Arsenal - Montpellier Preview: Gunners looking for first clean sheet in six
The English side head into the clash unbeaten in three games, while the French champions have gone four matches without a win after their disappointing start to the season
By Joe Doyle
Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Vermaelen
Arteta, Cazorla, Wilshere
Walcott, Giroud, Podolski
Congre, Yanga-Mbiwa, El Kaoutari, Bedimo
Cabella, Estrada, Belhanda, Saihi
There could be an appearance at some point for Chuba Akpom, who has been given a Champions League squad number by Arsene Wenger, but it is likely he will be on the bench at best. One Gunner who definitely will not be playing is Emmanuel Frimpong who has joined Charlton on loan.
Elsewhere, Abou Diaby (thigh), Lukasz Fabianski (ankle), Gervinho (ankle), Kieran Gibbs (hip) and Tomas Rosicky (Achilles) are all still missing, but Wojciech Szczesny is likely to start again after making his comeback in the north London derby, as did Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who should start from the bench.
Montpellier are likely to make a couple of changes after their 1-1 draw against Valenciennes at the weekend, with Younes Belhanda missing the clash in Ligue 1 due to suspension. The midfielder is likely to come back into the side in the centre of the field.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Arsenal have won only 56 per cent of their home games in all competitions this season.
- Mikel Arteta (pictured) became the first player in the Premier League to complete 1000 passes this season during the 5-2 win over Tottenham.
- The Gunners are unbeaten in their last three games.
- Arsene Wenger's side have gone five games without keeping a clean sheet, and conceded 14 goals in those games.
- Last season's French champions Montpellier are currently 15th in Ligue 1, 11 points off the league leaders Lyon.
- The French champions have gone four games without a win.
- Rene Girard's team have lost eight of their 18 games in all competitions this season.
- The Ligue 1 side have seen a player sent off in each of their last two matches.
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Top 3 Predictions
Arsenal 3-0 Montpellier HSC
- 25.76 %
Arsenal 3-1 Montpellier HSC
- 19.12 %
Arsenal 2-0 Montpellier HSC
- 13.53 %
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Nov 21, 2012||Arsenal 2 - Montpellier HSC 0|
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Sep 18, 2012||Montpellier HSC 1 - Arsenal 2|
|Mar 1, 2014||Stoke 1 - Arsenal 0||EPL|
|Feb 22, 2014||Arsenal 4 - Sunderland 1||EPL|
|Feb 19, 2014||Arsenal 0 - FC Bayern München 2||UCL|
|Feb 16, 2014||Arsenal 2 - Liverpool 1||FA|
|Feb 12, 2014||Arsenal 0 - Man Utd. 0||EPL|
|21||Abdelhamid El Kaoutari||Defender|
|5||Vitorino Hilton da Silva||Defender|
An interesting sub-plot to Arsenal's season has been the contract situation with the winger - though he would prefer to be known as a striker. It currently looks as if he is more likely to stay, and his performance will continue to be under scrutiny until he does seal a deal. Luckily, he is currently enjoying some of the best football of his career and will once again pose a stern threat.
The midfielder is always one to watch for the French side, and could be the key for his side if they are to get anything out of the game with his vision and passing making likely to cause problems for the Premier League outfit with two goals in four Champions League appearances already this term.
The Gunners will be full of confidence after their derby victory over Tottenham, and with their opponents' title win beginning to look like a flash in the pan, expect the English side to run out comfortable winners.