The Red Devils head into the game looking to return to winning ways after the disappointment of their 2-1 defeat by Sunderland in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon.
With United currently languishing in fifth place in the Premier League table and six points adrift of Manchester City in fourth, their best chance of qualifying for next season’s Champions League may come from winning the Europa League this term.
And former Arsenal man Nicholas is expecting to see the Red Devils kick off their campaign with a victory on Thursday.
Nicholas told Sky Sports: “Like with Liverpool, United will see the Europa League as a chance to quality for the Champions League but top four certainly isn’t be beyond them, mathematically anyway. If they beat Arsenal and then go on a five-match winning streak they’ll be back in the top-four mix and even the title race, but who really believes they can do that?
“As for their opponents, they’ve got some talented players but the concern is they’ve had such a long winter break, not playing since 10 December, so that certainly goes in United’s favour.
“Louis van Gaal will chop and change and this presents a chance for a few players to prove their worth, and I fancy Memphis Depay to take the opportunity and bag the winner.”
United’s next Premier League game is a home clash against Arsenal at Old Trafford on Sunday 28 February.
Before that, Louis van Gaal’s men travel to Shrewsbury in the fifth round of the FA Cup on 22 February.
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