Rennes Review: Arsenal Ability To Self-Destruct Remains Undimmed

Rennes 3 – 1 Arsenal

Matteo Gunedouzi found football’s ability to make a player eat his words is as strong as ever. Twenty-four hours after he proclaimed he played with his heart and gave 150%, he failed to make an effort in tracking back and we find ourselves with a two-goal deficit to overhaul.

Hatem Ben Arfa’s admission he laughed at Unai Emery may yet come back to haunt him.

But almost everyone’s eyes are on Unai Emery. Arsenal came up short in the most familiar of situations: reduced to ten men. I’m not sure there is too much argument to be had with Sokratis’ dimissal. The first was definitely a booking and the second? Well, that’s the sort of booking you get when you’ve been niggling at everyone. It’s as if there was some sort of totting up process going on.

It proved to be a double blow. Bourigeaud delivered an exceptionally poor free-kick which hit the wall. He then produced an exceptional strike from the rebound. It’s safe to say, he won’t strike the ball as well again. Of course he won’t; he’s only got next week’s return leg fixture to face Arsenal once more.

No other club is as generous in permitting such opportunities; you remember how every opposing goalkeeper seemed to have the ‘game of their career’ when they faced us? Well, that goal was the outfield player’s equivalent.

Flippancy replaced last night’s…well, despair is too strong a word; far too strong. The difference in performance levels from Saturday to yesterday is as staggering as it is familiar. There’s nothing new about the manner of our defeat from any other over the past five years. Nor is the lack of consistency from essentially the same group of players.

It’s very much the Arsenal Way.

No Relief Provided By These Renn(i)es.

All this from a winning position. Alex Iwobi epitomised the difference between last weekend and last night; a lucky strike when his cross wheeled its way into the net – you’ve got to be in it to win it – but that was the sum total of his contribution. He was hooked because he performed badly; no ifs, buts or maybes.

None of the substituted can have any qualms about being replaced; they were all terrible.

Unai Emery felt we controlled the game before the red card. “Controlled” is too strong a word; Rennes had found spaces before then and Sokratis tackles came about because we didn’t form a strong enough defensive barrier.

He’s confident, however, that we will turn the tie around next week:

We need to also change our performance and I have the confidence with our players, with our supporters helping us to create one big atmosphere to give us a good spirit against them to comeback.

Last night is over and done with. All attention is focused on Sunday’s game. It seems we didn’t pick up any further injuries so must just contend with Lucas Torreira’s injury. The situation requires Aaron Ramsey to drop back into the central midfield role with Guendouzi pulled out of the limelight. Mesut Ozil comes in to occupy the attacking position Ramsey filled against Tottenham.

Before this defeat, the question was about United and whether the Champions League would distract them, either through a lack of concentration or effort. Now, it’s us who are deservedly under scrutiny. Can Arsenal lift themselves once again for the Premier League to the same degree they did against Tottenham?

It’s a big ask and one for which we will find out answer soon enough. Whether we’ll like it is another matter.

’til Tomorrow.

138 thoughts on “Rennes Review: Arsenal Ability To Self-Destruct Remains Undimmed

  1. Noon Gunner says:

    Several heroic performances.

    Another piece of defensive brilliance from AMN

  2. C says:

    Excellent tracking back by Maitland-Niles!

  3. C says:


  4. Noon Gunner says:

    We’ve presse them like ripe grapes all evening long. Soon be time to drink the result!

  5. Colts says:

    HUGe win, could set the tone for the summer…

  6. nicky says:

    It would be churlish to select our MOTM following today’s positive display against the noisiest part of Manchester. Every Arsenal man earned his corn.
    Confidence must now be high at the Ems, which bodes well for the Rennes visit on Thursday. 😉

  7. Paulie Walnuts says:

    Tremendous all round display today. We were aggressive, imposed ourselves early on & most importantly, kept it up for the full 95 minutes.

