Emery urges fired-up Gunners to keep cool heads

LONDON • Unai Emery has called on his players to "control their emotions" with Arsenal staring at a Europa League exit at the last-16 stage unless they can overturn a 3-1 deficit against Rennes in the second leg today.

Sokratis Papastathopoulos' sending-off proved costly in France as the Gunners leaked three goals after the defender's dismissal.

Their attack was also blunted owing to the suspension of Alexandre Lacazette, who was red-carded in the first leg of their last-32 tie with Bate Borisov.

But Arsenal got a big boost on Tuesday after Uefa reduced his ban to two games from three on appeal, meaning he will be free to feature at the Emirates.

While Emery is expected to field an attacking line-up, he does not want his side to lose their heads, especially if the French Ligue 1 outfit put 10 men behind the ball.

The Spaniard said: "We know that for example on Thursday one match can change a lot with one red card or goal, so controlling is very important."

His counterpart Julien Stephan feels packing his defence will only play into Arsenal's hands, with the hosts on an 11-game winning run at home in the Premier League and Europe since December.

Admitting the tie was far from done and Rennes "need to score there, at least once, if not twice", he said: "Arsenal remain favourites given their past and their experience."

In the other ties, Chelsea seem set to cruise into the quarter-finals after taking a 3-0 first-leg lead over Dynamo Kiev.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

ARSENAL V RENNES

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 14, 2019, with the headline 'Emery urges fired-up Gunners to keep cool heads'. Print Edition | Subscribe