Thursday, April 2, 2020

Prediction: Rennes vs Arsenal

Verdict: Arsenal win

Best Odds: 21/20

Bookmaker: Bet365

Rennes welcome Arsenal to the Roazhon Park stadium on Thursday for the first leg of their Europa League round of 16 double fixture.


The French side currently sit in 10th place in the Ligue 1 table with 37 points to their name. In the group stages of this competition this season they finished second to Dynamo Kiev and ahead of FC Astana and FK Jablonec in third and fourth place, respectively. They drew 3-3 at home against Real Betis in the first leg of the round of 32, and then stunned the Spanish side in Seville by winning 1-3. They are by no means an easy opponent.

The players likely to cause Arsenal the most problems are former Paris Saint-Germain and Newcastle attacking midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa and pacey winger Ismaila Sarr.

Team News

Rennes will be without forward M’Baye Niang and right-back Hamari Traore, who are both suspended, while defender Damien Da Silva runs the risk of missing the second leg should he pick up a yellow card in this one.


The Gunners are still in a transition period following the sacking of Arsene Wenger last summer after 22 years in charge. Former Sevilla and Paris Saint-Germain coach Unai Emery has done reasonably well since replacing the Frenchman, and his team are in the fifth place in the Premier League. They come into this match on the back of a difficult North-London Derby in which they drew 1-1 with Tottenham Hotspur, and they host Manchester United the following weekend. It seems this game could hardly have come in a more difficult moment for them, but they still pack a lot of quality.

Team News

Striker Alexandre Lacazette is suspended, which means Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is practically certain to start, as is Lucas Torreira who is suspended in domestic competitions following a red card against Spurs. Hector Bellerin, Rob Holding and Danny Welbeck are out through injury for the rest of the season.

Key Factors

  • These two teams have never met in any of UEFA’s competitions.
  • Arsenal seem to be on better form domestically, with the English team winning three of their last five league games, drawing one and losing one, while Rennes won two, drew one and lost two.
  • Unai Emery should have decent knowledge of the French team, having managed PSG for two years.


Though they have been known to disappoint on occasion, not least in the first leg of the round of 32 against BATE Borisov, Arsenal have more quality in their team and they shouldn’t have any difficulty in navigating through this tie and into the next round. A good result in France would get them half way there.

Verdict: Arsenal win

Best Odds: 21/20

Bookmaker: Bet365


Veselin Trajkovic

Vesko is a football writer that likes to observe the game for what it is, focusing on teams, players and their roles, formations, tactics, rather than stats. He follows the English Premier League closely, Liverpool FC in particular. His articles have been published on four different football blogs.



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