On Wednesday the Gunners make the journey to Croatia to take on reigning Prva Liga champions Dinamo Zagreb in their Champions League group stage opener.
Arsenal may go in to the game as the Bookies.com favourites, but it will be by no means an easy ride. Zagreb are on an extraordinary run, and one which saw them go the entire 2014/15 season unbeaten. In fact, they have not lost a competitive match since November 2014, a run of 41 games without defeat.
One thing is for sure though, that if Arsene Wenger’s side concentrate on their own strengths rather that worrying about their opposition, their quality in depth will be enough to see them through this tough test.
Full back Nacho Monreal believes their Champions League experience will be enough to see the team perform to the standards required.
“Everywhere you play, the atmosphere is massive, it does not matter if it is Champions League or Premier League. But we are used to it and we have the experience to cope with big away matches. We know we can perform well.”
The side currently residing in top spot in Croatia booked their place in the Champions League group stages courtesy of qualification round victories over Molde and Skenderbeu.
A warning shot has also been fired the Gunners way, as Zagreb’s Argentine defender Leonardo Sigali stated that a repeat of the performance on Friday, which saw them romp to a 4-0 victory over Lokomotiva Zagreb, could spell disaster for Arsenal.
“We are playing so well. If we play against Arsenal like we did against Lokomotiva, who knows what can happen.
“At a full Maksimir Stadium we are confident. Arsenal need to take us seriously or they are in for a surprise. We are creating chances and looking dangerous.”
Bookies.com are offering punters the latest free bet offers and tips ahead of the game. The site also believe that Alexis Sanchez is a perfect pick for anyone’s fantasy football team, so maybe he can transfer his Premier League form into the Champions League on Wednesday?
The last time Theo Walcott played at the Maksimir Stadium, home of Zagreb, the Gunners forward scored a hat trick, as he was part of a 4-1 victory for England over Croatia in 2008. Wenger will be hoping more of the same from his striker on Wednesday, as he looks to build on his first Premier League goal.
The Gunners ran out 2-0 victors over Stoke City on Saturday at the Emirates, with Walcott’s opener coming with 31 minutes on the clock – before Olivier Giroud came off the bench to ensure the three points with his 85th minute header.