Arsenal hope Lacazette can spur comeback against Rennes

Striker’s unexpected availability a timely boost as side look to overturn 3-1 deficit

‘We all know how important Alex Lacazette [above] is to the group,’ says midfielder Lucas Torreira. Photograph: Ian Kington/AFP/Getty Images

‘We all know how important Alex Lacazette [above] is to the group,’ says midfielder Lucas Torreira. Photograph: Ian Kington/AFP/Getty Images

 

Lucas Torreira has outlined his confidence that Arsenal have the firepower to overturn Rennes’ advantage in the Europa League on Thursday night. With Alexandre Lacazette given a Uefa reprieve thanks to the reduction of his suspension, Torreira urged the team’s attacking players to lead the charge as Arsenal seek to comeback from a 3-1 deficit suffered in Brittany last week.

“We all know how important Alex Lacazette is to the group,” he said. “The more players we have available, the better, as we have some quality players in midfield and up top, and let’s hope we can make that danger pay.”

Arsenal’s Uruguayan is positive his team can turn this situation on its head. “We had this in the last round, where we had to turn the tie around,” he says. “Last week in Rennes was a very different game until the red card for Sokratis Papastathopoulos. That did change things, and Rennes were able to take advantage. We have complete faith and confidence we will do the job and go through to the next round.”

Rennes are understandably perturbed that Lacazette should be suddenly made available halfway through the tie, and a month after the incident, where he was shown a red card in the last round at Bate Borisov. Unai Emery, however, was boosted by the news. “The news is positive for us,” he said. “It will be a tough match but our demand for our best performance is very high. We need to be together, to play with high emotion, but taking clever decisions on the pitch.”

Buoyed by win

Arsenal come into this situation buoyed by their win over Manchester United in the Premier League, a game that showed Emery could pick a strong attacking lineup, including Lacazette, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Mesut Özil and Aaron Ramsey, and still maintain some resilience.

That blend is needed on Thursday night as Rennes possess speed and penetration on the counterattack. “They have fresh spirit and fresh players,” Emery said. “Against us they showed they have possibility to win. But we are going to try to impose our game plan to come back against them. We want to show tomorrow can be different.

“We are very demanding of ourselves. For us, it’s one positive issue because we want to play big matches, tough matches against the best teams – and in the Europa League we are finding some results like the last round against Bate Borisov.” – Guardian

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