Emery will need to bring all his European experience and make it count tonight against Rennes at the Emirates. It doesn’t come any simpler, Arsenal need to win by at least two goals without conceding.
Conceding goals remains the biggest concern but let’s look at the last two premiership games before we start looking for the life boats.
Arsenal demonstrated a great work ethic and displayed phenomenal desire in both matches against Spurs and Manchester United and one could argue, had it not been for the dubious penalty scored by Harry Kane, the gunners would have two clean sheets behind them. Not bad for a defence that has been so inconsistent and weak.
The first leg against Rennes, was an unfortunate blot on the gunners recent record. They looked reasonably settled and in command up until the sending off of Sokratis. After that, it went horribly wrong and was compounded, in my opinion, by Emery’s decision to withdraw all his attacking options.
lets skip over that, because anyone can make a mistake and I want to keep the positive vibe going for this encounter. Arsenal now haven’t got a game until April and will almost certainly play a full strength, attacking side, which will now include Lacazette back from suspension.
The application that Arsenal showed against United needs to be replicated and I don’t think the side will vary much from the one that took the gunners into the top four.
Emery will have to commit players in attack and show ambition to turn the tide and one particular player comes to mind, who could turn this situation around.
Sead Kolasinac was missing from the first leg and if we had the luxury of starting again with a man short, he would certainly be someone I’d call upon.
Physically strong, with pace and the ability to present a delightfully savage cross for a striker, Kolasinac has shown in recent outings that he has what it takes going forward. As a left back, he needs to work on the defensive side of his game but even that looked better against United.
Arsenal should be able to get an advantage within 20 minutes and if they maintain the intensity, it could be a comfortable win. However, they will need to keep an eye on Sarr, who may well be on everyone’s shopping list in the summer, after a series of standout performance for the Ligue 1 side.
Emery knows what the knock out stages need and will be prepared tactically for every eventuality in this game. So much so, he has already planned out his substitutions in advance and we can expect fresh legs as the second half develops.
My preferred line up:-
Cech, kolasinac, Mustafi, Koscileny, Maitland Niles, Xhaka,Torriera, Ozil/Iwobi, Ramsey,Aubameyang, Lacazette.
predicted score:- 4-0 Arsenal win.