    It was maybe Xhaka’s best game for us & Kolasinac was also outstanding. Fine performances from Leno & Ramsey too.

    The next step is to play with the same intensity away from home but for now it’s just a lovely feeling to enjoy a Sunday afternoon.

  8. LSG says:

    We really needed that. Good win even with both strikers not at their best. Amazed we kept a clean sheet. Some luck and excellent work by Leno.

    AMN had his best game for us at the right time, especially in the second half. Mature performance.

  9. LSG says:

    We won this one by being intense, aggressive, first to the ball play. Feels good. Break I’d coming at the wrong time for us and good for a collapsing Spurs. Can we celebrate St. Totteringham’s Day again and get 3rd? That would be outstanding. We must improve away.

  10. C says:

    Our midfield 3 was absolutely superb. Ramsey and Xhaka sat at the base and not only defended brilliantly but sent the attack away while Ozil pressed and caused Manure all sorts of trouble in the final 3rd.

  11. LSG says:


    I don’t know why Emery hasn’t played Ramsey deeper more often.

  12. C says:


    The same reaso he hasn’t played a base behind Ozil…he is still learning.

    Lacazette a brilliant player.

  13. SV says:

    Beating this lot is always a special kind of pleasure. The league double in 2006-2007, the Nasri double, the FA cup win at their place, now today. All are memorable. Hope they will come more frequently. And one day we’ll beat them in the title race to settle some old accounts.

  14. MikeSA says:

    A superb performance, which demonstrates that it’s never just a case of black and white, there are multiple variables and factors at play.

    I swear our link to the match was direct from ManU TV, the commentators (Beglin? And some other poes), didn’t even pretend to be impartial, they were all about how Manu were going to come from behind and sort this out, every many player and pass was simply brilliant and would inevitably lead to a goal whilst Arsenal might have been a third division side from Belarus they way they carried on.

    They made such a fuss about the penalty which is a fucking cheek considering they have Ashely “Louganis” Young in their team.

    It was the most disgustingly partisan commentary I’ve ever heard, the tits should be fired.

  15. Bill says:

    Fantastic result. I have to admit I did not see that coming. I don’t think that keeping a clean sheet and having less then half the ball possession in the same game is a coincidence especially against a team that has traditionally killed us on the counter attack.

  16. consolsbob says:


    Just the usual then, Mike.

    Bloody great performance from The Arse. I never expect us to get the credit for beating that lot. No one does, except the scousers.

    That’s the script they all have.

  17. Bill says:


    I don’t know why Emery hasn’t played Ramsey deeper more often.


    For the last 3-4 years all we have heard about Ramsey is he has no positional discipline or defensive nous and the only thing does is make runs into the box and which often leaves huge gaps behind him in the midfield.

  18. Bill says:

    If that penalty had been awarded against us I strongly suspect we would have been screaming bloody murder and claiming it was a dive. Its difficult for me to understand how we can suggest the ref wanted ManU to win when he gave us what was a reasonably soft penalty which completely killed any chance that United had to get a result.

  19. LSG says:


    Agree. Beglin made a big deal of Rashford deserving a penalty when even that filthy diver was only appealing for a corner.

  20. LSG says:


    And that is my usual complaint, but I usually put it down to the manager not giving him instruction and coaching, which I think Emery can do. I said on here that I think he will be very good for Juventus and one reason us that Allegri will demand he play in a more disciplined way.

  21. LSG says:


    It was a soft penalty. I think he was pretty incompetent all game. Fergie would have called into question his fitness and ability to keep up with the play.

  22. C says:


    I don’t shy away from what I have said because that is how he normally plays for both club and country, BUTTTTTTT, today he was superb defensively and seemed to really understand that he sits and Ozil will create and it was a joy to watch.

