Championship Play-Off Final: Michael Owen’s View
The return of the Champions League and Europa League midweek as the competitions reach the knock out stages
The sides met in the Group stages of the competition last season with the Gunners winning both games scoring ten times in the process.
Arsenal have kept a clean sheet in their last five Europa League games, but I feel they will have to settle for a draw at best on Thursday such is their current away form in the Premier League. Bate have lost all three previous home games against English opposition, but I feel they will get a positive result against Unai Emery’s side although I fully expect the Premier League outfit to qualify for the last 16.
Tip: BATE double result – draw or win at 17/10
This is Celtic’s sixth appearance in the Europa League and they have never made it past the last 32. Valencia have drawn their last three domestic games and I feel the sides will be all square as they head back to the Mestalla next week.
Valencia have never kept a clean sheet in eight previous European ties in Scotland, but I expect to see a tight cagey affair in Glasgow.
Tip: Game to finish in a draw at 12/5
Malmo are unbeaten in their last eight home European ties – qualifiers included – but I expect Chelsea to return to winning ways after their heavy defeat at the Etihad on Sunday.
The Blues played their part in a thrilling opening to the game against City, however, and they will not face anything of that calibre in Sweden. This is a big week for Chelsea with Manchester United the visitors to the Bridge on Sunday in the FA Cup 5th Round.
I expect Chelsea to take a lead back to the capital next week for the second leg.
Tip: Chelsea to win to nil at 13/10