Montpellier 1 Arsenal 2: Second half was not great, admits Vermaelen
Montpellier 1 Arsenal 2: Thomas Vermaelen admits Gunners' second-half performance was poor after Londoners edge to victory
Thomas Vermaelen admitted Arsenal’s second-half performance at Montpellier left a lot to be desired after the Gunners clung on to clinch victory in the south of France.
Younes Belhanda put the home side ahead in the ninth minute from the spot after Vermaelen tripped the Moroccan forward on the edge of the penalty area.
But Arsene Wenger’s men soon fought back, netting two goals in as many minutes as Lukas Podolski notched up his third strike in three games and Gervinho fired home from close range to give the north Londoners the lead.
The Gunners withstood sustained spells of Montpellier pressure throughout the second half but managed to keep the Ligue 1 champions at bay to kick off their Champions League campaign with a win.
Vermaelen said: “In the second half we were not great but in this kind of situation you have to stay calm and make sure you don’t concede a goal. But yes, the team performance in the second half was not great.”
The Arsenal captain admitted he was surprised to see referee Carlos Velasco Carballo point to the spot after the Belgian’s clash with Belhanda early in the first half.
“At first I didn’t think it was a penalty,” he said. “I was 100 per cent sure I could go for the ball but he gave the penalty.”
Next up for Arsenal is a trip to defending Premier League champions Manchester City but Vermaelen does not feel the Gunners need to change their approach too much ahead of Sunday’s clash.
“I think we have to keep going like we play,” he continued. “Of course, the second half was not great but we have had some good performances, like on Saturday [against Southampton].
We have to stay focused and stay confident and if we play our own game we can get a result there.”