Montpellier v Arsenal preview
Olivier Giroud returns to his old club in this Group E fixture
Last Updated: September 18, 2012 4:21pm
Olivier Giroud: French striker returns to his old club Montpellier since leaving them for Arsenal in the summer
Arsenal will attempt to kick off their Champions League campaign on a high note against Montpellier in what will be Olivier Giroud's first return to his old club since his summer move.
- Arsenal have never lost an away game in France, winning five and drawing four, but have kept only one clean sheet in their last 20 Champions League away matches
The France international was a key player in Montpellier's Ligue 1 success last season, top scoring in the league with 21 goals.
Giroud has yet to break his duck for Arsene Wenger's side and will hope to make his mark at Stade de la Mosson on Tuesday evening.
The English giants will head into this fixture with confidence, having made an impressive start to the Premier League.
With eight points from four games, Arsenal are third in the table, just two points behind leaders Chelsea, and have conceded only one goal.
On the other hand, defending French champions Montpellier have lost three of their opening five Ligue 1 matches.
This will be La Paillade's first ever game in the Champions League, and they will aspire to mark the occasions with maximum points in front of over 30,000 supporters.
Montpellier will have a slight advantage, as Wenger will not be on the touchline to dictate his team's proceedings.
The Frenchman will serve the first of a three-match ban for confronting the referee during Arsenal's defeat by AC Milan in the round of 16 in March.
Arsenal will be without first-choice goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny because of an ankle injury, meaning that Italian custodian Vito Mannone will start between the posts for the visitors.
Lukasz Fabianski is sidelined with injury and this will give 21-year-old James Shea the chance to make the bench against Montpellier.
Tomas Rosicky, Jack Wilshere, Bacary Sagna and Emmanuel Frimpong all are out with injury, while Russia international midfielder Andrey Arshavin has been left behind in London.
Midfielder Abou Diaby has recovered from a hip problem and has been included in the squad.
Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa and Remy Cabella both are available for selection after being rested at the weekend by Montpellier coach Rene Girard.
LIVE and exclusive on Sky Sports
UEFA Champions League
Tue 18th Sep - Group B
Olympiakos1 - 2Schalke
Montpellier1 - 2Arsenal
Tue 18th Sep - Group D
R Madrid3 - 2Man City
B Dortmund1 - 0Ajax
Tue 18th Sep - Group C
AC Milan0 - 0Anderlecht
Malaga3 - 0Zenit
Tue 18th Sep - Group A
Din Zagreb0 - 2FC Porto
PSG4 - 1Dynamo Kiev
UEFA Champions League Group A
|1||Paris St Germain||6||15|
UEFA Champions League Group B
UEFA Champions League Group C
|3||Zenit St. Petersburg||6||7|
UEFA Champions League Group D
UEFA Champions League Group E
UEFA Champions League Group F
UEFA Champions League Group G
UEFA Champions League Group H
Montpellier v Arsenal
Olivier Giroud insists he was satisfied with his own individual performance against his former club Montpellier in the Champions League.
Mikel Arteta believes Arsenal's refusal to panic under pressure was the key to their 'vital' Champions League victory against Montpellier.
Tony Adams remains unconvinced by Arsenal's defence after 'riding their luck' to beat Montpellier.