Tag Archive | "Arsene Wenger suspended"

Wenger Suspended: Champions League Preview – Arsenal vs. Udinese

Arsene Wenger has had a great history with Arsenal in his career. He has been with the club for 15 seasons, leading it to three Premier League crowns, including an unheralded undefeated season in 2003-2004. He also has four FA Cup titles to his credit, and he has been named Premier League Manager of the Year three times. However, with his team reeling thanks to a horrendous offseason, things are starting to look bleak at best for the Gunners.

Arsenal is still struggling just to get its place in the Champions League this year, something that it will now have to do without Wenger on the sidelines for the return leg in Italy against Udinese. Arsenal won the first leg 1-0 last week, but now, it knows that it could be some trouble and be forced into the Europa League with a bad result on the road on Wednesday.

Wenger was suspended by UEFA for the first leg of the Champions League qualification, but instead of adhering to the terms of the suspension, he stayed in communication with his assistant managers, drawing the ire of the European soccer officials. Now, not only has Wenger been suspended for the return match at Udinese, but he will also be sidelined for the first fixture in whatever European competition the Gunners end up playing in.

But perhaps there is a lot more for Wenger to worry about than this. His Arsenal side is looking at potentially an 0-1-2 start to the EPL campaign come this weekend as well. The Gunners were held to a scoreless draw at St. James Park against Newcastle with just 10 men at the death. Gervinho was sent off with just 14 minutes remaining thanks to a careless slap to Joey Barton. It was a ticky-tack red card, but the truth of the matter is that the Gunners should have produced more than just 11 shots, two of which found the target over the course of the 90 minutes.

Even worse came the signature game of the season to date, a 2-0 loss at Emirates Stadium against the hated Liverpool Reds. Liverpool came to town full of sound and fury, and though it was clearly supposed to be a side that was outclassed by the Gunners on paper, it definitely didn’t appear to be that way from start to finish.

So what really is wrong with Arsenal? For one, the team probably never really did get over the loss of Cesc Fabregas in the transfer season. Of course, the team will be boosted eventually by the returns of the like of Johan Djourou and Jack Wilshere, though none of these players are expected to be the ultimate panacea to the big problem at the Emirates.

Better is expected out of Robin Van Persie, arguably the club’s best offensive option at the moment. Theo Walcott, who opened up the season with a goal against Udinese in the opening leg of the Champions League playoff, hasn’t really been heard from in the Premier League as of yet.

Udinese has yet to take the pitch in the 2011-12 Italian Serie A campaign, though it did finish off the season with a great flurry of results, including a 2-0 win at Chievo and a scoreless draw at home against AC Milan. Captain Antonio Di Natale referred to this game as the biggest match in the history of Udinese.

The match on Wednesday is slated for 2:45 p.m. (ET) and will be played at Stadio Friuli.

Posted in Champions League (UCL), Featured

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