Rennes arrive at the Emirates on Thursday evening, knowing that all they have to do, is defend their advantage and they must surely fancy their chances of achieving that.
That could be a dangerous game plan because a team can only soak up continuous pressure for so long and even if it has been manageable to a point, forced errors will start to creep in.
Let’s speculate that this is the case and Rennes park the bus, hardly straying out of their own half, relying on counterattacks. It will only take one goal to undo that sense of self-determination that the French team undoubtedly have.
The North London club need to score really early on to stop the nerves jangling and with a good win behind them against Manchester United and the benefit of home advantage, Arsenal could easily follow in the footsteps of their Northern rivals and overturn a European deficit.
Ideally, Arsenal will grab a two-goal lead before half time and the pressure will be off for the team and it’s edgy supporters, allowing the Gunners to seize control and facilitate a more natural dominance for the following 45.
If this scenario becomes reality, the Emirates club will have to be careful of the sucker punch presented by Rennes. One goal from the likes of Sarri could throw all the plans up in the air and permutations out of the window.
Emery has to field his strongest attacking side, one that is prepared to fight all the way and for every ball. For me, it’s a similar formation to Sunday’s game, full of intent and striking options and probably the first name on the team sheet apart from Leno would be Ramsey.
The game against United showed he was still ambitious for the team and dug deep to get a well-deserved result. Maitland Niles demands inclusion because of his second-half performance, which went some way to snuffing out the threat of Lukaku.
Xhaka and Kolasinac would also be on my team sheet and Emery has the luxury of resting his players after this game, they don’t have another until the beginning of the next month.
I would be seriously tempted to stick closely to the side that dished it out to United, that held firm, disrupted and frustrated them with substantially less possession. If Emery changes anything, it may be the right back position, which would be a shame.
Emery’s options would be either Mustafi or Lichsteiner, neither of which I’m confident in.
Arsenal can get goals, plenty of them but it’s keeping focused and alert at the back, which will be the main concern.
Lacazette returns from suspension and one would expect Emery to play him as the main striker with Aubameyang, Iwobi and Kolasinac stretching the Rennes defence to gain those important goals but Arsenal can’t afford to be wasteful in this match.
Preferred team(4-2-3-1): Cech, Kolasinac, Mustafi, Koscielny, Maitland Niles, Xhaka, Torriera, Ozil, Ramsey, Aubameyang, Lacazette.
Predicted score: Arsenal should have too much at home for Rennes – 4-0
Do you want your Arsenal opinion to be heard? We are looking for Writers who can passionately represent their views. Get started by contacting us here: firstname.lastname@example.org Follow us on Twitter here: @arsenalfever360. Picture lover? Follow our Instagram account here: arsenal_fever and LIKE us on Facebook here: Arsenal Fever