Montpellier 1-2 Arsenal: All about The Brain

[dropcap]A[/dropcap] scrappy 2-1 win was the outcome against Montpellier, as The Brain and Lukas Podolski continued their goalscoring runs to overturn an early deficit.

Truth be told I missed almost all of this game, my dodgy internet connection only served to intensify my already-grumpy-at-having-to-get-up-up-at-4.30am mood. I saw all three goals, but only in a mess of enlarged pixels and broken commentary. Then some absolute chump of a copyright lawyer (or one of his cronies) got the stream turned off. As such, there’s not really much I can say about the game this game first-hand outside of the highlights I saw a little later on. So take this post with a grain of salt.

It was clear the debutants turned up tonight, as Léo thought they might in our slightly left-of-centre match preview, and they looked more French champions than relegation candidates. On the evidence provided by the chances they created in the second half they’ll definitely cause problems for the other two sides in the group — Schalke and Olympiakos — and I can still see them qualifying. Even from the highlights you could see what a canny and clever player Younes Belhanda is and his penalty was the height of confidence on a big stage.

For our boys, what can you say? We showed great tenacity to overturn the deficit so quickly and turn a potentially sour night into something extremely positive. A point away from home is always a good result in the Champions League, so to get three in our opening match from a losing position was a terrific outcome. Montpellier might have battered us in the second half and really should have leveled the game, but our ability to hold onto the result illustrated again the resolve this team appears to possess.

I can’t hide my delight for The Brain after his third goal in two games. He is a player I enjoy watching so much and adding the final product to his excellent dribbling skills makes him a dangerous prospect. Finishing doesn’t seem to come naturally to him — even his goal tonight came off the knobby bit on his ankle rather than the leather of his boot — but the more things go his way the more confidence he will build. The more players we have contributing goals the less pressure there is on any one player to replace Robin van Persie and in The Brain’s case, as an already-established player in this squad, his contribution affords Olivier Giroud that little bit longer to settle in.

Speaking of Giroud, by all reports his hold-up play in the first half was excellent and we got another taste of what he can provide in and around the area for Podolski’s goal. It seemed Montpellier were overly concerned about their former superstar — as many as three players converged on him with his back turned on the edge of the area — and the clever switch to set Podolski free was an efficient piece of play. The goals will come for him but with assists like this coupled with Gervinho and Podolski’s contributions we’re hardly gagging for them.

The final flourish on an excellent night (or morning, if you’re me) of football came as Manchester City fell to Real Madrid despite leading twice in the last 20 minutes. It was absolute humdinger of a game, Madrid having the best of it until a City counter-attack and goal set the pitch on fire. Gameplans went out the window as both sides traded goals with Cristiano Ronaldo grabbing the late winner, hitting a dipping shot past Joe Hart.

If that game tells us anything it is that (1) City are there to be got at and (2) City are still dangerous when they are there to be got at. Yaya Toure’s bursts from midfield were Diaby-esque in nature and they have an abundance of talent that will need to be shackled this weekend. It is great that both City and us travelled this week, even better that we got the psychological boost of the three points and they didn’t. It puts us in a good position to challenge for points on Sunday night. What a belter that game should be.

All in all an excellent result and if readers out there could share more of their thoughts on the game, I’d absolutely love to hear them.



  1. Andrew, I am a big fan of Gervinho, happy to see him producing for the team. As you correctly stated , he is a natural goal scorer so if he can score 12 to 15 goals for us , we should take it and run.
    If you remember ,he was on the bench before the international break. I saw his game Ivory Coast vs Senegal , he rescued the Ivory Coast home , he was excellent , scored a goal and he brought that back to the Gunners.

