14th of March 2019 Author: Johnny Karp
Arsenal are looking to overturn a two-goal deficit when they host Ligue 1 side Rennes at the Emirates Stadium in London on Thursday in the second leg of their UEFA Europa League last-sixteen tie. The French side pulled off a surprise in the first leg by winning it 3-1 after Alex Iwobi had scored to put the Gunners ahead just four minutes into the game. Central defender Sokratis Papasthatopoulos got sent off in the 41st minute and then Rennes fired three goals past Petr Cech, including an own-goal from Spanish defender Nacho Monreal. That was the first ever direct meeting between these two teams.
Arsenal need a 2-0 victory to advance to the quarter-finals, exactly the result that they achieved last weekend in the Premier League against Manchester United. That result moved the Gunners up to fourth place in the league table and it also was the fifth consecutive home victory in all competitions. Arsenal have not won an European competition since the 1994 Cup Winners' Cup, a very long drought for such a big club. Sokratis Papasthatopoulos is suspended for this match after getting sent off in the first leg, but Alexandre Lacazette will be available after his suspension was reduced to the two games that he had already served. Rob Holding, Hector Bellerin and Danny Welbeck remain on the injured list.
Rennes have performed pretty well in the UEFA Europa League this season, even though some might say they had an easy group. The finished second in their group behind Dynamo Kyiv and ahead of FC Astana and Jablonec, but in the first knockout round they went past LaLiga side Betis after a 3-3 draw at home and a 3-1 victory in Spain. Last week Rennes grabbed a 3-1 victory over Caen, their third consecutive victory in all competitions, and moved up to eighth place in the Ligue 1 table. Jordan Siebatcheu, Romain Danze, Abdoulaye Diallo and Ludovic Baal are injured.
Arsenal: Cech - Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal - Maitland-Niles, Xhaka, Torreira, Kolasinac - Ramsey, Iwobi - Lacazette
Rennes: Koubek - Traore, Silva, Mexer, Bensebaini - Sarr, Andre, Grenier, Bourigeaud - Ben Arfa, Hounou
My prediction: Arsenal to win 4-1, the Gunners are capable of pulling off the fightback but Rennes should be able to score in London.
Here are the odds for the match at Bet365:
Arsenal win - 1.30
Draw - 6.00
Rennes win - 11.00
20th of February 2019
24th of October 2018
Arsenal have done a great job to overcome the deficit from the first leg in the opening quarter of a hour in that.
Yeah, we could always expect they'd be capable of doing that despite the loss but you never know, one early Rennes goal could of inspire visitors but obviously the Gunners didn't allowed that.
They've been drawn probably the toughest opponent for the quarters though.
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