Connect with us

Arsenal news

Arsenal 3-0 Rennes (4-3 agg): Hosts reach Europa League quarter-finals

Published

on


Arsenal 3-0 Rennes (4-3 agg): Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s double and Ainsley Maitland-Niles’ strike sees hosts reach Europa League quarter-finals

Martin Samuel for the Daily Mail

Advertisement

It really did not require a super hero to send Arsenal through in Europe on Thursday night. Still, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is as near as they have got to one around these parts, so it was only right that he should get to score the goal, and wear the mask, that confirmed their superiority.

Until Aubameyang scored his second of the night after 76 minutes, Arsenal were relying on UEFA’s away goals rule to secure their progress into the last eight. Aubameyang gave them an outright aggregate win. He celebrated by plucking a Black Panther mask from behind a hoarding, pulling it on and performing the crossed armed Wakanda Forever salute. He had it ready for the match with Manchester United, too, but when he scored couldn’t find it. Aren’t super heroes meant to have x-ray vision for that sort of stuff?

No matter. Wakanda is a fictional sub-Saharan African state invented by Marvel Comics, and the birthplace of their first black superhero. Since Black Panther became a hugely successful film, the Wakanda Forever sign has come to signify black excellence. Aubameyang certainly represents that. In his last 13 home games for Arsenal, he has been involved in 15 goals now: scoring 11, with four assists. He was the difference again last night, picking off Rennes just when they had started to look dangerous. 

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored twice for Arsenal as they reached the Europa League quarter-final stages

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored twice for Arsenal as they reached the Europa League quarter-final stages

The pacy striker channelled his inner superhero as Arsenal overturned a two-goal deficit from the first leg

The pacy striker channelled his inner superhero as Arsenal overturned a two-goal deficit from the first leg

The pacy striker channelled his inner superhero as Arsenal overturned a two-goal deficit from the first leg

Aubameyang scored his second, and Arsenal's third, of the night with this close-range finish on 72 minutes

Aubameyang scored his second, and Arsenal's third, of the night with this close-range finish on 72 minutes

Aubameyang scored his second, and Arsenal’s third, of the night with this close-range finish on 72 minutes

To celebrate his goal, the 29-year-old produced the iconic Wakanda Forever celebration from the film Black Panther

To celebrate his goal, the 29-year-old produced the iconic Wakanda Forever celebration from the film Black Panther

To celebrate his goal, the 29-year-old produced the iconic Wakanda Forever celebration from the film Black Panther 

He was quickly congratulated by his team-mates as Arsenal extended their return-leg lead over their French opponents

He was quickly congratulated by his team-mates as Arsenal extended their return-leg lead over their French opponents

He was quickly congratulated by his team-mates as Arsenal extended their return-leg lead over their French opponents

MATCH FACTS 

Arsenal: Cech, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal, Kolasinac, Ramsey, Xhaka, Maitland-Niles, Ozil, Aubameyang, Lacazette. 

Subs: Leno, Mkhitaryan, Torreira, Iwobi, Suarez, Guendouzi, Nketiah.

Rennes: Koubek, Traore, Da Silva, Mexer, Bensebaini, Bourigeaud, Andre, Grenier, Sarr, Ben Arfa, Niang. 

Subs: Badiashile, Zeffane, Doumbia, Lea Siliki, Del Castillo, Hunou, Gelin.

Referee: Andris Treimanis (Latvia)

It was a straightforward goal; a lovely cross by Sead Kolasinac, finished from close range by Aubameyang. He is a real poacher’s striker, always in and around the six-yard box, putting pressure on the last line of defence. Rennes could not cope with him. The best team won, even if Arsenal made harder work of it than they should.

It has been quite a week for English clubs in Europe: Manchester City’s seven past Schalke, Chelsea’s five in Kiev, Liverpool’s three against Bayern Munich the pick of the bunch. And Arsenal had far too much for Rennes. Looking at their casual dominance here – they were going through from the 15th minute – it is hard to believe they lost the first leg 3-1. It means the Champions League safety blanket – back door qualification as Europa League winners – remains, even if Arsenal may not need it given their current position, in fourth. Still, it has revitalised this competition – as Unai Emery’s reaction at the end showed.

