Manchester United to benefit from Arsenal’s Champions League draw
It could have been better but Arsenal will not be afraid of taking on Udinese for a place in the Champions League group stages.
Udinese finished fourth in Serie A last season but have lost a number of key players during the summer transfer window and are a weaker team than last year.
Having avoided Rubin Kazan and FC Twente, Arsene Wenger will be happy about the draw and his side are quoted as 2/7 favourites to progress on to the group stage.
However the timing does not suit Arsenal who host Udinese at the Emirates on Tuesday August 16 before returning to Italy on Wednesday August 24, just four days before their Premier League game with Manchester United at Old Trafford.
Arsenal play Liverpool at the Emirates just four days after the home leg with Udinese and already the fixtures are starting to pile up for the North London club.
Following their opening game with Newcastle, a tie Arsenal are 5/6 to win, the Gunners next four fixtures read Udinese at home, Liverpool at home, Udinese away and Manchester United away.
Arsenal’s title odds have already drifted from 7/1 to 10/1 and a poor start to the season would confirm many people’s assumptions that Arsenal will struggle once again this season.
Wenger’s side are 4/9 to beat Udinese in the first leg while they are 10/11 to beat Liverpool and 3/1 to beat Manchester United.
Udinese may not represent the toughest opposition that Arsenal could have faced in the Champions League but with the fixtures falling the way they are, Arsenal are in for a tough fortnight and Wenger will need to use all of his managerial nous to guide Arsenal through.
In the other Champions League ties Bayern Munich take on FC Zurich, FC Twente take on Benfica, Villarreal take on Odense BK and Lyon are in the tie of the round with Rubin Kazan.