Finally some good news for Arsenal
It hasn’t been an easy time for Arsenal fans this summer. The loss of Cesc Fabregas, an opening day draw at St James Park, a home defeat by Liverpool, Arsene Wenger being in trouble for breaking Uefa rules, Samir Nasri going to Manchester City and a whole raft of indiscipline has left many Gooners feeling a bit low. The game in Italy between Udinese and Arsenal had the potential to be disastrous for Arsenal, holding a 1-0 lead from the first leg but for once this campaign, Arsenal actually stood up and managed to see of their opponents. This win sees Arsenal gaining entry directly to the Champions League which should put a smile back on Arsene’s face. It should also make it a bit easier to convince new signings to come to the club as Arsenal really need to get some new recruits into their squad.
Half time worry for the Gunners
Trailing 1-0 at half-time, which meant the tie stood at 1-1 on aggregate, it would have been a nervous dressing room but even then, Arsenal knew that one goal would see them firmly in the driving seat. The nature of the away goal in European football is crucial and keeping a clean sheet at home in the first leg will always give a team a chance in the second leg. When Arsenal made it 1-1 on the night on 55 minutes when new captain Robin van Persie stroked home, things got a little bit easier for the London club. This meant that Udinese would have to win 3-1 on the night to progress, which meant they would have to open up. The playing style of Arsenal lends itself brilliantly to playing counter-attacking football and Arsene Wenger at this point would have fancied his team to go and win the match.
Missed penalty turned the tie
However, the biggest twist of the night came when Udinese squandered a golden chance to retake the lead with a missed penalty. This let-off was all that Arsenal needed and Theo Walcott killed the tie with the second Arsenal goal, leaving Udinese needing to grab another three goals in the final twenty minutes to progress. The Arsenal defence has been shaky at times but that was never on the cards and Wenger can now look forward to re-entering the Champions League.
Arsenal really need to focus on getting some signings in before the window shuts though, that would be the better use of their immediate time.