Arsenal suffered another disappointing result away from home on Thursday evening, losing 3-1 at Rennes in the first leg of their Europa League Round of 16 tie.

Unai Emery’s side took the lead in the third minute when Alex Iwobi’s cross from the left crept in at the far post.

But just before half-time, Sokratis Papastathopoulos received his marching orders for two yellow cards and Benjamin Bourigeaud equalised with a stunning free-kick.

Rennes began to dominate after the break. Nacho Monreal’s own goal handed the advantage to the hosts midway through the second half and Ismaila Sarr wrapped up the victory late on.

Here are five things we learned from the game.

1. Arsenal slow to react as Rennes dominate

After a rapid start which saw Iwobi open the scoring almost immediately, Arsenal simply couldn’t keep up the pace they attempted to set in the early moments.

Once Rennes grew into the game, and particularly after Sokratis’ dismissal, the home side were quicker all over the pitch. Rennes’ attackers were beating their counterparts with ease, while the Gunners were too slow to react whenever the ball was loose.

The own goal was a perfect example. The ball looked as if it was going out for a goal kick after a wayward shot, but Arsenal failed to make sure, allowing Rennes to retain possession in a dangerous area with plenty of space.

Subsequently, nobody was on hand to close down Mehdi Zeffane, whose cross was inadvertently turned into his own net by Monreal.

2. Lack of discipline hurts Gunners again

Indiscipline is starting to become a bit of a problem for Arsenal.

Alexandre Lacazette’s red card in the Round of 32 first leg didn’t help the Gunners as they fell to a 1-0 loss at Bate Borisov. Fortunately they turned it around in the second leg, but Sokratis has created another uphill task for his side.

Indeed, Rennes wouldn’t have found as many gaps to exploit had Arsenal kept all 11 players on the pitch. Sokratis’ absence saw Shkodran Mustafi move to centre-back and Henrikh Mkhitaryan drop into the right-back role – it certainly didn’t strengthen the visitors defensively.

The red card was Arsenal’s second in as many games after Lucas Torreira was sent off against Tottenham on Saturday. Emery may need to brief his players about keeping their discipline in future games.

3. If at first you don’t succeed…

…try, try and try again – just ask Benjamin Bourigeaud.

After Sokratis’ red card, Bourigeaud prepared to take the resulting free-kick. His original effort hit the wall, but the winger refused to accept the wasted opportunity.

From the rebound, Bourigeaud produced the sweetest possible strike, beating Petr Cech all ends up as the ball nestled into the top corner. Roazhon Park erupted as it had been threatening to throughout the first half.

It was an unbelievable effort from Bourigeaud, who demonstrated the value of trying again after initially failing to beat the wall from a free-kick.

4. Star quality of Ben Arfa and Sarr gives Rennes advantage

Before the game, all the talk was about Hatem Ben Arfa and Ismaila Sarr, Rennes’ star men.

Both players struggled to get going for the majority of the first half: Ben Arfa forced one save from Petr Cech; Sarr got in behind once or twice but flattered to deceive with his deliveries. But the attackers did eventually each make a vital contribution before the break.

Ben Arfa and Sarr drew the fouls that saw Sokratis receive his yellow cards. And as a result of their man-advantage, the star men began to find more space and more confidence.

In the second half, Ben Arfa played a free role and constantly found gaps to cause havoc. Meanwhile, Sarr repeatedly tore past his marker and was eventually rewarded with a goal in the final minutes, a perfectly executed diving header from Rennes’ top scorer.

It’s easy to see why Sarr is being linked with a move to bigger European clubs. The 21-year-old has now scored 10 goals and provided nine assists in all competitions this term.

5. Cech endures bittersweet return to Rennes

Petr Cech left Rennes for Chelsea in 2004 and went on to become one of English football’s most successful goalkeepers.

He may now only be Arsenal’s Europa League goalkeeper – a factor that likely contributed to his decision to retire at the end of this season – but the 36-year-old is still widely admired, even by the Rennes supporters.

The home crowd unfurled a banner that read “Welcome Back Petr’ during the game, a sign of the respect they clearly still have for their former goalkeeper.

Of course, Cech endured a difficult night at his old stomping ground, conceding three goals and being peppered by Rennes shots in the second half. He may have to keep a clean sheet back at the Emirates if the Gunners are to reach the quarter-finals.

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