Arsenal head to Stadio Friuli to face Udinese on Wednesday in the second leg of their Champions League qualifier, with the Gunners clinging to a 1-0 aggregate lead.
Arsene Wenger will not have star playmaker Samir Nasri for the important match. The France international has been moved to Manchester City in a deal worth a reported £25 million.
Wenger will receive a sharp backlash from Arsenal supporters should the Gunners come up short against Udinese. After a summer of missed opportunities to strengthen the club's depth and replace superstar talent, Arsenal need to prove that they still deserve to be considered among the world's best clubs, especially following two lackluster performances in Premier League matches.
UEFA agreed to defer Wenger's two-match ban, so he will be allowed to be pitch-side for the match.
Udinese are no pushover. In the match at Emirates Stadium, Udinese took 13 shots, compared to Arsenal's nine shots, and gave Wojciech Szczesny some difficult moments.
The Serie A club is coming off an impressive fourth-place finish last season, but lost star striker Alexis Sanchez to Barcelona, playmaker Gokhan Inler to Napoli, and centre back Cristian Zapata to Villarreal.
Udinese's best player might be Antonio Di Natale, a 40-year-old striker who scored 28 goals in 37 appearances last season, to lead Serie A.
Udinese are also led by Morocco defender Mehdi Benatia, left back Colombia Pablo Armero, and Chilean midfielder Mauricio Isla. The Zebrette also have a solid goalkeeper in Slovenian Samir Handanovi?. Still, the club has a challenge ahead of them on Wednesday.
The second leg will be more difficult,'' said Udinese coach Francesco Guidolin in a press conference. He also doesn't believe that Arsenal are in turmoil, and described the club as one of the best in the world.
In the first leg, Arsenal had their share of poor luck. Johan Djourou left the match with an injury, after replacing the injured Kieran Gibbs to start the second half. Djourou is reportedly back to training, so he might become available for the match. Tomas Rosicky is reportedly fit for the match.
Jack Wilshere, however, will be unavailable. The young midfielder may be sidelined for another three weeks. Laurent Koscielny and Kieran Gibbs will be out due to injury, as well.
Maurizio Domizzi is the only Udinese player of note who will be out for the second leg.
Projected Arsenal lineup: Szczesny, Sagna, Vermaelen, Djourou, Jenkinson, Song, Rosicky, Ramsey, Gervinho, van Persie, Walcott
Projected Udinese lineup: Handanovic, Benatia, Danilo, Ekstrand, Armero, Neuton, Pinzi, Isla, Asamoah, Agyemang, Di Natale
PREDICTION: Arsenal get on the board with a van Persie goal, and stay there. The defense buckles down and holds off the Udinese attack, and even gives the Italian club some tense moments on counter attacks.
SCORE PREDICTION: Udinese 0 - 1 Arsenal