So Arsenal’s Champions League campaign begins against Dinamo Zagreb on Wednesday and Arsene Wenger is worried that his team may expect an easy ride against the Croatian Champions. One could argue that overconfidence affected us last year as we lost out on top spot in the Group Stages thanks to throwing away a 3-0 lead at home to Anderlecht, and of course our depressing 3-1 defeat at home to Monaco when everyone was certain we were the hot favourites.
Wenger brought this up on Arsenal.com: “You need to find the balance between urgency and confidence and at times that is difficult as you can quickly be too confident and lose your urgency.” Le Prof said.
“We have Olympiacos and Zagreb first and we have to finish above them and the result will come down to that. I think it is important to start well because the hunger of a team is shown as well in how well you go in every competition.”
The Croatian League may not be the strongest in Europe, but Zagreb are the dominant side in the country. They are currently unbeaten in nine games to top the division and have scored 11 goals in their last three games. Amazingly they haven’t lost a League game since May last year and haven’t lost at home since 2010!
In the Champions League they are not quite the same force. They only beat the Norwegian side Molde on away goals in qualifying before easily beating the Albanian Champions Skënderbeu Korçë. Last year they were eliminated in the Qualifiers by AaB Aalborg from Denmark and the year before Austria Vienna knocked them out.
So we can surmise that we definitely should be confident going into this one, but with a note of caution that they are in form and are in front of around 9000 of their home fans…..