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Lukas Podolski admits Arsenal need to stop being slow starters if they want to be playing Champions League football again next season.
Spurs and Chelsea, two of the Gunners’ rivals in the fight for a top-four finish behind the Manchester clubs, both dropped points on Wednesday.
But the sixth-placed Gunners were unable to take advantage, as they themselves had to come back from 2-0 down at home to Liverpool to earn a point.
Wednesday night was the sixth time in the last eight games that Arsenal have conceded first, and Podolski believes they need to rectify the problem if they want to qualify for European football’s flagship competition once more.
Writing off the Gunners’ faint title hopes, Podolski said: “It is a problem. We must start strong from the first minute and score the first goal. In the last weeks that has always been the problem – we must fight and come back.
“Chelsea and Spurs are strong. It is a strong league and we must fight every game.
“We want to finish first, but the difference is too big now. We lost a lot of points in the first half of the Premier League and now the difference is too big.
“We must fight for the Champions League places and this is our focus.
“We will do it.”
Goals from Luis Suarez and Jordan Henderson looked to have dealt a huge blow to Arsenal’s hopes of Champions League football next season as Liverpool lead 2-0 after an hour at the Emirates.
But Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott brought the Londoners level with two goals in four minutes.
Podolski added: “It was an amazing game. It feels like three points when you are 2-0 down and you come back like this. We showed character. This is the way we are playing in the last few games.”
Echoing boss Arsene Wenger’s weekend comments comparing Giroud to former Arsenal hero Alan Smith, Podolski added: “Olivier is a proper No9. He is strong, good with his head, holds the ball up.
“We have a good team and a strong attack. When you are 2-0 down and come back against a big team, that is a good quality.”
Despite their win at Brighton last weekend to reach the last 16 of the FA Cup, Podolski insists the top three has to be the club’s priority.
The Germany striker added: “We have a lot of matches to play. We are in the FA Cup and the Champions League but the focus must be on the Premier League.
“We want third place and we must fight for this.”
Podolski aded that Arsenal’s north London rivals Spurs have landed a terrific player in his Germany team-mate Lewis Holtby.
He went on: “He showed good matches for Schalke. He is a playmaker, with a good left foot. He is the captain of the Germany Under-21s, so he has quality. He is a good player for Tottenham.”