Rennes v Arsenal Tips: Honours even in tight first-leg tonight?
Unai Emery has already won the Europa League three times with Sevilla. He’ll take a big step towards landing a fourth if Arsenal can claim a first-leg advantage against Rennes tonight.
The Gunners are unbeaten in four matches following Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Tottenham. But they’ve only won twice on the road since a late-November success over Vorskla.
Can they improve on their away day blues in Rennes? Or will Emery’s boys slip up like they did against BATE Borisov last month?
Arsenal’s away record speaks for itself. Coupled with Rennes’ form at home, though, and the Gunners could encounter more than a few problems in Brittany.
Emery’s men have won over half of their matches against French sides in Europe. Our traders go even-money about an Arsenal win, while it’s 12/5 for the Draw.
Should the Gunners’ quality cancel out Rennes’ home advantage, we go 11/2 about a 1-1 stalemate.
Arsenal lacked any real creative spark in defeat at BATE last month. Mesut Ozil could be restored to the side as a result, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Alex Iwobi starting either side.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is expected to be given the nod up-front, while Shkodran Mustafi should replace Laurent Koscielny at the back in Emery’s usual 4-2-3-1 formation.
Rennes should match-up in a similar way, with creative orchestrator and ex-Newcastle United man Hatem Ben Arfa sitting behind the in-form Adrien Honou, who has three goals in five matches.
Electric winger Ismaila Sarr could cause Arsenal problems down the left, while the experienced Clement Grenier will pull the strings in midfield alongside Benjamin Bourigeaud.
19-goal man Aubameyang is the obvious pick at 11/8. But the Gabonese forward hasn’t scored in the Europa League since netting a double against Vorskla in September.
That leads us to Ozil, who has been in splendid form of late and is 16/5 Anytime or 17/2 to Score First. Sokratis is Arsenal’s joint top-scorer in the competition this term and is a 12/1 shot in France.
For the hosts, Ben Arfa has netted on seven occasions this term, including the opener in a 3-3 draw with Real Betis. As the regular penalty taker, he could get a chance from the spot this evening too.
Where: Roazhon Park
How to watch: BT Sport 3
Click here for the latest Rennes v Arsenal odds
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.