Arsenal vs Udinese – Champions League Qualifying Round Match Preview

Arsenal vs Udinese – Champions League Qualifying Round Match Preview

No matter how much stuff is going on in the background, no matter how you’re feeling right now – we’ve all got to put that to one side, as today we have a £25m game and we need to win it. Udinese will be going all out to score at the Emirates, the team is in the middle of a transition, but as fans, we’ve got to get behind the team. It’s going to be one of the toughest Champions League qualifiers that we’ve ever had, but we do have the quality to beat Udinese. Cesc has left, and for the last couple of years, being dogged by injury, we’ve played and won a lot of games without him. Samir Nasri and Robin Van Persie will also miss the game through suspension and that makes the game even tougher.

Team News

With Bendtner in negotiations to leave, Carlos Vela not in visible sight and Robin Van Persie suspended, we have a lack of fire power – Chamakh seems most likely to start and with Rosicky out of action, it looks like Arshavin may deputise behind the striker, meaning Gervinho and Walcott will marshal the wings. Jack Wilshere will be missing, as will Abou Diaby, so the midfield two could be the same as Newcastle. Rumours that Koscielny has picked up a knock mean that we may see Djourou replace him in the centre of defence.


Sagna – Djourou – Vermaelen – Gibbs

Ramsey – Song

Walcott – Arshavin – Gervinho


With a bench of Fabianski, Jenkinson, Squillaci, Koscielny, Frimpong, Lansbury, Oxlade Chamberlain

Lansbury was omitted from last night’s reserve game, and will most likely be on the bench with fellow youngsters Oxlade, Jenkinson and Frimpong – but how thread bare is that bench? We don’t have any strikers on the bench, and the only attacker on the bench is the 17 year old Oxlade Chambelain… we definitely need more players in our squad!

Arsene spoke about the game and said:

“I just expect my team to have a good game on Tuesday and that will encourage their belief and strengthen their belief. I understand everybody’s worry, but I believe as well a club is a united front. Our players need the support from our fans. It is an important period for this club, but I am confident we will get over it in a very successful way. We need to remain united and not let the media manipulate our fans in a way they should not.”

On Udinese he continued:

“You never knock somebody from Italy out in an easy way so we prepare ourselves for big challenges. We are ready to give our all to be part of the Champions League group stage. I expect a game of 180 minutes where we will have to be at the top for as long as we can and not dream that after 90 minutes it will be over. That would be the right approach.”

Udinese goalkeeper, Samir Handanovic, spoke about the tie and strength of the team.

“We know Arsenal is a strong team, they usually get eliminated only by Barcelona, but Arsenal are not only Fabregas, Nasri and Van Persie. We are different than one year ago too.”

The Fallout from the Newcastle Game Continues

Both Arsenal and Newcastle have been charged with “failing to control their players” last Saturday – personally, I don’t think such an event warranted an FA charge on both clubs – compared to what we have seen in recent times, there wasn’t much to it. Barton will not face any disciplinary action as he was yellow carded, but Gervinho will have a 3 match ban for the punch, slap, touching of Barton’s face… Alex Song was also charged via video evidence and will also be served a three match ban. It’s going to be a very light midfield against Liverpool with a likely trio of Ramsey, Frimpong and Rosicky, but needs must and that’s what we’re working with at the moment.

Newcastle have already confirmed, but I think
Arsenal should also confirm that they will both deny the charge – it wasn’t a major brawl – just a usual Saturday for Joey Barton. To be honest, very glad to have got this game out of the way now…!

Farewell Cesc

So, the deal happened yesterday and for those of you who follow me on Twitter, you’ll know that I was tweeting and retweeting a lot of quotes about what Cesc had to say about his departure. I’ll leave you with the best out of the bunch – something to

“I spoke to [Wenger] on Friday to say goodbye and got very emotional because he has been like a father figure,” Fábregas said. “I couldn’t even talk when I wanted to say how grateful I was for what he has done to me, so I had to send a message afterwards saying thanks for everything. If it was not for him I would not be here today to live my dream. I will never have enough words to say how grateful I am. I went from being a boy to a man and they gave me absolutely everything in football. I have mixed emotions. Life goes on: Arsenal will always be there, the fans will always be there. Players come and go; the club will always be bigger than them.”

“At Arsenal, there were finals and semi-finals but we always lacked that little extra push to win something. That was hard to take. It was not that we didn’t win titles it was that we kept going through the same routine, the same things happening to us and us messing up. I gave everything for Arsenal but it didn’t show in the [trophy] cabinet because I only won one FA Cup. That is the biggest regret I will have in my career – not to be able to lift a trophy as Arsenal captain.”

