Europa League: Rennes too soft against Arsenal

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French clubs will have deserted the European front in mid-March, before the quarter-finals. After the PSG, eliminated in the conditions of the 8th finals of the Champions League in the conditions that we know by Manchester United, after the Olympique Lyonnais released Wednesday at the same stadium of the same competition by FC Barcelona (1 -5 at Camp Nou, Lionel Messi superstar), is the Stade Rennais who took the door, also in the 8th finals of the Europa League, completely rinsed (3-0) at the Emirates Stadium by a team of Arsenal who simply had more hair on his chin. The go, won by Rennes (3-1) a week earlier, augured something else. But a European cup is two games.

The early meeting of the Bretons was cataclysmic: children lost in a world too big for them and they do not understand anything; neither the intensity, nor the refereeing, let alone the tactical skill of an opponent pretending to play low to open the spaces in counterattack thanks to his two arrows, the Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and his friend Alexandre Lacazette, former Lyonnais more or less tricard among the Blues. Without going into the red but looking after the impact and the duels, the Gunners had already returned the game after a quarter of an hour: Aaron Ramsey on the violin and Aubameyang at the conclusion at point-blank (1- 0, 4e), then the same Aubameyang who tries to center a ball that bit the line of goal and center for Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who doubles the setting of a header (2-0, 15th) . In the 31st minute, an artist like Lacazette goes to demolish a Benjamin André yet counting among the lumberjacks of the game: the world upside down? But no: just a kind of European apprenticeship, a welcome gift issued by Lacazette – at these heights, we are nothing without aggression.

The two teams went to the break like this: an Arsenal hard enough and athletically armed (power, speed, badness) to pass his opponent to the developer. And it said nothing good for the 8th league: not a ball hit by Rennes in the penalty area. Nothing new in the second half, except a shot on the post of Rennes striker M'Baye Niang on an unlikely mistake of the German defender Arsenal Skhodran Mustafi (47), indicating that the men trained by the former Parisian coach Unaï Emery also do not have a large margin. The sequel was supposed to belong to the artists, the detonators of a Breton team whose true level of players appears disparate, this season as in previous ones.

But these were hard: Ismaïla Sarr always out of season, as intimidated by the context, and Hatem Ben Arfa on his planet as always, with his people (his teammates) to hope for an august gesture of their genius. At the other end of the field, Aubameyang left to cut one center to put one more (3-0, 72nd) and the men trained by Julien Stephan found themselves having to mark either for the qualification like at 0-2 but for the extension, which did not change the equation of many. However, with this third goal, Clement Grenier and others have taken a hit on the helmet. And everything became even easier for the English, forgetting two goals on the road as if by distraction, astonishing themselves of the absence of the enemy. As Ben Arfa finally get excited a little, the English have gone rotten the end of the game. And curtain.

Besides Arsenal, Chelsea went to a 5-0 at Dynamo Kiev in Ukraine. Two English clubs in the quarter-finals of the Europa League, four (Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham) in the quarter-finals of the Champions League: the season 2018-2019 sees the English reinvest the European front in strength.

Grégory Schneider

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