“And after we conceded a goal with the first chance they had. We were walking in Maksimir forrest [next to the club’s Maksimir stadium], and there wasn’t a person who hadn’t mentioned and congratulated us on the game“, he told Goal. I love the way he plays but they still need a world-class centre-back, world-class central midfielder and a world-class striker. It was not a second yellow.
The Arsenal forward’s frustration got the better of him when he was booked for dissent after his reaction to the referee blowing for a foul against him. But after he should not have responded to the referee.
“On second yellow card he was completely unlucky to touch the guy. I don’t understand the referee”, the 65-year-old said. We still managed to finish second in the group. It has to be a foul on goal and it was not on objective. “He should have given many yellows tonight”. He was asked whether, with the benefit of hindsight, the decision to rotate so heavily had been wise.
Per Mertesacker has returned to training for Arsenal this week, but Wenger is yet to decide whether he will recall the German to the starting line-up against Chelsea.
“I knew we could stay on the same par physically with a team uncomfortable against rivals who can keep possession”.
“I have to analyse that well”. He added: “Our last visit [to play Dinamo Zagreb] was a very tough game”.
However, it was a considerably less comfortable night for Arsenal, as they got their campaign off to the worst possible start with a 2-1 defeat in Croatia.
Arsene Wenger will be hoping that his team can bounce back quickly against Chelsea in the weekend, where a loss will add further pressure on the manager and his ability to marshal his troops for the season ahead. “We have to put hard work in”.
“We had two in the pocket and wanted a good result in Zagreb”.
“It’s a big game, we have to react. Then we can draw conclusions”.
“I am very happy and proud”, Dinamo Zagreb manager Zoran Mamic said. It is nothing new. We have already seen other teams who beat Arsenal use the same tactics.
Walcott believes the tough run of games will test the squad but is confident they will thrive under pressure.