Charlie Nicholas' Europa League predictions: How will Arsenal, Chelsea and Celtic do?
Last Updated: 21/02/19 8:00pm
Arsenal, Chelsea and Celtic are all in Europa League last 32 action on Thursday, and Charlie Nicholas has made his predictions for the second legs.
Chelsea are the only British side ahead, leading 2-1 in their fixture against Malmo, with Arsenal 1-0 behind to BATE Borisov and Celtic losing 2-0 to Valencia in the first leg.
Here, Soccer Saturday pundit Charlie offers his verdict on the upcoming Europa League games...
Arsenal vs BATE Borisov (5.55pm)
BATE were pretty rotten at home and Arsenal should have scored three or four, so I think Arsenal will beat them quite easily at home. I can't see anything too complicated here.
I don't think the Europa League is the priority for Arsenal this season, that still has to be finishing in the top four in the Premier League. Unai Emery has a reputation in the Europa League but I think they will get through this round, see where the draw takes them and then evaluate the situation. I think at the moment the Europa League is behind top four in terms of Arsenal's priorities.
CHARLIE PREDICTS: 5-0 (12/1 with Sky Bet)
Chelsea vs Malmo (8pm)
Who are Chelsea going to play considering they have the Carabao Cup final on Sunday? It's a must-win game for Chelsea to build some confidence ahead of the final. I imagine Maurizio Sarri will give some players a chance like Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Olivier Giroud, but for Sarri at the moment it's just about survival, getting to the weekend and then seeing where it takes him.
Sarri has been around and knows his time is probably up, so he will pick a team that will get them through this game, which I don't think will be overly difficult, but then he has to have a thought process that says 'I have never won anything other than a promotion, so I could actually get sacked by Chelsea and still win the Carabao Cup'. That's what he has to think. Everything is about Sunday.
Even if Zinedine Zidane was interested I don't think he will touch this club until they are out of most competitions, that's the only time he will want to start, and whoever suggested that Arsene Wenger would be a good manager for Chelsea needs a good turning of their ponytail!
CHARLIE PREDICTS: 3-0 (13/2 with Sky Bet)
Valencia vs Celtic (5.55pm)
There's not too much hope for Celtic. I think it's about sitting back and hoping they get chances. I tipped Celtic to win the first leg but it was my heart over my head. Valencia don't score a lot of goals, they don't destroy you, but I think they will win this and Celtic will be out.
The way that Valencia manipulated the game in the first leg tells you the reality of where Celtic are in Europe. I wouldn't even be surprised if Brendan Rodgers makes a few changes as they have Motherwell at home at the weekend and then they go to Hearts which is a really tough match. Brendan might already be thinking about the domestic games.
CHARLIE PREDICTS: 1-0 (6/1 with Sky Bet)