Arsene Wenger could face action for communicating with Arsenal bench
Arsene Wenger cut a frustrated figure up in the Emirates Stadium stands after watching Arsenal labour to a 1-0 win in the first-leg of their Champions League play-off against Udinese last night.
The Gunners boss was forced to serve a one-match touchline ban for abusing Swiss referee Massimo Busacca in the last-16 defeat to Barcelona last season - but could yet find himself in further disciplinary trouble with UEFA after communicating with the Arsenal bench.
Wenger had called for a response from his young squad following the sale of their captain Cesc Fabregas back to Barcelona and it seemed he would get just that when Theo Walcott swept the home side in front after only four minutes.
However, from then on, Arsenal never really got into any sort of rhythm as Udinese grew into the game, and a fine late save from Samir Handanovic meant Wenger's men will take the slenderest of margins into next week's trip to Italy.
Before last night's tie, Arsenal had checked with UEFA that Wenger could send messages to the coaching staff via a third party.
As a result, first-team coach Boro Primorac passed instructions from Wenger to assistant manager Pat Rice on the touchline throughout the first period.
However, UEFA warned Wenger at the break he was contravening the rules and as a result he withdrew from communication.
After the match, the Gunners boss felt that as he had not been involved in proceedings in the usual way he would not attend the post-match press conference, which in itself could lead to a fine.
Instead it was left to Walcott to sum up the team's performance in their first outing since Fabregas left.
"It's time to move on. He was a great player for the club but he's gone," said Walcott, who has been dogged by his controversial comments about England manager Fabio Capello, who was at last night's game.
"We still have some very talented players in the squad here and we believe we can achieve something this year.
"We're in a great position but it's far from over. We didn't finish it off. We are capable of winning over there."
While Arsenal will happy with the clean sheet, the victory came at a cost as Kieran Gibbs and Johan Djourou picked up injuries.
Gibbs picked up a minor hamstring injury and was forced off at half-time, but replacement Djourou was forced off after just 10 minutes with a similar complaint.
Both players are now doubts for Saturday's Barclays Premier League match against Liverpool.
Udinese coach Francesco Guidolin, meanwhile, believes his team now face a tough battle to qualify for the group stages.
"We were not able to score despite the chances we were offered," he said.
"The tie is open, we can win it.
"Arsenal have the advantage and if they score in our stadium it will be hard for us to go through."
A tight game could be in prospect here. Northampton have been keeping things very tight of late and ...
by Gareth Purnell
18 May 2013 02:01 AM
I can’t ever watch games of football or rugby without wistfully wondering what it must be like to be...
by Martin Ayres
16 May 2013 05:10 PM
Since PSG’s exit to Barcelona in the Uefa Champions League quarter-final in April, PSG have been sur...
by Matthew Riding
15 May 2013 02:37 PM
Stoke City investigate 'religious abuse' after 'pig's head is found in Kenwyne Jones' locker'
Is David Beckham one of the Premier League all-time greats? He's not even in the top 1,000 says Chris Waddle
Groundhog day looms for Arsène Wenger as Arsenal battle for a place in the Champions League on final day
Andre Villas-Boas ready to spark Tottenham revolution
One last swipe at Manchester City and then Sir Alex Ferguson was gone...
- 1 Stoke City investigate 'religious abuse' after 'pig's head is found in Kenwyne Jones' locker'
- 2 Gove’s lesson: spare the comma, spoil the child
- 3 Heading for America? Prepare for the longest US immigration queues ever
- 4 Grace Dent on TV: Extreme Couponing, My Strange Addiction, and Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, TLC
- 5 Join Ryanair! See the world! But we'll only pay you for nine months a year
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.