Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Arsenal v Montpellier - Preview

Arsenal could secure UEFA Champions League progress against Montpellier, but will be eager to get back to winning ways regardless.

Victory for the Gunners at Emirates Stadium on Wednesday, coupled with a defeat for Olympiakos at Schalke, would see them into the last 16 of Europe's premier club competition.

While such a situation provides added incentive for Arsene Wenger's troops, they will be desperate to pick up three points after suffering a recent wobble in continental competition.

Back-to-back fixtures against Schalke saw Arsenal collect just one point, seeing them slip from the top of Group B, and it is important for them to re-establish momentum ahead of the knockout stage.

Montpellier's involvement in the 2012/13 Champions League will see them take in just two more fixtures, with a top-two finish now beyond them, but they still have the consolation prize of a spot in the Europa League to aim at.

In order to drop into that competition, the reigning French champions must pick up three points in north London and prevail on home soil against Schalke on Matchday Six.

Theo Walcott has been ruled out for Arsenal with a shoulder problem.

The England winger sustained the injury during Arsenal's 5-2 derby win over Tottenham at the weekend but was able to play on and scored the Gunners' fifth goal in injury-time at the end of the match.

Wenger revealed Walcott had not trained on Tuesday and would have a scan to determine the extent of the injury, although he believes it will only be a short-term thing.

Left-back Kieran Gibbs and Ivory Coast midfielder Gervinho are back in the squad but Andre Santos is out injured with a stomach complaint.

Montpellier's Senegal striker Souleymane Camara is suspended having received his third yellow card of the group stages in the defeat to Olympiakos.

Morocco forward Karim Ait-Fana is a long-term absentee after injuring his right knee in training last month.

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