In search of the elusive

It would seem that Arsene Wenger doesn’t seem overly confident that he can guide Arsenal to the Champions League against Udinese tonight, claiming that his side will need something that they have seemed incapable of for most of last season - “a good, solid defensive performance”.

In search of the elusive

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August 24th, 2011

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A turbulent summer could end in disaster for Arsenal tonight if his side fail to defend their 1-0 first leg advantage in Udine tonight, and the bookies aren’t confident that they have “a good, solid defensive performance” in them.

After their 2-0 defeat to Liverpool on Saturday, Udinese are as short as 6/5 with some bookies to pick up the victory on the night, compared with 11/5 available on Arsenal, although the Gunners remain odds-on to qualify thanks to Theo Walcott’s first leg goal.

Arsenal’s cause isn’t helped by the large number of empty seats on their charter flight to Italy, with Jack Wilshere, Laurent Koscielny, Kieran Gibbs, Nicklas Bendtner and Abou Diaby all unavailable along with Samir Nasri, who has instead travelled up the M6 to Manchester.

Wenger, who will be on the touchline for this clash after appeasing the UEFA big wigs, is persisting with the “crisis, what crisis?” approach, even if the majority of his team has been transformed into a large pile of money.

“Overall, my job is to give my best, to do well for my club and that’s what I do with complete belief in the team and the players I have available,” he shrugged.

“I think that’s the best opportunity to show as well that we are good enough to fight for this club.”

Unfortunately for Wenger, unless his side can put in that “good, solid defensive performance” and keep Antonio Di Natale at bay (who is 13/8 to score at any time), that opportunity to fight might come in the Europa League.

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