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Arsenal can lay down a marker

Arsenal
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Girard faces uncertain Montpellier future

Montpellier president Louis Nicollin has suggested that this season could be Rene Girard's last as coach of the Ligue 1 champions.

Girard, 58, earned himself a place in the club's history by leading Montpellier to their first top-flight title last season. However, his side have found their crown a heavy burden, leading Nicollin to ponder whether or not to extend Girard's contract beyond June.

"He's one of the six people who have made La Paillade [the area of Montpellier in which the club is based] what it is," Nicollin, who appointed Girard when the club returned to Ligue 1 in 2009, said.

"He'll remain that, even if he's not at Montpellier tomorrow. We'll see. The season isn't finished. He will have been here four years. We're going to think about it. But I'm very unhappy with the start of the season."

Montpellier have languished in the lower half of the table for the entire campaign, but results are beginning to improve after the club's first-ever Champions League campaign saw them knocked out in the group stages. They have risen to 11th after back-to-back wins. "Things are going better, but I'm still annoyed about the start of the season," Nicollin said. "With a little more hunger, know-how and perhaps preparation, we wouldn't be in this situation but in the top three or four.

"Certain people have made mistakes. We'll put the problems right at the end of the season.

"A title-winning team that loses one player, Olivier Giroud, who is replaced by four big players on whom we've spent money - for them to be in a relegation place at one time is scandalous. You won't be able to get that thought out of my head."

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