“I will have time to talk about [my departure]. I am sure I will do an interview especially for them [the Arsenal fans] at some stage,” he said. “I am sorry I couldn’t say anything for the last two and half months, Arsenal would not allow me to talk, I was disappointed and upset about that but it had to be like that. I still have, personally, a great relationship with them and I am disappointed to have maybe lost [the affection of] some of the fans.

“I am sorry I couldn’t say anything, I am sorry. I was very, very sad to be leaving. I spent a third of my life there – eight years.”

“If Arsenal want to keep being the club they have been, they must always remain under his [Wenger’s] control because he is the best and everyone respects him. He will always be the best person I have met in football.” He also insisted that Arsenal have the squad to continue to compete.

“But I am sure that they will be a strong team again – they are one of the biggest teams in the world. They will be OK without me as they were without Vieira, without Henry, without Bergkamp,” Fábregas said.

“There is not even a question [over whether or not Arsenal’s midfield is in good hands]. I have seen them play for years, both Aaron and Jack. Jack will be the England captain in the next two or three years, there is no doubt. You don’t have to be a magician to see that. He has the passing game and he will be an even better player in the future. There is not even a question in my mind about that. As for Aaron: his engine is unbelievable, his final ball will get better and he will be the next big star at Arsenal. They are winners and they will be amazing for the club for sure.”

Finally, if you are going to the game, I implore you – please get behind the team – it’s so important right now, they need all the support they can get.

  • Bonathan

    options are running low for tomorrows match but that’s still a decent team. i’m kinda hoping rosicky doesn’t make it so maybe we get to see arsharvin from the central position. Might not be the answer but i’m keen to see how he does there, so hopefully this is the chance. I think rosicky is having a late fitness test, so maybe he’ll play. if not, the only other option i see rather than playing arsharvin centrally is playing lansbury.

    unless he goes with song frimpong and ramsey, but i wouldn’t have thought so at home.

  • ZimGooner

    I must say as it stands it’s scary watching Arsenal play. I hope we beat Udinese and get a good resuly v Liverpool on Saturday…

  • vj

    Decent starting team B52 to be involved, not sure whether good or bad, can be decent but he wont have any heart in the game, trying not to get injured, arshavin to score!

  • Berth

    Wenger is in a very messed up position now. To think of recalling B25 shows lack of focus and foresightedness. All along he knew he had just V.P and Chamack and to a lesser extent Walcott as strikers yet did little to sort that out.

    He also should know that no sane club would let go of their priced assets 2wks to the end of transfer; hence I question this man’s judgement. Its either he does not want to replace Fab, B25 and Nas now or he is short-sighted and loosing his senses. Am also confident that Wenger does not intend to buy a centre half. Come to think of it folks, he bid for Jag just and since then Bolton and Blackburn have all claimed that Wenger has not made a bit.

    Isn’t it an absurd thing to try and bid now considering other clubs will have little time to replace these stars. If we do decide to get on with negotiation with any of them players prices will be triple or quadruple what we ought to have paid initially. From my behavioural study of Arsene in recent years, I would say he does not intend to buy a defender and worse of all he does not like buying mid-fielders so he also would not buy a Fabregas replacement 2 wks to start of season. We are stuck with this team until Jan.

  • lien

    I do find it interesting that according to Wenger Fabregas is not fit. He hasn’t figured in any of our games preseason, the excuse being he wasn’t fit. He was either injured, not ready, not fit, had a strain etc etc. Then he flies to Barcelona and as if by magic he is 100% fit and in Barca’s squad for tomorrow night. Get your dream move and suddenly you are no longer unfit, I’m also willing to bet he’s fit throughout the season as well. Arsenal knew all summer he was going, they grandstanded about getting a minimum of £40million and what did Arsenal get? They got what Barca were willing to pay, just £25million with add ons that may not come to fruition plus some money out of Cesc’s own pocket. Barca said we are having him and this is what we are paying, we haggled for weeks all for nothing when we should have been bringing players in. Pathetic from Wenger and Gazidis.

  • lien

    wengers comments are simply cringeworthy. he put down a journalist who asked him a second time in response to wenger saying no players would leave. the journalist knew what was REALLY going on and cesc and nasri were going, which is why he asked wenger a second time. wengers wry smile after the put down (thinking it was clever) was horrible to watch. its amazing how arrogant wenger is. he believes he is so smart that no one else can see his grand plan. although we see clearly and his plan had failed and by him persisting with the vanity project, all know we will continue in a downward spiral. his belief in himself borders on delusion. its as if wenger lives in an alternate reality. the simple fact is wenger is not a man in control, he is out of control. but in his own world, he is a great man and no one else is capable of understanding his plan and we are all stupid for questioning him. i watched a documenty last night on some guy who genuinly believed he was the US president – wengers belief that he is the most intelligent man in football could be turned into a sequel of this type of documentry.