    Looking forward to the city game that will tell us if we are contenders or pretenders. So far it’s a great start to the season

  2. The brain is finally living up to expectations, its good to see his work rate.. and Poldi wow tracking back to assist in defense.
    the game was very nervy in the 2nd half, but it was good to see us hold out till the end of the game.
    city next…

  3. The Montpeller n Arsenal was just ‘seat wrenching’
    It was 2.45am Wednesday Singapore time when I saw the game.
    Without any doubt Arsenal played a very good ‘collective team spirited game’ …. they were all there for each other. That’s the spirit of Arsenal NOW! …..
    after the leaving of RVP n Song and this is how they will continue.
    The chants from the stadium for the home team was immense but….The Gunners kept their cool and held on to their lead.
    This is Arsenal! One Mind One Heart & Focussed!

    To take a leaf from the French Musketeers …….ALL FOR ONE AND ONE FOR ALL!!

  4. @ Roland – That is one hell of a name, man!

    Would all of you guys say we deserved to win? Or did Montpellier deserve a point? How do we look going into the big one?

  5. Good game but what happens after a Podolski injury. We need to see Giroud more involved in the build up to the game. He makes good runs but losses his self when shooting. He never cools the ball before taking a shot. We failed to get the answers in the second half and i thought Diaby was going back to his former self. Thanx we won.Next is Citeh. H’w do they react after such a tireless night and being pounded into submission. How do we use Walcott and Ox to their advantage against Citeh. Should we sit behind and wait on counter attacks or attack them from the word go. You all saw how the team lost energy in the second half against Montepellier. A good quality side like Citeh would have killed us off.Can’t wait for the Sunday showdown. Have a feeling Persie will get out injured at the Stadium of hell tonight as it is a tough place to go.

  6. To be honest we were played out of the park in the second half. Montpellier could have scored 2 or 3 clear chances.
    Were they tired in the second half? Going forward there are no ball winners in the middle with all due respect to Arteta and Diaby who ver good technically.

  7. Yeah, classic game of two halves and all that. We looked good in the first period, the two goals were excellent team goals and we never looked threatened at the back. Second half was the complete reverse. Montpellier deserved an equaliser but apart from the chip that hit the bar and the chance that penalty scorer missed, they didn’t create too much. And most of the dangerous moments were down to us dicking around. I was about ready to throttle Diaby who gave up cheap possession a couple of times in or just outside the box. It was a worry how tired the team looked, but there are five days until the $ity game so they should recover. Giroud played his part in the first goal but he still does not convince. I would take Bendtner over him to be honest! But three points, away win – you have to be happy with that. Can’t wait for Sunday!

  8. Montpellier deserved a point at the least. They hit the bar, had a few chances late on – the shot straight at Mannone from around the 6 yard box and the penalty claim against Diaby, could easily have gone another way. In fact I think that was 5% more of a penalty than Vermaelen’s was – both were around 40% – 50% penalties. The first could easily have been not given.

    But at the same time, our response to their early goal was fantastic. Some of the movement up front was pleasing – Giroud, Cazorla, Podolski, Gervinho etc did very well I thought.

    It was good to see the urgency then. And being a goal up then probably meant we had one eye at the weekend and didn’t want to tire ourselves for the rest of the match.

    Although I’m not sure we played the way we played in the 2nd half on purpose, but I could be wrong. Because if it’s true we were tired, then it doesn’t bode well for the weekend – will we have enough in the tank to play 90 minutes of competitive football against a team like Man City who has immense quality in moving the ball quick and the movement of players. Time will tell.

    Chuffed for Gervinho and Podolski who seem to be getting among the goals regularly. Hope Giroud was given a heap of praise for his assist in the first goal and the rest of his play. He’s a really good team player. Hope his goal comes soon because it’s really frustrating to see how much it affects him that he’s still not opened his account. He really needs to calm down about it. And not let it affect him. It’s tough but he needs to be slightly indifferent to whether or not he scores so long as he’s providing assists and good link-up play.

  9. And I think we were all expecting some of the lads to get a bit of a breather looking ahead to the weekend. But Arteta, Cazorla, Gervinho, Podolski, Diaby and Jenkinson (the ones I’m concerned about) as well as the rest (who I think have bigger reserves) except for Giroud played 90 minutes.

