Arsenal draw Udinese
Posted on August 5th, 2011 at 2:52 PM
This morning the Champions League Play-Off draw took place in Switzerland, Arsenal had a choice of 5 teams to be drawn again and were picked to play Udinese.
The first game will be at the Emirates Stadium on August the 16th and the away leg in the Stadio Friuli will be on the 24th August, this isn't the ideal scenario as the away leg comes in between the Liverpool home and Manchester United away games at a now busy early point in the season.
Who are Udinese?
Udinese are an Italian side that play in the Seria A league, last season they finished in 4th place in the league 16 points behind winners Ac Milan, they scored 65 goals which put them joint second highest in the league for that statistic.
In the 2010-2011 season they lost just 4 games at home but lost 8 away, you'd therefore expect Wenger to encourage the Arsenal side that play in the first leg to really push Udinese and try to score as many as possible to put the game out of Udinese's reach early on.
A clean sheet will be vital at the Emirates Stadium if we aim to make it easy for ourselves, we should therefore watch out for Udinese club captain Antonio Di Natale who scored an impressive 28 goals in 37 appearances for his side last season.
The tie will be interesting as we've shown in the past we have the qualities needed to beat Italian sides and it's certainly fair to say that Italian teams have not been as strong in recent Champions League tournaments as in the past.
A question for us will be if our team changes before that game, if captain Cesc Fabregas features then he will be cup tied something that could have a negative impact on any move so it would be nice to have that issue sorted out before the game but everyone knows while Cesc is a Gunner these Barcelona rumours will never die! There is also the possibility we may have strengthened our team before the game so we'll have to wait and see what happens on the transfer front.
I believe we'll be alright against Udinese if we perform well in the home leg, a 3-0 lead would see us going to Italy only needing an away goal to make the tie almost certainly over and out of Udinese's reach, the more goals we score in the first leg the easier the away leg will be and that may then allow us to rest a few players between the tough Premier League fixtures that occur in the same week.
Written by Dan
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