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. setmefree says:

    As Rab C. Nesbit once poetically said, “we might be keek, but we’re good keek”. Or absolutely outstanding keek.
    He didn’t set up right after the sending off. I think there was a collective arrogance that we could still take them easy, even with 10 men. It’s nearly a standard play when you go down to 10, 4-4-1 or even 4-5-0. Switch out an attacker if one of your defenders ha been sent off.
    Very poor. Possibly a lesson learned, but also possibly too late for this competition with the possibility of Kos and Mustafi the Magnificent in the return.

  2. TIKPO says:

    It was an annoying ordeal watching the match yesterday. Was it over confidence? Or burn out? Or just basic incompetence!
    I ve seen teams short out the opposition with a man down as Atletico did with us last season. The ability simply wasn’t there as Rennes made wave after wave of attacks at our goal.. To think we could have been 0-3 up at the time we lost Skolaris. If only there was more urgency.
    I ve lost any hope of getting anything from the man u game on Sunday. The boys simply don’t deserve it. And Emery? I guess the jury is still out. GUTTED!

  3. Paulie Walnuts says:

    I’ve no doubt we’ll see a big improvement on Sunday against the all conquering plucky minnows from Manchester. Whether it will be enough to win remains to be seen.

    What I’m less sure about is our performance levels at Everton , Watford , Leicester & Burnley. The way we perform away from home is almost certainly going to remove any hope of getting into the top four.

    UE now knows what the issues are both personnel wise & tactically yet he seems to be unable to change anything in a positive way. You can barely see any difference from late era Arsene & I don’t see fan patience stretching too much into next season.

  4. Pete the Thirst says:

    I wanted a professional performance…well best leave that there.

    Sokratis might well have got away with the red in England, but nor in Europe. Xhaka was lucky not to follow. When Sok went off the defence fell to pieces, showing how important he is to the team at the moment.

    Seemed the players were thinking of Sunday. Guendouzi needs a kick up the backside for his lack of effort for the 2nd and 3rd goals, but wtf were we doing for the 3rd? Monreal gave the ball away and had a hissy fit, the team were too far forward and got the counter attack treatment.

    I still expect the tie will be turned around and much more disciplined performance on Sunday.

  5. Dutch Rushe$$ says:

    Still take bare the feeling Pogba might be up to doing what he does best, running pass players if you remember his run right from the halfway line against the gooners, knowing his going to be a fresh player when he return back to the squad. What ever spirit we play with against Spurs we need it now and never. Winning at the le grove will be like a six pointer, might even have an negative effect on the bloody manu with their first defeat, fingers still cross. I don’t know if the players are expecting to make fairy ending with all this drama, like these depressing draws and defeats, but what would be a delightful ending to the season would be to see one of the three long term injuries patients making a comeback, like that will ever be.

  6. Dalm says:

    Nothing in last night’s performance suggested that we can turn up on Sunday or next week to turn it around.

    Manure have a days more rest and will be buzzing – how can they not be ?

    I’ve sort of lost track of who is out suspended from what, and who’s injured but we don’t seem to have depth in a number of positions and the first choice’s in aren’t all good enough and/or performing consistently.

    Have to look at both games more in hope than expectation.

    The ‘yes, but’ is that mathematically we aren’t out of either top 4 or Europa leagues…..yet…

    and we did all expect a period of transition – has there been progress ? well we aren’t 30 odd points off the top

  7. Alex Ice Cream says:

    Yet another embarrassing away day in Europe.

    Subs were a joke. Mikhi at RB?

    We should never lose to teams of this calibre.

    Defensively we are worse than last year with some upgrades in personnel.

    Now we will go out to the first decent team we meet in the Europe instead of the CL. We have yet to face a decent team in the Europa. Money aside, qualifying for the CL is unlikely and even if we do will be an exercise in humiliation if we get there.

    If we played like that against a decent CL team we would ship 10 – and in 1 game, not on aggregate.

  8. C says:

    Sokaritis is always a player that has a red possible in him simply because of how aggressive he is. We have seen it all season so I wasn’t at all surprised to see him see a second yellow. What really annoyed me was that it was only moments later, no defending that level of stupid play.

    I know some wanted us to set up shop, but we are a club that genuinely struggle to defend with 11, why in the world would we be better with 10🤔.