    It stinks that the inept UEFA has banned Wenger because I think we might have seen some substitutions earlier, had he been in the dugout.

    I’m not sure who’ll start the game against City. Do we start with Gervinho up front like we did against Southampton and against City in Asia, considering he’s played 90 mins in midweek ? Or do we start Giroud up top ? Or Podolski ?

    Does the Ox get a start since he didn’t play in midweek ? Does he start wide right ? In the center ? Wide left ?

    Does Walcott start ? Does Ramsey start ? What about Koscielny ? And Le Coq ? Do we stick with the slow Per against Tevez , Aguero and possibly Silva ? Do City really have an aerial threat ? Maybe Kompany, Toure, Dzeko and Garcia on set pieces ?

    As you can probably tell, I can’t wait for the weekend to come.

  10. At this early point in the group the away win is key! If you pick up a win and a draw you are practically through!

    Love watching podolski play, always looks like he is going to score! Also good to see gerviniho playing better – coming out of his shell! As for Corzola …….. What a player!

  11. Great and lucky to get away with win Not one where arsenal was at their best.It looks like we lacked our passing game when the game started. Though a harsh decision for penalty , the team became lively for a moment to snatch two goals.How Arteta managed to get away from referee was quite interesting after so many tackles.With Giroud upfront in the middle we lack the players to sync with him. Slowly Podolski is linking with him but otherwise he is isolated .Also in 4-3-3 our team is not playing at his best and still face the problem of linking attack with midfield.

    Podolski will become a Tevez for us . Gervinho is superb with his usual dynamic movements and on score sheet. A little bit help and selfless play from Gervinho and Cazorla is required to put Giroud on score sheet.

  12. A Comment about Schezni , he is not ready to be number one at arsenal and right IMO Mannone is ahead of him.
    The mental mistakes he makes tell me that he still has a lot to learn. The huge blunder he made during the Euros , being sent off and giving up a penalty , made me lose confidence in him. I am not sure how Wenger should handle it, maybe have him play the Carling and FA cup only , barring injuries of course.

  13. The keeper issue is a tricky one. As far as I can see Szcsesny has made one mistake in a game we were 4 zip to the good. I agree Mannone has looked solid in the games this season but I still recall his error in that Champions league game that was far more costly than the Polish kid’s. And the other times he played over the last few seasons he looked far from comfortable. But right now he deserves his place and either way I would take both of them over Almunia and Fabianski.

    And frankly I couldn’t care less how he plays for the Polish team! A bit of healthy competition between the two of them can’t be a bad thing can it?

  14. Every keeper has a bad patch. Szs bought a lot of confidence to a very shaky defence during the Almunia days. Dropping him now makes no sense at all. Mannone Has done well but hasn’t looked totally confident

  15. Granted he was a big improvement over Almunia, he brought last year more stability. At times times his long ball distribution or judgement on long balls have been dodgy . He is too raw as a young keeper to declare him as our number 1. Mannone at the moment is playing better and he should be numer 1.
    It is like at CB right now Kos has been on the bench, we’ve had good results so far, but seriously for Arsenal to compete with the big teams this year Kos will have to play along Vermalin.

  16. It was a beautiful game and i feel our defense worked hard to keep the lead which was beautiful to watch. Would love to see Giroud to join the scoring party, dono much about this guy but for all the hype surrounding him i feel a little disappointed at his lack of goals. Gervinho was a delight to watch as always but it makes me bit anxious that he will be the next one to ditch arsenal. Andy i cant believe even in Australia you have to rely on live streaming to watch these games. I watched it on my big screen TV in India..

  17. hi guys we beaten montpieller 2 – 1 and now weve beaten qpr 1 – 0 now in the barcylays priemir leauge we are 4 were doing well gunnerboss

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