  • yemi

    Not looking good at all… Maybe we need sumthing to Jolt arsene wenger back to his senses !!

  • Berth

    @ Lien. The person thinking himself the president is indeed mentally unstable. Comparing the man to Wenger places Wenger in the irrational bracket which is not exactly a good thing.

    Lets just leave the Monsieur and hope he has a grand plan. I see Odemwinge’s contact stalled. Perhaps we may be after him you never know.

  • lien

    Please God NO not Odemwi bloody winge

  • devday

    It’s happened… Eboue has left.

  • yemi

    @ lien:

    How many attackers in arsenal are better than odemwingie ?
    RVP is the only attacker in arsenal at the moment that i rate more than odemwingie and for him to achieve as much as he did in WBA is a feat !!!

  • sharad

    AKB’s, In Arsene we rust, or were ever you stand in regards to whats happening at Arsenal. I plead to everyone to be united and make as much noise as possible tonight for the whole game.

    I cant even think about Europa Cup football and playing on thursdays and sundays. And im sure neither can you.

    Failure really is not an option so lets try and support the players as much as possible and leave the moaning to after the game. or at full time if we lose 3-0…………

    Its already a tough game on paper, lets not make it tougher on ourselves. The players may need a pick up after cesc’s depeture and its not thier fault in all honesty. Lets pick them up.

    Come on the gunners!!!!!!!!!

  • sharad

    I know he’s struggling, but I think Chamakh may be the key in this one.

    It’s not how we usually play, but a team with a 3-4-3 can be very susceptible to pace down the flanks. If we use pacey wingers like Theo & Gervinho, as well as our full-backs, to take advantage of that wide space, we should have plenty of room to try to aim it at the big man’s head in the box.

    But knowing Wenger, and knowing Arsenal, I have a real fear that we’ll try to stick with our same tactics, and we’ll have a big problem getting clogged up by all those players in the middle of the pitch.

  • lien

    @dev- source?

  • lien

    RVP should be roaming forward gunning for goals, this unnecessary burden of captain role will destroy him I suspect. TV should be screaming his lungs out organizing everything, not RVP. Its stupid enough we cant buy proper players, but this is beyond idiotic for me.

  • yemi

    @ lien:

  • devday

    @ lien:
    Source is the whole football world, but here’s a link fyi,,,11670_7105712,00.html

  • Bonathan

    well, there goes gibbs injured already!

    it seems we did revert TV to left back and JD came on at CB, which i am happy about. Trouble is, jd then went off with the same injury!

    options for the weekend, presuming those two players are injured. I think there are 3, maybe 4 for our back 4. reminder that we are playing liverpool, the team we are likely to be challenging for 4th. A team with andy carroll up front! would have been nice to have jd’s height.

    option 1: Sagna Squillaci KOS TV

    option 2: Sagna KOS TV Traore

    Option 3: Sagna KOS TV Jenkinson

    Option 4: My favourite of the 4- we stop pissing about and buy gary cahill

    Sagna Cahill KOS TV

    now that would be a nice option.

  • Bonathan

    don’t hold your breath of signing a CB:

    ‘If you watched our two centre-backs on Saturday (newcastle), I’m not convinced we have a lack of quality there.’

    I knew it! I said to my friend after the match, now we’ve kept a clean sheet against newcastle he’ll think we are awesome defensively. unbelievable. hopefully these two injuries are a blessing in disguise. i really don’t think a CB would be signed if it wasn’t for these injuries, i actually hope they are a good few week. I still won’t hold my breath though, we have squillaci and traore after all! always to slow to act, it’l take a defeat by liverpool before he realises we need someone else.

    I really don’t think cahill is on the cards though. i think wenger will sign someone older and cheaper so as not to halt the progress of bartley and miguel. Always putting tomorrow in front of today.

  • Gooner Get Ya

    Possible line-up against Liverpool


    Sagna – Kos – Vermaelen – Jenkinson

    Ramsey – Frimpong

    Walcott – Rosicky – Arshavin


    Subs: Fabianski, Eastmond, Lansbury, Chamberlain, Miyaichi Chamakh, Bendtner

    OMG…how has it come to this?

    Come on Gooners!!!

  • Gooner Get Ya

    On another note does any one think the reason we are buying a lot of wingers is to push Theo upfront with RVP (4-1-3-1-1)


    Sagna – Kos – Vermaelen – Gibbs


    Ramsey – Rosicky – Arshavin



    Personally I would love to replace Kos and Rosicky with new quality players (Cahill & Mata)