Wednesday November 21, 2012 Group Stage: Group B Finished Emirates Stadium

Arsenal 2 - 0 Montpellier HSC

  • Wilshere 49’
  • Podolski 63’

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  1. Champions League - Arsenal beat Montpellier to qualify for knockout stage

    Champions League - Arsenal beat Montpellier to qualify for knockout stage

    Two second-half goals gave Arsenal a 2-0 win over Montpellier at the Emirates Stadium, a result that saw the Gunners qualify from Champions League Group B. More

  • Live Commentary

    Time:90'
    • Arsenal
    • Montpellier HSC
    • - Well after a poor first half, Arsenal were back to their old old selves in the second. What did you make of that performance? Podolski and Giroud dovetailed brilliantly, but they need balls from wide. Have your say on Twitter @Reda_Eurosport. FOLLOW ON TWITTER!
    • 90+3 Perhaps they knew that Schalke had won? Both matches are over, and both sides are through. Thanks for joining us tonight.
    • 90+2 Something seems to be piquing the home fans' interest as their collective voice rises.
    • 90+1 Herrera sends an ambitious long-range shot just wide! Best effort of the half for Montpellier.
    • 90' Three minutes added time being played.
    • 89' Yanga-Mbiwa is fouled by Podolski but the free-kick sees Herrera caught offside.
    • 87' Smelling salts do the trick for the young full-back, who is okay.
    • 86' The ref calls play to a halt after Deplagne gets a ball in the face from the sturdy left boot of Vermaelen. Ow.
    • 85' ARSENAL SUB: Giroud won't score against his ex-club but a fantastic assist for him as Gervinho comes on.
    • 84' ARSENAL SUB: Cazorla comes off to a round of applause, Coquelin on in his place.
    • 83' Great ball from Arteta that almost flies straight in! Just wide as the keeper stood rooted to the spot!
    • 82' Booking for Deplagne after a late one on Cazorla on the left. Free-kick in a dangerous position...
    • 81' Another half-chance for Arsenal but Podolski can't get on to Ramsey's low cross.
    • 80' Giroud should have added a third but his low finish is batted out by Jourdren. Fine pass Podolski.
    • 78' MONTPELLIER SUB: Marveaux comes on for Estrada.
    • 76' Koscielny makes up for that with a super block on Belhanda after Arsenal failed to clear the free-kick! That was going in!
    • 75' Koscielny is booked for a cynical trip on Belhanda after he dithered in his own half. Poor.
    • 74' Good news for Arsenal - Schalke have scored against Olympiakos. Stays like this and both are through.
    • 73' Cazorla swings in the corner but Yanga-Mbiwa clears. Back to Cazorla, who shoots but tipped behind by Jourdren.
    • 72' Almost another fine move from Arsenal but Deplagne hacks Cazorla's cut-back behind.
    • 71' The away fans are still having a dance and a sing, and why not? They'll have fun on the town tonight, Wednesday being the new Thursday being the new Friday and all that.
    • 70' Lovely attacking move from the newly-confident Arsenal as a fine cross by Sagna is agonisingly short of a header from Giroud before landing just behind Podolski.
    • 69' ARSENAL SUB: Rasmey replaces Oxlade-Chamberlain.
    • 68' MONTPELLIER SUB: Cabella taken off for Martin.
    • 67' The Ox flings a cross over for Podolski, but his fine touch and shot strikes Deplagne to fly out for a corner.
    • 66' Good ball in by Estrada but Arsenal clear and a booking for Bedimo after he cynically checks Oxlade-Chamberlain.
    • 65' Vermaelen with a block on Yanga-Mbiwa that gives Montpellier a free-kick on the right side of the box.
    • 64' Arsenal are well on their way to qualifying for the knock-out stages - but they need a Schalke win first. Goalless in Gelsenkirchen. FOLLOW THAT HERE!
    • 63' WHAT A GOAL BY PODOLSKI! Fantastic volley into the roof of the net from a lovely Giroud pass, a one-two even. Started by Oxlade-Chamberlain's excellent run. Old-school Arsenal and - dare I say it - a touch of the Van Persie.
    • 61' Mazy run from Belhanda in from the right, Arsenal eventually clearing. Looking shaky at times under pressure but not really that threatened so far.
    • 60' Another flag catches Arsenal out, Giroud off this time but again he was on. It was a nice move too.
    • 59' Yanga-Mbiwa fouls Cazorla, who is in a bit of pain after that rap on the shin. Naughty.
