English giants Arsenal face a potentially tricky game when they travel to Croatia to meet Dinamo Zagreb in the first leg of the third qualifying round of the Champions League on Tuesday.
The Gunners,who completed their move into Ashburton Grove this season,have not really made any major signings this season,barring Czech midfielder Tomas Rosicky.The ex Dortmund midfielder was on song during the World Cup and was one of the standout players for the Czech Republic in an otherwise disappointing campaign for Karel Brueckner’s men.Arsenal will also be without Robert Pires,with the flamboyant medio departing on a free to Villareal.They have however managed to hold on to Thierry Henry,whose speculated move to Barcelona ate up many reams of newspaper space last season.
They warmed up for the game with a 3-0 win over AZ Alkmaar. But injury problems to several key players will give manager Arsene Wenger a serious headache ,with Philippe Senderos,Lauren,Gael Clichy,Abou Diaby and Freddie Ljungberg all unavailable.
Dinamo,who are the current Croatian champions,started off their national league campaign with a 1-0 win over Slaven Belupo.They beat Lithuanian side Ekranas to set up a date with the Londoners.
Dinamo have managed a coup of sorts by signing veteran defender Jens Nowotny from Leverkusen this season.In Eduardo Da Silva,they have one of the finest left footed forwards in the Croatian League.The Brazilian born striker,2 time Croatian player of the year,will pose a serious threat upfront.
They will also be looking upto Davor Vugrinec to trouble the Arsenal defence.Vugrinec,an attacking midfielder who can also play as a striker, signed from rivals Rijeka in June 2006 and has played for Lecce,Atalanta and Catania in Italy.
Arsenal would also do well to remember that the Blues were the 1967 Fairs Cup champions,where they beat Leeds United 2-0 over two legs.
Verdict : Arsenal were runners up in the Champions League last season.A win here will give them confidence as they go into their Premiership opener against the Villians.I fancy them to take atleast one point from this game,if not all three.