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 took on Udinese in the Champions League on August 24 and our Talking Heads for this game were Dan Roebuck, Adrian Clarke and YW from A Cultured Left Foot.

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

Dan Roebuck - Arsenal Live

The world seems a brighter place now doesn't it?! It seemed like Arsenal were staring into the abyss at half time but the introduction of Rosicky gave them more control and creativity in midfield and Udinese could not live with them after the break. Szczesny's penalty save was a key moment while Walcott looks more and more like he can do a job through the centre - he timed his runs well and finished superbly to put the tie to bed.

I was really impressed by Udinese in the first leg. Di Natale is 32 but showed he is still a class act with his clever movement and eye for goal. The wide players gave Arsenal problems too but it was noticeable that they had less impact when Wenger's side defended slightly deeper in the final 20 minutes. Frimpong helped shore up the Gunners' midfield at the Emirates and I wouldn't mind seeing him selected alongside Song, especially if Wilshere is not passed fit. An away goal will leave Udinese needing three and I fancy Arsenal to score and go through.

Adrian Clarke

There were plenty of nervy moments along the way but in the end thanks to a mature second-half performance Arsenal deserved to go through. In the first half Arsenal were far too easy to play against - it was like an attack versus defence training game – but they regrouped at half-time, showing their greater experience as the match wore on. It was exciting to see the front three show more penetration, especially Gervinho who was excellent. I was also very impressed by Carl Jenkinson for the way he kept danger man Pablo Armero under control, and Wojciech Szczesny deserves the plaudits too for what was a sensational, match-turning penalty save from Di Natale.

Udinese caused Arsenal more problems than expected at the Emirates and will no doubt feel quietly confident of causing an upset in front of their own fans. The Italians have a powerful midfield and a world class striker in the shape of Di Natale but I don’t think the Italians can afford to be too gung-ho tactically because an away goal for the Gunners would swing the balance of the tie hugely in their favour. Despite injury problems and a lack of form, the return of Wilshere and Van Persie would give Arsène Wenger’s men a boost and although I sense that this will be a nervy evening for both sides, based on their greater experience and quality I am backing Arsenal to progress.


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It was hard to believe that going into the second leg our whole season was being written off on the basis of one game – a match that Arsenal held a one-goal lead going into. It was a great win and a good performance especially from Szczesny, Jenkinson and Frimpong. Tomas Rosicky rolled back the years as well in the second half which was good to see. The turning point was the penalty save which was just outstanding. A real boost and a win that everyone should be proud of.

Qualifying for the Champions League is crucial for confidence. A good performance would be nice but the result is all that matters. The fans need a boost and this is the perfect time for that to happen. The team was unlucky on Saturday and has worked hard to overcome the injuries, suspensions and players who have left. Arsène should ignore the threats of Mancini and select Samir Nasri. Leaving him out and failing to progress would cost the club as much money as playing Nasri and the transfer to City falling through.

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

Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source
25 Aug 2011