Jack Wilshere scored for the first time since his return to help Arsenal advance to the last 16 with a game to spare
Arsenal are into the last 16 of the Champions League after a patchy performance punctuated with two excellent goals.
Herrera tries to deny Arsenal a clean sheet but his 25-yard drive skims wide.
The verb that comes to mind here is 'to peter', as in 'to peter out'. Péter has a different meaning in French. "With regard to 83 mins," blurts Simon McMahon. "My old dad used to say, you can't fart against thunder. Which is what Montpellier have found out to their cost tonight."
Arsenal substitutions: Cazorla and Giroud off, Coquelin and Gervinho on.
Deplagne booked for chopping down Cazorla. Arteata swings in the freekick from the left. Everyone misses it and it curls just wide. "Dissipates, Paul, steam dissipates," parps William Marzouk. "Like a fart in the wind." If you're lucky.
Wonderful patient probing from Arsenal, before Podolski threads a ball through to Giroud, who has only the keeper to beat. But Jourden foils him!
Montpellier substitution: Estrada off, Marveaux on.
Schalke have taken the lead against Olympiakos, which means that if the scores stay the same, Schalke and Arsenal will be through to the next round with a group game to spare. "You've probably already forgotten you wrote it and don't care, but your comment about steam earlier [56 mins] wasn't actually wrong," interjects Mark Jelbert. "Steam is formed of water droplets not water vapour so it can evaporate."
Managing proceedings well? Not you, Laurent Koscielny! Or should that be David Luiz? The Arsenal defender dawdles on the ball outside his own area and then gets a yellow card for clumping into the Montpellier player who nicked it off him.
Arsenal have at times in the past been guilty of throwing leads away through reckless attacking; here they're managing proceedings well.
Montpellier are dead. It's just a question now of how much dancing Arsenal want to do on their graves. Cazorla and Wilshere have done a little jig just now, but Jourden rose from the beyond to make an excellent save from the Spaniard.
A lovely move by Arsenal concludes with Sagna spooning in a fine cross that Giroud just fails to reach.
Montpellier changes: Cabella and Charbonnier off, Martin and Herrera on. Arsenal change: Oxlade-Chamberlain off, Ramsey on.
More good work by Oxlade-Chamberlain, who cuts in from the right again and plays a smart ball to Podolski. The German fancies another spectacular effort, this time from 25 yards. It's diverted behind for a corner.
Yellow card for Bedimo for hauling back Oxlade-Chamberlain, who's had an exciting game without quite reaching the level that Walcott has sown in recent weeks.
If the first goal was good, that was an absolute belter! Oxlade-Chamberlain made a searing run in from the right before Giroud clipped a dainty pass into the path of Podolski, who met it with a superb volley top crash the ball into the net from 15 yards!
Having said that (in the previous minute), Giroud has just been pulled back for offside when he was, in fact, on, and clean through.
Prediction: Arsenal will get a penalty tonight. They're getting almost all of the little decisions so far and you get the impression if they appeal for something in the Montpellier box they will probably get it.
The game is going through another of its lulls. Every time you think Arsenal are getting up a head of steam, it evaporates. Hold on, steam doesn't evaporate. Cabella saves me from trying to sort the metaphor out by giving me some proper action to describe: if a hopeful smash from 25 yards constitutes proper action. Easy save for Szczesny.
Koscielny shows impressive speed to scurry across and beat Mounier to a pass into the right-hand channel.
Oops! A slip by Sagna allowed Mounir to romp free down the left and into the box. But the full-back recovers sufficiently to divert the cross out for a corner .
Arsenal have cranked the tempo up now and look intent on finishing t his off early doors ...
That's a lovely goal! Podolski and Vermaelen combined well down the left before the Belgian hoisted a cross to the back post. Giroud laid it back with a dainty header and Wilshere, having surged from deep, finished beautifully, clipping it over the out-rushing keeper and into the net!
No changes in personnel, and no noticeable changes in play since the resumption. And no change in WIlshere's general approach, as he clobbers into Belhanda to leave the schemer with a dead leg.
Arsenal are better, not not enough to have opened the scoring. They came close when Koscielny hit the bar and Podolski slashed wide when clean through but mostly Arsenal have been unable to find a cutting final ball and their passing all over the pitch has been patchy. The flatness of their start seemed to buoy Montpellier, who don't quite have enough potency up front to suggest they could really shock Arsenal but you'd never know.
Belhanda tries to end the half with a sucker punch, Belhanda cutting through the middle before having a ping from 25 yards. Three yards over it goes.
Arsenal re-assert themselves, through the ubiquitous Cazorla. After some conjuring from him Oxlade-Chamberlain curled in a delicious cross from the right. But Congre just beat Giroud to it.
Montpellier have come back into things in the last few minutes, enjoying a spell of possession and, when they lose it, winning it back quickly through pesky pressing.
Good work by Sagna to win a corner, which Arteta takes (Cazrola and Wilshere both having messed up corners earlier). Arteta messes it up, allowing Montpellier to launch a rapid counter. Notorious hatchetman Cazorla decides to stamp out the danger with a cynical trip, copping a booking and giving Montpellier a freekick about 40 yards out, which is of no use to them.
A miss! Arsenal are just lacking the final touch, otherwise they would be comfortably in front by now. Podolski did well a moment ago to dash in from the left and exchange passes with Cazorla. But then, as the keeper hared off his line to close him down, the German tonked just wide from 10 yards.
Montpellier are struggling to get into the Arsenal half for any significant length of time now. Meanwhile, the latest Arsenal attack comes to an abrupt end as Congre crunches into Vermaelen with a splendid tackle.
