Charlie Nicholas returns with his predictions to the teams today, becoming their Europa League campaigns under way.
There are just five British clubs engaged with the European competitions this season, including Arsenal, that are looking to go one better to Chelsea in this competition last year.
And Soccer Saturday’s Charlie has contributed his predictions for the upcoming fixtures…
God knows what defence Unai Emery will select. I really don’t know how frequently we will need to say it. They are great going forward, as will be the kids. It’s frightening how poor Arsenal are defensively, although the balance from midfield front isn’t bad either.
What is the attraction to Sokratis Papastathopoulos? Kieran Tierney on Thursday and I’d play with and see if Hector Bellerin could start. Seeing Sunday’s game against Watford, when you visit David Luiz giving instructions with 20 minutes ahead, you know you are in trouble.
Konstantinos Mavropanos is game time off from being fit. It’d be the conclusion though Shkodran Mustafi was brought back. We will need to have Bellerin, Rob Holding and Tierney back to the side. I would take a bang and play with these players to provide game time to them and let them get fit fitness.
Nicolas Pepe was dreadful against Watford. Emery took Dani Ceballos along with Mesut Ozil off was past me. It’s starting to effect Ainsley Maitland-Niles and a few of the other young players. Reiss Nelson and Joe Willock came on and couldn’t keep the ball.
It’s the manager’s responsibility. This must be resolved by him and come to some conclusion about the best way best to sort out this. Tierney, Bellerin, and Holding should play with I would play with them and take a defeat if it meant they have the game time that they needed.
CHARLIE PREDICTS: 2-2 (12/1 with Sky Bet)
Astana will come and’park the bus’. Manchester United were not brilliant in the weekend, however it turned out to be a fabulous result – they stumbled but they did not, and it’s about getting the 3 points, in what was a dangerous match to yourselves.
It will not create a big difference that Jesse Lingard and Paul Pogba were lost – that they have yet to be setting the world on fire. It isn’t persuasive with United but that is just another game in which they will get over the line, in comfortable fashion.
CHARLIE PREDICTS: 2-0 (5/1 with Sky Bet)
Nuno Espirito Santo will need to get one over. Braga are always dangerous but don’t travel well. Are Wolves caught up in the emotion of this Europa League? They took their foot as Chelsea thumped them.
They had been blown off during weekend and make many errors and also it had been really unlike them to concede five. They need to return to basics and find a win in from the Premier League, however Nuno will take this seriously and I expect Wolves to become strong here, getting off to a fine start in the group stages.
CHARLIE PREDICTS: 2-0 (6/1 with Sky Bet)
Rennes have begun in Ligue 1. I hope that M’Baye Niang won’t play. He is lightning quick a lesser variant of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. These guys can move and play, and that’s what Celtic struggle against.
Celtic will be good about the counter-attack, however their reputation is exactly the same. They get frightened when they journey away from your home. They do not understand the best places to throw their defence and if to perform a sport or not. They are going to have players and speed out wide, where they’ll look to utilize. Celtic nevertheless have traumas that are defensive and won’t endanger here.
CHARLIE PREDICTS: 2-1 (17/2 with Sky Bet)
This will be a fervent game. Feyenoord have a standing. Feyenoord have the fire but are not bringing the support they’d always deliver. Rangers like these nights which is the reason why Steven Gerrard is there.They have not clicked into gear just yet . Jaap Stam’s side will sit for 20-25 minutes and this could lead to frustration about Ibrox – this is when they can pounce.
Alfredo Morelos is the danger along with Feyenoord will be turning up him if they could get to him to see. He seems a great deal calmer than that which he’s been before! It’s not an easy night. It’ll be quite physical and tense. If Rangers quite have the knowledge to make it through these games 16, I really don’t know.
CHARLIE PREDICTS: 1-1 (5/1 with Sky Bet)
Charlie’s earlier predictions…
This will be a test for the Champions League holders. We found a side in the weekend to their defence, conceding after just seven minutes from Newcastle. They’ve walked comfortably and obtained, but this isn’t the point.The difference Roberto Firmino makes is unbelievable. He doesn’t get the aims that Mohamed Salah gets or has the pace that Sadio Mane does but he has cunning and ability. He is my favourite out of the three, my favorite to watch and is a true team player, even though he could be easier to mark than another two.
Liverpool haven’t improved in midfield. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is still a fringe player. We know they are a good side but those three need to be in their match.
Napoli are all not persuasive, although strong in the home and all-action . Dries Mertens just stones up and does the job. He has targets that are big and I expect him to catch another through the week.
CHARLIE PREDICTED: 2-1
The performances of Mason Mount have been impressive although tammy Abraham’s goals are gigantic. All 11 Premier League goals have been scored by england U21 players so far which is remarkable. I thought they’d be in trouble but I was incorrect. They have good energy and speed that is good . It is an expansive method of playing for Frank Lampard.
Their manager was sacked by valencia and I don’t see them being flamboyant. They will try to counter-attack that will make it difficult for Abraham and Mount to comprehend.
CHARLIE PREDICTED: 1-0
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