London - Jack Wilshere's first goal since returning from a long-term injury and a Lukas Podolski thunderbolt gave Arsenal a 2-0 victory over French club Montpellier on Wednesday and put them through to the last 16 of the Champions League with a game to spare.

Podolski wasted two great chances in a frustrating first half as Arsenal looked to bounce back from a 2-0 defeat by Schalke in their previous home game in the competition, but the Gunners turned on the style after the break.

Midfielder Wilshere broke the deadlock after 49 minutes with a close-range finish - his first goal for two years - and Podolski made sure of the points with a superb volley just past the hour to ease any tension at the Emirates.

Disappointing French champions Montpellier offered only a sporadic threat as their slim hopes of a consolation place in the Europa League vanished.

Arsenal moved to 10 points, one behind Group B leaders Schalke whose 1-0 defeat of Olympiakos ensured that the London club will qualify for the knockout rounds for the 10th consecutive season under manager Arsene Wenger. - Reuters