Wenger’s men took their sweet time about it, but eventually overcame a poor Montpellier side to reach the last 16 of the Champions League.
We started with an all too familiar lack of urgency and the first half dragged by slowly, punctuated by few moments of excitement. Koscielny hit the bar and Podolski struck a couple of shots wide, but mainly we struggled to find any fluency or rhythm to our passing. At the other end Szczesny was alert to dive at the feet of Mounier.
The second half started perfectly when Wilshere latched onto Giroud’s knock down and neatly dinked the ball over the advancing keeper. Thereafter Arsenal were in total control as the belief and motivation drained out of the visitors. With nothing to play for anyway, Montpellier looked every inch a side languishing in 14th place in Ligue 1, two points off the relegation zone, and once we went ahead they declined to give us a game anymore.
Yes Lukas, that was indeed a bit special!
Good job too because I’m still convinced we have huge problems defensively, even though Szczesny’s return is a big plus. Montpellier played just one man up front tonight and rarely gave him any service so we weren’t tested at the back.
Podolski wrapped up the match when he played a neat one-two with Giroud and lashed home an unstoppable volley.
So a comfortable night in the end, although I doubt the rest of Europe will be quaking in their boots about drawing us in the next round. Credit is due for qualifying with a game to spare, but it should be noted that against the only decent side in the group we took one point out of six. Improvement is vital if we are to progress any further.
Next up are two tricky away fixtures in the space of five days when we visit Aston Villa and then Everton. These matches will tell us far more about Arsenal’s character and prospects than tonight will.
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