Arsenal FC: Can the Gunners Start Their UCL Campaign with a Win?

Mike GoncalvesCorrespondent IIISeptember 18, 2012

ST ALBANS, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 17:  Olivier Giroud of Arsenal arrives during a training session at London Colney on September 17, 2012 in St Albans, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Julian Finney/Getty Images

Excitement and hope could be two words to describe what Arsenal fans may well be feeling at this point in the season. With three clean sheets in four matches, only a mistake from Polish keeper Wojciech Szczesny against Southampton cost the Gunners their fourth clean sheet in as many matches.

Arsenal will travel to France to take on Montpellier who won their first French Ligue 1 title last campaign with an in-form Olivier Giroud finding the net often for the French outfit. Having made the move to London in the summer, Giroud will now return to his old stomping grounds where he enjoyed success. 

Without a goal for his new club, will Giroud manage to score his first goal for Arsenal against his former club? For Arsenal fans, that would be a great way to start his scoring career with the Gunners, while for Montpellier fans, they would not be too happy.

The current French champions enter the match with just one win in five matches in the domestic league. Arsenal, on the other hand, is coming off two victories with their last ending 6-1 at the Emirates over newly promoted Southampton.

Obviously, a big win against the Saints can't be considered the greatest of accomplishments, but let's not forget that Southampton could have defeated Manchester City and Manchester United if not for poor defending in the later stages of those matches.

New signings Santi Cazorla and Lukas Podolski will also debut in the Champions League for Arsenal. Podolski scored his second goal for the Gunners over the weekend with a stunning free kick. Arsene Wenger will be hoping the German international can repeat his goal in France on Tuesday night.

An important question for Arsenal will be if Abou Diaby will be able to play after having missed the last match, but Wenger is confident he should be good to go.

The French international will offer Arsenal another offensive dimension, while he can also help defensively when needed. His slalom runs into the opponent's defensive third could cause problems for the French side which is struggling to find consistency in the new campaign.

I would expect Arsenal to take a similar approach as they did at Anfield against Liverpool. As always, keeping the ball will be fundamental and not allowing Montpellier to create any real goal scoring chances will be important, especially in the first 15 minutes. 

The in-form Gervinho will be looking to add to his two goals over the weekend, and Santi Cazorla will hope to show off his potential on the European stage with his new club. The Gunners should be able to see off Montpellier who have yet to win a match at home in the French Ligue 1 this season. 

Frustrating the French side will be important, and staying composed in the back four with Thomas Vermaelen calling the shots will give Vito Mannone confidence after his disaster in Greece last season against Olympiakos.

Prediction: Montpellier 0-2 Arsenal

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