Arsenal vs Udinese preview: Either black or white, plus favourite line-up
Written by Chris on August 15, 2011 20:00
I don’t think there is another way to start today’s preview if not by showing my gratitude to a great player who yesterday was officially declared as a Barcelona player.
My opinion on Cesc is the same as the one from the Newcastle preview article, he is a winner and wants trophies and I fully understand his decision. In 2008 he said, “It’s hard to imagine a midfield where I am the oldest member” and in 2009 he said that fourth place is not enough. Three years later, the likes of Lee Dixon and Nigel Winterburn are for maybe the very first time looking at Arsenal outside the so-called Top Four of English football as a demonstration that clearly, something didn’t go according to Cesc’s plan.
When you join Arsenal at the young age of 16, 17 or 18, your only objective is to impress the manager, to do well on a personal level, to learn. But when you reach the age of 24 and you see that your call for help, your call for an experienced squad is fading away like sand in the wind, then no matter how painful it is, you have no other choice but to try your luck elsewhere.
My last few words for Cesc are words of sorrow because I know already that this season there will be plenty of interesting runs made by our offensive players that will not be picked up and that’s because the brain of the midfield, is now gone.
Farewell Cesc, you will be missed.
Let’s now move on to Udinese, shall we? And it’s ironic to see that the black and white of their jersey, the same black and white of Newcastle is the perfect symbolism of things to come and that’s because the outcome of this tie will determine whether our season will be bright white or dark black as not making the Group Stage of the Champions League would be a disaster.
Ahead of the game, I feel the same frustration – in a way – that I felt when we played Barcelona last season. No, that’s not because tomorrow’s game is incredibly vital but because we could have easily avoided it. We were embarrassing in the last few games of the group stage last year in which we ended second and we were embarrassing in the last few games of the Premier League as well, allowing Manchester City to leapfrog us for third place.
Barcelona punished us, let’s hope the Italians do not. The Italian Serie A is the only other Championship I follow besides the English Premier League and “I friulani” always showed that on the day they can beat anyone so we have to be very, very careful as this means that we might as well enjoy a very good performance that might still not be enough.
To conclude, I hope Arsene had a chat with both Alex Song and Gervinho after the Newcastle game. One of the many things I admired Thierry Henry for, and this is something that also Andrey Arshavin does, is that when fouled, no matter how cruel the challenge is, he used to just stand up and move on, running towards goal to get things going. No overreaction, no retaliation, nothing.
Some of today’s players should sit down, watch videos of the great Thierry Henry and learn, learn that you’re not alone out there, that you play in a team and if you lose your head you’ll not be the only damaged by the referee’s decision.
As always, my favourite line-up is below. Remember you can submit your own at Arsenal Interactive and then share it on Twitter and Facebook.
Robin van Persie, Jack Wilshere, Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas(ouch) are all missing so I’m afraid we will struggle to score and knowing that Udinese will park the bus and adopt a counter-attacking game to punish us, I have a bad feeling ahead of this one.
Considering how solid they were, my defensive department is the same one who started against Newcastle and same midfield as well. I understand that Aaron and Tomas were disappointing but what other options do we have? Try Andrey in the middle? Experimenting in such a crucial game? I don’t think so it would be worth a try.
Up front, Gervinho on the left, Theo on the right(if fit) and Nicklas Bendtner as the lonely striker. I don’t care if the Dane is on his way out, he trained with the rest of the squad, he was all smiles, he still is an Arsenal player and I trust him more than Marouane Chamakh.
The Gunning Hawk Coverage
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