Arsenal: Unai Emery left to rue Sokratis red card as Rennes win Europa League first leg 3-1

Unai Emery was left to rue Sokratis Papastopholos’ sending off as Arsenal collapsed to a 3-1 defeat in Rennes.

Emery’s side were leading 1-0 through an Alexi Iwobi goal when Sokratis received a second yellow card for bringing down Rennes’ Ismaila Sarr in the first half.

Benjamin Bourigeaud scored directly from the free-kick which followed and Rennes surged in the second half, taking the lead through a Nacho Monreal own goal.

Sarr added a third late on to give the Ligue Un side genuine hope of progression ahead of next week’s return leg at the Emirates.

“The red card changed the game more than we wanted,” Emery said. “The first 40 minutes we controlled, we scored, we didn’t concede good chances.

“But after this red card it’s more than we wanted. I think we can do better.

“The result for the first 90 minutes is hard for us but we are going to start the next match next week with 11 vs 11 and with the same respect we have had the first half.

“We are going to do that at home. I have confidence with our players, our supporters helping us.”

Sokratis’ red card was Arsenal’s third in their last six games and followed Lucas Torreira’s sending off in the north London derby at Wembley last Saturday.

Emery denied that discipline is a problem for his players but said that Arsenal can learn how to play with 10 men in order to avoid similar collapses in future.

“A red card can come. After we must learn also to play when it’s coming like today with one less player,” he said.

Arsenal have it all to do next week (Arsenal FC via Getty)

“That’s not a good experience today. We couldn’t do our work in difficult moments, in difficult minutes.

“I’m positive on the first 40 minutes. We imposed our gameplan. We could maybe have got the second goal because we deserved to.”

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