Rennes v Arsenal preview | 4 players missing, Ozil to start + prediction

By on March 7, 2019

Arsenal need to bring home a positive result from the first leg of our Europa League last-16 tie with Rennes this evening – which kicks off at 5.55pm GMT.

Arsenal will still be hurting from our frustrating draw with Tottenham at the weekend as we passed up a golden opportunity to secure a win at Wembley that would have closed the gap on our rivals to one point and blown the top four race wide open.

However, we need to put the North London Derby disappointment behind us and focus on the Europa League this evening as we look to take control of our last-16 tie with a win at the Roazhon Park.

We lost the away leg to BATE Borisov in the last-32 with one of our worst performances of the season so we can’t afford to replicate that kind of display today or we might leave ourselves too much to do at home.

Rennes showed they shouldn’t be taken too lightly after beating Real Betis 6-4 on aggregate in the last round so Unai Emery needs to make it clear to the players we can’t underestimate them, despite the fact they sit 10th in Ligue 1.

Team news

Alexandre Lacazette misses the trip to France as he’ll serve the second game of his three-match ban following his sending off at BATE so Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will start up front.

Hector Bellerin remains out with a knee ligament injury, Rob Holding is also recovering from his own knee problem while Danny Welbeck is out with his broken ankle so we’ll be without four players for the game.

Emery could rest some players ahead of our huge league clash with Man Utd at the weekend with the likes of Bernd Leno, Laurent Koscielny, Nacho Monreal and Granit Xhaka possibly being given a breather.

Lucas Torreira should start as he’s suspended on Sunday while Ainsley Maitland-Niles may be recalled at right-back as Stephan Lichtsteiner and Carl Jenkinson haven’t been included in the squad.

Mesut Ozil is also pushing for a recall after being named on the bench against Tottenham and he’ll be hoping to produce a similar performance to the one he put-in against Bournemouth last week.

Preferred line-up

This is the team I’d like to see Emery go with:

football formations

Score prediction

Rennes 1-2 Arsenal: We have never lost a European game in France so this would be a terrible time to ruin that record. Arsenal’s away form this season has been pretty woeful so I do fear we could see a repeat of the performance at BATE. However, I think Emery will play a stronger side and one that should get the job done. Rennes will be up for the game and the atmosphere should be electric but the fact is they are still an average side and we should be able to bring home a win.