Europa League Matchday Five: Respite For Emery?5 min read
Sporting Braga v Wolves
Wolves need a point to qualify for the last 32 in Portugal while the hosts will be guaranteed top spot if they do the double over the Molineux outfit given their 1-0 win in the reverse fixture earlier in the campaign. A draw will see both sides qualify for the knock-out stages.
Wolves have been outstanding in recent weeks after a slow start to their league campaign while Braga currently sit halfway in the Primeira Liga table. I would be disappointed if coach Nuno Espirito Santo and his large Portuguese contingent did not get the draw they need to make it safely through to the knock-out stages.
Tip: Game to finish in a draw
FC Astana v Manchester United
Young United striker Mason Greenwood scored the only goal of the game in the reverse fixture at Old Trafford earlier in the season, but I feel Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will have to settle for a draw in Kazakhstan despite the fact that Astana have lost their last three home games in the Europa League.
United are already through to the knock-out stages of the competition but are not yet guaranteed top spot. I think the hosts, despite the fact that they are yet to pick up a solitary point in the group stages, can get a draw in the Astana Arena.
Tip: Game to finish 1-1
Celtic v Rennes
Celtic are already through to the knock-out stages of the competition and I think they will take all three points against the French side who lost 3-1 at Dijon in Ligue 1 at the weekend.
Neil Lennon’s side have been in excellent form of late and their 2-1 win in Rome against Lazio on Matchday 4 was one of their best European results in a long time.
Tip: Celtic to win to nil
Arsenal v Eintracht Frankfurt
Arsenal just need a point to qualify for the last 32 but I feel they need to pick up all three points to relieve the pressure on manager Unai Emery, given the Gunners were, arguably, fortunate to pick up a point against lowly Southampton at the weekend.
Frankfurt have lost their last three since beating 10-man Bayern Munich 5-1 earlier in the month. Arsenal, last season’s beaten finalists, are currently eight points off the top four in the premier League and the Europa League could be their best opportunity of returning to the Champions League next term.
Tip: Arsenal to win and both teams to score
Feyenoord v Rangers
Rangers will qualify for the last 32 with a win in Rotterdam but a point would not be a bad result for Steven Gerrard’s side despite the fact that Feyenoord currently sit 10th in the Eredivisie.
Rangers have won their last five games in all competitions, conceding just twice in the process, and will have tremendous away support in the Netherlands. I think it will end in a low-scoring draw.
Tip: Game to finish in a scoring draw