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By Sam Lyon
2215: In summation - job done by Arsenal tonight, work to do in a week's time in the Stadio Friuli. And, dare I say, work for Arsene Wenger to do before the transfer window closes, too. Elsewhere, good wins for the likes of Boro, Southampton, Leeds, West Ham, Charlton, Sheffield United, Rotherham and Crawley - might I suggest fans of those clubs get involved in Five Live's Final Whistle on right now? Good. We have a day's break now - but be back on Thursday with
for Europa League action won't you? Ace.
Bruno via text: "Heads up guys, that's 180 minutes of competitive football without conceding. Back to the Arsenal of old. Great start to the season."
ARSENAL 1-0 UDINESE Chief football writer Phil McNulty
reports from the Emirates: "Arsenal have the win but Udinese's fans and players look well satisfied. Arsene Wenger's side will have to work hard to protect their narrow advantage in Italy next Wednesday."
2158: Part one of the task done by Arsenal, then... what did our man on the scene make of it...?
FOOTBALL LEAGUE LATEST: "In League Two, Rotherham are the only side to boast a perfect start in their opening three games after a 2-1 victory at Crewe, who remain pointless along with Hereford, who were smashed 4-0 at home to Macclesfield."
Samir216 on Twitter:
"I don't care what the score was. WE FINALLY WON UGLY. Quite proud to be an Arsenal supporter despite what has happened."
FOOTBALL LEAGUE LATEST: "In League One, it's three wins out of three for Charlton and Sheffield United, who fought back from 2-0 down to beat Walsall 3-2. But Tranmere lost their 100 per cent record at Notts County, Jeff Hughes making it 3-2 from the spot in the eighth minute of injury time."
2150: Some decent performances from Arsenal tonight nonetheless, though - certainly from goalscorer Theo Walcott, who says: "The important thing was to keep a clean sheet. It was nice to get the goal. They're a very strong team. Hopefully, the boss [Arsene Wenger] will start to play me up front." Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey adds: "It was a difficult test for our team. It's far from over, there's still another game to go. We dropped off a bit and there were gaps appearing. We dug in and gave it everything tonight."
ChrisJack28 on Twitter:
"Two clean sheets in a row. On this evidence we need to bolster the midfield more than the defence."
Nick via text: "Can we all please stop being so negative about Arsenal? It's becoming a national pastime. They won despite injuries and suspensions and got a second cleansheet in a row."
FOOTBALL LEAGUE LATEST: "Southampton top the Championship after surviving a threatened Ipswich comeback to finally run out 5-2 winners against the Tractor Boys. There were impressive victories on their travels for West Ham and Middlesbrough while Leeds and Nottingham Forest grabbed their first wins of the season."
Ian_Burnett on Twitter:
"Not at all convincing but at least it's something to take to Italy! Not so 'Udineasy' after all!"
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE ROUND-UP: There have been plenty of goals in the other play-off matches. Czech champions Plzen recorded a fabulous 3-1 win at FC Copenhagen. Which must have been pleasing. Ahem. Bryan Ruiz scored in the 80th minute for FC Twente as their clash against Benfica ended 2-2. It finished Lyon 3-1 Rubin Kazan and BATE drew 1-1 against Sturm Graz.
JacobPWard on Twitter:
"There's no way a 1-0 lead will be enough in Italy if they perform like this. Too many average players."
Debo, London via text: "That was so lacklustre. If this doesn't tell Wenger we need 4-5 players I don't know what will."
2138: It was tense, it was nervy, it was tight... but Arsenal will take a first-leg lead to Udinese in the return leg and that's all that matters right now. Whether they have any fit players left to turn out in that match remains to be seen, though, after injuries to Kieran Gibbs, Johan Djourou and possibly Tomas Rosicky. It's a chin-stroker, that's for sure.
2136: FULL-TIME Arsenal 1-0 Udinese
2135: ...awful. Proper awful. Tonked high, wide and not very handsome by Antonio di Natale. A waste.
2135: Just time for one last Udinese attack, free-kick wide left of the are near the touchline...
