By Bulldog Drummond
Previously we had a look at the recent form of the two clubs involved in this game in
- Rennes v Arsenal: the predictions
Now here’s the update on what the journalists report as the issues – and the teams. There has been quite an attempt to get Mr Emery to suggest that Arsenal’s schedule in the League gives them a disadvantage – but it seems the manager has been advised as to the media’s tricks – any answer would be manipulated in being a set of limp and weak excuses trying to cover up imagined cracks.
As a result while Messers Pochettino and Sarri have been making noises about the problems of playing a league campaign and playing in Europe the Arsenal manager won’t go down that route although we are playing five games in 15 days. As he said, “The Premier League decide the schedules and we adapt. It is not an excuse for us, we have the habit to play a lot of matches week by week. You ask me if I prefer sometimes more time to prepare for one match, then yes, but for example in this match we don’t have an excuse. We played on Saturday, rested Sunday and started to work on Monday. Tomorrow I think we are going to be okay to play every player.”
So that’s knocked that one out, although I suspect some journalists will now start saying that he should have complained. Anyway, not being able to quote the manager, and not being able to make anything up (given that the press conferences all shown live these days so we know if the boss has said anything or not) instead we have the “Arsenal fans unhappy with Rennes first-leg switch” which basically feeds into the “same old Arsenal always moaning” story.
Rennes defeated Real Betis 3-1 in Spain to secure their place in the last 16, following a 3-3 draw at home. In the group stages Rennes beat Jablonec 2-1 at home, lost 2-0 to Astana away, lost 1-2 to Dynamo Kyiv at home, and then lost to them away 3-1, before winning away at Jablonec, securing second place in the table by beating Astana 2-0.
In the round of 32 the score was Rennes 3 Betis 3, and then Betis 1 Renne 3.
In their team Rennes have ex-Newcastle winger Hatem Ben Arfa who joined Rennes as a free agent in September. And the other connection of course is that Petr Cech spent two seasons at Rennes before moving to Chelsea.
On the positive side for us, Rennes have forward M’Baye Niang and defender Hamari Traore suspended. Lacazette is out for us again because of the red card against BATE, and Eddie Nketiah is in the squad.
We have a great record against French teams, never losing away in a European tie to a side from France. And it should also e noted that we are in the last 16 of a European competition for the 16th successive season.
As ever we shall see.