Arsenal face an uphill task to overcome a two-goal deficit as they aim to keep their hopes of the continental success alive when Rennes visit the Emirates Stadium for the round-of-16 second leg match, in London, on Thursday night (IST).
What competition it is? Europa League, Leg 2 of 2
Teams: Arsenal and Rennes
Kick Off: Friday 15 March
Match Timing: 01:30 AM (IST)
Where the game is played? Emirates Stadium (60,260)
TV Info: Ten Sports Network has the rights to stream UEFA Europa League matches in India. While the premier members can also catch the action live on SonyLiv App.
Arsenal made an easy work of their group stage having qualified to the knockout rounds with a couple of games to spare. They accumulated 16 points from six matches winning five times.
But ever since the knockout rounds started, the Gunners have been far too inconsistent. They had to come from behind against Bate Borisov in the last round after suffering a 1-0 defeat in the first leg of the round-of-32 match.
However, the job is a little bit more difficult this time around as Rennes have a 3-1 advantage from the first leg. The visitors certainly boast better talent on their roster and look threatening than Bate as well. So Unai Emery’s men will have to be on their guards for the full 90 minutes. As the likes of Ismaïla Sarr and Hatem Ben Arfa can be deadly on the counter attacks.
Irrespective of the result in this match, Rennes have already bettered their European history. After all, they have never made it this far in Europe in their 117 year history.
However, their journey was on the verge of being cut short after they suffered two successive defeats at the group stage. But Julien Stéphan’s men won the last two games to finish 2nd in the group behind Dynamo Kyiv.
Arsenal – W W W W L W
Rennes – W W D D D W
Arsenal vs Rennes Team News:
Injured – Arsenal don’t have any fresh injury concerns ahead of this match. However, the likes of Rob Holding, Hector Bellerin and Danny Welbeck remain long-term absentees.
Suspended – Sokratis Papastathopoulos picked up a red card in the first leg and is suspended for this match.
Questionable – Henrikh Mkhitaryan missed out on the game against former club Manchester United at the weekend due to an injury and he remains doubtful for this match.
Note: In a big boost, Alexandre Lacazette is available for selection to play in the 2nd leg. The former Lyon star was handed a 3-game suspension by UEFA following a straight red card against Bate in the 1st leg. Arsenal’s appeal was upheld by UEFA.
Emery may be tempted to start both Lacazette and Aubameyang in the 2nd leg.
Key Players – Lacazette, Ozil, Ramsey, Aubameyang
Injured – Rennes will be without Jordan Siebatcheu, Ludovic Baal, Romain Danze and Abdoulaye Diallo for the 2nd leg match against Arsenal.
Suspended – None.
Questionable – None.
Note: The visitors will be welcoming Hamari Traore after the 27-year-old right-back missed out in the first leg through suspension.
James Lea Siliki is back to full fitness and is in contention to start the match. Benjamin Andre was given the rest at the weekend in Rennes’ 3-1 win over Caen and is expected to start the match.
Key Players – Arfa, Sarr, Hunou
Arsenal– Cech (GK), Maitland-Niles, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal; Guendouzi, Torreira; Mkhitaryan, Ozil, Iwobi; Aubameyang
Rennes– Koubek (GK), Traore, Silva, Mexer, Bensebaini; Sarr, Andre, Grenier, Bourigeaud; Ben Arfa, Hunou
Arsenal have a big fight on their hands to overturn the deficit. The history is also against them as only one team has managed to qualify after losing the first leg 3-1, Fulham in the 2009-10 season. But Arsenal are a different beast in home games, and we back them to win this game.
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