2134: Here come Udinese again, though, and Pablo Armero slings a ranger just past the post with 91 minutes on the clock. Two minutes left.
2132: Cracking move - cracking save. Arsenal's best move of the second half by a long country mile as Gervinho drives and dances through the Udinese defence before laying it on a plate for Theo Walcott, whose snap-shot from 12 yards is brilliantly turned away by Udinese keeper Samir Handanovic. Would have been a fabulous goal - and that's what Arsenal are capable of when they turn it on.
2130: Three minutes of normal time remaining - and Giamiero Pinzi is replaced by Almen Abdi.
MartinRoberts0n on Twitter:
"Considering how poor we've been, the defence has done well tonight, we'll be fine with everyone back for return leg next week."
2127: Humour! Udinese almost go apoplectic when they think referee Kevin Blom - a thinner twin of Boris Johnson, by the way - has given a penalty for Joel Ekstrand's inch-perfect tackle on Gervinho in the box... but he was pointing merely for a goal-kick! Oh the laughs.
2125: Arsene Wenger pulling the ol' bulldog-chewing-a-wasp look in the stands. Far from comfortable, this, but I'm sure he'd bite your hand off for a 1-0 win right now. Literally.
2124: Boom! Giampiero Pinzi lines one up from range and pings a swerver that swings narrowly past the post.
Chief football writer Phil McNulty
at the Emirates: "Udinese very positive in the 2nd half. 10 mins to go now so may feel a one-goal deficit is a very manageable result to take back to Italy."
Tim, Witney via text: "This has last minute equaliser written all over it. I've watched Arsenal play this game many times over the last few years."
2122: ...but it's drifted over the head of everyone and away for an Udinese throw.
2121: Maybe not, as Emmanuel Frimpong earns his side a free-kick by the right touchline 20 yards out...
2120: Arsenal, in possession high up the field, work it back all the way to keeper Wojciech Szczesny... are they shutting up shop already?
2119: Respite for Arsenal by way of a corner... but it is well cleared by Udinese with Marouane Chamakh lurking.
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE LATEST: There have been more goals in the other first-leg play-off matches. It is Lyon 3-1 Rubin Kazan, with Jimmy Briand adding the third goal for the French side. Elsewhere, it is Copenhagen 1-2 Plzen, while BATE are now 1-1 against Sturm Graz. Benfica still lead FC Twente 2-1.
FOOTBALL LEAGUE LATEST: "The fightbacks are on! Keith Andrews and Jay Emmanuel-Thomas score two quick goals for Ipswich, who now trail 3-2 at home to Southampton in the Championship. And in League One, Sheffield United have responded with two in five minutes to make it 2-2 at home to Walsall. Elsewhere, Jack Midson has hit a quick double to put Wimbledon 2-0 up at Plymouth in League Two."
2116: ...saved on the stretch by Wojciech Szczesny! A decent curling effort from the Udinese striker that too.
2116: Emmanuel Frimpong may indeed be a unit - but all he's contributed is giving away two free-kicks so far. The second, here, is in Antonio di Natale range...
BBC Sport football pundit Lee Dixon on 5 Live: "Look at the size of Frimpong he's a proper unit. The midfielder marking him must be quaking in his boots."
2114: Tomas Rosicky is the man to be replaced - Frimpong on.
2113: One change left for Arsenal - and it's going to be England youth international Emmanuel Frimpong coming on.
2111: Chance for Arsenal as Theo Walcott is released one-on-one... oh deary me, that's a horrible finish, Walcott attempting the dink-shot and succeeding only in kicking the turf and sending the ball almost straight in the grateful arms of the keeper.
andymcnamara on Twitter:
"So a touchline ban consists of sitting in a comfy chair, eating cake, and covering your face with your hand?"
2108: Oooh. Decent effort, that wasn't far away. Pablo Armero controls on the edge of the Arsenal box and drives at goal, his effort rising inches over the bar.
2107: Arsenal trying to settle back into things here with a spot of keep-ball. Easy to forget they're leading here. But leading they are. Just.
