Rennes vs Arsenal
Competition: UEFA Europa League
Date: 7 March 2019
Kick-off: 18:55 CET
Rennes produced one of the biggest surprises of the round of 32, not so much by eliminating Betis, but with the way they did it. After a thrilling 3-3 draw at home in the first leg, Rennes took a 0-2 lead in Seville in the first 30 minutes(!). Betis did shorten the gap before the end of the first half, a 2-2 would qualify them for the last 16, but the fourth goal in the match came again from Rennes, in added time, 1-3. Their most recent game was last Wednesday, a 2-0 victory over Orleans in the Coupe de France. They have several players missing; Jordan Siebatcheu, Romain Danzé, Abdoulaye Diallo, Ludovic Baal, all four are injured, while Hamari Traoré is suspended. Plus, James Lea Siliki was considered doubtful the day before the match. On the other hand, Hatem Ben Arfa is available, and most eyes will be on him. They are expected to start with Koubek, Bensebaini, Mexer, Silva, Zeffane, Niang, Grenier, André, Sarr, Ben Arfa and Hunou.
Arsenal started the return leg against BATE in London knowing they would have to be super careful defensively, after having failed to score in Belarus (1-0 loss). Four minutes into the game, a BATE own-goal lifted a burden off the Arsenal players shoulders. Mustafi made it 2-0 before half time, but it was really Papastathopoulos’ goal in the 60th minute that secured Arsenal the ticket to the last 16 of the Europa League. On Saturday they drew 1-1 at Wembley with London rivals Tottenham. They sit 5th in the Premier League table, just one point behind 4th-placed Manchester United. Rob Holding, Héctor Bellerín and Danny Welbeck are injured, while Alexandre Lacazette will miss both games against Rennes due to suspension. The Gunners are expected to start with Cech, Kolasinac, Papastathopoulos, Mustafi, Maitland-Niles, Torreira, Xhaka, Iwobi, Ozil, Mkhitaryan and Aubameyang.
Previous five matches:
Rennes vs Orleans 2-0
Rennes vs Marseille 1-1
Betis vs Rennes 1-3
Reims vs Rennes 2-0
Rennes vs Betis 3-3
Tottenham vs Arsenal 1-1
Arsenal vs Bournemouth 5-1
Arsenal vs Southampton 2-0
Arsenal vs BATE 3-0
BATE vs Arsenal 1-0
Rennes’ next game is on Sunday, again at home, versus Caen (France Ligue 1). Same day, Arsenal will be hosting Manchester United (England Premier League).
Rennes vs Arsenal: Head to head Stats
No history between these two.
Rennes vs Arsenal: Prediction
At this point, it feels like Rennes have got nothing to lose. I expect them to look… enthusiastic, gutsy, and to score.
Rennes vs Arsenal: Betting Tips
“Both teams to score” is at 1.70, not fantastic, but… acceptable. Combined with “over 2.5 goals” it pays 2.15, which I prefer to Arsenal’s victory at 2.02.