Rennes manager Julien Stephan questions UEFA’s decision to reduce Alexandre Lacazette’s ban ahead of Thursday clash

Arsenal will look to overturn a 3-1 deficit when they host Ligue 1 side Rennes in the second-leg of their Europa League last-16 clash on Thursday.

The Gunners were handed a massive boost by UEFA after French striker Alexandre Lacazette had his initial three-match suspension reduced to two games, making him eligible to face Rennes.

The 27-year-old picked up a straight red card during the first-leg of the last-32 clash against BATE Borisov – incurring a three-match ban – and was supposed to miss Thursday’s game having missed the last two Europa League games.

However, Arsenal’s appeal was upheld and the ban was reduced to two games.

The decision has surprised Rennes and manager Julien Stephan claims it is the second bizarre instance they have had to face following UEFA’s decision to invert the legs.

Arsenal were supposed to play first at home given the outcome of the draws, but two clubs in the same city aren’t allowed to play a(n) Europa League/Champions League game on the same day, and they had to go away first with Chelsea playing the first-leg of their clash with Dynamo Kyiv in London.

Rennes also didn’t have Lacazette in mind while preparing for both legs, and given the threat the Frenchman brings to the table, Stéphan isn’t particularly pleased.

The former Lyon striker knows all about the Ligue 1 side having spent all of his career in France before his Arsenal switch, and the north Londoners’ chances of getting the desired result have been massively boosted given that manager Unai Emery could play him and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang together on Thursday.

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