Arsenal will face up against two of their former triallists in the upcoming Europa League clash with Stade Rennais FC, following the draw on Friday.
Arsenal have drawn Rennes in the last-16 of the Europa League, playing at the Emirates Stadium in the first leg on 7th March, followed by a trip to France for the second leg on the 14th. It should certainly be a more comfortable away day than recent visits to Belarus, Azerbaijan and Ukraine, but could also provide a tougher test on the pitch.
Two players who will be hoping to make an impression against The Gunners are Ramy Bensebaini and M’Baye Niang. Jeorge Bird confirmed on Twitter that both had trials with the club in 2013, but neither were taken on permanently. Bensebaini apparently had a particularly poor trial showing.
Rennes squad contains Ramy Bensebaini and M'Baye Niang, who both had trials with Arsenal in 2013. Bensebaini was terrible during his trial but has seemingly improved a lot now.
— Jeorge Bird (@jeorgebird) February 22, 2019
That’s seemingly not where Arsenal’s interest in Niang ended, with rumours last summer that the Premier League side enquired over his availability. In the end, the winger transferred from Milan to Torino, before moving on loan to Rennes.
Since then, the 24-year-old has scored five goals and assisted four in 29 appearances for Rennes, including a key goal in Thursday’s Europa League second-leg match against Real Betis. He’s been on the winning side against Arsenal once before, playing 70 minutes of a 2-1 victory with Watford.
Bensebaini has also seemingly improved since his Arsenal trial. The 23-year-old left-back has made 27 appearances this season, and he too scored in Thursday’s match against Betis. That was just his second goal in all competitions this campaign though, as well as one assist. We’ll see how they do next month.