Arsenal secured their place in the first knock-out round of the Champion's League with a comfortable 2-0 win at home to French champions Montpellier. The match started slowly, with Arsenal missing a number of passes, and the first half finished with neither side mounting much of a sustained attack on the other's goal. Arsenal did, however, look the more dangerous side.
Arsenal seized control, and settled their fans' nerves, early on in the second half when Jack Wilshire simple slotted the ball into the net following a fine cross from Vermaelen that Giroud nodded down in the box right to Wilshire's boot. Even more impressive was Arsenal's second goal, scored in the 63d minute, when Podoski combined with Giroud on a beautiful move. Podolski passed into the center from the left wing, and continued his run into the box. Giroud picked him out with perfectly weighted pass over the top of the defense, which Podolski took on the full volley, scorching the ball over the outstretched body of the Montpellier keeper, who looked like he was doing a reverse swan dive. It was reminiscent of some van Persie - Song combinations last year, and it was every bit as good.
After the second goal, Montpellier seemed resigned to the inevitable, and offered little resistance. Arsenal could well have scored one or two more, but they wouldn't have made the win any more comprehensive.
Between them, Giroud and Podolski have now scored as many goals as van Persie had at this point last season. That's a very good sign for the Gunners, who are now almost spoiled for choice with so many players coming back from injury. After two strong matches in a row, the Gunners should be brimming with confidence going into this weekend's Premiership fixture away to Aston Villa, who are lurking in the relegation zone.