Arsenal (-600) vs. Dinamo Zagreb (+1400), Draw (+600)
Arsenal are having a nice bounce back season in the Premier League – currently tied for first with Man City – but the Gunners haven’t been as sure-fire in the Champions League, winning just once in four tries. The English power now faces elimination as they host Croatian side Dinamo Zagreb in the fifth fixture of the tournament (2:45 PM Eastern on Tuesday, November 24, at Emirates Stadium in London).
Sitting on just three points through four matches (1-0-3), the Gunners are tied with Zagreb for last place in Group F, six points behind both Bayern Munich and Olympiakos. Incredibly, their only win so far came against Bayern (in London). But they followed that up with an embarrassing 5-1 loss to the Bavarians in Germany.
“You have to give credit to Bayern for their quality,” manager Arsene Wenger said after the defeated. “On top of that, we made things quite easy for them with our defensive performance. We were extremely poor defensively. We were not at the races. When we went forward, we had chances but with a defensive performance like that, you go nowhere.”
Zagreb have an identical record as Arsenal, with their only win coming against the Gunners in Croatia (2-1). Like Arsenal, they are also having a fairly successful domestic campaign, sitting second in the Croatian HNL, four points below Rijeka after 16 fixtures.
Not only do Arsenal and Zagreb both need to take the full three points from next week’s tilt in order to keep their Round of 16 hopes alive, they also need help from Bayern and Olympiakos; if those sides play to a draw, both Arsenal and Zagreb will be eliminated.
This will be the fourth all-time meeting between Arsenal and Zagreb; the Gunners won twice in 2006 but, as mentioned, fell 2-1 in the first game of this year’s Champions League.
Since losing to Olympiakos at home in late September, Arsenal have been excellent at home. Add in the fact that Wenger’s squad will be desperate to keep their Champions League hopes alive and they shouldn’t disappoint the home crowd.
Pick: Arsenal (-600).
(Photo credit: Ronnie Macdonald from Chelmsford, United Kingdom (Mesut Özil Uploaded by Dudek1337) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.)