By comparison, obviously, the Europa League is the poor relation of UEFA club competitions, nevertheless as the teams took the pitch, a stadium announcer attempted to add some spice to the occasion. ‘Welcome Rennes… and the Arsenal!’ he roared as if this was a clash of gladiators. Sadly, it soon became plain that the Emirates could have welcomed Rennes and Stimpy and the visitors would still have had their hands full.

The base level scoreline for Arsenal to progress was 2-0, and they had that lead within 15 minutes. If they did not add to it before half-time it was more because total control of a game does not always lend itself to laser focus. As the first-half neared conclusion Arsenal were playing training ground football. Mesut Ozil crossed and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang tried to finish it with a bicycle kick. A lovely pass from Ozil was then teed up by Alexandre Lacazette for Aaron Ramsey but his shot was tame and straight at Rennes goalkeeper Tomas Koubek. One wonders if Arsenal were chasing the game whether he would have been sio c casual.

For when Arsenal were playing catch-up they tore Rennes apart. Just four minutes had gone when a long ball from Ramsey required Koubek to tear out to tackle Lacazette. A minute later, Arsenal were ahead.

Aubameyang started Arsenal's comeback in brilliant fashion by scoring the opening goal of the game after five minutes

Aubameyang started Arsenal's comeback in brilliant fashion by scoring the opening goal of the game after five minutes

Aubameyang started Arsenal’s comeback in brilliant fashion by scoring the opening goal of the game after five minutes

The Gabon striker showed his predatory instinct inside the penalty area with this close-range finish

The Gabon striker showed his predatory instinct inside the penalty area with this close-range finish

The Gabon striker showed his predatory instinct inside the penalty area with this close-range finish

It was great work by Aaron Ramsey (left) who managed to squeeze in a low cross for his team-mate - despite Rennes pressure

It was great work by Aaron Ramsey (left) who managed to squeeze in a low cross for his team-mate - despite Rennes pressure

It was great work by Aaron Ramsey (left) who managed to squeeze in a low cross for his team-mate – despite Rennes pressure

Aubameyang begins to turn away in celebration as Arsenal take the lead and reduce the aggregate scoreline

Aubameyang begins to turn away in celebration as Arsenal take the lead and reduce the aggregate scoreline

Aubameyang begins to turn away in celebration as Arsenal take the lead and reduce the aggregate scoreline

He was quickly mobbed by his team-mates after getting his side off to the perfect start at the Emirates Stadium

It was a simple goal, simply executed. The fast improving Ainsley Maitland-Niles made ground down the right, slipping the ball inside to Ramsey. His cross was whipped across the face of goal and Aubameyang converted it with an outstretched leg from close range. It was his 31st goal in 53 appearances. One hopes even those whose protests led to Arsene Wenger’s exit last season, acknowledge that the former manager left them with one very good striker.

The next attack brought the aggregate scores level and Arsenal ahead on away goals. It was almost certainly offside but as the game was being officiated by the cream of Latvian arbiters, ruling out a home goal in front of the home spectators, is hardly to be expected. When do you think a referee ever feels the pressure of 60,000 home fans in Latvia?

Aubameyang cut the ball back to Ramsey, who then played it through to Sead Kolasinac, clearly in an offside position. The Bosnian defender, wisely did not challenge for it, raising both arms to acknowledge he had no intention of interfering with play. Rennes, however, stopped – but Aubameyang did not. He ran for the pass, and was now in yards of space. There was a reason for that. He was offside when the ball was played, too. No doubt the officials were so busy watching Kolasinac they had not noticed the second Arsenal man in play. Aubameyang crossed and Maitland-Niles met his delivery with a header at the far post. Might Koubek or a covering defender have done more to block? Certainly – but they were sluggish responding to the oversight and did not recover in time.

