Udinese (0) v (1) Arsenal: Match preview

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Udinese (0) vs (1) Arsenal
Stadio Friuli
Wednesday, 24th August: 19:45
UEFA Champions League play-off second leg


Udinese: 01 S Handanovic, 05 Danilo, 13 Neuton, 17 Mehdi Benatia, 24 Ekstrand, 27 Armero, 03 Isla, 07 Agyemang, 20 Asamoah, 66 Pinzi, 10 Di Natale

Substitutes: 06 Belardi, 08 Basta, 26 Pasquale, 23 Abdi, 30 Doubai, 19 Denis, 31 Diego Fabbrini

Arsenal: 13 Szczesny, 03 Sagna, 05 Vermaelen, 20 Djourou, 25 Jenkinson, 14 Walcott, 16 Ramsey, 17 A Song, 26 Frimpong, 10 Van Persie, 27 Gervinho

Substitutes: 21 Fabianski, 30 Traore, 49 Miquel, 07 Rosicky, 15 Oxlade-Chamberlain, 23 Arshavin, 29 Chamakh 

Wenger calls on Gunners' defensive steel

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is hopeful his defence will come to the fore in the club's Champions League play off second leg against Udinese, despite a host of injury problems reducing the Frenchman's options for the away leg.

The Gunners travel to Italy with a 1-0 lead to protect after Theo Walcott's early goal at The Emirates Stadium.

Injuries to Kieran Gibbs and Laurent Koscielny means Wenger may be forced into calling on Johan Djourou and Carl Jenkinson at the back, while in midfield Jack Wilshere is again absent due to an ankle problem.

Wenger said: "Udinese showed they are quick on the flanks so we have to keep them quiet, especially Isla on the right side - he is a provider."

"In midfield of course they have some good players and they have Di Natale up front. So overall we need a good solid defensive performance but we have experience in the Champions League and it is a good chance for us to use it tomorrow.

"We want of course to qualify so at the moment we are focused on doing well. We have won the first game without conceding a goal, that is quite a good result, and we will go there to score as we always do."


If Arsenal's early season form gives them little reason to be cheerful, seeing their manager return to touchline is likely to give the side a welcome boost.

The club have appealed a further two-match touchline ban for Wenger after he was accused of breaking the rules of his first ban during the first leg against Udinese, meaning the boss can lead from the front for The Gunners.

Udinese coach Francesco Guidolin is refusing to be drawn in to talk about Arsenal's decline, and has called on his team to be focused to avoid dropping into the Europa League.

"I do not think there is a crisis at Arsenal - they are used to playing under pressure and have always been able to react to difficult moments," he said.

"Like I said, we will have to be very good, not make mistakes and try to be sharp."

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