Europa: Arsenal Aiming to Overturn First Leg Defeat by Rennes

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Alexandre Lacazette

Alexandre Lacazette was in a cheerful mood in training Wednesday morning as Arsenal get set to unleash the striker against Rennes this week.

The French striker has been cleared to play the second leg on Thursday after having a three-match ban turned to two after his red card against BATE Borisov last month.

Having already served his suspension he looks set to play with strike-partner Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as the Gunners attempt to overturn a 3-1 deficit.

And the two shared a warm embrace as Unai Emery delivered instructions to his side at a windswept London Colney.

Lacazette was sent off in the second half of the last-32 Europa League defeat in Belarus.

After having a second-half equaliser correctly ruled out for offside, the French forward was sent off for swinging an elbow in frustration towards Aleksandar Filipovic with five minutes remaining.

Governing body UEFA confirmed on Tuesday afternoon that Arsenal’s appeal had been partially upheld.

Arsenal will be without Greek defender Sokratis, who was sent off in the first leg defeat.

They are continuing to assess Henrikh Mkhitaryan as he battles a back strain.

Elsewhere in Kiev, Ukraine, Chelsea’s players wrapped up in hats, gloves and snoods as they fought off the freezing temperatures last night.

Maurizio Sarri’s men traveled to Ukraine ahead of their Europa League last-16 second leg tie today.

And Blues stars including Eden Hazard and Callum Hudson-Odoi were put through their paces on the pitch at the Olympic Stadium.

Chelsea holds a substantial advantage in the tie after a 3-0 win at Stamford Bridge last week.

Pedro, Willian and Hudson-Odoi scored the goals to put Chelsea on the brink of a place in the quarter-finals.

Hazard did not start that game but has still made the trip to Eastern Europe despite the aggregate scoreline.

He showed his worth once again with a stoppage-time equaliser against Wolves at the weekend.

But defender Emerson Palmieri admits they are ‘afraid’ that he will depart this summer, with a contract extension yet to be agreed.

“He shows every day how important he is,” Emerson told Sky Sports. ‘Obviously we have many players of quality in our team but he is on another level and is one of the best in the world.

“I personally cannot see him leaving, but you never know in football. Like Chelsea fans, we are afraid that he might leave.

“ I still believe that he will stay and we really want him to stay.