Despite taking just one point from two games against Schalke, Arsenal can qualify for the Champions League knockout stages with a victory over Montpellier coupled with an Olympiakos loss to Schalke in Group B’s other game.
Arsenal’s form in the competition has mirrored the shape of their season overall as some encouraging early results were followed up by a drastic downturn in form. The Gunners responded domestically with a 5-2 win over rivals Tottenham on Saturday and boss Arsene Wenger will be hoping that his side can take confidence from that result into Wednesday’s match with the French champions.
The two sides met in France on match day one when Arsenal sealed a narrow 2-1 victory. Some of the sheen has been taken off Montpellier’s first ever season at Europe’s top table as Rene Girard’s side have taken just one point from four matches. Montpellier can now only fight for an outside chance of a Europa League place.
Things have not been going much better for Montpellier in Ligue 1 as they sit just two points above the relegation zone. While Montpellier exceeded all expectations last season, part of their dip in form this campaign can surely be attributed to the departure of Olivier Giroud.
The France international joined Arsenal in the summer and has now started to find his feet in England after a difficult start. Giroud has scored four goals in his last three games and will be a key threat against his old side.
Another of Arsenal’s in-form players, Theo Walcott, will miss the clash with an injured shoulder. There is better news, though, with Gervinho and Kieran Gibbs set to return.
The visitors will be without the suspended Souleymane Camara, while Benjamin Stambouli, Garry Bocaly and former Portsmouth forward John Utaka will also be unavailable.
D: Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs
M: Arteta, Wilshere
Oxlade-Chamberlain, Cazorla, Podolski
D: Congre, Yanga-Mbiwa, El Kaoutari, Bedimo
M: Estrada, Saihi
Cabella, Belhanda, Mounier
Prediction: While they were aided by their opponents going down to 10 men early, the manner of the victory over Tottenham could give Arsenal a massive boost going forward this season. With their injury problems also starting to lessen, the Gunners should record a victory over a struggling Montpellier side with little to play for but pride.
Arsenal 3-1 Montpellier
Where to watch: The Champions League clash kicks-off from the Emirates at 2.45 p.m. ET. Coverage will be provided by Fox Soccer Plus, with a live stream available on FoxSoccer2Go.
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