Arsenal vs. Montpellier: Score, Analysis and Grades

Ben ChodosCorrespondent IINovember 21, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 21:  Lukas Podolski of Arsenal scores their second goal during the UEFA Champions League group B match between Arsenal FC and Montpellier Herault SC at Emirates Stadium on November 21, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Arsenal's form is rapidly rising and the Gunners took momentum from a victory over Tottenham in the Premier League this past weekend into an impressive 2-0 win over Montpellier in the Champions League. 

The first half offered little reason for fans to get excited. A Laurent Koscielny header that rang off the crossbar was the best opportunity of the first 45 minutes. 

But shortly after play resumed, Jack Wilshere gave his team the lead and reminded Gunners supporters what the future may hold with him in the lineup. In the 63rd minute, the London side doubled its lead as clever interplay between Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud was capped off by a thumping finish from the German. 

Arsenal played with confidence and controlled the match, and today's results have ensured that the Gunners' Champions League campaign will continue past the group stage. 



Olivier Giroud, Arsenal: A

Playing against his former club, Giroud continued his fine form and was able to create havoc along the French side's back line. He was active and involved throughout the match, and there is little to criticize about his performance. 

He was responsible for setting up Wilshere's goal, and also played an extremely crafty layoff to Podolski for the second goal. If he continues to play at this level, Arsenal will start their climb back up the Premier League table. 


Younes Belhanda, Montpellier: C

Montpellier had little chance in this matchup, and their slim hopes relied heavily on a quality performance from Belhanda. 

As the scoreline suggests, he was unable to deliver. It was certainly a daunting task, but the reigning French champions needed a top-class performance from its most dangerous attacker, and Belhanda was nothing more than average today. 


Jack Wilshere, Arsenal: B+

Wilshere can do just about anything on the pitch when healthy and in form. He gave Gooners a glimpse of his talent today. 

He played primarily in a holding midfielder role and excelled in keeping possession and supporting the forward players. He was also lively and attentive when Arsenal attacked, and that allowed him to pounce on the opportunity that resulted in his goal. 


Montpellier Back Line: B-

This was not an especially poor performance by the Montpellier defenders. They made no glaring errors in judgement and stayed organized and disciplined for the majority of the match. 

But the Gunners' performance was full of quality today, and they truly earned both their goals and the positive result. The French side's back line was not terrible, but was simply not up to the task of defending the Gunners' creative attack today.  


Santi Cazorla, Arsenal: B

The Spaniard is Arsenal's best attacking player, but his performance was overshadowed by his teammates today. 

Cazorla certainly had an impact on this match, as all of the Gunners' forward players performed well together. His individual grade may only be average, but he contributed to an excellent overall outing from Arsenal's midfielders and strikers.


What's Next?

Montpellier were already eliminated and now remain with just one point in Group B. The French side will return home to finish their UCL campaign against Schalke while Arsenal will head to Greece to take on Olympiakos. 

Schalke defeated Olympiakos 1-0 in the other match in this group today, and they will join Arsenal in the elimination stage.