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Arsenal v Montpellier Champions League Preview: Team news, Predicted Line-Ups, Match Facts and More

by Mr Neutral

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Wenger Point Sale

Gunners host Ligue 1 Champions.

Tuesday was a dismal night for British clubs in the Champions League but it should be business as usual for Arsenal at the Emirates, with boss Arsene Wenger warning that his side will not be complacent against the Ligue 1 Champions in North London.

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Confidence should well and truly be restored in the red half of North London, after Saturday’s 5-2 thrashing of neighbours Tottenham.

And no-one at Arsenal is currently on better form that striker Olivier Giroud, the French forward who is finally settling into life in the Premier League after his £12m summer switch from Montpellier.

The powerful forward will lead the line against his old club, with third-placed Arsenal needing a win to ensure a they are not usurped by Olympiakos, who face Schalke in the other group B game.

Team news

Theo Walcott has been ruled out after damaging his shoulder in the 5-2 win over Tottenham on Saturday but Gervinho should return from ankle injury that has kept him out for over a month.

The good news for Arsenal fans is that Andre Santos has been ruled out through injury, meaning fit-again Kieran Gibbs should return at left-back.

Abou Diaby (thigh), Tomas Rosicky (achilles), Lukasz Fabianski (ankle) are all unavailable.

Arsenal predicted line-up: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Arteta, Cazorla, Wilshere, Podolski, Giroud, Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Montpellier defender Cyril Jeunechamp is expected to be disciplined after punching a French journalist in the face following a league match. The club were forced to issue an apology after several players confronted L’Equipe writer Jose Barraso after a critical article in the sports newspaper. Senegalese striker Souleymane Camara misses the match through suspension, although Younese Belhanda – who scored for Montpellier in their home match with Arsenal – returns from a ban.

Striker John Utaka (thigh), defender Hilton (groin) and midfielder Karim Ait-Fana (knee) are not fit enough after their injuries, but defender Garry Bocaly should return from a hip problem.

Stat Attack

If Arsenal and Schalke both win their games on Match Day Five, both sides will qualify for the next stage.

Montpellier are already eliminated from the Champions League, but can still qualify for the Europa League if they win both remaining games and Olympiakos lose both of theirs.

Only Nordsjælland (27) have fired in fewer shots than Arsenal (30) after four Match Days of this season’s Champions League.

Montpellier have won just one of their last 12 matches in European competition (W1 D4 L7).

Defeat against Schalke ended a run of 14 home games without defeat for Arsenal in the Champions League (W12 D2).

The Gunners have only conceded 18 goals in 30 Champions League matches at the Emirates, keeping 16 clean sheets.
Ahead of the north London derby against Tottenham this weekend, Arsenal had kept just one clean sheet in their last 14 games in all competitions.

Montpellier have won just 42% of their 50/50 duels in the Champions League this season, a lower percentage than any other team.

Tickets still available for top football matches – Chelsea v Fulham tickets

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