Arsenal v Montpellier Match Preview
21st November, 2012
Arsenal will be looking to take giant steps towards qualification from their group when winless Montpellier rock up in North London.
A win and an Olympiacos defeat tonight will ensure qualification. whilst the French side are already eliminated.
Arsene Wenger expects to see no complacency from his side as they bid to qualify from their group, 'Not for a second would I think the team will be complacent- they will be full of desire to do well and win the game, I am certain of that.
'It is important on the back of the Tottenham game we show another good performance and a resolute attitude, that is at stake for me tomorrow. After, if we produce the quality performance, we will win the game.'
Meanwhile Rene Girard is well aware of the threat posed by former Montpellier striker Olivier Giroud, but suggests that may work to his side's advantage.
'Olivier worked very hard for us and we almost sculpted him into the player he is today. We made history at the club and had great times.
'Unfortunately for us, he is rediscovering his best form and starting to score goals, but we have tactics to try to stop him.
'We know how good he is, but there are also lots of attacking threats here at Arsenal.'
Arsenal Team News:
Arsenal have lost Theo Walcott to a shoulder injury and Andre Santos to an abdominal problem. But Gervinho (ankle) and Kieran Gibbs (thigh) return to the squad.
Abou Diaby (thigh), Tomas Rosicky (achilles), Lukasz Fabianski (ankle) are unavailable.
Arsenal (from): Szczesny, Mannone, Sagna, Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Koscielny, Gibbs, Arteta, Coquelin, Wilshere, Ramsey, S.Cazorla, Chamberlain, Gervinho, Arshavin, Podolski, Giroud, Chamakh.
Player to watch: Alex Oxlade Chamberlain
With Theo Walcott injured, it's likely to fall onto The Ox to replace him. Walcott has been incredibly effective in the last two games, but Chamberlain's injury time assist on Saturday suggests his qualities can be just as dangerous.
The team will have to reattune to having a more traditional winger on the right, as opposed to Walcott's explosive pace in behind.
Montpellier Herault Team News:
Montpellier are likely to be missing defender Cyril Jeunechamp as a result of internal disciplinary measures. Jeunechamp punched a L'Equipe journalist in the face on Saturday!
Senegalese striker Souleymane Camara misses the match through suspension, but Younese Belhanda returns from his ban.
John Utaka (thigh), defender Hilton (groin) and Karim Ait-Fana (knee) are not fit enough after their injuries, but defender Garry Bocaly should return from a hip problem.
Player to watch: Younes Belhalda
The jewel in Montpellier's crown. If the French side are to create anything, it will more than likely come via the quick feet and swift brain of Belhalda.
Match Facts & Stats
Arsenal have never defeated a French side at home in the Champions League. Marseilles, Auxerre. Racing Club de Lens and Olympique Lyonnais have all left North London with results.
Montpellier have only played a competitive game in England once. A 1-1 draw at Old Trafford in the 1991 Cup Winners' Cup.
Olivier Giroud faces his former club.
Fırat Aydınus from Turkey will officiate tonight's game.
I think this might be tougher than a lot of people think. I'm going with 2-1 to Arsenal. Podolski and Chamberlain for Arsenal, Belhalda for Montpellier.
Arsenal finish their Group campaign in Athens against Olympiacos. Montpellier play at home to Schalke.