A tough task arrived for Udinese’s Champions League campaign as the drawing for the play-offs ‘forced’ them to battle out a group stage ticket against one of the top seeded team, Arsenal, an opponent which on paper is definitely stronger than the Bianconeri.
However, the difficult task doesn’t scared away the Friuliani as the club’s owner, Giampaolo Pozzo, even called the upcoming tie as a stimulating match which are the reward for the player’s hard effort in reaching the fourth place last season.
“It’s a stimulating challenge. It’s like going to New York for the first time. The more fascinating the opposing club is, the more effort our players will give. There is the possibility of going out against a big club, but playing Arsenal is the right reward for such a splendid campaign last term,” Pozzo said.
Although admitting that meeting a lesser side than Arsenal would be Udinese’s preference, Pozzo stated stated that a game against big team such as the Gunners is the thing they’re waiting for in a competition such as Champions League. Moreover, the patron also added that should his club somehow managed to pull of a surprise by beating Arsene Wenger’s side then special rewards are set to be sent for all of the players, which definitely would build up the motivation ahead of the two legged clash set to be played on August 16/17 and 23/24 .
“I would have rather played against Benfica, but we’ll take the draw philosophically, If we beat Arsenal then it would be an historic event and there would also be a special present for the players,” Pozzo added.
On paper, the chance for Udinese is obviously slim especially since this summer they have already parted ways with several important players such as Alexis Sanchez, Gokhan Inler and Cristian Zapata, who were key players in three different positions. However, the chance definitely still there for the Bianconeri as they do have several new players already arriving in a bid to replace those who departs, but most importantly is they didn’t lose out their manager, Franco Guidolin, who pretty much sets up his team into a very entertaining side in Serie A last season.