    • 58' Cazorla with a superb pass to release Podolski, who is offside according to the linesman but it was a shocking decision, clearly on and the lino well placed.
    • 57' Arsenal give it away immediately but Estrada fires well wide. So shaky.
    • 56' Cabella releases a shot from range but straight at Szczesny.
    • 55' Another foul by Giroud, on Congre this time. He needs to watch it...
    • 54' The free-kick routine almost sends Cabella through but he is offside.
    • 53' Giroud enters the book for a foul on Estrada.
    • 52' Arsenal clear their lines from that corner but Montpellier have it back as they now hog the ball.
    • 51' Montpellier win a corner as they look to bounce back from that goal.
    • 50' That was Wilshere's first goal in donkey's, almost exactly two years I make it.
    • 49' GOAL ARSENAL! And it's Wilshere with a lovely clipped first-time finish after a late run to meet Giroud's flick-on. Nice goal, a tiny bit route-one but that'll do. That is how you use Giroud, cross from Vermaelen hanging and always his to win.
    • 48' The referee waves away Montpellier appeals after Charbonnier goes down in stages. Arsenal passing it around again etc. The etc. means Arsenal did the inevitable, refusing to shoot or find a killer ball as the move lost momentum.
    • 47' Belhanda is in a heap after a trip by Wilshere. Wasn't a bad foul but the Morocco man landed awkwardly.
    • 46' The second half is underway.
    • - There are rumours doing the rounds in Holland and Germany that Klaas-Jan Huntelaar will join Arsenal in the January window. They do need someone willing to shoot, that's for certain...
    • - If you have anything to add about that half of non-football, feel free to Tweet me @Reda_Eurosport. FOLLOW ON TWITTER!
    • - HALF-TIME STATS: Arsenal with 59.5% possession but, and this is their problem at the moment, just one shot on target. They do miss the direct running of Walcott, whatever your opinion on his consistency.
    • 45+1 Montpellier take a free-kick from well past the correct position but Cabella's cross is cleared by Koscielny, and it is half time. Goalless.
    • 45' One minute added time being played.
    • 44' Belhanda sees an opportunity with Arsenal's defenders inexplicably backing off, but his rising drive goes well over the bar with Szczesny watching it all the way.
    • 43' Sagna digs out a fine curving cross that Giroud rises between two defenders to attack, but it flicks off the side of his head and away. More like it from Arsenal.
    • 42' This match is, dare I say it, a bit of a dirge. Arsenal are facing a well-organised team and they just lack invention and drive going forward.
    • 41' The long ball aimed at Giroud is far too straight, allowing the defenders to ease him off it and the keeper to claim.
    • 40' High ball aimed for Charbonnier is easily taken by Szczesny. Wilshere wants to release it quickly but no-one shows for him and he waves his arms in frustration.
    • 39' Cazorla is booked for an attack-ending trip on Cabella. A bit harsh given the kicking he's had so far.
    • 38' Arsenal have a corner as Sagna takes it upon himself to provide some attacking width.
    • 37' That was Arsenal's first really good chance - but Joudren still didn't have to make a save.
    • 36' JUST WIDE FROM PODOLSKI! Coming inside from the left, the German is Arsenal's best outlet at the moment as he holds off a challenge by Deplagne before drilling a savage finish from a tight angle, across the goalkeeper but wide of the far post.
    • 35' Arsenal now with a spell of attacking pressure but they fail to even get it in the box as Montpellier clear.
    • 34' Belhanda has a dig now but Koscielny blocks and Arsenal bring it away.
    • 33' The ref warns Bedimo after another foul on Sagna. Last chance. Meanwhile, Wilshere almost picks out Podolski but the cut-back lands just behind him.
    • 32' Estrada shoots well wide after running from halfway. Szczesny watched it all the way.
    • 31' INCHES WIDE FROM PODOLSKI! He picks Yanga-Mbiwa's pocket on the edge of the box, skips away from El Kaoutari and drills a low shot past the dive of Joudren but wide!
    • 30' Terrible pass from Giroud that he sends high and behind Podolski who was free on the left. The German lets his team-mate know.
