Champions League - Arsenal draw Udinese

Fri, 05 Aug 11:07:00 2011

Arsenal were handed a tough draw in the Champions League play-offs and will face Serie A side Udinese for a place in the group stage of the lucrative competition.

Champions League - Tough draw for Arsenal

The Gunners were forced to take part in the play-offs after finishing in fourth place in the Premier League last season and have been punished with a trip to Italy.

Udinese finished fourth in Serie A last season and although they have sold star players in Alexis Sanchez, Gokhan Inler and Cristian Zapata this summer they remain a dangerous proposition.

Arsenal could also have faced FC Zurich, FC Twente, Odense or Rubin Kazan, and will be pleased to have avoided a lengthy trip to Russia.

The Gunners, who have gone through the play-offs successfully in the past four seasons, will play at home in the first leg, which is scheduled for August 16 or 17. The return leg takes place on August 23 or 24.

Arsenal drawn against Udinese

Udinese general manager Franco Collavini did not appear to hold much hope of preventing Arsenal reaching the group stage for the 15th consecutive season and said his team were concentrating on their Serie A debut on August 28.

"It's a very difficult match against one of the most important clubs in Europe," said Collavini.

"We are working to complete our squad for the end of August. It's important to have the opportunity to play a club like Arsenal."

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger will not be in the dugout for the first leg after his outburst in their last 16 defeat by Barcelona last season resulted in a one-match ban.

The draw took place in UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland, and was divided between those clubs that won their domestic league last season and those that did not.

CHAMPIONS ROUTE:

Wisla Krakow v APOEL

Maccabi Haifa v Genk

Dinamo Zagreb v Malmo

FC Copenhagen v Viktoria Plzen

BATE Borisov v Sturm Graz

LEAGUE ROUTE:

Odense v Villarreal

FC Twente v Benfica

Arsenal v Udinese

Bayern Munich v FC Zurich

Lyon v Rubin Kazan

Reuters / Eurosport

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