Arsenal – Stade Rennais: Unai Emery Wins The Tactical Battle As Arsenal Complete Comeback (3-0)
After losing 3-1 away in France, Arsenal stepped it up at the Emirates and produced a brilliant performance to complete the comeback and progress into the quarter-finals of the Europa League. Despite managing to stay in the tie until the final whistle, Rennes were outclassed here, simply unable to cope with Arsenal’s off-the-ball movement in particular.
Tactical analysis and match report by Cem Soylu.
The way Rennes carved up Arsenal at home was one of the most notable results in the first leg of this season’s Europa League Round of 16. Even if the result was a bit flattering for Rennes considering the chances in that match, Arsenal had to make up a lot of ground in the return match.
To overcome the deficit, Arsenal’s manager Unai Emery chose the same 3-4-1-2 formation that Arsenal played in against Manchester United over the weekend, instead of the 4-2-3-1 shape they fielded in the first leg in France. The only personnel change in comparison to the Manchester United game was the inclusion of Shkodran Mustafi in place of Sokratis, who missed out due to the red card he received in the first leg.
Rennes themselves made two changes compared to the first leg – Hamari Traoré replaced Mehdi Zeffane at the right back position, and M’Baye Niang, who missed the first leg due to a yellow card suspension, joined Hatem Ben Arfa up top in a 4-4-2 formation. Ben Arfa’s role is one of a lot of freedom . . .