    • 29' Giroud is getting into the game a bit more but, on the left, loses control after beating the first man. Then Montpellier counter, but Charbonnier is offside.
    • 28' Giroud appears to be fouled but the ref waves play on as he almost farcically scrambles around on the floor trying to get a pass away.
    • 27' The corner is cleared by Mounier but it's staight to the Ox, who shoots straight at Joudren.
    • 26' The Ox is having a good little battle with Bedimo, winning a corner off the left back.
    • 25' Koscielny bundles forward from defence but overplays it and fouls his man. Now Giroud has a chance from distance but he scuffs his shot well wide.
    • 24' The Ox counters for Arsenal, swinging a nice cross over for Giroud that Congre heads out. Throw.
    • 23' Belhanda makes mincemeat of Koscielny but his pass to Charbonnier is poor, cleared by Mertesacker.
    • 22' Cazorla is again fouled by Yanga-Mbiwa, free-kick to Arsenal on halfway.
    • 21' Cazorla is fouled again and this time he gets the free-kick. Pity for Arsenal it's on halfway.
    • 20' Arsenal have had one of the lower shooting rates in this season's Champions League and it shows - lots of nice passing but nothing remotely threatening the Montpellier box, aside from their set piece and that foul on Cazorla.
    • 19' Cabella almost releases Charbonnier after some tasty exchanges with Belhanda. Montpellier looking decent going forward!
    • 18' Belhanda on the run now but Koscielny is back covering and clears.
    • 17' Great run by the Ox, who feeds Cazorla, who is surely fouled on the edge of the box but the ref plays advantage, even though the ball is loose! Giroud is crowded out, the Ox gets hold of it, bounding into the box, but Montpellier clear. Why did the ref play advantage there?
    • 16' Estrada to take the corner but Arsenal clear. And now they break through Wilshere, Vermaelen now returns it to him on the left but the move loses a touch of momentum as Arsenal overpass it.
    • 15' Estrada takes the free-kick, which was on the right just outside the box, but it hits the wall. Montpellier do have a corner though...
    • 14' Poor tackle by Koscielny on Cabella, very late and across the Montpellier man. Lucky not to be booked. Cabella is hurt...
    • 13' GREAT SAVE SZCZESNY! Arsenal were all at sea after Yanga-Mbiwa slipped Mounier through, he was one-on-one almost but the keeper flew out to block, before chasing out the loose ball to clear.
    • 12' Montpellier clear their lines but Mertesacker goes on a mazy dribble - yes Mertesacker - before perhaps holding on to it too long, Congre clearing.
    • 11' Congre clears under pressure but Arsenal come again. Fine cross from Vermaelen AND IN FLIES KOSCIELNY WITH THE HEADER BUT OFF THE BAR!
    • 10' Fine turn by Cazorla, who feeds the Ox wide right. He crosses low agains Bedimo and Arsenal have a corner.
    • 9' Sagna is caught late by Mounier and Arsenal have a free-kick on the right. Taken short.
    • 8' Arsenal with a better handle on possession now as they keep the ball for a good spell.
    • 7' Cabella releases Charbonnier down the right but Koscielny gets across to clear to touch. Arsenal keep giving it away - nerves one assumes.
    • 6' Wilshere gives the ball away but he tracks back well to intercept and clear. Montpellier are hustling and harrying Arsenal, which will force errors but could prove exhausting.
    • 5' Arsenal looked faintly shambolic in that exchange but they survived. Szczesny does not seem to trust his defenders, and vice versa.
    • 4' Sagna intercepts a clearance from Bedimo but Arsenal lose possession in midfield and Montpellier break. Cabella on the right skins Vermaelen and puts in a cross, Szczesny caught in two minds and it drops to Mounier, shaky punch from the keeper and now Belhanda, but Meresacker clears.
    • 3' Yanga-Mbiwa fouls Wilshere in the middle of the park, but Arsenal go for the short option.
    • 2' Nondescript opening to this match as neither side takes any risks early on.
    • 1' The first half is underway. Arsenal kicking left to right as I see it.
    • 19:43 My flame-haired colleague Tom Adams is at this game and will be Tweeting signal permitting. @tomEurosport says: Three mins until kick off and some sections at the Emirates are barely half full. Presumably everyone crowded round TVs watching Rafa
