Lukas Podolski expressed his delight at returning for Arsenal in their 3-1 win over West Ham on Boxing Day.
The striker spent four months on the sidelines after sustaining a hamstring injury, but he returned to action as a second half substitute and produced a superb display that saw him create a goal and find the back of the net himself.
“I have been out for a long time, four months, so it was not easy,” said Podolski.
“I have never had a muscle injury before so it was a new experience. It was a hamstring injury and they take a long time.
“Every morning you come in, you have treatment, you work hard to get fit while the others are working outside. It is not easy for the head.
“When you sit on the bench or on the couch at home, it is not easy to watch. You don't have the feeling [of being] with the team and in the dressing room. But that is the way it is in football, so I am all the more happy to be back.”
Podolski added that the three points against West Ham was important for the team if they are to challenge for the league title this season.
“It was important we got the three points here because the last few matches we drew or lost and you're always happy when you get an assist or score a goal,” added Podolski.
“I remember last season we had a lot of injuries and a lot of problems. Now we have only one or two, so it's good. We have the three points and it was a derby, so it was good for the fans.
“Every match is important now, every match is about three points - we are top and we want to stay there. It is not easy because there are five or six teams who are all strong this season, but we have a strong team and we will fight.”