Date:Tuesday August 16 2011
After a monumental day in Arsenal's recent history what better way to get on with our lives than getting stuck straight into some football?
A very sloppy end to last season left us needing to qualify for the Champions League proper, and a tricky tie against Italian team Udinese was the punishment our inability to close out games last term.
The Gunners kick off the two legged tie with home advantage with the away leg hosted in just 8 days time.
I don`t think there`s any need for me to remind you just how important this match is.
Arsene Wenger on Nicklas Bendtner: "In his interview Bendtner said he was gone, but I checked and he`s not gone at all!"
Udinese 'keeper Samir Handanovic ain`t afraid of no host "I'm not afraid of Arsenal, last year in the league we prepared well for games against the big sides and we did well, so you should always be optimistic. I know I am."
The Gunners are looking for a new skipper today, however in all likelihood, Arsenal vice-captain Robin van Persie will slot in seamlessly to take over the reigns. However the Dutchman is suspended for tonight`s match after his scandalous sending off vs Barcelona last season.
With Gervinho and Song most probably missing the next 3-4 league games, they will no doubt be starters tonight. Indeed with no other injury news to the positive or negative, I`d expect the starting line up to be pretty much unchanged, with Chamakh slotting in for RvP and maybe Walcott in for Arshavin, but that remains to be seen.
After his misdemeanour against Newcastle at the weekend, it`s certainly going to be interesting to see how Gervinho reacts. He`s looked very promising in pre-season, and attacked the Newcastle defence with power and purpose. However his final ball was lacking somewhat.
Much like Arsenal, Udinese have lost one of their most potent players to Barcelona. Alexis Sanchez scored 12 goals in 32 games for Udinese after becoming one of the most exciting players for his national team at the 2010 world cup, he no doubt will be a big loss.
Udinese also lost Cristian Zapata to Villarreal and former Arsenal target Gokhan Inler to Napoli. So they too will be weaker than last season.
Antonio Di Natale is Udinese danger man. He netted a mammoth 30 goals in 41 games in all competitions last season, scoring from all angles. He`s also pretty handy from set pieces. However at 33 years of age he could struggle to keep up with the pace of the youthful Gunners.
Arsenal have only lost one of their last 38 home European games (to Manchester United) so Udinese will have their work cut out to get a win here.
I`m going to be behold and suggest a 2-0 home win.
Liverpool (h)Sat 20th August - 12:45
Udinese (a) Wed 24th August - 19:45
Man Utd (a) Sun 28th August - 16:00
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Date:Tuesday August 16 2011
Hell Will Freeze Over Before I Sign For Spurs (Monday October 20 2014)
The State Of Play (Sunday October 19 2014)
Fine Margins And Punishing Consequences (Sunday October 19 2014)
Team News: Arsenal vs Hull - Patched Up Defence (Saturday October 18 2014)
Arsenal v Hull City Match Preview (Friday October 17 2014)
Scouting Report Hull City (Friday October 17 2014)
Injuries, Injuries and More Injuries (Thursday October 16 2014)
Walcott To Play For Arsenal This Weekend (Thursday October 16 2014)
Alexis Sanchez Is a Winner (Tuesday October 14 2014)
Match Discussion - Hull City (h) (Tuesday October 14 2014)
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