Mesut Ozil (right) makes a sliding challenge to dispossess Clement Grenier during the first half

Mesut Ozil (right) makes a sliding challenge to dispossess Clement Grenier during the first half

Mesut Ozil (right) makes a sliding challenge to dispossess Clement Grenier during the first half

Arsenal's night got even better just nine minutes later when Ainsley Maitland-Niles made it 2-0 on the night

Arsenal's night got even better just nine minutes later when Ainsley Maitland-Niles made it 2-0 on the night

Arsenal’s night got even better just nine minutes later when Ainsley Maitland-Niles made it 2-0 on the night

The rising star headed home after good work by Aubameyang - who floated a cross towards the far post

The rising star headed home after good work by Aubameyang - who floated a cross towards the far post

The rising star headed home after good work by Aubameyang – who floated a cross towards the far post

Maitland-Niles' downward header proved too good for the Rennes defence who could only watch it bounce into the net

Maitland-Niles' downward header proved too good for the Rennes defence who could only watch it bounce into the net

Maitland-Niles’ downward header proved too good for the Rennes defence who could only watch it bounce into the net

The 21-year-old rejoiced with joy after netting his first European goal for the club on Thursday night

The 21-year-old rejoiced with joy after netting his first European goal for the club on Thursday night

The 21-year-old rejoiced with joy after netting his first European goal for the club on Thursday night

It was an important goal in the tie as it meant that Arsenal were now in front against their French opposition

It was an important goal in the tie as it meant that Arsenal were now in front against their French opposition

It was an important goal in the tie as it meant that Arsenal were now in front against their French opposition

The youngster's mood was in stark contrast to Rennes' who were now behind on aggregate due to the away goal rule

The youngster's mood was in stark contrast to Rennes' who were now behind on aggregate due to the away goal rule

The youngster’s mood was in stark contrast to Rennes’ who were now behind on aggregate due to the away goal rule

So, Arsenal level and on top so early, much of the urgency went out of the game. Damien Da Silva needed several minutes treatment after Aubameyang’s boot caught him in the upper torso as they jumped together for a ball – he might have been better off wondering why the Arsenal man was so much higher than him that this should happen – and then there was an exchange of rash tackles. Mexer was booked, perhaps harshly, for a foul on Lacazette; Lacazette was booked, not at all harshly, for absolutely clearing out Rennes captain Benjamin Andre.

Just two minutes into the second-half, however, a reality check. Shkodran Mustafi was cheaply dispossessed by Clement Grenier, who gave the ball to striker M’Baye Niang. He took one touch, then hit a low shot which flew off Petr Cech’s right post. An away goal and Arsenal would be on the brink again.

Or a sending off. After 55 minutes, Lacazette arrived late on Ramy Bensebainl. In the circumstances it was fortunate that the only yellow shown was to Grenier for his furious protests, and not to Lacazette. It would have been his second of the night.



Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Arsenal news

Arsenal receive boost ahead of Liverpool showdown with first-team star set to return

Published

on

By


Arsenal have received a welcome boost ahead of their clash with Liverpool this weekend, with Granit Xhaka set to return to the fold.

The Gunners face last season’s Champions League winners at Anfield on Saturday evening in what will be their toughest test of the new season so far.

And they’ll be boosted by the news that club captain Xhaka will be available for the trip to Merseyside.

The Switzerland international missed Arsenal’s first home league game of the season last weekend – a 2-1 win over Burnley – with bruising to his lower back and leg.

That bruising, however, has subsided and the former Borussia Monchengladbach ace has returned to full training.

Gunners boss Unai Emery will likely throw him back into the starting XI as he’ll need some grit in the middle of the park against Jurgen Klopp’s troops.

Arsenal could also welcome Mesut Ozil back to the squad this weekend.

The German midfielder has missed the first two games of the new campaign due to security concerns, which stemmed from an attempted robbery in north London late last month.

