Arsenal's 2012 UEFA Champions League opener was a solid one in that it ended with a win, but the Gunners still have their work cut out for them if they're going to make a title run.
It didn't take long for new Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud to face off against his former team. Not only did Giroud play for Montpellier and make his skills known there, he also played a major part in them making the Champions League. It's safe to say that they'd be nowhere close to this tournament without him, and in return, they had to play against him in their debut.
Unfortunately for Giroud's new team, they went down early and gave Montpellier something to cheer about when defender and captain Thomas Vermaelen got called for a penalty in the box, giving Montpellier an early 1-0 lead.
Arsenal simply cannot be making simple mistakes like this if they want to make a serious run at not just the Champions League, but the Premier League as well. Mistakes will have to be rare for Arsenal this season if they want to keep up in the standings with the likes of Manchester United.
The Gunners' squad has been gutted significantly in the last two offseasons, and if there's one player whom they need stability from, it's Vermaelen. These new guys need someone to model their newfound leadership roles after, and it can't be from someone who's taking bad penalties at the worst possible moments.
Abou Diaby picked up a silly yellow card in the first minute of his first start back from injury and immediately made Arsenal wish they hadn't opted to go with the pesky midfielder in the starting XI.
Though in one of our first opportunities to see the new-look Arsenal squad, there were still plenty of good things to come out of it. One of those bright spots was the play of midfielder Lukas Podolski. The new acquisition put Arsenal on the board with a fine finish that excited the Gunners faithful.
On Podolski's goal, he showed the finishing ability that Arsenal has been missing from all of their players in recent years not named Robin van Persie.
Gervinho also netted a goal in the win and showed promise for Arsenal's ability to replace van Persie's scoring impact.
All in all, Arsenal looks to have plenty to work off and plenty of work to do before they are real contenders to win the Champions League.
-- Steven Cook is a TNT breaking news writer and Featured Columnist covering everything from the NFL to the EPL to cricket. Follow him on Twitter to keep up with all things sports.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!