The last remaining French team in European competition bowed out earlier tonight as Arsenal got the better of Stade Rennais at the Emirates Stadium. The visitors had beaten the Gunners 3-1 in the first leg but Unai Emery’s side overturned that deficit with a 3-0 win that powered them into the last eight of the competition. SRFC were the second French team to be eliminated this week after Lyon fell to Barcelona in the Champions League.
The worst Rennes player on show as Ismaila Sarr, who is apparently in talks over a potential move to the Gunners. Sarr got a 2. The best SRFC players in this game were Niang and Ben Arfa, who both got a 5. The best Arsenal player, not surprisingly, was Pierre Emerick Aubameyang (8/10)
Here are the French media ratings for Lyon’s 5-1 loss to Barcelona at the Nou Camp that saw the exit of the last remaining French team in the Champions League this season. OL moved to a back three for this game, but conceded the same number of goals as they had done when they visited the Nou Camp at this very stage of the tournament a decade ago- 5.
L’Equipe ran the headline “Par Ici La Sortie” (Here’s the exit), with a pic of Nabil Fekir, who returned after having missed the first leg through suspension.
The best player on the evening, according to L’Equipe, was without a question Lionel Messi, who scored a panenka penalty (albeit a controversially awarded one!) to get the Catalans going. Behind him were the quartet of Luis Suarez, Arthur, Lenglet and Gerard Pique. Brazilian Arthur misplaced just one pass in this game (71/72 passes), his best ever pass completion rate for FCB (98.6%). Pique was the scorer of Barca’s fourth on the evening. His defensive partner, centre back Clement Lenglet, the solitary French player starting for FCB, earned a 7/10 for his efforts.
Barcelona 5 (Messi 17 pen, 78, Coutinho 31, Pique 81, Dembele 86) Lyon 1 (Tousart 58) Continue reading
There was disappointment for the French duo of Antoine Griezmann and Thomas Lemar as their Atletico Madrid side suffered a rare European knockout loss under Diego Simeone on Tuesday night. Leading 2-0 from the first leg at the Wanda, everyone assumed Atleti, with the fine defensive reputation they’ve built under Simeone, would do enough to progress again, but Cristiano Ronaldo spoiled Los Colchoneros’ party with a hat trick, as Juve won 3-0 and booked their spot as Italy’s solitary representatives in the last eight. Atleti sorely missed the trio of Filipe Luis, Lucas Hernandez and Diego Costa and were very un-Atleti ish, letting in two goals from headers and conceding a needless penalty.
French player ratings according to L’Equipe from Juve v Atleti
Lemar and Griezmann (both 3), Blaise Matuidi (6)
It’s a tale of two English clubs- United won in Paris yesterday, Arsenal lost to Rennes today. Alex Iwobi’s away goal still gives the Gunners hope ahead of the second leg, but the weekend’s clash against Manchester United just became a little more important after this defeat– Unai Emery’s men cannot think that winning the Europa League to qualify for the CL, as United did in 2017, will be straightforward.
Sokratis’ dismissal certainly didn’t help matters for the Gunners, who appeared to lack leadership after his dismissal. It was an off day for Aubameyang, who netted a 3 in L’Equipe’s ratings, as well their midfield, with Xhaka and Ozil bagging ordinary 4/10’s.
Arsenal made Hatem Ben Arfa look very, very good. Check out the French press ratings for thsi game.
Manchester United became the first side in the history of the Champions League to recover from a 2-0 first leg home loss to advance to the next round of the competition.
PariS SG were playing the same XI that had triumphed 2-0 at Old Trafford, while United were down to bare bones, with the likes of Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic, Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard, Anthony Martial and Alexis Sanchez all unavailable to manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer due to either injury or suspension.
Few would’ve backed United to win in Paris with the XI OGS put out, but they did, and L’Equipe ran the headline saying “Even Worse” (Encore Pire) and that the unthinkable had happened again (after the nightmare 6-1 loss to Barcelona two years ago)
Le Parisien said it was a “terrible affront” for the Parisians in their headline.