  23. C says:



    Even you have to be coming around to the fact that Leno simply needed time to adjust to the PL and now that he is….his shot stopping is quality. I mean not just today either. I was reading an article that saod something to the theme of, ‘Like ter Stegen at Barca, Leno is showing the qualities that had him so highly rated in Germany. Also, like ter Stegen, its taken him some time to settle having needed to leave Germany but out of his comfort zone he is taking that next step.’

  24. Bill says:


    Its just my opinion but I think incompetent is an overstatement. I think the ref has a split second to make a call and he calls what he sees. What he sees is highly dependent on several thing including his viewing angle and whether his view is shielded. From where he was I suspect it looked like a solid penalty but those of us sitting in front of the tv watching the replays know differently. I suspect the ref would have waived off the pen if he had the advantage of multi angle replays. Lacazette did exactly what several bloggers complain about. He went down as soon as he felt contact. I suspect that the ManU blogs are going to be calling Lacazette a diver

  25. G4E says:

    De Gea trying to visually explain what happened with Xhaka’ missile is…….PRICELESS,

  26. Bill says:

    The idea that their is some conscious or subconscious pro Spurs or pro United bias is off the mark in my opinion. This game could be season defining for both teams. Finishing 4th is huge for both teams. If the ref had a conscious or subconscious pro-United bias then if there was ever a time that he would have given ManU the benefit of the doubt today would have been the time and he probably would not have given that penalty. Same thought process applies with the penalty that we missed against Spurs.

  27. LSG says:


    I think he was shaky today. Got lots of small calls wrong, inconsistent with cards, stymied counters on the advantage, and on and on. I found it very frustrating watching him officiate. He really let MU play over physically, missed Pogba wrapping his arm around the head and neck of an opponent from behind and pull him down. Awful job.

  28. Opus says:

    A very good performance from the team and crowned with victory.
    I don’t see the penalty as soft one as Fred intentionally committed the foul on Laca. Saw the replay of him facial expreussion with intent to give that nudge from behind as laca was already through in front of him.
    Amazing how pogba finished the match as his 1st card should’ve been his 2nd considering the intentional face grab/holding/pull down foul on Ramsey earlier.
    Permit me to say we are blessed with 2 good strikers (Auba & Laca) who play well as teammates and friends. Note as soon as Laca got back on his feet from the foul, he called out Auba to take the penalty and encouraged him to bury it. It’s a wonderful feeling have a striking partnership of such as both continue to develop bond of such without beef. COYG

  29. MikeSA says:

    How many times have we heard the same dickhead “pundits” and commentators claim “if the player feels contact he’s entitled to go down, that’s openly for me”.

    Always the same attitude when it’s one of their favourites like ManU, and the complete opposite when it’s player from one of the teams they don’t like, Arsenal being one of them.

    Pathetic trash who should be kicked off air.

  30. Dukey says:

    Have to say the utd bias was on full show yesterday, they were all very clearly disappointed with the result. We really are the unliked ones in this race for 4th. Up their arse.!

  31. ferkov says:

    Bill, I need to spend more time in the mountains.
    Moss was Shite. Not overtly biased, but shite, and harsh on us ,whether conscious or subconscious.
    The snarl he gave Lacazette when he was ,rightly pointing out the advantage loss in the Rashford on Xhaka foul, was revealing…..I got it wrong, but you can fuck right off. No apology.
    Studs up Too. No card.
    Pogba washing line on Rambo ,no card. Papa little tug on … some manc shite, went down as easily as Laca imo, Card.
    Inconsistent rule interpretation. Poor, and biased.

  32. ferkov says:

    What a brilliant performance all round. Not forgetting the coach. He gave young Olly a lesson.

    Nice touch to give Eddie a few minutes in front of a buoyant Ems crowd. Keep him hungry.
    Anyone else notice Denis?
    Good counterattacking runs, got through a few challenges. Got back and helped Ainsley. Oh Ainsley. Good to have you back. Superb. His Pace is a huge weapon at both ends.. Kolas got new gas too.

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