    • 19:42 The teams are out, Arsenal looking relaxed as both sets of players exchange pleasantries.
    • 19:40 FACTS: Montpellier have won just one of their last 12 matches in European competition (W1 D4 L7). Montpellier have won just 42% of their 50/50 duels in the Champions League this season, a lower percentage than any other team.
    • 19:35 FACTS: The Gunners have only conceded 18 goals in 30 Champions League matches at the Emirates, keeping 16 clean sheets. BUT ahead of the North London derby against Tottenham this weekend, Arsenal had kept just one clean sheet in their last 14 games in all competitions.
    • 19:30 FACTS: If Arsenal and Schalke both win their games tonight, both sides will qualify for the next stage. Montpellier are already eliminated from the Champions League, but can still qualify for the Europa League if they win both remaining games and Olympiakos lose both of theirs.
    • 19:25 Tonight's referee is Firat Aydinus of Turkey. He is 39 and this season has shown five yellows and one red in two Champions League matches. He has shown three more domestic reds this season though and, while not card happy as such, is inclined to send people straight off for misconduct.
    • 19:20 The odds tonight favour Arsenal, unsurprisingly - William Hill have them 2/5 with the French side 15/2 and 7/2 on a draw. I can see it being nervous for the Gunners but that they will eventually win by two clear goals, possibly a 3-1. What do you reckon? Let me know your predictions on Twitter @Reda_Eurosport. FOLLOW ON TWITTER!
    • 19:15 Rene Girard (Montpellier): "(Former Montpellier striker Olivier Giroud) has been back on target. He went there to have fun, to make things work, to score goals, and he knows how to score. We will try everything we can to prevent him from scoring against us. He is skilled, he is a hard-working guy, he wants to succeed and I have no doubts he will."
    • 19:10 Arsene Wenger (Arsenal): "The (5-2 win over Tottenham) will help to rebuild belief completely again. There is something special in this team and I am happy that will come out when they play with complete confidence. Let's be consistent. We will gain some belief and confidence from this result, and we will transfer that into our next game and show the same performance."
    • 19:05 Montpellier defender Cyril Jeunechamp has been disciplined after punching a French journalist in the face following a league match. He is benched. Senegalese striker Souleymane Camara misses the match through suspension, although Younes Belhanda – who scored for Montpellier in their home match with Arsenal – returns from a ban. Striker John Utaka (thigh), defender Hilton (groin) and midfielder Karim Ait-Fana (knee) are not fit enough after their injuries, although Hilton is on the bench.
    • 19:00 Theo Walcott’s absence with a shoulder injury means Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain starts for Arsenal on the right side of the front three, spearheaded by Olivier Giroud, whose goals fired Montpellier to the Ligue 1 title last season. Gervinho returns to the bench after a month out. Andre Santos is injured – no great loss, many Arsenal fans would say – with Kieran Gibbs returning to the squad after injury but Thomas Vermaelen playing left-back we think.
    • 18:55 TEAMS – Arsenal: Szczęsny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Koscielny, Arteta, Wilshere, Cazorla, Ox-Chamberlain, Podolski, Giroud; Subs: Mannone, Ramsey, Coquelin, Arshavin, Jenkinson, Gervinho, Gibbs /// Montpellier: Jourdren, Bedimo, Yanga-Mbiwa, El Kaoutari, Congré, Estrada, Cabella, Belhanda, Mounier, Deplagne, Charbonnier; Subs: Pionnier, Jeunechamp, Pitau, Marveaux, Martin, Hilton, Herrera
    • 18:50 Arsenal lie second in Group B, with seven points from four games, one behind Schalke of Germany and one ahead of Olympiakos, who they face in Greece in the final group game. A win tonight means Arsenal would just need a point in Athens, but if Olympiakos lose tonight – which is likely as they are away at Schalke – an Arsenal win would put the Gunners through. Group B details
    • 18:45 Hello and welcome to our LIVE coverage of Arsenal’s Champions League Group B clash with French champions Montpellier, kicking off at the Emirates at 7.45pm UK time.
  • Summary

