Udinese Preview

What are the words to the song?

First and foremost today is about getting back to business, Cesc has gone & although the dark cloud of Samir Nasri is hanging over us like miasma we have a huge game tonight against Udinese in the Champions League qualifying first leg.

Given that tickets are still available on general sale on the day of the match, it would seem that there are plenty of Arsenal fans out there who do not agree about the gravity of the match. It’s simple, the club can not afford to fall out of the Champions League, mainly because it is a cash cow that we have become very used to milking over the last thirteen years, plenty of supporters are currently bemoaning our perceived incapacity for spending any money so they may think it makes no odds either way but we would soon miss the £15m £20m+ revenue it puts in the coughers each year. Not to mention the prestige it brings when attracting players to the club. Again you might be dismissing our ability to either do both that & keep world class players at the club but seriously, imagine a year or two without it and think where we could be. We may be a financially sound club for the most part but take away a massive pot of gold & things soon begin to change.

It’s also a big game because quite frankly we’re only a mere four days into the new campaign but we’re far off a good start –

Following the events up at Newcastle at the weekend we have not only been hit with an FA charge of ‘Failing to control’ our players (As have the Magpies) but Alex Song has been hit with the expected retrospective charge of ‘Violent Conduct’ after ref Peter Walton admitted he missed the midfielders stamp on Joey Barton The Cameroon international now has until 6pm this evening to lodge an appeal. To be honest any appeal would be futile & Song can expect to face a three match ban which will rule him out of our up coming games against Liverpool, Manchester United & Swansea.

Appealing

The club have lodged an appeal against Gervinho’s dismissal for striking Joey Barton & a regulatory board will meet today regarding that appeal, should it fail then the Ivorian may have to serve further penance than the standard three match ban the sending off dictates meaning he could be missing from the same three fixtures as Song plus Blackburn away. In all honesty the appeal will most likely be unsuccessful.

So here we are with a solitary point on the board (albeit after only a solitary league game), two pivotal players set to miss a clutch of games two of which are against title/top four rivals & we’re on the cusp of Thursday nights on Channel 5.

We shouldn’t forget that our side going in to tonight’s game is already diminished. We’ll be without Jack & Rosicky due to injuries, along with perennial injury sufferer Abou Diaby. Cesc of course has gone, Samir Nasri won’t play even if he was willing to play because he is banned (It’ll allow him more time to Tweet Arsenal fans & tell them how disrespectful they are) as is RVP for not distinguishing the sound of a specific whistle in a stadium of 90,000 whistles. And to cap it all Arsene Wenger will watch the game from the stands and will not be allowed access or communication with either the dressing room or the technical area before or during the game owing to his own UEFA ban.

Where is our respect?

So all in all you can see that things are not quite where they should be right now which is why it is important that we get behind the team tonight and give them a little added momentum rather than serenade them with a chorus of boo’s and songs about spending money. Let’s help them do their job on the pitch, that’s what we all want to see as supporters and as players that is what they want from us – Support.

Back in the fold

In other team news for tonight Nicklas Bendtner could get a recall to the side, which surely is sensible. The boss said last night that whilst he told Nick he could leave if the right club came along that hasn’t happened yet & the Dane has looked sharp in training.

In all honesty I would pick him all day long over Chamakh right now & would like to see Nick start the game against the Italians, Wenger says he looks sharp in training and I would like to think that the Striker would realise that he would be gaining a massive opportunity both to showcase himself to perspective suitors and/or force his way in to Arsenal affections and a place in the team thus ending his hunt for a new club. I know there are many of you who would rather see him leave but right now we have no viable replacement for when Robin can’t play ( recent history tells us that can be often) and unless we bring someone in Bendtner in my view is the best alternative we have to fill that hole when it appears.

Anyway, I’m really looking forward to going to the game tonight & hope that with our support the team puts in a top performance and plants one foot firmly into the Champions League proper and takes some of the pressure out of the return leg in Italy next week.

If your off to the game then I look forward to seeing you there, just don’t forget to bring your singing voice.

Thanks for reading.

Paul.

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