Arsenal’s Champions League campaign begins a bit earlier than usual this evening as they face Udinese in the final qualifying round.
The Italian side enjoyed a good season in Serie A last term, finishing fourth ahead of giants like Juventus and Roma – they will not be a walk over for Arsenal.
Arsenal have made the knockout stages of the Champions League every year since 1999 but that record will come under severe threat this evening.
The Gunners’ task is made even more difficult with the absence of Jack Wilshere through injury and the unavailability of Robin van Persie and the wantaway Samir Nasri through suspension.
Whether the departure of Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona will hinder them tonight remains to be seen, but the lack of attacking options will certainly be a problem for Wenger.
However, the Gunners should still have enough to get a win against a side who have yet to play a competitive game this season.
Wenger’s side haven’t lost at home in the Champions League since their 3-1 semi final defeat against Manchester United in 2009. In fact, that’s the only game they’ve lost in their previous 38 European games at the Emirates.
They showed in their goalless draw at Newcastle on Saturday they still have some work to do in the final third of the pitch and with so many creative players missing it might be tight.
Back the Gunners to come away with a win at 2/7 and under 2.5 goals at 1/1.