Arsenal beats Montpellier 2-1 in Champions League

Associated Press Modified: September 18, 2012 at 7:02 pm •  Published: September 18, 2012

MONTPELLIER, France (AP) — Lukas Podolski and Gervinho scored as Arsenal came back from a goal down to win 2-1 at Montpellier in their Champions League opener on Tuesday.

All the goals came in a frantic opening spell. Montpellier midfielder Younes Belhanda won and converted a penalty in the ninth minute, Podolski equalized in the 16th and Gervinho put the Gunners ahead two minutes later.

Both Arsenal players had scored in the 6-1 demolition of Southampton in the Premier League on Saturday, and their form is encouraging for a team needing to find goals after Robin van Persie's offseason departure to Manchester United.

"Podolski has made a real impact. I have to say I've not seen many finishers as good as him —ever, right foot, left foot," said Arsenal's assistant coach Steve Bould, who led the team as Arsene Wenger served the first game of a touchline ban. "He is a good trainer, a good boy and has really added something this year."

Striker Olivier Giroud, playing against his old club, set up Podolski's goal with a clever flick.

Montpellier hit back but winger Remy Cabella struck the crossbar in the second half.

"We looked a little bit tired in the second half, because it was very humid and the crowd got behind them," Bould said. "It's an intimidating place to come."

Arsenal started with Giroud in attack as he sought a first goal for his new team since joining from Montpellier, the club he scored 21 league goals for last season.

Giroud acknowledged before the match to feeling the pressure of replacing Van Persie, but it was his excellent touch that created Podolski's goal and settled Arsenal's nerves.

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