Stade Rennes 3-1 Arsenal: 5 Talking Points and Tactical Analysis
#4. Hatem Ben Arfa and Ismaila Sarr run riot
Hatem Ben Arfa has boasted of mercurial talent ever since he made his bow in professional football. But, he hasn’t been able to translate his abilities into consistent performances.
However, when he is in the mood, there are very few players who can match his imagination and skill on the ball. Unfortunately for Arsenal, he had one of those on-song days on Thursday.
Ben Arfa frequently found pockets of space between the Gunners’ midfield, twisting and turning swiftly. Moreover, his mazy dribbling was a source of constant concern for the away side.
However, he mightn’t have even been the best attacker on the pitch. The mentioned accolade was rightly claimed by Ismaila Sarr.
The Senegalese ran the Gunners’ defence ragged and caused Monreal all sorts of problems. Additionally, his blistering pace allowed him to get in behind the Arsenal defence multiple times and he made them pay in the 88th minute with a superb header.
Arsenal fielded a strong eleven for the first leg with creative talents such as Mesut Ozil, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Alex Iwobi gracing the pitch. Yet, they were utterly outshone on the night by their less illustrious rivals.
And if the Gunners harbour any hopes of progressing, they need to devise a method to keep Ben Arfa and Sarr quiet.