FOOTBALL LEAGUE LATEST: "Leeds look like they're heading for a valuable three points in the Championship after Robert Snodgrass put them 3-1 up against Hull. And 30 miles down the road at Sheffield United, Walsall have scored twice in five minutes to make it 2-0 in League One. At the foot of League Two, Tony Diagne has put Macclesfield ahead at Hereford."
2104: Loneliest man on the pitch right now? Udinese keeper Samir Handanovic. I wonder if he's occupying himself by trying to make anagrams out of his own name. Hhmm.
2102: Close! Mauricio Isla, who has looked a threat tonight, breaks free of the defence wide right of the goal, but his effort from the angle is across goal and wide.
2101: There will be a change for Udinese now - and a real sense from the visitors that they fancy this one. It's a straight swap from the bench, though, with defender Giovanni Pasquale on for defender Neuton.
Chief football writer Phil McNulty
at the Emirates: "Pat Rice is repeatedly looking up anxiously towards Wenger - who is dictating instructions to an assistant with a mobile phone."
2057: Dropping. Like. Flies. Johan Djourou - nine minutes after coming on - has pulled a hamstring now. Carl Jenkinson is going to come on at left-back, Thomas Vermaelen reverting to centre half. All change.
2056: ...nope, it's a poor one. Easily cleared. Arsenal on the back foot nonetheless, though.
2055: Corner to Udinese...
2053: The problem with Kieran Gibbs is a slight hamstring strain apparently. Arsenal's threadbare squad looking thinner by the minute...
2052: Arsenal are looking so vulnerable at times tonight. I don't suppose anyone would have seen that coming. *Cough*.
2051: Udinese through again - fabulous block by Johan Djourou again! Pablo Armero's simple pass finds Antonio di Natale dashing through on goal but he dallies a touch too long to allow Djourou to slide in and block the Italian's shot.
2050: Johan Djourou has slotted in at centre-back, by the way, with Thomas Vermaelen reverting to left back. Hhmm.
2049: And immediately Udinese are on the front foot - Mauricio Isla turning in the box and firing at goal, Johan Djourou immediately into the action with a vital block.
2048: Udinese get us back up and running.
2047: Here come the two teams for the second half, then - and we have an Arsenal change, Johan Djourou on for Kieran Gibbs.
hamerluke on Twitter:
"Impressed with some tough tackling from Arsenal, more to come this season I hope. Still a bit dodgy at the back though."
mUtEl0_PR on Twitter:
"A better footballing side would have punished Arsenal for not putting the game to bed by now. Pre-Champs League is comical."
2040: Don't forget to get in touch, people. Even if it is simply to point out the fact that whatever wally fed us the teams earlier had Jens Lehmann in goal and Emmanuel Eboue in midfield. Tweet the commentary via the hashtag
or text in via 81111 (UK). Cracking stuff.
FOOTBALL LEAGUE LATEST: "Southampton look like they'll end the night on top of the Championship. They're 3-0 up at half-time at Ipswich - David Connolly scoring three minutes before the break. Charlton and Tranmere are on course to maintain their perfect starts in League One as are Rotherham and Gillingham in League Two."
Buffalloz on Twitter:
"RE: Dixon on Di Natale - and why should he pass the ball? The guy has been top scorer in Serie A for the past two seasons!! He is top class."
Jack, in London, via text: "I KNOW, Lee Dixon did not compare Gervinho to Henry earlier..."
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE LATEST: Bafetimbi Gomis has scored his second of the night to give Lyon a 2-1 lead at half-time at home to Rubin Kazan. Nolito has given Benfica a 2-1 lead at FC Twente. It is Sturm Graz 1-0 BATE and FC Copenhagen 0-0 Plzen.
2033: HALF-TIME Arsenal 1-0 Udinese Chief football writer Phil McNulty's
HT snap-shot from the Emirates: "Arsenal lead but this is anything but comfortable. Nice touches from Gervinho and Theo Walcott - but Udinese threatening an Arsenal defence that has an air of vulnerability."
2031: Half-time whistle at the Emirates. That flew by didn't it?
BBC Sport football pundit Lee Dixon on 5 Live: "Di Natale is like the greedy kid in the schoolyard who won't pass the ball."
