Arsenal struggle to adjust in Champions League without Cesc Fabregas
LONDON // Arsene Wenger could find himself in further disciplinary trouble with Uefa after communicating with the Arsenal bench during tonight's 1-0 Champions League play-off first-leg win over Udinese at the Emirates Stadium.
The Frenchman received a one-match touchline ban for abusing Swiss referee Massimo Busacca in the last-16 defeat to Barcelona last season.
Wenger's post-match criticism saw him banished to the stands for this evening's match, although he could find himself in further trouble for communicating with the bench.
Arsenal yesterday checked with Uefa that Wenger could send messages to the coaching staff via a third party.
As a result, the 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 the match in the usual way he would not attend the post-match press conference.
Wenger will have been frustrated by the way his team were unable to go on to dominate the tie after taking an early lead through Theo Walcott.
Arsenal laboured to a 1-0 win over the Italian side, which left more questions than answers over life after Cesc Fabregas.
Wenger had called for a response from his young squad following the sale of their captain back to Barcelona and it seemed he would get just that when 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.
Goalscorer Walcott is happy with the narrow lead heading into next week's second leg and is keen to move on from the sale of Fabregas.
"We've just got to carry on," he said. "It's time to move on. He was a great player for the club but he's gone.
"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.
"But we dug in and gave absolutely everything. That's two clean sheets in a row now, and we're capable of winning over there."
Walcott has been dogged by his controversial comments about Fabio Capello this week and, while he refused to comment on the matter, he gave the onlooking Italian a reminder of his talent.
"It was nice to get the goal. I want to get more goals this season," he said. "It was a great ball from Aaron [Ramsey].
"Hopefully the boss will play me up front now, I don't know. I could have had a couple more but the keeper made some spectacular saves.
"We're going to find it difficult over there but we're very happy with the result. That's the most important thing."
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 this weekend's Premier League match against Liverpool.
Published: August 17, 2011 04:00 AM