Podolski brace caps Arsenal friendly win at Cologne

Lukas Podolski opened up his Arsenal goalscoring account with a brace against former club Cologne in a lively pre-season friendly at RheinEnergieStadion.

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The German converted a penalty to give his new club a 2-0 lead after 15 minutes following captain Thomas Vermaelen’s opener, and added another shortly before half-time after wonderful link-up play with Kieran Gibbs.

Arsene Wenger made wholesale changes for the second half, with Podolski the only survivor. And one of those changes, Gervinho, turned a dribble on the left wing into an unlikely goal after cutting inside and beating Marcel Schuhen at the near post to make it four.

Robin van Persie, who hopes to complete a move to the Gunners’ Premier League rivals Manchester United, was brought on for the final 21 minutes in place of Podolski but was largely invisible in his cameo.

More impressive was the chemistry between front pair Podolski and Oliver Giroud – who forced a stunning performance out of first-half goalkeeper Timo Horn – and Santi Cazorla pulling the strings behind them in his Arsenal bow following a move from Malaga.

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