Arsenal reached the Champions League knockout stage for a 13th consecutive season as they outclassed Montpellier and Schalke beat Olympiakos.

The Gunners struggled for momentum in a disappointing first half that saw Laurent Koscielny head against the bar.

But they improved after the break and Jack Wilshere scored his first goal since returning from injury with a chipped finish from close range.

Lukas Podolski sealed the win with a stunning volley as Montpellier faded.

It was an unstoppable strike that will be replayed many times over - a fitting way to secure a place in the last 16.

Schalke's home victory over Olympiakos keeps the Germans top of Group B on 11 points, one clear of Arsenal with one game left.

Olympiakos, who host Arsenal on 4 December, are third on six points and will drop into the Europa League, while Montpellier remain bottom with just one point from five matches.

This was not a vintage win and Arsenal looked disjointed until breaking the deadlock, but they can be pleased with the result and will now attempt to finish above Schalke in top spot.

French jinx ended

This was Arsenal's first home Champions League win against a French side. Their four previous matches ended in two defeats and two draws

For a club competing in the Champions League for a 15th consecutive season, it was remarkable that Arsene Wenger's men had never previously beaten a French club at home in the competition.

Saturday's morale-boosting victory over Tottenham, coupled with Montpellier's domestic and European struggles this season, gave the Gunners hope of bucking that trend.

But in the early stages Arsenal struggled to impose themselves or establish rhythm, misplacing a number of passes.

They looked nervous at the back and after Thomas Vermaelen was easily beaten by Remy Cabella on the right, Wojciech Szczesny flapped at Geoffrey Jourdren's cross from the left.

Arsenal almost took the lead when Koscielny rattled the woodwork with a thumping header from Vermaelen's left-wing centre, but that was their only chance of note in the opening half hour.

The match soon opened up, though, and Szczesny rushed out to foil Anthony Mounier before Podolski twice drilled wide.

Wenger's side came out for the second half with more urgency and their reward soon arrived.

Vermaelen crossed from the left for Giroud to cushion a header into the path of Wilshere, and the 20-year-old dinked a neat finish over Jourdren for his first goal since November 2010.

The home nerves were settled and with Montpellier's supporters showing more energy than their team, Arsenal struck again.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain worked his way in from the right and fed Podolski on the edge of the box. The German found Giroud and then met his lofted return pass with a stunning volley past Jourdren.

Santi Cazorla and Giroud both went close to extending the lead, with Montpellier occasionally threatening on the counter-attack, but by now the outcome was not in doubt and Arsenal could celebrate.

Lineup, Bookings (5) & Substitutions (6)

Arsenal

  • 01 Szczesny
  • 03 Sagna
  • 04 Mertesacker
  • 05 Vermaelen
  • 06 Koscielny Booked
  • 08 Arteta
  • 10 Wilshere
  • 15 Oxlade-Chamberlain (Ramsey - 69' )
  • 19 Cazorla Booked (Coquelin - 84' )
  • 09 Podolski
  • 12 Giroud Booked (Gervinho - 84' )

Substitutes

  • 24 Mannone
  • 25 Jenkinson
  • 28 Gibbs
  • 16 Ramsey
  • 22 Coquelin
  • 23 Arshavin
  • 27 Gervinho

Montpellier

  • 16 Geoffrey Jourdren
  • 03 Mapou Yanga M'Biwa
  • 05 Bedimo Booked
  • 12 Congre
  • 21 El Kaoutari
  • 25 Deplagne Booked
  • 10 Belhanda
  • 13 Estrada (Joris Marveaux - 79' )
  • 20 Remy Cabella (Emanuel Herrera - 68' )
  • 08 Mounier
  • 09 Charbonnier (Martin - 68' )

Substitutes

  • 01 Laurent Pionnier
  • 04 Hilton
  • 27 Jeunechamp
  • 06 Joris Marveaux
  • 14 Pitau
  • 28 Martin
  • 11 Emanuel Herrera
Ref: Aydinus
Att: 59,760

Match Stats

Shots

10 8

On target

5 3

Corners

7 3

Fouls

15 13

Live Text Commentary

90:00 +3:04 Full time

Full Time The referee blows for the end of the match.

90:00 +2:15

Daniel Congre gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Lukas Podolski. Lukas Podolski restarts play with the free kick.

90:00 +1:39

Emanuel Herrera has a shot on goal from outside the area which misses left.

90:00 +0:10

Francis Coquelin fouled by Mathieu Deplagne, the ref awards a free kick. Thomas Vermaelen takes the direct free kick.

