It was a disastrous night for Arsenal as they gifted Dinamo Zagreb their first Champions League win this century. Wenger made many changes and he admitted that perhaps he did not get the balance right in the side. To be fair, only Ospina, Debuchy, Gibbs and Arteta were starters that were lacking in match fitness in the side, but it is very dangerous to completely change a defence that had managed three clean sheets in a row.
Le Prof said after the 2-1 defeat: “You know that when you don’t win the game you have to look at yourself and think, ‘I didn’t get it right’. I personally don’t believe that the players who came in had a bad game. It just didn’t work. We know we have to do that again. We were maybe a bit unlucky and maybe lacked cohesion or some competition in some situations. I have to analyse that. It’s very difficult to give you a definite answer straight after the game.”
It was also strange to rest Petr Cech, who has more experience of winning Champions League games than any other player in the squad, but Wenger thought he needed a rest. He said: “Ospina is a very, very good goalkeeper and he has shown that again tonight. Cech has not played a full season so I am trying to give him some rest mentally because for goalkeepers it’s the same as outfield players.”
I would have to disagree with that statement, especially as Cech hardly touched the ball against Stoke at the weekend, and I do believe that the Czech interational would have stopped the first goal instead of allowing the ball to rebound back into play.
In my view Wenger definitely got the team selection wrong. He would have been better to keep the whole of the defensive line-up, including Coquelin, and rotate more of the outfield players ahead of the Chelsea game. If we were set up to not concede then it is highly unlikely we would have lost the game, with ten men or not…