In the week in which Tottenham Hotspur produced another stellar victory over Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund, and Manchester United somehow saw off Ligue 1 champions, Paris Saint-Germain, Arsenal suffered a 3-1 defeat to mid-table Rennes in the Europa League.
To exacerbate matters, the Gunners fielded an extremely strong squad at the Roazhon Park, with characters such as Lucas Torreira, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, and Mesut Ozil, with record-signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang leading the line.
Rennes player Hatem Ben Afta certainly didn’t waste the opportunity to rub salt into the wound, having a sly dig at his former manager Unai Emery, who he famously fell out with whilst both were at Paris Saint-Germain, and is now at the helm of Arsenal;
“My motivation was to play a solid match, to win & ourselves into a good position to go through. That’s what was in my head. But I did see the same Emery, as agitated as ever. I looked over at him a few times and that made me laugh a little.”
Arsenal are now staring yet another trophyless season in the face, and things don’t get any easier domestically this weekend. The Gunners are fighting for their top four lives with a crucial match up with marauding Manchester United at the Emirates Stadium this Sunday,
Manchester United are on the current longest unbeaten run in the Premier League, winning 10 and drawing two of their last 12 games. The last meeting between the two came in January, with Arsenal stunned 3-1 (there’s that scoreline again) on their home turf to crash out of the FA Cup.
Moreover, the performance of the Red Devils showed the distinct contrast of the league meeting of having to grind out a 2-2 draw at Old Trafford, under former manager Jose Mourinho.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could smash yet another record, to become the first Manchester United manager in the history of the club to win his first two away meetings with Arsenal in all competitions. It would mark his 10th away win since being appointed interim manager of the 13-time Premier League champions back in December
With Man Utd coming off a glorious 3-1 win in the France capital, and Arsenal traipsing back to North London with that very same result not in their favour, it’s looking likely to be a long week for Gooners, everywhere, who will be fearing the worst as The Red Devils head to The Emirates for Sunday afternoon's clash.