Arsenal are staring at the possibility of an exit from the Round of 16 stage of the UEFA Europa League, after they were beaten 3-1 by Ligue 1 side Rennes in the first leg.
Arsenal began the away leg on a fine note, as they were up and running just three minutes into the game courtesy of a brilliant curling strike from Alex Iwobi. Lucas Torreira and Shkodran Mustafi came close to doubling the Gunners’ lead, but the former’s effort was saved, while the latter’s shot drifted wide.
Rennes were given a huge boost when Arsenal defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos received his marching orders for a second yellow card in the 41st minute. A minute later, the home team were on level terms with Benjamin Bourigeaud reacting the fastest to strike home a rebound after the initial free-kick had been saved.
The hosts amped up the pressure on Unai Emery’s team after the break, with Petr Cech called into action early in the second period. Despite Arsenal’s efforts, they were unable to keep Rennes at bay as an own goal from Nacho Monreal made it 2-1, before Ismaila Sarr scored a brilliant driving header late on to heap further misery on the Gunners.
The result leaves Arsenal on the brink of an exit from the Europa League, although they will back themselves to bounce back strongly, having lost the first leg in the previous round as well. The Gunners’ supporters though, weren’t pleased with the performance and here’s how they reacted to the defeat on social media.
I get my hopes up.
I get disappointed.
I start to believe again.
Life as an Arsenal fan.
— Mike Sanz (@mikesanz19) March 7, 2019
The great thing about Arsenal is that the team hurts and disappoints you so much that real life disappointments don't even faze you. How can I be hurt by anything when I've seen Mustafi defend?
— Zito (@_Zeets) March 7, 2019
— tripplexp (@tripplexp) March 7, 2019
— Onyebuchi (@onyebuchind) March 7, 2019
"Their top colour resembled Bayern's which confuse our players" pic.twitter.com/EtcWG61mKv
— LacaJet (@ThatGuyJSR) March 7, 2019
Only Arsenal could turn Ben Arfa into a prime Messi ffs. This club will be the death of me I swear.
— Arsenal FC 🔴⚪️ (@LeeGunner82) March 7, 2019
Aubameyang is every Arsenal fan rn. pic.twitter.com/xHKf2Z8ubz
— Dylan Walsh (@dylanwalsh_) March 7, 2019
Watching Arsenal defend is an extreme sport
— Iman | ايمان (@nana_alaouie) March 7, 2019
Imagine being beaten by a French Southampton…
Where did we get it wrong?#Arsenal
— Sokratis is not human….❤❤ (@THE_PanelBeater) March 7, 2019
Sokratis’ sending off proved to be the turning point in the game and the Arsenal supporters seem to be split on whether the Greek centre-half deserved to be shown a yellow card for the foul on Sarr.
That's so, so silly from Sokratis. Having been booked he shouldn't be taking that chance. He's just turned what was a pretty comfortable game into a grind.
— gunnerblog (@gunnerblog) March 7, 2019
This referee is an absolute joke. The Rennes player grabs Sokratis and then throws himself to the floor. Football is becoming a joke week in week out. #RENARS
— Brett Booker (@DJBookaT) March 7, 2019
So Sokratis gets sent off for 2 dubious fouls… the Rennes player put his arm across Sokratis and somehow it’s a foul? What a joke #RENARS
— Aaron Graham (@Gunneraaron) March 7, 2019
Never enough contact for Sarr to go to ground. Was even a delay between the contact and Sarr falling. Sokratis should still be on the pitch. pic.twitter.com/zUWKQS8NzC
— Darren (@DF_Arsenal) March 7, 2019
That’s so so poor from Sokratis. Just put the team in a terrible position. Totally unnecessary.
— RG (@registability) March 7, 2019
Probably time to lock up Sokratis for corrupting the youth with his bizarre idea of defending
— Zito (@_Zeets) March 7, 2019
Sokratis should be sold in 10 minutes.
— Specs Gonzalez (@specsgonzalez) March 7, 2019