Arsenal hold on for French win

Updated: September 18, 2012

First-half goals from Lukas Podolski and Gervinho gave Arsenal a 2-1 win at Montpellier in Tuesday night’s Champions League opener.

The Gunners ensured that they got their group campaign off to a winning start as they overcame the concession of an early penalty to win beat the Ligue 1 side.

With Arsene Wenger in the stands serving the first of his three match touchline ban Steve Bould was in the dugout and the former defender would have been disappointed to see Thomas Vermaelen give away an early penalty.

The assistant boss needn’t have been too harsh on the Belgian however as replays show that the decision was a tad harsh with the initial contact taking place outside the box although that mattered little with Younes Belhanda, who created the penalty, fired home.

However seven minutes later Arsenal were level when former Montpellier star Oliver Giroud and Santi Cazorla combined well to set up Podolski to slot home.

Two minutes later they were ahead when Gervinho, who has looked lively this season, bundled home Carl Jenkinson’s cross.

Montpellier responded well with Estrada forcing a good save from Vito Mannone into a fine save before Giroud hit an effort wide for the visitors.

Montpellier continued to ask questions of Arsenal in the second half with Cabella twice going close for the hosts, his second effort a lovely chipped effort that hit the cross bar.

Arsenal were been dominated by the French side at this point and were unusually sloppy in their passing. They quickly re-grouped however and could have had a third, Cazorla forcing the home keeper into a save with an angled shot.

Belhanda almost equalised as the game came to a close but he hit his shot straight at Mannone following some good foot work. In the end Arsenal held on to get their European campaign off to a winning start.

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