Europa League Matchday Four: English Sides Should Prevail5 min read
Vitoria Guimaraes v Arsenal
Two late Nicolas Pepe free kicks kept the points in London in the reverse fixture two weeks ago and Arsenal are taken to maintain their perfect record in the group stages out in Portugal.
Vitoria are unbeaten in their three games against English opposition on home soil, while the Gunners have only won one of their six previous visits to Portugal, but I still feel Unai Emery’s side will take all three points and confirm their place in the last 32 of a competition they reached the final of last season.
Tip: Arsenal to win
Wolves v Slovan Bratislava
Wolves are looking for a third successive win in the Europa League having come from a goal down to win in Bratislava two weeks ago.
Wolves showed their mettle to get a draw at the Emirates at the weekend and Slovan have lost all five of their previous visits to England and conceded 18 goals in the process. A comfortable home win for me.
Tip: Wolves -1
Manchester United v Partizan Belgrade
United came up short at the Vitality Stadium on Saturday but I am prepared to forgive Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side for that defeat – their fourth away game in nine days – and feel they will take all three points against the Serbs and qualify for the knockout stages of the competition with two games to spare.
Solskjaer may well field a young and inexperienced side but United are unbeaten in their last 10 home games in the Europa League and have yet to concede in the competition so far this season.
Tip: United to win to nil
Lazio v Celtic
Lazio have won their last three in Serie A and they appear to be coming to the boil nicely for the visit of the Hoops, but Celtic will qualify for the last 32 if they win and Rennes fail to do so against Cluj.
This is a big ask for Neil Lennon’s side, however, and a win for the Rome club would take them within a point of a Celtic side who were far too good for Hibs in the semi-final of the League Cup on Saturday. There is sure to be a wonderful atmosphere in the Italian capital, but I think the hosts will take maximum points.
Tip: Lazio to win
Rangers v FC Porto
One of the games of the night sees Porto travel to Ibrox with the sides both having picked up four points from their opening three games after the 1-1 draw in Portugal on Matchday 3.
Steven Gerrard’s side comfortably saw off the challenge of Hearts in the League Cup semi-final at Hampden Park on Sunday, but these are two evenly-matched sides who may again have to settle for a point apiece.
Tip: Game to finish in a draw