Rene Girard has urged fans of Montpellier to create a hostile atmosphere when Arsenal play the Ligue 1 champions in their opening Champions League group game.

Montpellier were the surprise winner of the French league last season but have struggled to replicate their success in the early stages of the new campaign.

Olivier Giroud
Giroud will face his former club Montpellier for the first time since moving to Arsenal [Reuters]

Girard, who has been manager since the summer of 2009, has seen his side pick up just four points from their opening five league games to currently lie in 16th place.

Arsenal are the firm favourites to win the group, but Girard is hopeful that his side can once secure a major shock.

"We caused a surprise by winning the title and perhaps we can create another surprise by winning the Champions League," Girard told

"I hope that the Montpellier fans will give the Arsenal players hell. They can pull us through the difficult times.

"Many people are wondering how many goals we're going to concede, but events on the pitch will tell. We have to be aware of the difficulties we have had, but it's not by crying but by working that we'll get out of trouble.

"Many of the players haven't been in this competition before. It's a way for the club and the players to grow. It's very intense and amazing to be among the 32 best teams in the continent in this tournament."

Arsenal will be hoping that former Montpellier striker Olivier Giroud can have a big impact at his former club, having failed to score a league goal for the Gunners so far this season.

Giroud was the top scorer in France last season and Girard expects him to return to a warm welcome from the Montpellier fans.

"I think the fans will welcome him very warmly, but not too much, maybe with just a little 'hi' and a wave," continued Girard.

"Olivier Giroud only left good memories here. He was a very loyal player and man, who did very well for us last season to help win the title."