Arsenal book last 16 place

Second-half goals from Jack Wilshere and Lukas Podolski saw Arsenal beat Montpellier and qualify from Champions League Group B.

Last Updated: 22/11/12 at 07:49 Post Comment

Lukas Podolski: Scored in the victory for Arsenal

Lukas Podolski: Scored in the victory for Arsenal

Laurent Koscielny had the best chance of the first period at the Emirates but headed against the crossbar from close range from Wilshere's cross.

Wilshere broke the deadlock four minutes after the re-start with a close range effort after Olivier Giroud had headed down skipper Thomas Vermaelen's cross from the left into his path for his first goal since November 2010.

Podolski then played a one-two with Giroud before firing a sublime left-foot volley over Geoffrey Jourdren to seal the win on 63 minutes.

Schalke beat Olympiakos in the other Group B game, meaning Arsenal qualify with the German side ahead of their final group game in Greece in a fortnight.

But the Gunners could have been behind from a quick counter attack as Anthony Mounier got clear behind the defence and goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, just back in the side after an injury lay-off, had to come out to the edge of the box to make an important block.

After their two goals, the hosts looked much more assured and Montpellier keeper Jourdren palmed a floated effort from Santi Cazorla over the crossbar as the Gunners looked to extend their advantage.

Giroud was then denied by his former team-mate, who pulled off a point-blank save with his legs after the Arsenal striker was put into the right side of the penalty area by Podolski.

At the other end, substitute Emanuel Herrera shot just wide with a low effort from distance late on.

The win sees Arsenal move into the last 16, sitting a point behind leaders Schalke.

Boss Arsene Wenger will now target victory in Athens next month to keep alive hopes of topping the group and securing a place among Europe's top seeds for the knockout stages.

ArsenalTeam StatisticsMontpellier
2Goals0
01st Half Goals0
5Shots on Target1
4Shots off Target4
2Blocked Shots7
7Corners3
15Fouls13
5Offsides7
3Yellow Cards2
0Red Cards0
84.6Passing Success82.5
18Tackles22
66.7Tackles Success86.4
57.4Possession42.6
52.3Territorial Advantage47.7
598Total Passes446
18Total Crosses13
155Lost Balls154
75Recoveries57
59.71st Half Poss.40.3
54.82nd Half Poss.45.2

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may well get slated by other United fans for this, but out of the three contenders, I'd far prefer Liverpool to win the title. Yes some elements of their fanbase can be a bit OTT, yes they're our biggest rivals and yes it will make our poor season feel even more like the end of an era (Fergie's gone, Liverpool are back on top). However I just have to applaud Brendan Rodgers and the way he's turned Liverpool around in just a couple of seasons. It...

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ooray! We are all excited now, we beat a very mediocre team! With all due respect to WHU supporters, not winning that game shouldn't even be a consideration. This is the problem, there is no winning mentality at the Emirates - we're all congratulating ourselves beating a team that we have a winning record against.

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