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Charlie Nicholas' European predictions: Arsenal and Man Utd in Europa League action

Arsenal, Manchester United, Wolves, Rangers and Celtic in Europa League action on Thursday

Charlie Nicholas returns with his latest round of Premier League predictions.

Charlie Nicholas runs the rule over the Premier League and Scottish Premiership sides back in Europa League action on Thursday night.

After Tottenham's heavy defeat and Manchester City's comfortable win on Tuesday, Liverpool and Chelsea both recorded wins on Wednesday ahead of a busy Europa League Thursday which sees Arsenal, Manchester United, Wolves, Celtic and Rangers in action.

Who's Charlie backing to prevail? Read on to find out and follow the action with our live blogs on the Sky Sports website and app, as well as on Soccer Special...

AZ Alkmaar vs Manchester United - Thursday, 5.55pm

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It is a game-by-game situation for Manchester United at the moment. You would normally think Man United would blow these away. From his interviews, it seems as though Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wants to get something out, and it is probably anger and frustration. He can't do that with the young players as he needs them and they have not let him down but he can't do it with the older players as they will want to leave if it gets too much. What does he do to get more out of them? The confidence seems to have gone and individuals are playing for their own reputation and not the team. Dutch sides are technically good; these will be dangerous and have a go. You still would have thought that United would be too strong for them. It will not be inspiring but it will be a very important result for them.

CHARLIE PREDICTS: 0-1 (15/2 with Sky Bet)

Besiktas vs Wolves - Thursday, 5.55pm

Matt Doherty celebrates scoring his Wolves' first goal of the game
Image: Wolves got back to winning ways in the Premier League at the weekend

Wolves managed to get their first win of the Premier League season at the weekend. Nuno Espirito Santo was saying that some of their players are getting tired. I do not get the tiredness thing. I know he doesn't like to chop and change but Wolves have added three or four players yet we haven't seen much of them. We haven't seen much of Morgan Gibbs-White and other young players either. It seems as though it was back to normal with the clean sheet against Watford but Besiktas will be dangerous and they could well be too much for Wolves at home here.

CHARLIE PREDICTS: 2-1 (9/1 with Sky Bet)

Also See:

Young Boys vs Rangers - Thursday, 5.55pm

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard saw his team earn a deserved 1-0 win over Feyenoord at Ibrox in the Europa League
Image: Rangers manager Steven Gerrard saw his team earn a deserved 1-0 win over Feyenoord at Ibrox

Young Boys have always been a team that can take a scalp or two. Rangers have responded well to their tame performance against Celtic a few weeks back. It was a statement of intent at the weekend as they hammered Aberdeen in the Scottish Premiership. Steven Gerrard's players are taking his points on board. He wants to play with speed, aggression - how he played. Rangers are not a bad side but they will only be getting 45-50 per cent of the ball as opposed to the 70 per cent they get in Scotland. Rangers are in a good place and this result would mean an amazing start for them in the competition.

CHARLIE PREDICTS: 1-1 (11/2 with Sky Bet)

Celtic vs Cluj - Thursday, 8pm

Ryan Christie says he was "desperate"to play in the Champions League
Image: Ryan Christie earned Celtic a point at Rennes last time out

Everyone in Glasgow is talking about revenge as Cluj put Celtic out of the Champions League. They made it out to be a fluke, but you cannot lose 4-3 and say it is lucky. Cluj are a very clever side - they took on Lazio, who are one of the favourites for the Europa League, and reminded everyone of who they are with a smashing 2-1 win. Celtic gained a very good point at Rennes and could have come away with more. The crowd at Celtic Park gives the players another five to 10 per cent and that's what will be the case here. It will not be a rollover, it will be tight but think Celtic will just edge it - it could be late on when the goals come.

CHARLIE PREDICTS: 2-1 (8/1 with Sky Bet)

Arsenal vs Standard Liege - Thursday, 8pm

Bukayo Saka
Image: Bukayo Saka impressed in Arsenal's 3-0 win at Eintracht Frankfurt

This is another game to use the young talent. I would not expect Standard Liege to be great travellers, but they will try to counter-attack. When the Arsenal youngsters get a lot of the ball it suits them, that is what they are taught. I am expecting a change of goalkeepers and Rob Holding and Hector Bellerin to start. Kieran Tierney didn't play at Old Trafford so he could be involved. Joe Willock, Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli are busting their gut to make a regular claim for the first team, and a convincing win for Arsenal in the Europa League is a good place to start.

CHARLIE PREDICTS: 3-0 (15/2 with Sky Bet)

Charlie's earlier predictions...

Tottenham vs Bayern Munich

I did the Tottenham game at the weekend and again they were unconvincing. Hugo Lloris' gaffe gave Southampton a route back into the game but his superhero antics got him out of a hole. Harry Kane was clinical again and does what he does but Christian Eriksen looked so out of sorts. Mauricio Pochettino seemed as if he might have lost the dressing room but the Saints game was a springboard victory for Tottenham with 10 men. Bayern Munich are not as good as they once were and you can get at them - they rely heavily on Robert Lewandowksi. Philippe Coutinho got his first goal at the weekend and ex-Arsenal man Serge Gnabry is performing well but I'm going for a draw. This will be a result that Tottenham will be happy with.


Manchester City vs Dinamo Zagreb

We had a chuckle at the weekend about this. Pep Guardiola was resting Sergio Aguero, David Silva and Bernardo Silva, yet they still got the job done away at Everton. Aguero is his No 9 but Gabriel Jesus has found a bit of form. It was a tricky game - Manchester City never get it easy there. It was no surprise Raheem Sterling started, and he got himself on the scoresheet once again. Phil Foden needs more game-time, but the two Silvas and Aguero can come back in. He may try something defensively - Fernandinho may not be able to play three games in a week. I would not be surprised if it was a Champions League hat-trick for Aguero but Guardiola could make five or six changes and throw other people in that have something to show and prove.


Liverpool vs Red Bull Salzburg - Wednesday, 8pm

I remember Red Bull Salzburg from them playing Celtic a few years back. There was a lot going on with the brand and funding - they had to be building for a few years. They are going to one of the grounds with the best atmosphere in Europe on Champions League nights. Liverpool are getting the job done at the moment. If I were Jurgen Klopp I would change a couple of things. Joe Gomez could come in and James Milner may get a start. Adam Lallana could get an opportunity, too. It will be a very comfortable night, regardless.


Lille vs Chelsea - Wednesday, 8pm

This is a very awkward tie. I am trying to work out how Frank Lampard goes about this. When is the right time to put all of these youngsters in together? If he can use them, he would much prefer to use them at home. After being on a high, you do not want to flip the switch and raise question marks. He will go with a solid base I think for that reason. Lille drew 1-1 away at Nice at the weekend and are sitting pretty comfortable in fourth, so this is a test for Chelsea. I think they may get something from this, but it will be a more experienced Chelsea side that we see.


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