2029: Oof. Kieran Gibbs joins team-mate Theo Walcott in the referee's notebook for a terribly clumsy challenge on Mauricio Isla. No complaints there.
FOOTBALL LEAGUE LATEST: "Chris Gunter gets Nottingham Forest's first league goal of the season as they go ahead at Doncaster in the Championship, while Bradley Wright-Phillips gets his second for Charlton, who already look on course for a third straight win in League One. Just six goals in 12 League Two games, the latest from Torquay's Lee Mansell."
2028: ...drilled by Thomas Vermaelen straight into the wall.
2027: And now it's a free-kick to Arsenal, 30 yards out. Welcome respite after a spell of Udinese pressure and half a chance at goal...
2025: 40 minutes gone in this tie and it remains more open than an all-night corner shop. Pablo Armero does well to get on the end of a ball from deep but Wojciech Szczesny easily stops the Udinese forward's header.
2022: There has to be more goals in this tie - but to which side is not clear right now. It's the turn of Udinese to go close with, who else, Antonio di Natale firing inches wide from just inside the box this time.
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE LATEST: There have been goals in three of Tuesday's other four Champions League matches. It is Lyon 1-1 Rubin Kazan. The Russia side took the lead in the third minute before Bafetimbi Gomis equalised seven minutes later. It is FC Twente 1-1 Benfica. The Dutch outfit went ahead in the sixth minute only for Oscar Cardozo to level for the Portuguese. Manuel Weber has given Sturm Graz a 1-0 lead at BATE and it is goalless in the match between FC Copenhagen and Czech champions Plzen.
2018: Arsenal, though, continue to look a real threat in attack - and a couple of fabulous crosses, one by Theo Walcott and another by Bacary Sagna, force two fine clearances on the stretch by Udinese stopper Danilo.
2016: Antonio di Natale continues to impress for Udinese, by the way - some excellent movement around the Arsenal defence on show - I dare say he's one for the hosts to keep a very keen eye on both tonight and in the return leg in Italy.
FOOTBALL LEAGUE LATEST: "Not too may goals in League Two but Rotherham and Gillingham are both winning on their travels while Oxford are in front against Shrewsbury."
BBC Sport football pundit Lee Dixon on 5 Live: "They're going to love Gervinho at Arsenal. He loves to run at defenders and that's what excites fans. His final product was missing at the weekend but Thierry Henry couldn't hit a barn door when he first came."
2013: Gervinho is buzzing about for Arsenal, too, this evening - and looking a lot more threatening in the box than at the weekend against Newcastle, too. What a goal early in his Gunners career would do for his confidence.
FOOTBALL LEAGUE LATEST: "In the Championship, Middlesbrough hit two goals in three minutes to rub out Barnsley's early lead while Rickie Lambert scores a second as the Saints go marching on at Ipswich. In League One, Bradley Wright-Phillips has put early pacesetters Charlton ahead at Colchester."
2011: Fabulous save! Pablo Armero drives through a gaping hole in the Arsenal defence straight from the Gunners' corner but his shot is excellently stopped by Wojciech Szczesny in the home goal before Alex Song, having tracked back 70 yards, blocks Mauricio Isla's follow-up.
2010: ...wasted... and here come Udinese on the counter...
2010: Corner to Arsenal...
Chief football writer Phil McNulty
at the Emirates: "Fabio Capello looking stern at The Emirates. May not be impressed by Walcott's new book but will be happy with his performance so far."
2007: Plenty of fluidity about Arsenal still - and when they are in full flow going forward Udinese certainly have their hands full. More than 60% possession from the hosts so far, too.
2005: Theo Walcott is playing like a man with a point to prove - and Fabio Capello is in the stands - but this time the young forward's low drive is easily held by Udinese keeper Samir Handanovic.
2001: Ooh - so close. Antonio di Natale, full of life so far, almost releases Mauricio Isla with a delightful dink over the top and it takes a fabulous clearance from Thomas Vermaelen to stop the onrushing midfielder to get on the end of it. Udinese settling right into this tie now.
2000: A couple of bookings to tell you about a moment or two ago - Theo Walcott having his name taken for a chop at Mehdi Benatia, the Udinese man yellow carded for his reaction.