    • 90+1 Herrera sends an ambitious long-range shot just wide! Best effort of the half for Montpellier.
    • 83' Great ball from Arteta that almost flies straight in! Just wide as the keeper stood rooted to the spot!
    • 80' Giroud should have added a third but his low finish is batted out by Jourdren. Fine pass Podolski.
    • 76' Koscielny makes up for that with a super block on Belhanda after Arsenal failed to clear the free-kick! That was going in!
    • 73' Cazorla swings in the corner but Yanga-Mbiwa clears. Back to Cazorla, who shoots but tipped behind by Jourdren.
    • 63' WHAT A GOAL BY PODOLSKI! Fantastic volley into the roof of the net from a lovely Giroud pass, a one-two even. Started by Oxlade-Chamberlain's excellent run. Old-school Arsenal and - dare I say it - a touch of the Van Persie.
    • 49' GOAL ARSENAL! And it's Wilshere with a lovely clipped first-time finish after a late run to meet Giroud's flick-on. Nice goal, a tiny bit route-one but that'll do. That is how you use Giroud, cross from Vermaelen hanging and always his to win.
    • 36' JUST WIDE FROM PODOLSKI! Coming inside from the left, the German is Arsenal's best outlet at the moment as he holds off a challenge by Deplagne before drilling a savage finish from a tight angle, across the goalkeeper but wide of the far post.
    • 31' INCHES WIDE FROM PODOLSKI! He picks Yanga-Mbiwa's pocket on the edge of the box, skips away from El Kaoutari and drills a low shot past the dive of Joudren but wide!
    • 17' Great run by the Ox, who feeds Cazorla, who is surely fouled on the edge of the box but the ref plays advantage, even though the ball is loose! Giroud is crowded out, the Ox gets hold of it, bounding into the box, but Montpellier clear. Why did the ref play advantage there?
    • 13' GREAT SAVE SZCZESNY! Arsenal were all at sea after Yanga-Mbiwa slipped Mounier through, he was one-on-one almost but the keeper flew out to block, before chasing out the loose ball to clear.
    • 11' Congre clears under pressure but Arsenal come again. Fine cross from Vermaelen AND IN FLIES KOSCIELNY WITH THE HEADER BUT OFF THE BAR!
    • 18:55 TEAMS – Arsenal: Szczęsny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Koscielny, Arteta, Wilshere, Cazorla, Ox-Chamberlain, Podolski, Giroud; Subs: Mannone, Ramsey, Coquelin, Arshavin, Jenkinson, Gervinho, Gibbs /// Montpellier: Jourdren, Bedimo, Yanga-Mbiwa, El Kaoutari, Congré, Estrada, Cabella, Belhanda, Mounier, Deplagne, Charbonnier; Subs: Pionnier, Jeunechamp, Pitau, Marveaux, Martin, Hilton, Herrera
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Team Line-up & Ratings

  • Arsenal

    Manager: Arsène Wenger

  • Montpellier HSC

    Manager: René Girard

  • Line-up

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