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Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Yanga-Mbiwa will 'break' Giroud

Fabien Perrin, France Correspondent

Olivier Giroud returns to Montpellier with Arsenal in the Champions League on Tuesday, three months after leaving France for the Premier League.

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Giroud is not certain to start at the Stade de la Mosson after being left out of the Arsenal team that beat Southampton 6-1 on Saturday.

But Montpellier's Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa is certain that his former team-mate won't score if he does feature, while forward Younes Belhanda believes Yanga-Mbiwa will "break" him.

Yanga-Mbiwa, 23, knows Giroud well after they played together for two years and won the Ligue 1 title last season  thanks, in large part, to the 21 goals scored by the French international striker.

Yanga-Mbiwa, Montpellier's captain and full-back, said he was looking forward to the game and hoped to face his old friend Giroud.

"He is coming back here:we warned him it won't be easy for him and he won't score against us," Yanga-Mbiwa said, adding that his team needed a win after a slow start to the season that has seen them pick up only one victory in Ligue 1.

Younes Belhanda added: ''There won't be any friendships on the pitch - Mapou will break him."

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has said he will make ''one or two" changes' for the game. Giroud came off the bench to replace Lukas Podolski 15 minutes before the end of Saturday's 6-1 win over Southampton, and could yet start in France.

Montpellier owner Louis Nicollin has said he would take Giroud back on loan if life in London does not work out for him.

"When a player leaves my club, I no longer follow him, even though I like Olivier a lot," he said. "If Arsenal want to loan him to us, we'll take him. We've made a bad start in the league. The essential thing is not to go down, and we will fight not to.

"The Champions League is good, but it's not the be all and end all. What we're savouring is being the French champions. Our coach, Rene Girard, will have to sort things out."

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