Ozil & AMN start as Emery makes 6 changes | Expected Arsenal line-up vs Rennes
Arsenal take on Rennes in our Europa League last-16 tie on Thursday evening. Here is the side Gooner Mac thinks Unai Emery will select for the game:
Arsenal will be looking to bring home a positive result from the first leg of our Europa League last-16 tie with Rennes on Thursday evening. Here is the side Gooner Mac thinks Unai Emery will select for the game:
Goalkeeper: Bernd Leno made a stunning double save during the 1-1 draw with Tottenham at the weekend to prove why he’s our number one, however, the German is likely to drop out tomorrow. Emery has gone with Petr Cech in the cups this season and he’s expected to start against Rennes.
Defence: Emery is likely to play a back four on Thursday evening and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Laurent Koscielny given a breather as he’s still managing his playing time following a serious Achilles injury so he may be saved for the Manchester United game on Sunday. That means Shkodran Mustafi could move into the middle of defence alongside Sokratis following his stint at right-back against Spurs.
Hector Bellerin is obviously still out while Stephan Lichtsteiner and Carl Jenkinson haven’t travelled to France so Ainsley Maitland-Niles could start at right-back. Nacho Monreal started against Tottenham but I think Sead Kolasinac will be recalled at left-back for this one.
Midfield: Lucas Torreira will be suspended against United at the weekend after being sent off in the North London Derby so it would make sense for him to start against Rennes. Granit Xhaka is favourite to keep him place in the middle of the park so we could see Matteo Guendouzi given a breather.
Attack: Alexandre Lacazette won’t feature tomorrow evening as he’ll serve the second game of his three-match suspension following his sending off in the first leg against BATE Borisov in the previous round. Pierre-Emerick Auabmeyang will therefore be recalled to start up front and he’ll be looking to bounce back following his penalty miss against Spurs.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan has found some form in recent games and I expect the Armenian international to keep his place in attack along with Alex Iwobi who’s also been putting in some impressive performances this season.
Aaron Ramsey showed against Tottenham that he’s still going to give 100% for Arsenal despite the fact he’ll join Juventus in the summer and the Welshman will be hoping to keep his place after opening the scoring at the weekend.
However, Mesut Ozil is pushing for a recall and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the German playmaker back in the side tomorrow evening. Ozil was excellent during the resounding win over Bournemouth last weekend and although Emery has been reluctant to start him in tricky away games, I think Mesut might get the nod against Rennes as we look to score a crucial away goal.
January signing Denis Suarez will probably have to make-do with a place among the substitutes once again as he continues to take his time settling in to life in England while youngster Eddie Nketiah has also travelled with the squad.
Here is how I think we’ll see Arsenal line-up:
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