Aubameyang is Arsenal’s hero against Rennes – but why his team-mates deserve credit too | Football | Sport


Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s goals – the second of which he celebrated by dressing up as the Black Panther – either side of Ainsley Maitland-Niles’ header were enough to obliterate the first-leg horror-show.

As the competition reaches the latter stages his players are going to have to step it up a gear if they are to win him a record fourth Europa League trophy.

But credit to his players, it was a solid workmanlike display in which the heroics were confined very much to the costume department.

Yet within two minutes of the restart, Petr Cech was at full stretch to touch Ismaila Sarr’s low 20-yard drive against the post after Shkodran Mustafi carelessly lost the ball.

More often than not, though, both sides continued to struggle to maintain any sort of momentum – except an exaggerated downward one whenever an opposition player came near to them.

Emery took off Mesut Ozil and Lacazette to inject a bit more energy at the top of the team but it was Kolasinac and Aubameyang who combined moments later, the former providing a perfect cross so the latter could tap in.

He should have eased Arsenal nerves by completing his hat-trick with two gilt-edged chances in the final eight minutes.

But even though he was surprisingly fallible for a superhero, Arsenal’s world had been saved nevertheless.

ARSENAL (3-4-1-2): Cech, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal, Maitland-Niles, Xhaka, Ramsey (Torreira 87), Kolasinac; Ozil (Mkhitaryan 69); Lacazette (Iwobi 69), Aubameyang. Booked: Lacazette, Mkhitaryan, Kolasinac. Goals: Aubameyang 5, 72, Maitland-Niles 15.

RENNES (4-4-2): Koubek; da Silva, Mexer, Sarr, Grenier (Hunou 69); Niang, Bourigeaud, Bensebaini, Ben Arfa; Andre (Lea Siliki 79), Traore. Booked: Mexer, Grenier, Bourigeaud, Traore.

REFEREE: A Treimanis (Latvia)

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