    As for the 3rd, it was ALWAYS coming when you took off Ozil and Aubameyang who have enough pace and ability to be an outball. Ramsey is good playing off of somebody, he is not the player to play upfront when he has to be the outball. With that said, I still fancy us to go through.

  9. Wailesy says:


    Yep spot on. It’s incredible that United pull it off with 10 1st teamers out and we trot out that Tosh. I looked at the spurs/ United fixtures and thought 4 points would be a good result but now if we were to come out of it with 2 I’ll be delighted.

  10. Bill says:

    Great review yogi

    Another poor away result puts the rest of our Europa league campaign in danger. Very little positive about the overall performance but at least we got a lucky away goal and hopefully that might save us.

  11. Bill says:

    MikeSA Friday from yesterday

    Regarding Dennis Suarez the facts I used to draw my conclusion came from His minutes played in La Liga games the last 4 years have been 2372, 1182, 585 and this season 17 minutes of total playing before he was loaned to us. He certainly hasn’t played much for us since his loan spell started. Those facts are indisputable. How you interpret the facts then becomes opinion and you can draw whatever conclusions you like. 4 years of steadily dropping playing time seems like a fairly strong body of evidence and in my opinion it suggests that Suarez probably is probably not good enough to significantly improve our team.

  12. HenryNorrisDialSquare says:

    I did state at the start of the season that top 4 was a BIG ask. I also didn’t buy into this tosh that we could lift the Europe League to gain a CL spot for next season. Let’s face it we are about 3 or 4 transfer Windows away of serious investment in the squad before we can start to challenge again and I don’t think Stan wants to invest that kind of money. It’s a sad state of affairs! Utd are going to tear us a new one on Sunday!

  13. Dalm says:

    I used to hide behind the sofa for Dr Who when i was little…..can i still fit in that space on Sunday ?

  14. thrill says:

    Alex Ice Cream,

    Ahh, the good ol days where we would give up 5 goals to bayern in first leg, start the 2nd leg blistering fast, enough to give a glimmer of hope, only to get picked apart to pieces again.

  15. Bill says:

    I have been defending Emery all season but his performance yesterday was really a head scratcher. He should have pulled Ozil as soon as the red card happened and brought another defender.

    PEA has been very disappointing in the last couple months. He was the player of the season in the first half but he has really slowed down.

    Guendouzi has potential but the idea that he the next great thing is perhaps a bit premature. If someone really is willing to give us $50M for him we should not hesitate.

  16. thrillbo says:


    I’m with you bill, 50m turns into 2 or maybe 3 good players. I have to doubt those rumors though, unless something was seriously wrong at PSG. Why offer 50m for a kid who has played maybe 10 really good games all season? He has potential but is shakey like most youngsters. He needs 2 or 3 more years before we can fully judge him. Potentially the market is really that inflated.

  17. MileSA says:


    And I mentioned that your approach would have trashed Bergkamp when he arrived too, because his figures were pretty much along the same lines having had a dismal time at Inter, so your “body of evidence” might not necessarily support your interpretation of it at all.

  18. Las says:

    No no no no no and NO
    This game was unacceptable and not because we lost. But the tame-lame attitude…. Arsenal just not turned up. PEA… was a joke, like “oh no its a ball?!? huhh … what should I do with it, why me… no mate I’m serious why me? … ”
    Özil? Was he there? I had to check and recheck in the starting line-up that he was on the list because I just could not find him on the pitch.
    Where were the fighting spirit, the never say die attitude? This game was as late wengeresque as the original. And we were this tame&lame not for the first time in this season, we had the same coward shit brick attitude against Mourinhos ManU where we should have and could have won and also against bloody Tottenham.
    I am very much hurt.

  19. Bill says:


    Dennis Suarez is no Dennis Bergkamp. No approach is going to be 100% successful but there has to be some objective approach to evaluating a player like Suarez and you have to take the approach that will be accurate more often then not even. The only thing you have about how you would evaluate him is Bobby Pires did not play much his first year and look how he turned out. That is probably not a very reasonable approach to evaluating a players potential and making a decision whether or not we should spend $20M on him. Based on what we know, If we have $50M to spend this summer do you think we should spend 40% of the budget on Suarez?