89:24

The referee blows for offside. Wojciech Szczesny takes the free kick.

88:21

Mapou Yanga M'Biwa fouled by Lukas Podolski, the ref awards a free kick. Younes Belhanda takes the direct free kick.

84:31

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Joris Marveaux by Francis Coquelin. Direct free kick taken by Abdel El Kaoutari.

83:10 Substitution

Substitution Yao Gervinho on for Olivier Giroud.

83:10 Substitution

Substitution Santi Cazorla leaves the field to be replaced by Francis Coquelin.

82:00

Mikel Arteta crosses the ball in from the free kick.

82:00 Booking

Booking Mathieu Deplagne goes into the book.

81:53

Santi Cazorla fouled by Mathieu Deplagne, the ref awards a free kick.

79:51

Olivier Giroud takes a shot. Save made by Geoffrey Jourdren. The ball is swung over by Santi Cazorla.

78:36 Substitution

Substitution Joris Marveaux on for Marco Estrada.

75:44

Marco Estrada produces a shot on goal direct from the free kick.

75:44 Booking

Booking Booking for Laurent Koscielny for unsporting behaviour.

75:41

Unfair challenge on Mapou Yanga M'Biwa by Laurent Koscielny results in a free kick.

73:43

Inswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Santi Cazorla, clearance by Abdel El Kaoutari.

73:28

Santi Cazorla takes a shot. Geoffrey Jourdren makes a save.

72:46

Inswinging corner taken by Santi Cazorla from the left by-line played to the near post, Mapou Yanga M'Biwa manages to make a clearance.

71:09

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Younes Belhanda by Thomas Vermaelen. Younes Belhanda restarts play with the free kick.

70:34

The ball is swung over by Bacary Sagna, clearance by Daniel Congre.

69:53

The referee blows for offside. Indirect free kick taken by Abdel El Kaoutari.

68:39 Substitution

Substitution Aaron Ramsey joins the action as a substitute, replacing Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

67:41 Substitution

Substitution Jonas Martin is brought on as a substitute for Gaetan Charbonnier.

67:41 Substitution

Substitution Emanuel Herrera comes on in place of Remy Cabella.

67:10

Corner taken by Santi Cazorla from the left by-line, Mapou Yanga M'Biwa manages to make a clearance.

66:32

Lukas Podolski takes a shot. Blocked by Mathieu Deplagne.

65:39

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain takes the free kick.

65:39 Booking

Booking Booking for Henri Bedimo for unsporting behaviour.

65:28

Henri Bedimo challenges Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain unfairly and gives away a free kick.

64:43

Foul by Thomas Vermaelen on Mapou Yanga M'Biwa, free kick awarded. Free kick crossed right-footed by Younes Belhanda.

62:24

Assist on the goal came from Olivier Giroud.

62:24 Goal scored

Goal! - Lukas Podolski - Arsenal 2 - 0 Montpel'er A goal is scored by Lukas Podolski from inside the box high into the middle of the goal. Arsenal 2-0 Montpellier.

61:24

Younes Belhanda decides to take the corner short.

59:10

The official flags Olivier Giroud offside. Free kick taken by Geoffrey Jourdren.

58:14

Unfair challenge on Santi Cazorla by Mapou Yanga M'Biwa results in a free kick. Mikel Arteta takes the free kick.

57:58

Gaetan Charbonnier challenges Thomas Vermaelen unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Mikel Arteta.

57:34

Lukas Podolski is caught offside. Geoffrey Jourdren takes the free kick.

56:50

Effort from 35 yards by Marco Estrada missed to the right of the target.

56:33

Remy Cabella takes a shot. Comfortable save by Wojciech Szczesny.

55:58

Olivier Giroud is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Daniel Congre takes the free kick.

54:18

Foul by Olivier Giroud on Daniel Congre, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Daniel Congre.

53:58

The referee blows for offside. Wojciech Szczesny takes the indirect free kick.

52:45

Direct free kick taken by Marco Estrada.

52:45 Booking

Booking Olivier Giroud goes into the book.

52:34

Olivier Giroud challenges Marco Estrada unfairly and gives away a free kick.

51:50

The referee blows for offside. Per Mertesacker restarts play with the free kick.

51:19

Younes Belhanda decides to take the corner short.

48:15

Assist by Olivier Giroud.

48:15 Goal scored

Goal! - Jack Wilshere - Arsenal 1 - 0 Montpel'er Jack Wilshere grabs a goal from close in high into the middle of the goal. Arsenal 1-0 Montpellier.

