Alexandre Lacazette Banned by UEFA for Arsenal's Europa League Round-of-16 Tie

Gill Clark@@gillclarkyFeatured Columnist IIFebruary 22, 2019

BARYSAW, BELARUS - FEBRUARY 14: Alexandre Lacazette of Arsenal reacts during the UEFA Europa League Round of 32 First Leg match between BATE Barysaw and Arsenal at Barysaw-Arena on February 14, 2019 in Barysaw, Belarus. (Photo by MB Media/Getty Images)
MB Media/Getty Images

Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette has been banned by UEFA for both legs of the Gunners' Europa League last-16 tie against Rennes:

The French forward was sent off in the first leg of his side's 1-0 defeat to BATE Borisov in the round of 32 for an elbow on Aleksandar Filipovic.

Lacazette missed the return leg at the Emirates Stadium on Thursday, which Arsenal won 3-0 to progress, and will now sit out a further two matches as punishment.

The 27-year-old took to Twitter after his red card to apologise for letting his team down:

His suspension will be a blow to Arsenal as they bid to make it to the quarter-finals of the competition. His 12 goals make him their second-top scorer behind Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who has 18 in all competitions.

Rennes qualified for the knockout stages in second place in Group K with three wins and three defeats. They saw off Spanish side Real Betis 6-4 on aggregate in the last round, and the game should make for an intriguing contest:

Arsenal travel to France for the first leg in Rennes on March 7, with the return scheduled for the Emirates Stadium a week later.

Lacazette's suspension reduces manager Unai Emery's striking options for the match. The Spaniard is already without Danny Welbeck because of injury, leaving Aubameyang as his only available senior striker.

Emery could turn to youngster Eddie Nketiah once again. The 19-year-old has made two appearances in the competition this season but is yet to find the back of the net.

The Europa League represents an opportunity to secure UEFA Champions League qualification for next season, with the Gunners battling it out with Chelsea and Manchester United for a place in the top four. They sit in fifth and level on points with Chelsea, while United are one point ahead in fourth. 

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