  20. YW says:

    I think you’ll find there is a big ASK. Called capital letters.


  21. Bill says:


    Make predictions and drawing conclusions based on historical trends and objective data certainly gave us an accurate prediction of a continued downward trajectory and lack of effectiveness for Mesut Ozil this season. That is a much more recent and more pertinent example then Dennis Bergkamp. No?

  22. C says:

    Another match, another time 2 Spuds players should have seen red and the ref bottled it. The Saints striker was clear through on goal and the Spuds player trips him and the ref shows yellow. Sissoko clearly headbutts Redmond and the ref shows both players yellow.

  23. C says:


    You made a comment a couple weeks ago about Gnabry not lasting at Bayern long….they just gave him a new contract and he scores.

  24. Bill says:


    I don’t think he will stay in their starting line up if he does not produce goals and assists. Goals will be most important. They will buy someone new if he doesn’t produce.

  25. MikeSA says:


    Once again Bill, you’re inserting YOUR reading and conclusions as “we” and treating them as facts.

    They’re not, they’re YOUR opinions and not necessarily shared by others.

    You build up and punt these lines of argument then insert them elsewhere as fact, just as you have now with your reference to Ozil.

    It’s your opinion Bill, not fact.

    Thats the point I’m making.

  26. MikeSA says:

    I see some reports claiming Emery is thinking of changing tactics against ManU.

    What worries me about that statement is that the team don’t seem to be adhering to any tactics so far, what’s the chance of them changing to others?

    Anyway, once again he’s talking about “energy”, which as far as I can deduce so far equates to running around like headless chickens, so I might very well watch this game from behind the sofa.

    That said, if we can take 3 points here (it is at home after all), with spuds having lost yesterday, it would be an ideal opportunity to leapfrog ManU and get within striking distance of spurs.

  27. YW says:


    No post today due to illness. Hope to be back tomorrow

  28. Noon Gunner says:

    Take a proper good rest, YW. You fully deserve a day off from being superhuman on our behalf .

  29. Paulie Walnuts says:

    Get well soon YW.

    Hopefully the result today will make you feel better.

    Interesting to see what new tactics (if any) we deploy today.

    Frodo Baggins appears to be very tactical, so will no doubt respond accordingly to whatever we go with.

    I’d like to see the same commitment we play with against the Tots, especially as this game could be season defining.

  30. Jonnygunner says:


    Alright YW
    I’m also quite ill today-shitty old cold,my Meniers has come back to strike me again….yet stil I’m reading your blog…so c’mon you slack jawed faggot and get writing 😂😂

  31. Jonnygunner says:

    Hopefully YW your next post will be all about the stunning victory over Manchester Yoonited👍🏻⚽️⚽️⚽️

  32. Jonnygunner says:

    Paulie Walnuts,

    Frodo Baggins!!…classic 😂
    Although he looks more like Gollom….he definitely looks like Andy Serkis(is that how you spell his name ?)

  33. Bill says:


    Almost everything that everyone of the blog post including Yogi’s main post are opinions. That has never been in question. I thought that was the whole point of a sports blog is discuss opinions. If you want you can mentally insert the following disclaimer at the end of each comment. “The above comment represents the opinion of the author of the comment and it is recognized that there will differences of opinion from other bloggers and it is not meant to imply that all readers agree with the comment.”

  34. Michael says:

    To ill to write, I hope your Mrs hasn’t felt the need to call the priest! Get well soon, my day doesn’t really start until I have read your daily.

  35. Bill says:


    Just like with Dennis Suarez my opinion of Mesut Ozil is based certain indisputable facts. His goals and assists in PL games the last 4 years have been 25 17 12 and this season 6. He has created 2 assists in PL games in the 14 months since he signed the big contract. Whatever conclusions you draw from those facts are purely opinion.

  36. C says:

    Team news is in: Leno, Maitland-Niles, Sokaritis, Nacho, Kos, Sead, Xhaka, Ramsey, Ozil, Lacazette, Aubameyang

  37. C says:

    Maybe it could look like:




  38. consolsbob says:

    Btw, not sure if that last comment by Bill was him being witty or tetchy.

    Interesting either way.

  39. SV says:

    It’s a must not lose game. A draw would be fine.

  40. C says:


    It is the latter my friend.

