All Arsenal fans seem to be in agreement that next Saturday’s game against Chelsea is much more important than Wednesday’s game against European minnows Dinamo Zagreb, but Arsene Wenger is just focusing on getting the three points on the board. He is aware that every game is important at this stage and he wants to keep our winning streak going so he can’t afford to make big changes for this match.
Wenger said: “We lost our first game last year in Dortmund and straight away it put us under pressure. After that we had our backs to the wall and had to really focus.
“So it is important that we go to Zagreb and realise what is at stake there.
“You have Olympiakos and Zagreb – first we have to finish above them.
“We know we have a battle first to qualify and afterwards against Bayern Munich. This result will count a lot.
“It is important to start well because the hunger of the team is shown well by how you do in every single competition.”
One certainty is that Koscielny and Gabriel will be our two centre-backs again as Per Mertesacker is still laid low by his mystery virus, but Wenger is hopeful he wll be back in contention very soon. “With Mertesacker, it was a serious condition and he is not ready today to play.” Le Prof said. “I believe by the end of the week he should be much better.”
I also doubt very much that Wenger will drop Petr Cech for such a vital game, and Coquelin will there to give them extra protection. There is room for a change with the wing-backs but Wenger seems to have great faith in Bellerin and Monreal, and the French left-back has echoed Wenger’s sentiments about the importance of Wednesday night’s match. “You don’t play too many games so if you make a mistake you pay for it,” Nacho said. “You have to be really focused in each game and the level is higher. The difference is small but we have to be really focused.
“In every single game there is a lot of pressure [especially] when you play away, but we are accustomed to this so in this case it is more psychological than it is physical. It won’t affect us.
“We want to pass through into the next stage and we know that the favourite is probably Bayern Munich so we can’t lose against Dinamo Zagreb and Olympiacos as well.
“It would be really positive for us to start with three points as we will have more confidence in ourselves and it is the best way to start.”
With three clean sheets in a row Wenger may be loathe to tinker with our defensive line-up, but maybe he could make changes in the attacking players, but knowing that it is important to win our first game I can’t see Wenger taking any chances.