wenger when he says he thinks Arsenal can compete for trophies this season.
Arsenal jumped out ahead before either side had time to settle in. Santi Cazorla's corner kick was tapped in at the near post by Per Mertesacker for Vermaelen to force in a header at the back post. In the 15th minute, Podolski made it 2-0 from the penalty spot after Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was knocked down near the goalie's box.
Podolski got his second goal three minutes before half-time with a nice assist from Kieran Gibbs. Every Arsenal player was getting in on the offensive attack.
Cologne came out slightly stronger in the second half, but the Gunners aggressive play continued to give Cologne major problems. They fell even further in the hole when Gervinho got a late goal in at the near post.
Robin van Persie came into the match in the 69th minute, taking the captain's armband from Thomas Vermaelen after replacing Podolski. The reception from the crowd of 32,500 was pretty icy. And the Van Persie soap opera goes on, and on, and…
Note: I've been an Arsenal fan for nearly a decade. My cousin got me interested in the club at a young age.