1958: Dare I say all that is good and bad about Arsenal has been reflected in the first 15 minutes? Full of effervescence going forward, a bit Swiss cheese at the back?
1957: Crossbar! Udinese threaten again as Antonio di Natale spanks a doozy of a free-kick at goal and Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny breathes a sigh of relief as it curls past his outstretched hand but against the bar. So close.
FOOTBALL LEAGUE LATEST: "Three early goals in the Championship, as Rickie Lambert fires Southampton into an early lead at Ipswich, James Tomkins gives West Ham the advantage at Watford, and Barnsley lead Middlesbrough after Stephen McManus put through his own goal."
1955: There's the danger, though, in pushing too high up the field - Arsenal almost caught when a Kieron Gibbs error allows Gaitan to stride through on goal, but when he should square to an umarked team-mate in the middle he goes for goal instead and Laurent Koscielny can block.
1953: Oh it should be two - an Arsenal corner is ripped in and the flick-on at the near post falls towards Gervinho at the back post unmarked six yards out, only for a team-mate to get in his way and the chance is gone.
colinandmatt on Twitter:
"Come on now Sam, I've got no life which is why I've been here four days running - what's your excuse?"
1950: Just what the doctor ordered that start - and Arsenal are right in top gear in these opening exchanges.
Arsenal goal: Nerve-settler. Bacary Sagna releases Aaron Ramsey and the Welshman's cross is side-footed expertly by Theo Walcott at the near post. Four minutes in and you can almost see the doom and gloom dissipating.
1948: GOALFLASH Arsenal 1-0 Udinese (Walcott)
1947: Udinese content to sit deep and allow Arsenal the ball early doors. An away performance based on counter-attack seems the order of the day.
1946: First minute, first booking - Udinese's Joel Ekstrund into the book for a foul on Marouane Chamakh. Arsenal fans finding their voice slowly...
BBC Sport football pundit Lee Dixon on Radio 5 Live: "Udinese are wearing black and white stripes just like Newcastle. I hope it's not another 0-0!"
1945: Right then, we're up and running. It's massive...
1942: It's worth bearing in mind, though, that Udinese have had their own troublesome summer - they, too, have lost a key player to Barcelona, Alexis Sanchez, while the departures of Gokhan Inler and Cristián Zapata prompted similar dismay among the Italian side's fans as that being felt in the red half of north London right now. Level playing field? Let's find out...
1940: Here come the players at the Emirates. Arsene Wenger - banned from the dug-out, dressing room, even his own office tonight - watches on from the stands. The atmosphere? Subdued. So far.
1938: ARSENAL v UDINESE (1945) Chief football writer Phil McNulty
at the Emirates reports: "Arsene Wenger has used his match notes for the Champions League qualfiers to address the discontented among Arsenal's fans, by the way. He says: "I would like the fans to be right behind us at the moment. You can be proud of this club and of the players. I feel the club has been remarkable through the way it does things, the way it gives young players a chance, the style of play.""
ivorontita on Twitter:
"No creativity, Our captain, an influential player in Nasri and Le Prof missing. We're in serious trouble."
Andrew, Eastbourne via text: "Eight months ago, Carl Jenkinson was playing in the Blue Square Bet Premier for Eastbourne Borough away at Hayes & Yeading in front of 190 fans. Tonight he's on the bench at the Emirates in the Champions League against Udinese. Tremendous rise.
1933: ARSENAL v UDINESE (1945) Chief football writer Phil McNulty
at the Emirates reports: "Arsenal - starting life without Cesc Fabregas - are without new captain Robin van Persie and unsettled Samir Nasri through suspension, while Jack Wilshere is injured. Marouane Chamakh is paired with Gervinho up front. Interesting Arsenal bench containing new signing Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Nicklas Bendtner, as well as Andrey Arshavin. Udinese's main threat will come from veteran Antonio Di Natale - Serie A's top scorer last two seasons - a player with the guile and marksmanship to test Arsenal's defensive pair."