48:03

The ball is sent over by Thomas Vermaelen.

46:49

Unfair challenge on Jack Wilshere by Remy Cabella results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Jack Wilshere.

45:01

The second half has started.

45:00 +1:13 Half time

Half Time The ref blows to end the first period.

45:00 +0:52

Mathieu Deplagne crosses the ball, clearance made by Laurent Koscielny.

45:00 +0:36

Gaetan Charbonnier fouled by Laurent Koscielny, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Younes Belhanda.

44:27

Shot from just outside the box by Younes Belhanda goes over the target.

43:19

Bacary Sagna produces a cross, Daniel Congre manages to make a clearance.

40:24

The ball is swung over by Younes Belhanda, save by Wojciech Szczesny.

39:30

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Mapou Yanga M'Biwa by Mikel Arteta. Direct free kick taken by Marco Estrada.

38:33

Marco Estrada crosses the ball from the free kick left-footed from right channel, Olivier Giroud makes a clearance.

38:33 Booking

Booking Booking for Santi Cazorla for unsporting behaviour.

38:28

Santi Cazorla concedes a free kick for a foul on Remy Cabella.

38:02

Outswinging corner taken by Mikel Arteta from the right by-line played to the near post, Younes Belhanda manages to make a clearance.

37:01

The official flags Anthony Mounier offside. Bacary Sagna takes the indirect free kick.

35:59

Shot from close range by Lukas Podolski misses to the left of the target.

34:50

The ball is sent over by Olivier Giroud, Henri Bedimo manages to make a clearance.

33:50

Younes Belhanda takes a shot. Mikel Arteta gets a block in.

32:41

The ball is swung over by Bacary Sagna, clearance by Abdel El Kaoutari.

32:08

Henri Bedimo gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Olivier Giroud. Direct free kick taken by Mikel Arteta.

31:46

Marco Estrada produces a left-footed shot from long distance which goes wide right of the goal.

30:52

Effort from the edge of the area by Lukas Podolski goes wide of the left-hand post.

29:13

Unfair challenge on Mapou Yanga M'Biwa by Olivier Giroud results in a free kick. Daniel Congre takes the direct free kick.

28:54

The referee blows for offside against Gaetan Charbonnier. Free kick taken by Laurent Koscielny.

26:38

Remy Cabella gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Mikel Arteta takes the direct free kick.

26:15

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain takes a shot. Geoffrey Jourdren makes a comfortable save.

25:47

Jack Wilshere takes a inswinging corner to the near post, clearance made by Marco Estrada.

24:57

Olivier Giroud has an effort at goal from outside the box which goes wide right of the goal.

24:38

Free kick awarded for a foul by Laurent Koscielny on Mathieu Deplagne. Mathieu Deplagne takes the direct free kick.

23:50

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain delivers the ball, Daniel Congre manages to make a clearance.

22:54

Foul by Mapou Yanga M'Biwa on Santi Cazorla, free kick awarded. Mikel Arteta takes the free kick.

21:56

Unfair challenge on Santi Cazorla by Remy Cabella results in a free kick. Mikel Arteta takes the free kick.

21:19

The official flags Lukas Podolski offside. Geoffrey Jourdren takes the indirect free kick.

19:47

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Gaetan Charbonnier by Per Mertesacker. Free kick taken by Marco Estrada.

14:48

Corner taken by Marco Estrada, clearance made by Laurent Koscielny.

13:29

Unfair challenge on Remy Cabella by Laurent Koscielny results in a free kick. Marco Estrada produces a strike on goal direct from the free kick.

10:25

A cross is delivered by Thomas Vermaelen, Laurent Koscielny takes a shot.

10:02

Corner from right by-line crossed in by Santi Cazorla.

9:41

Corner taken right-footed by Santi Cazorla from the right by-line to the near post, clearance made by Daniel Congre.

8:40

Unfair challenge on Bacary Sagna by Anthony Mounier results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Bacary Sagna.

6:06

The offside flag is raised against Remy Cabella. Free kick taken by Thomas Vermaelen.

4:12

The assistant referee flags for offside against Gaetan Charbonnier. Free kick taken by Mikel Arteta.

3:46

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Henri Bedimo by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Direct free kick taken by Henri Bedimo.

3:20

Remy Cabella sends in a cross. A cross is delivered by Mapou Yanga M'Biwa, Thomas Vermaelen manages to make a clearance.

2:00

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Jack Wilshere by Mapou Yanga M'Biwa. Mikel Arteta takes the free kick.

0:00

The referee gets the game underway.

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