Charlie Nicholas provides us with his Europa League predictions ahead of the second legs for Arsenal and Celtic.
The two British sides face very differing levels of difficulty in defending their leads in the second legs of their round-of-32 Europa League ties, as Arsenal host Ostersunds and Celtic travel to Zenit St Petersburg.
Here’s what Charlie is predicting for the fixtures…
Zenit St Petersburg (0) v (1) Celtic (Thursday, 6pm)
I have to admit Celtic’s defensive structure – which had been all over the place – looked excellent last week to go against my prediction that they’d lose the first leg.
Plenty of my friends point out that Zenit haven’t played in months but more importantly Celtic showed they do have Plan B in European games when they know they’re not going to dominate the ball.
People might think us Scots are okay with the weather over there, but the conditions are a different level of cold and I’m afraid I’m going for a tough night for the travellers and another Celtic defeat.
Charlie predicts: 3-1 and Branislav Ivanovic to score first (160/1 with Sky Bet)
Arsenal (3) v (0) Ostersunds (Thursday, 8.05pm)
I think Arsene Wenger will have to play two or three regulars and then it will be the kids for a stroll in the park, having won the first leg comfortably.
He won’t want to play anyone who is going to play in the Carabao Cup final on Sunday but he might be forced to have a couple of bigger hitters on the bench.
I like the look of the young lad Eddie Nketiah in the Carabao Cup but he hasn’t had a sniff in the Premier League because the first team go through hardships. It’s like the young lads get punished for the senior players’ failures.
I’d expect to see Danny Welbeck through the middle, Ainsley Maitland-Niles in his proper position and then Alex Iwobi maybe the only one who will threaten to start on Sunday. The kids will try to put on a show and they should have enough to win comfortably.
Charlie predicts: 2-0 and Nketiah to score first (14/1 with Sky Bet)