Stephan wary of Lacazette threat

14 March 2019 04:51:24 EST

Rennes head coach Julien Stephan admits he has had to change the preparation of his players for their clash with Arsenal due to the availability of Alex Lacazette.

Les Rouges et Noirs defeated the Gunners 3-1 in the home first leg of their Europa League last-16 tie a week ago, with the French side hoping to complete the job at the Emirates Stadium on Thursday evening.

It changes a lot of things because with Lacazette they can play more formations.

Julien Stephan

However, Stephan has been forced to adapt his approach to the game after an appeal against a three-match ban for Lacazette saw his punishment reduced to two games, leaving him free to feature on Thursday.

Stephan told reporters: "The timing is rather surprising for everyone involved. We didn't think that he would be included up until Tuesday evening.

"They have decided to reduce his sanction from three to two games and that is great for him. Now we are going to have to prepare with that in mind.

"It changes a lot of things because with Lacazette they can play more formations, including the 3-5-2 with two strikers, which they played against Manchester United.

"Obviously his presence changes the facts, but we have got 24 hours to prepare ourselves."

France international striker Lacazette has scored in five of his last eight Premier League appearances, but has only one goal to his name in the Europa League so far this season.

He can be backed at 8/11 to score at any time against Rennes on Thursday evening, with Arsenal 8/1 to win the game 2-0 in 90 minutes, while Rennes are priced at 4/5 to qualify for the quarter-finals of the competition.

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