Can Arsenal overcome a 3-1 deficit to Rennes?
13 March 2019, 13:21
Can Arsenal overcome a 3-1 deficit to Rennes?

There will be high drama at the Emirates on Thursday night. Unai Emery’s Arsenal, one of the favourites to win the Europa League, crashed and burned on French soil a week ago.

Now, Arsenal must overcome a 3-1 deficit against the Europa League’s surprise package Rennes.

Stade Rennais have bottled their success in the Europa League and are now using it on the domestic front. The French club are up to fifth in Ligue 1. The Rouge et Noir are unbeaten in their last five Europa League games. In the round of 32, they played a thrilling two-legged series against Real Betis with a final aggregate score of 6-4. Rennes were clinical in front of goal and went away to Spain where they excelled defensively.

Arsenal have received a major boost ahead of the second leg. Striker Alexandre Lacazette’s three-match ban has been reduced to two. Having already served the two-match suspension, the Frenchman is available for Emery on Thursday night. Lacazette’s inclusion is massive as Emery can pair his two best strikers together. Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang have combined for 33 goals in all competitions this term.

Emery will be without centre-back Sokratis. The Greek stopper was sent off in the first half of the first leg. His red card enabled Rennes to run riot over Arsenal.

Rennes have received a boost as well. Striker M’Baye Niang, the hero of Rennes’ win against Real Betis, is back from suspension. Niang has scored just seven goals in 32 games in all competitions. But his ability to stretch Arsenal’s defence and battle against centre-backs means more to Rennes than just goals. Full-back Hamari Traore will be available for selection as well. He served a one-match ban in the first leg.

Arsenal have been in this position before in the Europa League. The Gunners lost 1-0 in their round of 32 first leg game against BATE Borisov. Needing a big performance, the Gunners were ruthless against BATE in the second leg at the Emirates winning 3-0. Rennes are a much better team than BATE and will be more difficult to break down. However, the return of Lacazette could be the catalyst to Arsenal overhauling the deficit.

Although Arsenal lost the first leg, they scored an away goal. That one goal could make all the difference on Thursday night. A 2-0 win at the Emirates would send Arsenal into the next round courtesy of the away goals rule. But they will have to keep things tight at the back without Sokratis.

Emery’s team will do as they did in the previous round at home: win. Arsenal will overturn the scoreline with both teams scoring. The fixture will end in an Arsenal win with over 2.5 goals scored.

Predictions for Europa League

Home team - Away team Tip
flag_14  EL
Dynamo KievChelsea
14/03/2019 17:55
2
flag_14  EL
RB SalzburgSSC Napoli
14/03/2019 17:55
1
flag_14  EL
FK KrasnodarValencia CF
14/03/2019 17:55
2
flag_14  EL
Inter MilanoEintracht Frankfurt
14/03/2019 20:00
1

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