Arsenal star targets FA Cup clash first, then place in top four

Arsenal's Theo Walcott and Lukas Podolski celebrate Walcott's goal in the 5-1 win over West Ham. Pho

Arsenal's Theo Walcott and Lukas Podolski celebrate Walcott's goal in the 5-1 win over West Ham. Photo: Adam Davy/PA - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Lukas Podolski believes Gunners can profit on two fronts in testing schedule over next few weeks

Lukas Podolski is confident Arsenal can avoid a Cup shock at Brighton on Saturday – and then muscle their way back into the top four of the Premier League.

The German striker scored a brilliant equaliser and then set up second-half goals for Santi Cazorla, Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott as Arsenal blitzed West Ham 5-1 at the Emirates on Wednesday night.

And after what Gunners boss Arsene Wenger labelled Podolski’s “most efficient” Arsenal display since his arrival six months ago, the 27-year-old said: “We must believe in our game and our players.

“We have great players in the team and after the two games against Man City and Chelsea, the atmosphere was not so good. But yesterday we won 5-1 and we look to the next game in the cup on Saturday.

“It was one game and we have three points which is important but we have 15 games more to play. It is not about saying ‘today Arsenal are back’ because we need more of these games and more of these points. Then I think we are back in the top four in the league.”

The Gunners entertain seventh-placed Liverpool at the Emirates in the league next Wednesday night but before that travel to the south coast to take on Brighton in the fourth round of the FA Cup on Saturday.

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And Podolski, who scored on his FA Cup debut at Swansea in the previous round last month, vowed Arsenal would not be complacent going into the tie with the Championship side.

“You always have pressure in the cup. It’s the same in Germany,” said the former Cologne and Bayern Munich forward. “When you are a big team and you play away against a second or third tier team, there is always pressure.

“It is not something special or different. We believe in us and we must fight there. It will be a tough game, but if we play like today I think we can beat them.”

Only after that, said Podolski, can the Gunners turn their attention back to the league and the battle for Champions League places, which Arsenal have always finished in over the last 16 seasons.

“There is enough time to get back in the top four,” added Podolski. “We have 15 games and a lot of points to play for. We need more of these games and then we are back in the first four in the league.”