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.
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.
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.
Wisla Krakow v APOEL
Maccabi Haifa v Genk
Dinamo Zagreb v Malmo
FC Copenhagen v Viktoria Plzen
BATE Borisov v Sturm Graz
Odense v Villarreal
FC Twente v Benfica
Arsenal v Udinese
Bayern Munich v FC Zurich
Lyon v Rubin KazanReuters / Eurosport