Arsenal Suffer Double Blow Ahead Of Europa League Last-16 Clash With Rennes
Earlier today Arsenal discovered their opponents in the Europa League last-16, Ligue 1 side Rennes, who Unai Emery’s men will do battle with over two ties in March.
However, due to the ‘city-clash’ rule, the Gunners have now agreed to switch the legs of the tie - so they will be at home in the second-leg - as Chelsea clash with Dynamo Kiev on the same night. Although strangely this rule didn’t apply last night when both clubs played home games in the competition, albeit at different times.
Having the home-leg second is actually a plus to many people, but not to those Gunners supporters who had already booked their transport to Rennes in the instant aftermath of the draw. Unsurprisingly, they weren’t happy at the sudden switch - see below.
Worse still, Arsenal have now learnt that they will be without striker Alexandre Lacazette for both the home-and-away fixtures with Rennes due to suspension.
The Frenchman, who has a dozen goals to his name this season including 10 in the Premier League, was sent off against BATE Borisov in the 1-0 defeat last week after he elbowed Aleksandar Filipovic. He subsequently missed the 3-0 win last night, which saw his side qualify through to the next round, but has now found out that he won’t play any part in the last-16 clash.
The first-leg will take place on March 7 in France, before the return fixture at the Emirates Stadium on March 14.
Arsenal are one of the favourites to win the Europa League, a competition Unai Emery has won three times, while Chelsea, Napoli, Sevilla, and Inter Milan also feature prominently in the betting.