PELLIER 1 vs ARSENAL 2
ARSENAL assistant manager Steve Bould hailed Lukas Podolski as one of the most clinical finishers he has seen after the German helped get the Gunners’ Champions League campaign off to a winning start.
French champions Montpellier drew first blood when Younes Belhand chipped home an impudent penalty, but Podolski and Gervinho scored within three minutes of each other as the visitors summoned an instant response.
It was a third Arsenal goal for Podolski since the striker’s £10m summer transfer from Cologne – one in each of the last three games – as the north Londoners adjust to life without Robin van Persie.
“Podolski has made a real impact,” said Bould, who took charge as manager Arsene Wenger served the first of a three-game touchline ban.
“I have to say, I’ve not seen many finishers as good as him – ever. Right foot, left foot. He goes in hard in training. He’s a good trainer, a good boy. He has really added something this year.”
Arsenal were outwitted after just nine minutes by Montpellier and Belhanda, who drew a foul from Thomas Vermaelen before chipping a penalty straight down the middle.
That only served to tweak Gunners noses, and seven minutes later they were level, Olivier Giroud feeding Podolski to slot past Geoffre Jourdren.
Gervinho completed the comeback moments later by sweeping in an unmissable low cross from Carl Jenkinson, but Arsenal had to ride their luck in the face of pressure in the second half before emerging with a third consecutive victory.