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Arsenal begin life post Cesc Fabregas with a crucial UEFA Champions League play-off tie with Udinese at the Emirates Stadium.

The former Arsenal skipper has completed his protracted return to Barcelona ahead of Tuesday’s first leg with the Italian outfit.

Arsene Wenger’s side are playing a Champions League qualifier for the fifth time in six seasons but have never lost a qualifying tie.

The Gunners will be aiming to maintain that impressive record and take a lead – and clean sheet – to the Stadio Friuli for the return leg on 24th August.

Wenger, who is serving a one-match touchline ban for the game, told Sky Sports News: “Life goes on and we want to show that we have the needed desire and strength to deal with the situation.”

After finishing fourth in Italy’s top flight last season, Udinese have since sold star players Alexis Sanchez and Cristian Zapata to Barcelona and Villarreal respectively.

But Wenger is still wary of the threat of the Italian side, adding: “Udinese have lost Sanchez and Zapata but they have many other good players. They have (Antonio) Di Natale and plenty of players who have quality.

“Let’s try to be at our best as quickly as we can because it is important for us to go through in the Champions League.”

Udinese have yet to play this season and boss Francesco Guidolin expects a tough game despite Fabregas’ exit.

He said: “This will not change much for us – any Arsenal team will be full of quality.

“Yes, they will be without some very important players, but there are also others who are just as good.

“I consider Arsenal one of the best teams and they have a lot of great players who can cause problems to any team in the world.”

also linked with a move away from the Emirates, is suspended for the game.

Fellow midfielder Tomas Rosicky is in the squad and will have a fitness test on Tuesday morning following a groin problem suffered in the goalless draw at Newcastle on Saturday.

Jack Wilshere is still injured, while Abou Diaby is set to be sidelined until September following ankle surgery.

Up front, Robin van Persie is also suspended so Wenger says Nicklas Bendtner could be involved against Udinese, even though the Dane may still leave the Gunners in this transfer window.

Fellow striker Gervinho will also be available, despite his red card at St James’ Park.

For Udinese, defender Maurizio Domizzi and striker Antonio Floro Flores are both out with thigh injuries.

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