Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has warned his side not to take the challenge of Dinamo Zagreb lightly in their Champions League opener tonight.
The Gunners are heavy favourites to claim all three points against a Croatian outfit that hasn’t won a game in the competition group stages since 1999.
However, Wenger was keen to dismiss his side’s label as favourites when speaking to the media ahead of the clash at Stadion Maksimir and admitted he’s wary of Zagreb’s long unbeaten run which stretches to 41 games:
“What does favourite mean in football? If all your players are at their best and play together for the team, it means you have, maybe, more chance than your opponent to win,” the Frenchman said [via Standard Sport].
“To achieve that, you need absolutely 100 per cent focus. I am sure of one thing — Dinamo Zagreb will be 100 per cent focused and at their best. We have to show we can compete on that level already. After that, we have a chance to take the points. Every team has chances but only if you prepare well.”
” I don’t think Dinamo have a weakest link. They dominate Croatian football.”
“We have to focus on our own performance and, to beat them, play at our best not speculate on any weak link in a team that has not lost a game for 11 months,” Wenger added.
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The north London outfit head into the game on the back of a comfortable 2-0 victory against Stoke City at the weekend and will be aware that getting off to a good start in Europe this season could the key in their hopes in progressing further than the last-16 stage.
Hector Bellerin and Aaron Ramsey have remained in England, presumably to keep the pair fresh for the huge London derby against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge this weekend.