Dinamo Zagreb vs. Arsenal Champions League Odds Preview and AnalysisMaking their first appearance in the Champions League since 2012/13 and winless in their last 15 outings in the competition, Zoran Mamic’s side is looking to rewrite history by getting a win over the Gunners, who’ve been known to be wobbly in the competition. Last season, for example, Wenger’s side was stunned by Dortmund in their first Champions League Group Stage matchup, which saw them struggle en route to finishing second-best in their group. As a big shot in the arm for the hosts, this game comes at a perfect time for Zagreb, who are unbeaten over the past 11 months—a run that spans over 41 games, including an unbeaten league run in 2014/15 to claim the Croatian title. Not to mention, Maksimir has always proved to be a difficult place to get goals or points, something that has catapulted Mamic’s side to the top of this season’s Croatian league after nine games. Added to the fact that Dinamo has been balanced on both ends of the field, scoring 11 goals and conceded just one goal in their last 3 games, the Croatians should not be overlooked by bettors. Meanwhile, the injuries (and confirmed absence) of striker Danny Welbeck and midfielders Jack Wilshere and Tomas Rosicky means that Arsenal will probably have the lineup of Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez and Olivier Giroud in the starting offensive lineup, as Walcott and Ramsey are benched for freshness in the weekend English Premier League clash against Chelsea. The defense could also see some shuffling as well, so be on the lookout for the likes of Mathieu Debuchy and Kieran Gibbs finding their way into the first 11 in place of Hector Bellerin and Nacho Monreal. Squad issues aside, Arsenal has already collected three wins from their first five games in the EPL this season, though they have struggled a lot in terms of converting their goal-scoring opportunities. A similar laxity could easily see them get punished, as was the case in the game against Westham in their season-opener at the Emirates this season. Resting some key players for the crucial weekend clash against Chelsea will probably be a wise decision for Wenger, though it could allow the Zagreb a chance to cause havoc, especially in the defense. Some sort of balance will thus be required in terms of meshing up the regular starters and reserves. If not, the Dinamo offensive quartet of Ángelo Henríquez (25 goals in 31 games, including two goals last weekend), El Arabi Hilal Soudani, Armin Hodžić and Junior Fernandes will have a field day against them.
Possible Starting Lineups
- Dinamo Zagreb: Eduardo; Ivo Pinto, Sigali, Taravel, Pivaric; Fernandes, Machado, Antolic, Pjaca; Soudani, Henriquez
- Arsenal: Ospina; Debuchy, Gabriel, Koscielny, Gibbs; Cazorla, Arteta; Chamberlain, Ozil, Sanchez; Giroud
Form Guide in All Competitions, *most recent first*
- Dinamo: WWWDWW
- Arsenal: WWDWLW
- Most Recent Dinamo Game: Lokomotiva Zagreb 0-4 Dinamo Zagreb (Henríquez 36 64, Fernandes 70, Sigali 74)
- Most Recent Arsenal Game: Arsenal 2-0 Stoke (Walcott 31, Giroud 85)
Key Betting Trends
- Dinamo Zagreb are making their first appearance in the competition since 2012/13 and are winless in 15 CL games (D2 L13), with their last win coming against Sturm Graz in September 1999
- Arsenal have made it past the group stages in the last 12 seasons but have been knocked out at the last 16 stage in the last five campaigns
- Dinamo and Arsenal have met before in the Champions League Qualifying Round in the 2006/07 season, where Arsenal won 5-1 on aggregate, including a 2-1 win at home and 3-0 win on the road.
- Arsenal have won their last three Champions League away games
- Dinamo have lost their last six meetings against English opposition, conceding 16 goals in the process
- Arsenal have kept just one clean sheet in their last 10 away group stage games