Arsene Wenger is a happy man this morning. He was able to watch his young side triumph in Italy last night, after a tough week that’s been riddled with doubt, apprehension and harsh criticism from every possible angle.
Arsenal were able to overcome a tricky Udinese side, and with Theo Walcott and Robin van Persie both getting on the scoresheet, The Gunners were able to progress to the group stages of the Champions League.
The North London side are in Pot 1 for today’s draw, which is scheduled to begin at 5pm this evening.
The Champions League draw will always be a special time for me. Despite the fact that we’ve qualified every year since 1998, the fact we’re in the draw will always give me a great sense of satisfaction. A proud feeling, that I admit will probably never get old.
Over the two ties, I believe we deserved to progress. Although a portion of headlines this morning are suggesting that we were lucky to get through, I’m going to brush off these allegations, as I believe we were the better team overall over both legs.
Udinese showed they were a dangerous side at times, but I feel they lacked a killer instinct when it mattered most.
But you have to feel sorry for them, as like us, they’ve lost vital players this summer in the form of Gökhan Inler and Alexis Sanchez. Like Cesc and Nasri, they were two great players who were pivotal in the teams successes last season.
But unfortunately, in this modern world of football, it’s impossible to hold onto your best players when bigger teams come in with such lucrative offers.
It’s always a shame to see a team have one great season, but then are stripped of all their assets in an instant. Like we’ve seen with FC Porto this summer – a team that didn’t lose a single game last year, but now they’ve lost their manager and players like Radamel Falcao have also departed.
Thank God we’re not in a position like that. Er…. anyway…
Ever since Theo sealed our progression last night in Udine, I have been in a very positive mood. Although, I realise that this smile could be premature. We’ve still got a long way to go until I am fully satisfied for the season ahead. We have a week left, and until we hit September, I’ll remain hopeful that Arsene will be able to invest in decent quality for the squad.
But at least for now, things are starting to look brighter. Like Vermaelen, Szczesny was fantastic again last night. I don’t believe we have problems at the back. Although I would like to see us sign a new centre back, I believe we should prioritize our problems, and start improving our attacking options. At the moment, our side isn’t creating, and scoring enough chances.
I refuse to rule out our problems just yet. Especially with the fact that our side, that is plagued with suspensions and injuries, are set to play at Old Trafford this weekend.