Arsenal are exerting serious pressure now, with the visitors having to strain to keep them at bay. WIlshere and Arteta were both within millemetres of playing decisive passes just now.
Koscielny injects a bit of urgency into proceedings with a barnstorming run from his own half to the edge of the Montpellier box. Eventually he is stopped but Yanga-Mbia then dithers on the ball and Podolski nicks it off him and fires just wide from 20 yards.
It's all a bit scrappy from Arsenal so far, and some of their players - such as Wilshere and Podolski - have been guilty of wayward passes far too often already.
A fien snapshot by Oxlade-Chamberlain at the edge of the box brings a decent save from Jourden.
Giroud tries to give his old club a reminder of what they're missing ... but it is he who is missing, from the edge of the area and by about 15 yards.
Belhanda tricks his way past Koscielny and bears down on the box ... but gets over-excited and tries a through-ball without checking that there was any there to receive it, which there wasn't.
Arsenal are caught between being too passive when Montpellier have the ball and too eager when they themselves have it. Cazorla chips in with the latest example of the latter, dribbling past two opponents before attempting a killer pass ... that sails into touch.
It's pandemonium in and around the Montpellier box as Oxlade-Chamberlain livens up some ponderous possession play with an anarchic run towards the area. He then slides it into Cazorla, who is upended by a defender but the ref waves play on and the ball bounces around a bit before Oxlade-Chamberlain tries to break through again. Montpellier, despite being all a-fluster, eventually smother the danger.
Tanga-Mbiwa demonstrates one of the reasons why he has been deployed in midfield rather than his usual position in central defence, as he dissects the Arsenal rearguard with an astute pass. Mounier races after it ... but Szczesny surges off his line and just about beats him to it.
Close! Koscielny rocks the bar with a powerful header. from a Vermaelen cross. As Montpellier try to scramble the ball back upfield, Arsenal win it back and then Mertesacker suddenly thinks he's on the dancefloor, jinking and jiving past two defenders before a third puts an end to his living dream at the edge of the area.
Cazorla curls in the corner. Mertesacker jumps for it but Congre nods it behind.
The home fans find their voices for the first time to express their approval for a decent Arsenal move that culminated in Oxlade-Chamberlain winning a corner. "Regarding the 'bane mask' in the caption: it's great to see some geeky references on an MBM," gushes Ryan Dunne. "Surely a more commonsensical exercise than those Soulmates adds in The Fiver (that said, I am currently single)."
having detected Arsenal slovenliness, Montpellier are starting to fancy they could spring a surprise here and are stretching the home defence. Time for Wenger to start doing a rain dance in the sideline, for his players need a cold shower to wake them up.
The atmosphere is flatter than a cat that has inadvertently tested the latest offering from Aveling & Porter. And Arsenal's start has been similarly downbeat. Montpellier have had little of the ball but almost woke the hosts up with their first attack, Cabella down the wing and putting in a cross that none of the defenders dealt with. They were lucky that no forward could get on the end of it.
Uncharacteristically, Arteta hoofs it out of play within second of kick-off. That is a sure sign of complacency that will cost them this match, their place in the next round and Wenger his job. Ir am I reading too much into it?
... fortunately, they are the players so the match should be getting under way any minute now. Hands have been shaken, a coin tossed and token huddles performed: time to giddy up
Events at Stamford Bridge today gave another reminder of just what a cosy gig Arsene Wenger has and tonight's assignment should be pretty comfortable too. Montpellier have a clutch of nice players – Belhanda is a classy schemer and Yanga-Mbiwa is destined for big things – but are enduring a difficult season after last term's heroics are languishing like injured mice at the foot of the table in both France and the Champions League. Arsenal should make short of them. Like I'm making short work of this preamble. It's poetry, see, not rank laziness.
Arsenal: Szzcesny; Sagna, Mertersacker, Koscielny, Vermaelen; Arteta, Cazorla, WIlshere; Ozlade-Chamberlain, Giroud, Podolski
Subs: Mannone, Ramsey, Coquelin, Arshavin, Jenkinson, Gervinho, Gibbs
Montpellier: Jourden; Deplagne, Congre, El Kaoutari, Bedimo; Cabella, Yanga-MBiwa, Belhanda, Estrade, Mounier; Charbonnier
Ref: F Aydinus (Turkey)
Paul will be here shortly. In the meantime, here's Amy Lawrence on Montpellier maverick Louis Nicollin:
Imagine, if you possibly can, Malcolm Glazer sporting a mohawk haircut dyed red and white (or yellow and green for that matter). Picture Roman Abramovich making a public declaration that he will become a monk if his team brings success. Visualise Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan joyously adding to his enormous collection of legendary football shirts. Try to conceive of Stan Kroenke publishing a comic book with a cartoon of himself on the front, to tell the story of his life in football.
In an era when the modern football owner is not renowned for dramatic gestures, Louis Nicollin stands out from the crowd. The larger than life president of Montpellier-Herault SC has done all of the above, and much more, while driving his club forward over a period that encompasses four decades. Unyielding, outrageous, crude and famously explosive, it is safe to say that the experience of watching his team in the Champions League means more to him than it does to Glazer, Abramovich, Sheikh Mansour and Kroenke put together several times over. A local entrepreneur who made his fortune out of the family's business in waste collection, he says he had to pinch himself 20 times before believing the team he built was competing in such elevated company.
It is a pity that Montpellier, who travel to the Emirates on Wednesday, have not made more of an impression in their debut run in the competition because Nicollin's promise to check in to the nearest monastery if they managed to exceed all odds by winning Europe's most prestigious trophy was not announced lightly. "I will become a monk and as I have many fans who want me to become a monk, then so be it," he explained to Champions magazine.