Arsenal have been given a further lifeline with Alexandre Lacazette now cleared to play against Stade Rennais on Thursday. UEFA have listened to Arsenal’s appeal and came to the decision to reduce his ban to two games. Lacazette picked up the straight red card for a poor foul against BATE Borisov during their first leg match in the previous Europa League round.
Unai Emery will now have the opportunity to include Lacazette in an attacking formation if lined up with Aubameyang and Ozil. Considering that Arsenal do not have a Premier League match this weekend due to FA Cup matches on the schedule, Emery will have the opportunity to lay it all on the line against Rennes.
Arsenal looked dangerous on the ball against Manchester United with their creativity and quality in attack opening up opportunities. Since the Gunners will need to score at least two unanswered goals in order to advance, a player of Lacazette’s quality could prove critical to getting Arsenal over the line. Lacazette has only appeared four times in the Europa League this season with one goal, but his impressive play in the Premier League are indicative of his quality.
Emery may look to mimic the style of play employed against Manchester United this past weekend, which saw the Spaniard implement a three back formation. He did field a strong side in the first leg, but may look to include Ramsey and Lacazette to get out on the front foot at the Emirates. Unfortunately, Arsenal will be without Sokratis who is banned one match for receiving a second yellow card against Rennes last week.
Arsenal will need to be at their best and push for early goals to advance to the round of eight. With Chelsea favored against Dynamo Kyiv, Arsenal are the only other Premier League side in the competition. The fight for top four in the Premier League looks increasingly likely to go down to the last game. With the pressure to play against the best sides, both Chelsea and Arsenal will hope to get back to the Champions League any way they can. One thing is for sure, it will be an energetic but nervous atmosphere at the Emirates this Thursday.