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Podolski shines for Arsenal

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.

Arsenal's Lukas Podolski celebrates scoring against Montpellier during their Champions League Group B soccer match at Emirates Stadium in London on Wednesday. Credit: Reuters

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

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