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P.J. Murray 15th Aug 2011 - 17:05

Arsenal Gunner get stuffed?

With the loss of Fabregas and the soon to be imminent departure of Nasri, things are looking dour for the Gunners and now they face Udinese for a place in a competition that they have qualified for every year since 1999.

Some may say that the negative atmosphere  generated by Arsene 'I didn't see anything' Wenger has finally come home to roost and that failing to qualify for the Champions League is quite a realistic proposition.

The Zebrette are aiming to reach the group stages of the premier European competition for the first time since their solitary 2005 appearance when they came to within five minutes of making the round of 16. They travel to the Emirates lacking in pressure and in fear.

The Gunners looked devoid of ideas against Newcastle and new signing Gervinho did little to instil confidence in his acquisition.

Serie A has yet to start, so this will be the first competitive match for Udinese who scraped into the Champions League qualifiers on goal difference from Lazio.

The Gunners are 1/2 to get a first leg home win while Udinese are big outsiders at 6/1 to come away with a win, while the draw is 3/1. They are also quite short to qualify at 2/7 and anything other than a defeat at The Emirates will see this price disappear.

We are offering a special Match Winner price on the fact that we think Gervinho will redeem himself and bag his first goal for the London side. You can back the Ivorian to score anytime at 6/4, enhanced from 10/11.

Not only are Arsenal set to be without the now departed Fabregas and suspended Nasri and Van Persie, but Wenger is also banned from the touchline.

Antonio Di Natale's 28 goals last season were the main catalyst which spurred Udinese into the Champions League qualifier. He will be the target man for the Italians and he is 7/1 to open the scoring while at 2/1 he is quite a good bet for an anytime goalscorer.

Arsenal are calling for a United front in the wake of the recent departures and controversies to hit the London club and they will need the young players like Ramsey and Walcott to step up and lead from the front. Walcott especially will have a job to do and the youngster is 6/1 to bag the first goal of the game.

We can expect a nervy start and the double result of Draw/Udinese looks worth a punt at 11/1, with Udinese/Udinese not much better at 12/1.

The Italians may not have had a competitive game, but they have a few weeks before the season starts so they will still be rested from the pre-season albeit not as sharp as they should be. If Arsenal continue their tactic of trying to walk the ball into the net then this will be a rather low scoring affair and under 2.5 goals at 21/20 looks tempting.

I fancy Udinese to sneak a 1-0 win at 16/1, they are going to be wary of the potential that Arsenal have and also the unders at 21/20. As they say, 'What goes up, must come down' and the Gunners are going to be a team on the decline.


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