Arsenal FC: Gunners Escape with a Narrow Win Against Montpellier

Mike GoncalvesCorrespondent IIISeptember 18, 2012

MONTPELLIER, FRANCE - SEPTEMBER 18:  Abou Diaby of Arsenal congratulates Lukas Podolski of Arsenal celebrates scoring his teams first goal during the UEFA Champions League match between Montpellier Herault SC and Arsenal at Stade de la Mosson on September 18, 2012 in Montpellier, France.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Julian Finney/Getty Images

A match that was highly anticipated by Arsenal fans waiting to see Lukas Podolski, Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla in Champions League action ended with a frantic final 45 minutes. Steve Bould, who filled in for a suspended Arsene Wenger will know that Arsenal may have dodged a bullet in southern France. 

During the first ten minutes, Arsenal were confident, only to be undone by a penalty on Montpellier's first real visit to Vito Mannone's 18-yard box. Thomas Vermaelen will not be happy with his clumsy tackle, considering the Montpellier player was going away from the goal.

Fortunately for Arsenal, they composed themselves and took it to an inexperienced Montpellier side that struggled to cope with the constant waves of attack.

Podolski looked dangerous, and he took his chance slipping a shot by the opposing goalkeeper to put Arsenal's score at one. The hosts were still trying to recover from the equalizer when Carl Jenkinson sent in a perfectly weighted pass that found Gervinho, who made it 1-2 for the Gunners. 

Going into halftime, Arsenal had the lead and it seemed that the English side would keep the ball and make the hosts chase the game. Everyone who believed that was wrong.

Montpellier came out rejuvenated and took it to the visitors, who are taking part in their 15th consecutive appearance in the Champions League. 

Wave after wave of attack had the Arsenal squad trying to figure out what they were doing wrong, while tired legs were starting to hurt the Gunners. Santi Cazorla looked tired while a dazed Abou Diaby was feeling the effects of missing some time due to a slight knock he picked up on international duty.

The second half brought back memories of the Arsenal of old, yet they were still able to sort things out in the back four. With every corner kick or set piece came that uneasy feeling that for so long has haunted Arsenal fans.

As the match went on and the final whistle approached, it was hard to not imagine the Gunners conceding a late equalizer. It seemed almost like it was written in the books for the debuting club to snatch a last-minute equalizer that some can argue they deserved.

Arsenal was able to hold on for the three points, but a very suffered match could have its negatives as well as its positives.

Playing away to Manchester City on the weekend will not be good for players like Cazorla, Gervinho and Diaby, who looked exhausted well before the match official blew for the end of the match.

From an optimistic perspective, Arsenal not only turned the game around after going down 1-0 early, but they also were able to absorb the pressure for most of the second half.

This victory will be another confidence booster for Arsenal, although they will feel they have a lot of work to do to avoid another second half like that.

What are your thoughts on the match and the performance?

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