Home Match Day Aubameyang does a black panther, as Arsenal cruise into Europa League quarters

Aubameyang does a black panther, as Arsenal cruise into Europa League quarters

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The Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang show rolled into town last night and he did his utmost to dump audacious Rennes out of the Europa league competition on his own.

Two goals, an assist and a booking capped a very productive nights work for Arsenal’s Gabonese hotshot. The booking was for his celebration, which included donning a set of gloves and mask of the Marvel Character ‘Black Panther’.

It appears that only a nod and a wave are acceptable these days and that within two years even a raised arm and a smile may be banished from the game. This overshadowed an industrious and exciting contest, where the Gunners came out all guns blazing, determined to brush aside a hopeful Rennes.

The north London club didn’t even resemble the side that got a comprehensive trashing in France, as they established a quick, slick passing game, that immediately had the Rennes players looking like a drunk searching for paracetamol, the day after the night before.

The crowd had hardly had time to moan about the traffic when Aubameyang nudged the Gunners in front. Maitland-Niles, who is gaining in confidence and stature, whistled down the right before finding Ramsey.

The Welshman pushed the ball through the gap in defence towards the poking toe of Aubameyang for a dream start to the proceedings with just 5 minutes gone. One man even missed it by venturing off to the toilet, no doubt feeling the effects of a nervous stomach.

He then had to enquire who scored and who was involved, which is always annoying but Aubameyang and Arsenal weren’t allowing for calls of nature or any other insignificance’s as they blew Rennes away with their lightning pace.

It was to be Arsenal’s night but they will have to avoid the occasional periods of sloppy play and the wayward passes of Xhaka, who sometimes plays like twice the player he actually is and on others, like his boots are still in their boxes. Let’s not dwell on the negative here, let’s look forward, now that’s possible and focus on a good run in the Europa and Premier league.

Maitland-Niles could actually save Arsenal the price of a medium size Castle if he continues to grow and develop at this rate. Not in his preferred role of midfield, it’s the second occasion that he has stood out as a make shift right back and I’m sure he will start more frequently when Emery shuffles the pack in the summer.

He was on hand for Arsenal’s second after 15 minutes, which put Arsenal fans at ease and almost had the job done. Ramsey started the move with a ball that looked destined to go out of play but Aubameyang gave chase, delivered a prefect cross and Maitland-Niles applied the finish.

There could have been more goals, at least another two and Aubameyang should have had three for himself but just couldn’t make the most of one glorious opportunity, which looked harder to miss than to score.

Yet, he was the undeniable star of the show and displayed an appetite to overturn the deficit from the whistle.  Cutting across the pitch, sprinting around the left, dashing in from the right, forcing himself through the middle, instead of ‘The Black Panther’ he could easily have been ‘The flash’

He added to his tally in the 72nd minute when the impressive Kolasinac, whipped a low ball into the area for the striker to apply direction. It was a solid, professional performance which Unai Emery seems able to extract when necessary but let’s not get carried away just yet, there are still difficult teams in the draw and there’s the little matter of a 4th place in the premier league to contest.

It was a good evenings work and Koscielny also deserves a mention for his efforts in providing yet another clean sheet. Arsenal will now take on Napoli in the quarterfinals of the Europa League.

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