Montpellier took the lead in the Group B opener at the Stade de la Mosson after nine minutes. Thomas Vermaelen claimed he won the ball in a tackle with Younes Belhanda, on the edge of the box but referee Carlos Velasco Carballo pointed to the spot. Belhanda got up and chipped a lovely Panenka penalty past Vito Mannone.
However, on 16 minutes, Arsenal equalised. Returning hero Olivier Giroud did brilliantly with a first-time lay-off from Santi Cazorla's pass, the ball finding Podolski who finished coolly.
Then two minutes later, a low cross from the right from Carl Jenkinson after the ball broke loose was converted by Gervinho, sidefooting in from six yards to give Arsenal the lead.
Before the interval, Mannone had to get the fingertips of his left hand to keep out Remy Cabella's low drive from 20 yards.
In the second half, Cabella blasted wide after robbing Abou Diaby in the box and Montpellier then hit the woodwork when a cheeky chip from Cabella looped down onto the frame of the goal.
Belhanda's weak shot from an excellent position after a mistake from Mertesacker left him free to shoot was the closest the French champions came to an equaliser.
More to follow...
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