    Can I blame Yogi for you not traveling back in time and continuing to share Arsenal history with the youngsters like me?

  41. C says:

    Win and we are 4th and a point behind Spuds

  42. consolsbob says:

    Sorry C. I will try and do better.

  43. C says:

    What a BRILLIANT ball from Sead and Lacazette nearly taps it in

  44. Bill says:

    Btw, not sure if that last comment by Bill was him being witty or tetchy.

    Interesting either way.


    I didn’t think it was tetchy or especially witty but that’s just my opinion and you can choose to interpret it any way you wish.

  45. C says:

    Absolutely brilliant by the Emirates in full voice!

  46. Bill says:

    I suspect we will have about 70-75% of ball possession today.

  47. C says:


    Just enjoy it mate, just fucking enjoy it! We are on top

  48. C says:

    Ozil is causing Manure all sorts of problems, they are struggling to deal with Emery giving him a free role today

  49. C says:

    Moss calls no foul, then Ozil runs off and then calls a foul smdh

  50. C says:

    Thats the 3rd time Ozil has been onside and called offside and would have been in space.

  51. C says:

    That is absolutely brilliant piece of defending by Xhaka

  52. Noon Gunner says:

    Xhaka’s been terrific all half. So intense.

  53. Noon Gunner says:


    Agreed. Both cleary hungry and adapting to United’s moves out of defense, which happen at speed. I thought Sok’s card was a tad harsh, as Pogba had already got his pass away and Sok tried to avoid hitting him. But hey…some players in some phases attract referees’ attentions while others are like ghosts.

  54. consolsbob says:

    I think the officials of eufa and the fa are in a man utfd cannot lose mindset.

  55. Colts says:

    Why didn’t bammy shoot instead of trying to find laca in the six? Hope he snaps out of this funk soon.

  56. C says:

    Noon Gunner,

    Yup and it didn’t help Pogba asked for it and Moss has clearly decided he is all for Manure.

  57. C says:


  58. Noon Gunner says:


    Shocking non-decision. Beginning to believe the conspiracy theories mooted above…

  59. consolsbob says:

    Seriously, the officiating is so one eyed.

  60. C says:

    Noon Gunner,

    I am too and I hate conspiracies. I mean, Pogba literally grabs Ramsey’s face and spins him.

  61. Dukey says:

    The ref might as well put a fuking utd shirt on.

  62. C says:

    Every Arsenal player should think when they get the ball, ‘where is Ozil, get him the ball.’

    Ozil has been superb and Manure can’t and hasn’t been able to deal with him at all.

  63. Noon Gunner says:

    Excellent tackle by AMN. Our last line defending has actually been solid today – viz that save by Leno at Rashford’s feet. Touch wood from here to Timbuktu…

  64. C says:

    Leno has been SUPERB YET AGAIN!!!!


    Leno is showing you why he is not only so highly rated in Germany but by me!

  65. consolsbob says:

    It’s not a conspiacy in any organised sense, it’s just that officials have individually and collectively an inbuilt bias for certain clubs and certain players.

    Some clubs have a sense of privilege built up over years and referees now believe that those clubs are better and therefore deserving of decisions. It’s like doffing your cap to the gentry in Victorian times or celebrities getting different treatment from the law than you or I. It just happens and is accepted.

  66. C says:


    Lacazette has been BRILLIANT since opening whistle and all season long.

  67. Noon Gunner says:


    Soft pen, to be honest, but Moss just just swung for his roundabout…

  68. C says:

    For you lot like my friend Bill who wanted more from Ozil, he is not only attacking but pressing and defending all match long!

  69. Colts says:

    Kudos to laca for his dark art mastery

  70. Noon Gunner says:

    I think we’ve actually rattled ’em.

  71. C says:

    Iwobi for Ozil who has been ABSOLUTELY SUPERB!

  72. Noon Gunner says:

    Laca’s defensive race back…amazing at 76 minutes!

  73. Colts says:

    Never thought I’d ever say this but, smart from xhaka…

  74. C says:

    Suarez coming on for Aubameyang!

    Saving Ozil and Aubameyang for Rennes!

  75. C says:

    Suarez almost makes an immediate impact with a throughball to Iwobi.

  76. C says:

    Nketiah on for Lacazette who has run himself into the ground!!!

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