Who needs Cesc as Theo lifts Gunners

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Arsenal secured a narrow advantage against Udinese in last night’s Champions League play-off first leg at the Emirates Stadium.

Beginning life without their former captain Cesc Fabregas, who joined European champions Barcelona on Monday, the Gunners defeated Udinese 1-0.

England international Theo Walcott scored the only goal of the game in the fourth minute for Arsene Wenger’s men, who lost to Barca in the round of 16 in last season’s Champions League.

Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey believes the Gunners can achieve success this season without Fabregas.

The Welshman put in an assured performance in the Arsenal midfield, setting up the goal for Walcott.

Asked how the week has been for the players, Ramsey said: “It’s time to move on. He was a great player for the club but now he’s gone.

“We just have to concentrate on what we’ve got here. We believe the squad we’ve got is very talented and we can achieve something this season.

“Hopefully we can carry on from where we’ve left off tonight, and keep getting positive results.”

Walcott missed chances to pad Arsenal’s lead - including one, set up by Ramsey, which brought a brilliant save from Udinese keeper Samir Handanovic.

Walcott admitted he could have scored more, but added: “I’m still coming back from my ankle injury. The goalkeeper’s made an absolutely fantastic save. It’s early days, it’s my first 90 minutes, and i’m very happy with the result. That’s the important thing.

“I was to get more goals. It’s a great ball Aaron’s played for me. Hopefully the boss will play me up front.”

It was a battle for Arsenal in midfield, but Ramsey feels they can get a positive result in the return leg in Udine.

“We tended to drop off a bit and there were gaps appearing but we dug in and gave absolutely everything tonight,” he said. “We believe we’re capable of going over there to win.

“The most important thing is a clean sheet. Our defence was solid. I believe we can get the result.”

Lyon boast a healthier advantage after downing Rubin Kazan 3-1, although the French side needed to fight back from an early deficit.

Russian outfit Rubin enjoyed a dream start as Vladimir Dyadyun put them ahead after just three minutes at the Stade Gerland.

However, Les Gones were level seven minutes later through Bafetimbi Gomis, and an own goal from Solomon Kverkvelia just before half-time combined with Jimmy Briand’s 71st-minute effort gave them the victory.

Czech champions Viktoria Plzen recorded a 3-1 away win over FC Copenhagen.