Arsenal 2 – 0 Montpellier
After a brilliant result against their bitter North London rivals, Arsenal welcomed Montpellier to the Emirates with open arms. Despite a great performance on the weekend, Arsenal were having a shaky start to the season, and needed a good result against the French champions. Well, they got it.
Arsenal began the night just as I feared they would. Terribly. Within ten minutes, Podolski, Wilshere, Giroud & The Ox all looked dangerously uneasy on the ball.
Passes were going astray regularly, and Arsenal looked to be toothless in the final third. Laurent Koscielny had a great opportunity to put Arsenal ahead, but his header thundered off the crossbar and safely away.[quote_right]”The strike was electrifying. The sheer power behind the shot was enough to send the Emirates into raptures. It was a world-class volley from the German.”[/quote_right]
Yanga M’Biwa, the Montpellier defender who did so well against us in the first meeting, had moved into the centre of the pitch. His role was quite obviously to stifle Santi Cazorla, which he was doing quite well. The Montpellier Captain was probably the most impressive player on the pitch in the first half, which speaks volumes of Arsenal’s performance.
Lukas Podolski had another chance to put Arsenal into the lead in the first half, but managed to skew his shot wide of the mark. It was looking like a typical Arsenal performance. Lacklustre and fruitless.
Thankfully, the second half was a different story entirely. For all the cliché lovers out there, it was indeed a game of two halves.
In the forty ninth minute, Giroud rose well in the box to head down a good Vermaelen cross. The ball fell to Jack Wilshere, who found himself in acres of space. He coolly lifted it over the oncoming goalkeeper to finish off a classy move. It was the Englishman’s first goal for Arsenal since his injury comeback, and he took it excellently. It’s feels good to have Jack back.
Arsenal seemed to find their feet thereafter. Podolski, Giroud, Wilshere & The Ox were all now playing their part. We begun looking more dangerous in the final third, and after a spell of bad form, Santi Cazorla was back pulling the strings.
Half way through the second period, Podolski played the ball to Giroud, and then made an excellent run forward. Giroud’s pass was fantastic, falling perfectly for Podolski to volley it with his first touch past the flailing goalkeeper. The strike was electrifying. The sheer power behind the shot was enough to send the Emirates into raptures. It was a world-class volley from the German.
The remainder of the game was a repeat of the first half. Montpellier seemed to have accepted defeat, and Arsenal were in no hurry to extend their comfortable lead. Gervinho & Ramsey were thrown on in place of Giroud & The Ox, but both substitutes failed to produce anything of any value.
It certainly wasn’t a great overall performance, but Arsenal are finally back to winning ways. What more can we ask for?
[title]Arsenal Player Ratings[/title]
Didn’t have a great deal to do, but commanded his area well. Did brilliantly in the first half to charge at an oncoming Montpellier forward.
I didn’t see attack prosper down the right flank, and Sagna was helping The Ox on the right-wing all night. Made some good crosses.
A typical performance from our big German. Cut out passes and blocked shots all night. He even threw in a skillful dummy for the fans.
Another great performance from the Frenchman. His form has improved dramatically, and he’s back to his old ways. He did get a big tangled up at one stage though, getting himself booked in the process.
Nothing to complain about. Vermaelen has had a shaky season so far, and he needs a stand out performance to give him his confidence back. Today wasn’t it, but he’s getting there. I hope.
Played in the defensive midfield role, and did a good job. Made some important challenges and passed well as per usual. One criticism however, is his point blank refusal to pass anywhere but backwards.
On the back of an excellent performance against Tottenham, Cazorla was back to his old ways. Spinning away from challenges and making accurate passes. More of that please Santi.
What a player this man is. He yet again ran his socks off all game, and bagged himself a great goal. He also completed a full ninety minutes for the first time since his injury comeback.
Lukas has now scored three in his last three, and his volley tonight was a real cracker. He made excellent runs all game and was unlucky not to score more.
The Ox: [6.5/10]
Perhaps a lack of game time has taken it’s toll on Alex, but he certainly didn’t cause too many problems for the Montpellier defence. However, he made a few good crosses and did his job well enough.
MOTM. Giroud faced his former club for the second time, and had a much better time than they did. He assisted both goals, and worked excessively all game. He even made a sliding challenge in our own penalty area at one stage. Brilliant.
[title]Pow-dolski Puts Us Through[/title]
The last few weeks have not been kind for Arsenal. Defeats to Schalke & Man Utd looked to have seriously derailed our season. A great performance against Tottenham simply had to be followed up by a win tonight. And thankfully, it was.
Arsenal are now part of the last 16 in the Champions League, and sitting just 9 points behind league leaders Manchester City. It’s not an ideal situation, but with just 12 games played, it could be a lot worse. Next up, Aston Villa away.
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