Are we back already? It seems like just yesterday that....oh yeah, that’s what happened. Well the less said about that the better, it’s just time to concentrate on this season and getting a good start.....oh, well that can’t be good.
It looks as though Samir Nasri will be joining Man City imminently, this after looking like our most impressive player in a poor performance against Liverpool.
Our skipper has left after a process so drawn out, it felt as if it had happened last summer when they finally announced his departure. We must wish him well in all his endeavours and look forward to meeting them in the Champions’ League quarter finals....oh, that isn’t looking so sure now either. You can’t meet Barcelona in the quarters if you aren’t in the groups.
Tonight has taken on so much significance that it could already be the pivotal game in our season. The loss to Liverpool is sapping, the loss of two of our best players is worrying but not qualifying for the Champions’ League would be disastrous.
Not only would the finances suffer, but how can you be expected to attract top class replacements when you can’t promise them the highest level of football? This isn’t great considering we desperately need some reinforcements for the coming season.
If, come this evening, the team perform as they did in the first leg, the chances of making the group stages look slim and Udinese will not be so tentative in front of goal in their home town.
They are an exciting team with substantial pace on the flanks and the inexperienced members of the predicted back four will be tested to their limits. Having some of the experienced players like Robin Van Persie and Alex Song back will help but the midfield must keep the ball better than they have so far this season, or the pressure will be twice as intense as it was last week.
A special mention must go out to Thomas Vermaelen, who has been simply outstanding since returning to the team. The Belgian has shown just what we missed for the majority of last season and also made us wonder what might have been had he been present.
Arsene Wenger spoke of the effect that losing such big players can have on a club: “There is a concern but not an excuse, you are always concerned of the consequences that it can have on the team," he told Sky Sports News.
"It can also have a positive consequence. If you are strong mentally you can increase the solidarity knowing that you have to fight more.
"And that's what you ideally want from mentally strong players."
It will take some performance to prove those words true, and tonight must surely present Arsene’s toughest moment as the manager of Arsenal Football Club.