Dinamo Zagreb haven’t lost for 41 games.
Sorry, you probably didn’t want to read that ahead of Arsenal’s trip there for Wednesday night’s Champions League fixture, but Nacho Monreal is confident ahead of the game in Croatia.
A European tie, especially against lesser lights, tends to throw up its own unique issues but the defender says the atmosphere won’t faze the Arsenal players.
“Everywhere you play, the atmosphere is massive, it does not matter if it is Champions League or if it is Premier League,” Monreal said ahead of Wednesday’s game. “Every single game there is a lot of pressure when you play away, but we are used to it and we have the experience to cope with playing in big away matches.”
“It is more psychological than it is physical, but we are accustomed to it, so it won’t affect us.”
Dinamo Zagreb won 4-0 on Friday night, making it 41 games undefeated. Their last loss came in Europe and was back in November, so the last thing Arsenal can do is take this game lightly.
“It will be a big test for us,” Monreal insisted. It’s reassuring to hear that the players aren’t taking anything for granted ahead of a crucial tie in which they are favourites.
“If we concentrate on our strengths we know we can perform well.”
“We want to pass through into the next stage, and we know that the favourite in our group is probably Bayern Munich, so we know we need to do well against Dinamo Zagreb and Olympiacos.”
With Bayern in the group, the Gunners can’t afford to take any of the games in this season’s group stage for granted. Slipping up just once in a game where we are favourites could be crucial and, while you would back us at home, trips to Croatia and Greece are bound to be testing.
“It will be really positive for us to start with three points on Wednesday in Zagreb, as it will give us a good start and confidence for the rest of the group stage.
“In the Champions League, you don’t play too many games, so if you make a mistake you pay for it, as we found out last season against Monaco.
“We just need to be focussed on getting a good start in the competition.”
It’s certainly nice to know that there is no complacency. After consecutive wins in the Premier League, Wednesday night provides a great chance to boost spirits even more and get the Champions League campaign started in style.
An away win will leave us in a good position ahead of the visit of Olympiacos, hopefully the players deliver and we look strong before the key clashes with Bayern.