1930: Right folks, I want you all to do the Craig David and re...ee...fresh please. Your Midweek Final Score video is streaming up above and I want you all over it like a cheap suit. Jubbly.
rrengland3 on Twitter:
"Arsenal get two matches in the space of a few days and us Everton fans have to wait for Sat to get our first."
FOOTBALL LEAGUE LATEST: "While Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is hoping to make his Champions League debut with Arsenal, his old club Southampton will be aiming to maintain their 100 per cent record at Ipswich and go clear at the top of the Championship. Elsewhere, Leeds go in search of their first point of the season in a tasty-looking Yorkshire derby with Hull while West Ham face a tricky trip to Watford."
liamv87 on Twitter:
"The fans really need to get behind the team tonight for the full 90, boo boys stay at home. Come on Arsenal!"
FOOTBALL LEAGUE LATEST: "It's early days but in League One, six of the top seven face each other. Leaders Charlton travel to Colchester, Sheffield United are at home to Walsall while Notts County and Tranmere meet at Meadow Lane. At the other end, Exeter and Leyton Orient will aim to break their goal ducks at home to Brentford and Wycombe respectively."
chris1ian on Twitter:
"How weird would it be having only 3 English teams in the CL? Few years ago it was 3/4 in the semis."
Nick, London via text: "Oh come on you lot. Inter and AC were both pasted by spurs last season and this lot finished behind them. Gunners by three."
FOOTBALL LEAGUE LATEST: "In League Two, Alexander Armstrong might like it down at Edgar Street tonight where Pointless Hereford take on Pointless Macclesfield. At the top, Rotherham, Gillingham and Southend will try to make it three wins out of three but all face tough trips at Crewe, Barnet and Crawley respectively."
1920: I won't lie, whoever filed that Arsenal team below has had a right 'mare. No Lehmann... no Eboue... a refresh should restore order. We hope. Let's distract ourselves with some lower league chat with Jon Smith...
a_caveat on Twitter:
"It's too early to describe a tie as season defining when Bolton are top of the league and Wolves are in a CL spot..."
1918: Hold up - error in those team sheets - It's Wojciech Szczesny in goal for Arsenal. Obviously. Grrr you darn auto-feeds...
1917: ARSENAL v UDINESE (1945) Chief football writer Phil McNulty
at the Emirates reports: "So Arsenal start the post-Cesc Fabregas era with a testing Champions League qualifier against Udinese, who will be hoping to increase the anxiety currently being felt around The Emirates. The Italians will fancy their chances against a weakened Arsenal side while Arsene Wenger - serving a touchline ban tonight - seeks the convincing win he needs to go some way to answering his critics."
1911: And as if that's not enough we've also got more Championship, League One and League Two matches than you could wave a wobbly stick at. I know - happy days, right? You can bet your bottom dollar there'll be more on that in a bit, but first...
nigel_james1980 on Twitter:
"It's win or bust tonight for us Gooners! Win and we have belief, lose or draw and the axe gets sharpened for le boss..."
Kris via text: "Rosicky playing again, bloke is past it and in a key position. Could be tough tonight."
1908: All in all, then, I say tonight's
Arsenal v Udinese
tie is bigger than Lady Gaga's backstage entourage. But what about you lot? Tweet the commentary via the hashtag
or text in via 81111 (UK). It's your time to shine.
1905: And here's the real fox in the hen house -
Udinese are actually pretty good.
For a start, you don't discount any side good enough to finish fourth in Serie A, but equally Arsenal will have to be wary of an Udinese side that scored the second highest number of goals in Italy last season and who boast a striker in Antonio di Natale whose 2011 goal tally is only surpassed by Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo. Yep.
1903: Well here we go people, I'm putting it to the test. It's mid-August, one match into their season, and I say tonight's Champions League final qualifying tie between
Arsenal and Udinese
- along with next week's return leg in Italy - is an absolute monster for the Gunners. Their
captain has left,
the club's promised spending spree has yet to materialise,
the fans are increasingly disillusioned
and the manager is under more pressure than Marge Simpson's hairnet. Failure to reach the Champions League group stages is unthinkable isn't it?
1900: How early is too early to describe a tie as season-defining?
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