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Wenger eyes top spot

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has his heart set on topping Champions League Group B after his side’s 2-0 win over Montpellier on Wednesday.

A Jack Wilshere strike and a Lukas Podolski stunner handed Arsenal all three points at Emirates Stadium, helping them secure their place in the last 16 and keep pace with Schalke at the top of the group.

Arsenal visit Greek club Olympiacos in their final group game, sitting one point behind Schalke on the table, and Wenger wants his men to go all out for victory in Greece.

“We will play the last game to finish top of the group,” Wenger said.

“When you look at some of the other groups you don’t know if first or second is better, but statistically it is always better to finish first and that’s what we want to do.

“Thirteen times in a row we have qualified for the last 16 – I’m very proud. It’s not as easy as it appears, because if you look across Europe not many teams do it.

“Montpellier were well organised, strong in their challenges and aggressive, so we had to concentrate, not make mistakes and take our chances.

“I’m pleased to see Jack Wilshere getting stronger and stronger after such a long time out. He had a difficult start to the game, but you could see after the goal he got more confident.”

Montpellier coach Rene Girard lamented the number of injuries to his squad, and was downcast as his side were denied a place in the Europa League by finishing bottom of the group.

“Perhaps it was one match too far for us this evening given the number of injuries and players we had missing,” Girard said.

“We gave everything we could and I was very happy with our attitude, but if we can’t score goals, then it does, of course, become more difficult.

“Over the 90 minutes we played well but lacked a bit of consistency.

“We were good in the first half in terms of aggression and forward runs, but we were just lacking something going forward.

“We particularly saw that in the second half and we began to physically struggle towards the end of the game.”

Thu 22 Nov, 2012
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