Arsenal could be making a whole lot of changes as they take on Stade Rennais in their Round of 16 tie in the Europa League. The Rennes Vs Arsenal game is certainly going to be a significant fixture in a bid to claim the Europa League for both the clubs.
The Gunners entered a defining week when they drew 1-1 against Tottenham Hotspur in the North-London Derby at the Wembley Stadium with clashes against Rennes and Manchester United coming up. However, Unai Emery’s side will be looking to take a major step towards booking their place in the Europa League quarter-finals on Thursday night.
Frenchman Alexandre Lacazette will miss the return to his home country in France as the 27-year-old got sent off in first leg against BATE Borisov and was handed a two match ban. This infers that young Eddie Nketiah may get a chance to impress from the bench in France.
Lucas Torreira will be certain to start the tie as the Uruguay international has been banned for their blockbuster weekend clash against Manchester United. Mesut Ozil will also be looking to start ahead of Aaron Ramsey, in behind the striker after playing a key part in the 5-1 thrashing of Bournemouth.
In the right-back slot, with first-team full backs Hector Bellerin and Stephan Lichsteiner injured, Unai Emery will put his faith in 21-year-old Ainsley Maitlan-Niles for the Rennes Vs Arsenal fixture after the youngster’s rise to the first team this campaign and his return from injury. Petr Cech will likely return in goal ahead of first-choice goalkeeper Bernd Leno, as the veteran will step in the field to face the club where he played before his move to Chelsea in 2005.
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Gunners’ fans will also be hoping to see more of Barcelona loanee Denis Suarez as the Spaniard has barely featured in the London side since his move from the Catalan giants. Danny Welbeck and Rob Holding are other long time absentees, along with full-backs Hector Bellerin and Stephan Lichsteiner who will miss the European game of Rennes Vs Arsenal.
The management skills of Unai Emery will be tested once again as the Gunners have a tough draw in their hands against a tricky opponent in Rennes and a clash against old rivals Manchester United lurking around the corner, i.e., on Sunday.
Despite the fact that the opponents are sitting tenth in French Ligue 1, their form in the Europa League has been good. And in any condition their opponents cannot be taken lightly given how they shocked the world when they knocked out Quique Setién’s Real Betis out of the Europa League.
Arsenal, on the other hand, have enjoyed a few weeks of great form having won three of their last four games in the Premier League, having only drawn their last fixture away to Spurs.
Unai Emery will hopefully display his brilliant man-management skills and tactical nous against the deceptive French team in the Rennes Vs Arsenal encounter and pull out a great result in the Europa League ahead of a key top four deciding encounter on Sunday.