Stade Rennes’ have had a pretty average league season, sitting 10th, but their European campaign has been pretty fantastic. Now into the last 16, the French side face English giants Arsenal. After going through in a wild 6-4 tie against Real Betis, the level of opposition for Rennes goes through the roof as Arsenal come to Roazhon Park for the chance to go to the quarterfinals of the Europa League.
Arsenal made it through to the round of 16 after struggling with BATE Borisav. The Gunners fell 1-0 in Belarus, but were able to recover with a 3-0 win the second leg to go through. Ultimately, it’s not about beating BATE for Arsenal. They want to win this competition so they can get back into the Champions League. They’ll have to have a better away performance in this tie if they are going to have that chance.
Arsenal are healthier than they’ve been in a while, but they are still missing Hector Bellerin, Danny Welbeck and Rob Holding through long term injuries, according to Physioroom.com. Alexandre Lacazette will also miss out through suspension after his red card against BATE.
Rennes will be without Mehdi Zeffane, James Lea Siliki, Ludovic Baal, Rafik Guitane, Romain Danze and Theoson Jordan Siebatcheu through injury, according to teamfeed.co.uk. They will also be without Hamari Traore and M’Baye Niang through suspension, according to transfermarkt.com.
Stade Rennes: Ismaila Sarr
Sarr has been the break out star of the season for Rennes. He is tied for the team lead in both goals and assists in Ligue 1. He has been linked to a number of big European clubs, including Arsenal. This will be a big chance for him to impress on a big stage.
Arsenal: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Arsenal will be without Lacazette, but they still have a sensational striker available in Aubameyang. The Gabon international missed a last-second penalty that would have given the Gunners a victory over arch-rivals Tottenham on Saturday. He will be determined to make up for that against Rennes.
Arsenal will be the favourites in the tie, but they are quite a poor away team. Rennes know this first leg is – do or die for them and they do have a chance to get a result.
Prediction: 1-1 Draw