Being heavily criticized and pressured over the last few days, Arsenal proves that they are still more than capable in producing quality result as they successfully booked their place in the Champions League group stage after picking another victory over Udinese.
Playing in a supposedly difficult fixture, the Gunners’ managed to escape a scare and simply ending the game with a 2-1 away victory with goals from Robin Van Persie and Theo Walcott.
Arriving to Italy in a pretty difficult situation after losing another important player, Samir Nasri and suffering a 2-0 defeat in the league against Liverpool, Arsenal surprisingly managed to take more control of the match. It seems the home team’s nerve pretty much helps the Gunners’ players in dominating much of the possession and creating some good openings until around 10-15 minutes before the home team started to heat up.
Midway in the first half, the match simply have gone much more even as both teams creating end to end chances, without being able to convert their opportunities into goal. However, that finally changed as in the 39th minute as Antonio Di Natale finally broke the dead lock for the home team with a wonderful glancing header that beats Arsenal’s goalie, Szczesny, all ends up.
Trailing 1-0 down, the Gunners actually looked shell shocked as their confidence started to fade a bit but fortunately the experience of Udinese players in playing important European tie seemingly occurred in the second half as the home team looked to drop their pressure a bit allowing the Gunners to keep controling the match. The lack of pressure in the midfield from the Italian side simply gave Arsenal more than enough chances to keep creating efforts in scoring the equalizing goal, which finally happened in 55th minute through Van Persie, who tapped in Gervinho’s low cross in front of the Bianconeri’s goal.
The goal simply raises again the spirit of Udinese as they were pushing hard again for goals, considering with Arsenal scoring, the home team needed three goals to qualify. Their intense pressure was actually very close in being rewarded after they earned a penalty, that happened because Thomas Vermalen’s handling the ball inside the penalty area during a corner kick. Luckily for the Gunners, Di Natale failed to convert the spot kick as Szczsny brilliantly saved the spot kick, which pretty much becomes the turning point of the game.
The missed spot kick simply dropped Udinese’s players head as they started to lose hope in winning the tie, the Gunners successfully took advantage of the situation by continuing their ball possession game and hit the home team with a fast break using Walcott’s pace. The tactic worked very well for the visitor as the England international winger, sprung the offside trap and beating the Bianconeri’s keeper, Samir Handonovic with an ease. That second goal pretty much killed the time as the home side have already lost their hope in getting something from the game, allowing the Gunners easing up until the final whistle blown.
Udinese v Arsenal 1-2
Goals: Di Natale 39 (Udine); Van Persie 55 (Arsenal), Walcott 69 (Arsenal)
Udinese: Handanovic; Ekstrand, Benatia (Pasquale 86), Danilo, Neuton; Isla (Denis 82), Badu, Asamoah, Armero; Pinzi (Fabbrini 63); Di Natale
Arsenal: Szczesny; Sagna, Djourou, Vermaelen, Jenkinson; Frimpong (Rosicky 46), Song, Ramsey; Walcott (Arshavin 90), Gervinho (Traore’ 85), Van Persie