By Niall Clarke
- Arsenal lose 2-1 away at Dinamo Zagreb
- Chelsea win 4-0 at home to Maccabi Tel Aviv
- English clubs suffer three defeats and one win in opening games.
The misery for the Premier League in Europe continued as Arsenal suffered a shock 2-1 defeat away at Dinamo Zagreb.
The Gunners went down to 10 men as they because the third British club to suffer a 2-1 defeat in the opening games of the Champions League. Chelsea on the other hand ran out 4-0 winners at home to Maccabi Tel Aviv.
Dinamo Zagreb 2-1 Arsenal
Nobody expected an easy task for Arsenal when they headed to Zagreb to take on the Croatian champions. Dinamo were unbeaten in 41 games heading in to the match, and the hostile atmosphere can be quite daunting for the travelling players. However, it still came as a shock when Arsene Wenger’s side followed in the footsteps of the Manchester clubs by losing 2-1.
The Croatians were not intimidated by The Gunners and came in with an attacking style intent on scoring goals. Their play got its reward when David Ospina’s save from a Josip Pivaric effort rebounded off Alex Oxlaide-Chamberlain for an own goal.
Things got from bad to worse for the English side when Olivier Giroud saw red. The Frenchman was foolishly booked twice for silly challenges and took an early bath. Arsenal had to climb a big mountain at this point but the summit looked like Everest when Dinamo doubled their lead in the second half.
Junior Fernandes headed hope from a corner to put the Croatians in a demanding position. The game suddenly opened up as Zagreb looked to put the game beyond any doubt, and Arsenal looked to comeback. Wenger tried a triple substitution to stir things up, and nine minutes from time they would be back in the game.
Theo Walcott used his pace to burst through the Dinamo defence and slot home for nervy finale. However, Arsenal could not break the Croatian champions down, and after a chance for 3-1 went begging, the final whistle sounded to cap off a famous victory for Dinamo.
“The first yellow [for Giroud] is a foul for us and the second is an accident.” Wenger told BT Sport
“They got away with obvious fouls many times. We have to take it on the chin.
“We have enough games to come back. We have to focus to win our next home game and I’m sure we can beat Zagreb at home.”
Chelsea 4-0 Maccabi Tel Aviv
With the other three Premier League club failing, Chelsea made sure to not repeat their mistakes. The Blues proved too strong for Maccabi Tel Aviv and ran away 4-0 victors.
The first opportunity presented itself from the penalty spot after Willian was brought down by the Maccabi goal keeper. Eden Hazard stepped up to take the spot kick but blazed it over, much to the disappointment of the Stamford Bridge faithful.
It looked like it might be ‘one of those nights’ after the early miss, but those fears were washed away when a Willian free kick evaded everyone and went in to the back of the net. The Brazilian was replaced not long after by Diego Costa after suffering hamstring troubles.
Chelsea would get another shot from 12 yards out when the Spanish striker was brought down by ex-Blue’s defender Tal Ben Haim in the area. Oscar would step up this time and make no mistake to send Jose Mourinho’s side into the break with a two goal lead.
Costa, who had struggled with his form at the start of the season, would make it three with one of the goals of the night. The Spaniard converted Oscar’s cross with an exquisite volley in to the top corner.
Cesc Fabregas made it four with a tap in to seal a comfortable victory for the Premier League champions. The result means that they are the only English club to record a victory on match day one.
“I am happy with the result and the performance. The same way I was not in hell with bad results, I am not in heaven we won a game.” Mourinho told BT Sport.
“It was a good victory. You could see from minute one we were going to win the game.
“Missing the penalty was a good thing to test the team. We must be really strong to believe and the players have played very well. They showed a good attitude and were good with the ball. It was a good victory.”
AA Gent 1-1 Lyon
Chelsea 4-0 Maccabi Tel-Aviv
Dinamo Zagreb 2-1 Arsenal
Dynamo Kyiv 2-2 Porto
Bayer Leverkusen 4-1 BATE Borisov
Olympiacos 0-3 Bayern
Roma 1-1 Barcelona
Valencia 2-3 Zenit
The Champions League continues on the 29th and 30th September