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Premier League

Champions League win will give Arsenal confidence for Manchester City clash says Steve Bould


Assistant boss Steve Bould maintains Arsenal can head to Manchester City full of confidence after opening their Champions League campaign with a battling 2-1 victory in Montpellier.

With manager Arsene Wenger watching from the stands for the first of a three-match UEFA touchline ban, the Gunners recovered from giving away an early penalty to hit two quick goals through in-form Lukas Podolski and Gervinho before riding out the second-half storm at the Stade de la Mosson.

The positive result continued the Gunners' unbeaten start to the new campaign, having thumped Southampton 6-1 at Emirates Stadium last weekend.

Next up, though, is a trip to tackle the Barclays Premier League champions, who will be smarting from their 3-2 European defeat in Madrid.

Bould, however, sees no reason why Arsenal's momentum cannot see them rise to the challenge on Sunday afternoon.

"We have had a decent start to the season and we have kept the run going so it's important all round, for the whole season," said the former Arsenal defender.

"We will go to Manchester City with a bit of confidence.

"It is better being this way, but it is a proper test.

"It is where we want to be and hopefully we can come away saying we did okay again."

Bould admitted he had "a bit of a headache" after stepping into Wenger's shoes for the first time since moving into the assistant's role after the retirement of Pat Rice.

Wenger would no doubt have been fuming when captain Thomas Vermaelen gave away an early penalty, although replays suggested the foul was probably just outside the box.

However, Arsenal responded magnificently and were soon level through a fine finish by German international Podolski.

Before the French side, making their Champions League debut following last season's brilliant Ligue 1 campaign, could recover, Arsenal swept ahead on 18 minutes through Gervinho.

Although the hosts rallied after the break, with lively winger Remi Cabella hitting the crossbar and goalscorer Younes Belhanda missing a great chance late on when he fired straight at stand-in keeper Vito Mannone, the Gunners closed out a battling victory.

"I am not sure I enjoyed it. I have got a headache and a half," said Bould.

"It is tough, a different pressure then I have been used to taking the Under-18s, but we won and we had a great result."

Bould added: "It is quite an intimidating place to come and play so we are glad to get the result.

"We have got great team spirit and I think that was evident. Everybody is digging in and things are looking okay."

Montpellier coach Rene Girard felt his team could take some positives out of their Champions League debut.

"I have some regrets but also some satisfaction," he said.

"Maybe we were a bit too shy in the first half, then looked more determined.

"We had a few chances to equalise, but at this level when you make some mistakes, you will pay for it.

"We can be proud, because apart from these two minutes we managed to play well against this top European team like Arsenal, so there can also be some positives from this performance."