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Rennes v Arsenal

'Emery is as agitated as ever' - Ben Arfa takes swipe at ex-boss after Rennes beat Arsenal

7:24 pm AEDT 8/3/19
Unai Emery
The Frenchman mocked the Gunners head coach after playing a starring role in the Premier League side's Europa League downfall on Thursday night

Rennes midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa took a swipe at Unai Emery after the Ligue 1 outfit beat Arsenal 3-1 in the first leg of their last-16 Europa League tie.

The Gunners now have an uphill task on their hands to reach the quarter-finals , with the return leg at Emirates Stadium set to be played next Thursday.

Alex Iwobi gave Arsenal the lead in the tie after just three minutes, but after a fantastic Benjamin Bourigeaud strike levelled the scores, Nacho Monreal put the ball in his own net just after the hour mark.

Ismaila Sarr then ensured that Rennes claimed a significant win with a late goal , as Emery's men struggled to cope with the home side's energy and movement in the final third.

Former Newcastle United and Paris Saint-Germain star Ben Arfa orchestrated the victory with a superb display in the middle of the park and he couldn't resist taking a dig at Emery post-match.

Ben Arfa played under the Spanish boss for a brief period at PSG, forced into a bit-part role from the sidelines after falling down the pecking order in his squad.

The 32-year-old was reduced to a role in the reserves before a bitter legal dispute saw him restored to the senior team, then ultimately ending up leaving the club to join Rennes last September.

“My motivation was to play a solid match, to win and get ourselves into a good position to go through," Ben Arfa began. "That’s what was in my head.

"But I did see the same Emery, as agitated as ever. I looked over at him a few times and that made me laugh a little. He hasn’t changed.

“I told some friends before the match that my prediction was that we would win 3-1 or 4-1. We didn’t manage to get the fourth but my prediction was right.”

Arsenal must now dust themselves down quickly ahead of a huge Premier League clash against Manchester United on Sunday.

Both teams are chasing the final Champions League spot in the league table, but the Gunners will have to produce a much-improved display to topple Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's rejuvenated Red Devils .

Meanwhile, Rennes and Ben Arfa will turn their attention back to Ligue 1 this weekend, with a vital home game against Caen to take in.