Welcome to a new feature on Arsenal.com - Talking Heads.

Before and after every first-team fixture our MatchDay Show team - and an Arsenal blogger - will have their say on the match.

Arsenal kicked off their Champions League campaign against Udinese on August 16 and our Talking Heads for this game were Dan Roebuck, former Gunner Stephen Hughes and James McNicholas from Gunnerblog.

Read on for their post-match thoughts and recap what they said before the game.

Dan Roebuck - Arsenal Live

A goal and a clean sheet were Arsène Wenger's twin targets before the game and he got exactly what he was after. Not that there weren't scares along the way: Udinese are very hard to handle and stretched the Arsenal back four all night long. To their credit they held firm despite losing Gibbs and Djourou to injury, but Szczesny was outstanding and he needed to be. Gervinho lacked the spark he showed at Newcastle and Walcott was Arsenal's biggest attacking threat. He took his early chance well and could - perhaps should - have had a second when Ramsey sent him through.

Udinese are not as good as last year with Sanchez, Inler and Zapata all leaving and being replaced with mainly young players, but they did go seven games without conceding last year so, for all the talk of their expansive attacking play, they are clearly well-organised at the back as well. Handanovic is a very good keeper but Udinese lost eight away last season and I suspect they will be slightly intimidated at Emirates. The absence of Van Persie is a worry for Arsenal but I take them to win 2-0.

Stephen Hughes

It was a fantastic result considering how tough the game was. That early goal was the perfect tonic for Arsenal but Udinese came back very strongly and grew into the game. They got more confident and created a lot of chances and to be fair Szczesny had to be at his best. Di Natale was superb, he was Udinese's main threat and everything went through him. The warning signs are there for the second leg and I think Arsenal might need a better performance to go through. But there were positives of course: I thought Sagna had a right ding-dong battle with Badu on the right flank and Vermaelen has come in like he's never been away. He didn't look out of place at left back either.

It's going to be a difficult game for Arsenal tonight. They are going into the game without Van Persie or Nasri while Fabregas has gone of course. Udinese are a good team themselves, they have Di Natale up front and he has been their top scorer for the past two seasons - getting close to 30 goals in each of those campaigns. I think Udinese will crowd the midfield and try to hit Arsenal on the break. They will probably be quite defensive at the Emirates and look for a decent result to take into their home leg.

Arsenal badge

I predicted 1-0 to the Arsenal and so it turned out. What I didn't expect, however, was for Udinese to be so dominant for long periods of the game. For an opposition team to have more of the ball than Arsenal at the Emirates is rare, but that's exactly what Udinese managed. That shows there's plenty of work left to do in the second leg, especially if we're to keep out the canny Di Natale, who I thought was outstanding.

In a month in which we also face Manchester United and Liverpool, this clash with Udinese could be the biggest game of all. In the past, these qualifiers have represented little more than a formality.  Udinese, the fourth best side in Serie A last season, promise to be much a sterner test. Athough they have lost high-profile players like Zapata, Inler and Sanchez, they still have Di Natale , Serie A's top goalscorer in each the last two seasons. Koscielny and Vermaelen will have to be as sharp as they were at Newcastle to keep him out. The Belgian will be wearing the captain's armband as Nasri and Van Persie are absent through suspension. With Rosicky an injury doubt, the creative burden may fall to the likes of Arshavin, Walcott and Gervinho. Hopefully Chamakh will also rediscover the form he showed early in his Arsenal career. With the disruption of the Fabregas saga now behind us, this would be a fantastic time to baptise the new season with a first home win. I predict a familiar scoreline: 1-0 to the Arsenal.

* The views expressed in Talking Heads do not necessarily reflect those of Arsenal Football Club or Arsenal Broadband Ltd.

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17 Aug 2011