Charlie Nicholas predicts Arsenal and Everton results in Europa League

Generic Charlie Nicholas image 10/08/2016
Image: Charlie Nicholas previews Thursday night's action

Charlie Nicholas offers his predictions for the penultimate round of Europa League group stage fixtures for the English teams.

Arsenal and Everton find themselves in contrasting positions after four games, with Arsene Wenger's side qualified and just needing a draw to secure top spot in Group H, while the troubled Toffees' hopes of making the knockout stages are already over.

Here's what Charlie is predicting for Thursday night's action...

Cologne v Arsenal (Thursday, 6pm)

It's another opportunity to play the younger players, such as Rob Holding, Eddie Nketiah and Ainsley Maitland-Niles, with two games to secure the one point which will guarantee top spot.

We've not really got to know the youngsters as much as we'd like and the one who has disappointed a bit is Jeff Reine-Adelaide as it was him and Maitland-Niles who I was told were the future.

Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere (R) is tackled by Red Star Belgrade's midfielder Marko Gobeljic
Image: Arsenal qualified despite failing to beat Red Star Belgrade

Theo Walcott will get a chance to show what he can do as a striker as Olivier Giroud has only just returned to training so I doubt he'll be risked, then we'll have the young and energetic players in behind.

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Cologne are a fairly average side. The only thing that really stands out from them was their fans marching through London ahead of the game at the Emirates.

There's a fair bit of momentum with Arsenal now and I think they'd be content with a draw, but I think this confidence will see them through.

Charlie predicts: 0-1 and Jack Wilshere to score first (50/1 with Sky Bet)

Everton v Atalanta (Thursday, 8.05pm)

Everton got an absolute kicking in Italy and I would have thought they'd be looking for revenge, but anything other than another defeat is a positive for them right now.

It's just about trying to take one step forward for them and there's a huge game at Southampton, live on Sky Sports Premier League, coming up at the weekend, but they need to start breaking down barriers to get a manager in time.

Everton players look dejected after the 3-0 loss to Olympique Lyon in the Europa League
Image: Everton have collected a solitary point in the Europa League

There will be no Oumar Niasse as he's not even registered for the competition meaning he will miss three games following his ban for simulation. I thought it was a justified decision and I don't know why Everton even appealed it.

When the rules were brought in I thought a strong stance needed to be used to make an example of it, and it wasn't even a good dive in terms of simulation.

I'm going for them to get a result here though and I'm going to be bold and back Gylfi Sigurdsson to fire them to victory.

Charlie predicts: 2-1 and Sigurdsson to score first (45/1 with Sky Bet)

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