Lukas Podolski and Gervinho took their scoring form to France as the duo struck quick-fire goals after the Gunners had gone behind to clinch an uneasy 2-1 victory against Montpellier.
The match had barely lasted 10 minutes when Thomas Vermaelen’s clumsy challenge on Belhanda saw the hosts awarded a penalty-kick. And Belhanda picked himself up to guide home the ball from the spot.
Arsene Wenger, in the stands due to a touchline-ban from UEFA, witnessed his men come to life after that goal and their urgency paid off as a slick move, coupled with some sluggish defending from Montpellier saw Giroud find Podolski in no man’s land with a pass. And the German striker made no mistake in leveling matters at 1-1 with coolly struck goal.
Arsenal and their tails up at this point and any opportunity was towards netting another goal. And so they did. Gervinho managed to engineer a move which broke up and then saw the ball break to Jenkinson. The right-back then returned a low cross into the box to find the Ivorian who was lurking towards goal. And Gervinho lashed home the ball to make it 2-1 in what had been a lightening turnaround.
The Gunners who once had their tails up in the first half ironically had their tails between their legs after the restart as Montpellier went in search of an equalizer.
The hosts first hit the cross-bar with a chipped effort, and then squandered a chance which saw Mannone gracefully catch a poor effort struck straight at him from a striker who had beaten Mertesacker and the entire Arsenal defense.
Arsenal could have conceded another penalty-kick in the closing stages as Abou Diaby was let off the hook for a physical challenge on Montpellier’s man right in the box.
Wenger’s men did hold their nerve to complete a vital 2-1 victory at the home of the French champions to open their Champions League campaign. And the other affair in Group B saw Schalke similarly defeat Olympiakos 2-1 to join Arsenal at the top of the pile.
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