The last thing that Arsene Wenger needs right now is a tricky Champions League qualifying tie to ensure that Arsenal reach the group stage of this lucrative European competition. However, finishing fourth in last season’s Premier League means they must play Udinese home and away, with the Emirates leg taking place on Tuesday.
The Gunners are on the drift, with 1/2 (Blue Square – £10 free bet) now available and we might even see 8/15 or 4/7 as the match gets closer to kick-off. This is especially when people realise that Robin Van Persie is suspended for the game, with Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri likely to have left the club before the game is played.
Even though Gervinho was sent off at St James’ Park, the Ivorian will almost certainly remain in the team for a clash against a side that finished an impressive fourth in last season’s Serie A, with Arsenal’s new striker 4/1 (Ladbrokes – £50 free betting) to make amends for that red card with the first goal of the game.
Udinese are 6/1 (William Hill – £25 free bets) to win at the Emirates and take advantage of the low morale that seems to be pervading the Arsenal squad at the moment, although the visitors might be content to shut up shop and try to claim a draw. All the better if they can get an away goal and the 11/4 (Sky Bet) about the Italian side going through over the two legs is simply too big considering the current problems that the Gunners have.