Arsenal suffered an embarrassing 5-1 loss to Liverpool in their last visit to Anfield and former Gunner Ray Parlour believe they’re a million miles behind the Reds.

“I heard a few shows yesterday saying we can challenge for the league, but they’re a million miles away from Man City and Liverpool at the moment, if I’m honest,” Parlour said during an appearance on talkSPORT.

“How many Arsenal players would get into the Liverpool team? The most important think is getting back into the Champions League.

“Maybe they could push a bit higher, but if they get fourth place this season I’d be delighted.”

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Arsenal news

Transfer news: FIVE of the Premier League's big six are ready to battle for Kai Havertz

Published

on

By


FIVE of the Premier League’s big six are ready to battle rest of Europe for Bayer Leverkusen prodigy Kai Havertz, with Germans wanting at least £91m for star midfielder

  • Kai Havertz has picked up where he left off for Bayer Leverkusen this season  
  • The 20-year-old has top clubs around Europe looking to secure his signature
  • Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United and city are all interested in him 

Five of the Premier League‘s big six are prepared to join the rest of Europe’s top clubs in the bidding war for Kai Havertz next summer.

The 20-year-old Bayer Leverkusen midfielder, who has already been capped by Germany three times, has been one of the stand-out stars in the Bundesliga over the past two seasons. 

He grabbed 20 goals in all competitions last season, setting up a further seven, and was the subject of numerous enquiries this summer. 

Kai Havertz is wanted by a host of European clubs, including those in the Premier League

Kai Havertz is wanted by a host of European clubs, including those in the Premier League

Those have all been ignored, however, according to Sport 1, there is an acceptance at the Bundesliga outfit that this is likely to be his last before the cash in on him.

They report that a host of clubs are interested in Havertz, including Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool.

They will face tough competition though, with both Barcelona and Real Madrid keen on the winger, while Bayern Munich are confident of persuading him to stay in Germany.

Any side looking to secure a deal though will have to be prepared to pay for it.

Bayer are understood to want €100m (£91m) for him, in  what would be a record fee received by the club.  

The 20-year-old already has three caps for Germany and scored in Leverkusen's season opener

The 20-year-old already has three caps for Germany and scored in Leverkusen's season opener

The 20-year-old already has three caps for Germany and scored in Leverkusen’s season opener



Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Arsenal news

Arsenal told the two January signings they must make to secure Champions League football

Published

on

By


Arsenal must add a defensive midfielder and a centre-back to their squad in January to ensure they will qualify for the Champions League this season, claims ex-England striker Kevin Phillips.

The Gunners surprised most people in the summer with the number of signings they made.

Nicolas Pepe joined for a club-record £72million and was joined by the likes of Kieran Tierney, Dani Ceballos and David Luiz.

Director Josh Kroenke claimed this week Arsenal would be again looking to improve the squad in January.

Phillips says it is a good sign there will be more money available during the next transfer window.

And he reckons a new defensive midfielder and centre-back would help cement a top-four spot in the Premier League.

“I’m talking about finishing in a Champions League spot where they haven’t been for quite a while now,” Phillips said on The Debate.

“I think so [top four would be a success] yeah, progression.

“If they can get to January they might add again.

“If what we’re hearing’s true there’s going to be money available.

“Go and get that defensive midfielder, go and get another powerhouse centre-half, really make yourself strong challengers.

“In terms of the title, I don’t see anyone challenging City or Liverpool for a bit.

“But I think progression for Arsenal, to get into the Champions League is the main priority this year.

“I think get to January, if they can add to the squad and are sitting in a healthy position, then they might have a chance yeah.”

Phillips’ comments came after Kroenke said: “I would say that if you’re reacting and doing club-record signings based on public opinion, you’re not going to go very far as a club.

“We weren’t reactive this summer, we were actually proactive.

“As for January, I don’t want to get ahead of ourselves.

“We’ve got to evaluate some things in the short term and figure out where we might need to address going forward, so when January does roll around we’re going to be proactive again.”

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending

HTML Snippets Powered By : XYZScripts.com