Rennes vs ArsenalUEFA Europa League, KO: 17:55 Mar 7, 2019, Roazhon Park
RENNES busted a few coupons when they sent Real Betis crashing out of the Europa League in the last round and will be out to cause another shock when Arsenal come calling.
After drawing 3-3 at home with the free-scoring Spaniards, nobody gave Rennes a prayer in the Seville return, only for the French side to romp to a thrilling 3-1 win.
That should guard the Gunners against any complacency and Rennes' impressive European form is at odds with their Ligue One exploits as they sit a disappointing 10th in France.
The group draw was pretty kind to Rennes, pitting them against Dynamo Kiev, Jablonec and Astana, but their display against Betis proves they can match a top side.
Arsenal, however, are a probably a step up in class and the Gunners will be determined to progress in the Europa League as it offers another shot at Champions League qualification for next term.
Boss Unai Emery, who won the tournament three times with Sevilla, gave some of his fringe players a run-out in the group stage but picked strong sides for the last-32 clash with BATE Borisov.
Arsenal had to recover from a 1-0 loss on the road in that tie before sealing a 3-1 aggregate win but I can't see them losing in France this time.
Emery's side were impressive at Wembley against Spurs at the weekend and would have won had it not been for Pierre-Emerick Aubayemang's last-gasp penalty miss.
The Gunners are 11/10 with Marathonbet for the win and that looks good value. If you want to play a little safer, they are 13/25 with the same firm in the draw no bet market.
Both teams to score should come up as the Gunners have been shipping goals all season and there were 10 strikes across two legs in Rennes' last Euro tie. Unfortunately, it's a best 37/50 with Marathonbet, although the odds increase to 3/1 with 888 Sport if you double it with an Arsenal win. For a draw and both teams to score it's 15/4 with Bet Victor and that's also worth consideration.
Rennes will be fresh after the French league postponed their weekend game with Nimes so they could have more time to prepare. But they have a host of injuries worries with Jordan Siebatcheu,Romain Danzé, Abdoulaye Diallo and Ludovic Baal all ruled out while James Lea Siliki is a doubt.
Full-back Hamari Traoré is also suspended but the French side do have midfielder Benjamin Andre back after a ban forced him to miss out against Betis.
The Gunners have striker Alexandre Lacazette suspended for both legs so that will mean Aubameyang leads the line. The former Dortmund star hasn't been a regular starter in recent weeks, which is baffling as he's clearly Arsenal's greatest goal threat.
That seems to have affected his confidence, as witnessed by that derby spot-kick miss, so it may be best to steer clear of him in the scorer markets here. Aubayemang is a best 6/4 with Boylesports for anytime scorer and 15/4 with betway to break the deadlock.
Mesut Ozil should come in after coming off the bench against Spurs and the German looks a better shout for anytime scorer at 9/2 with Unibet.
Former Newcastle star Hatem Ben Arfa could be the shout for a Rennes scorer as he netted from the spot in the 3-3 home draw with Betis and has seven for the season. The playmaker is 16/5 with 888 Sport to score at any time and 11/1 with Boylesports to open the scoring.
There should be a few goals in this one so try lumping on over 2.5 strikes at 20/21 with Marathonbet.
This UEFA Europa League match between Rennes and Arsenal will be played on Mar 7, 2019 and kick off at 17:55