Sky Sports pundit states his prediction for Eintracht Frankfurt v Arsenal
Sky Sports pundit Charlie Nicholas believes Arsenal will play out a 2-2 draw with Eintracht Frankfurt on Thursday night
Charlie Nicholas is backing Arsenal to play out a 2-2 draw with Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League on Thursday night.
The Gunners will be hoping to return to winning ways in their first Europa League fixture of the new season following three games without a victory in the Premier League.
Arsenal won their opening two top-flight fixtures courtesy of victories over Newcastle United and Burnley.
However, Unai Emery’s side lost to Liverpool FC before successive 2-2 stalemates with north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur and Watford.
Arsenal have not played a European game since their 4-1 loss to Chelsea FC in the Europa League final back in May.
The Gunners have a good record in the competition, having reached the final and the semi-final in their only two Europa League campaigns.
But former Arsenal midfielder Nicholas doesn’t anticipate the Gunners winning their opening group-stage fixture in Germany as he predicted a 2-2 draw.
“God only knows what defence Unai Emery will pick. I don’t know how often we will have to say it as Arsenal fans,” Nicholas told Sky Sports.
“They are very good going forward, as are the youngsters. The balance from midfield to front is not bad either, but it is scary how bad Arsenal are defensively.
“What is the attraction to Sokratis Papastathopoulos? I would play Kieran Tierney on Thursday and see if Hector Bellerin could start too. Regarding Sunday’s game against Watford, when you see David Luiz giving instructions with 20 minutes to go, you know you are in trouble.
“Konstantinos Mavropanos is still game time away from being fit. It would be the end if Shkodran Mustafi was to be brought back. We need to get Rob Holding, Bellerin and Tierney back into the side as soon as possible. I would take a hit and play these players to give them game time and let them get match fitness.
“Nicolas Pepe was dreadful against Watford. How Emery took Mesut Ozil and Dani Ceballos off ahead of him was beyond me. It is starting to effect Ainsley Maitland-Niles and some of the other young players. Reiss Nelson and Joe Willock came on and could not keep the ball.
“It is the manager’s responsibility. He must resolve this and come to a conclusion on how to sort this out. Tierney, Bellerin, and Holding should play – I would play them this week and take a defeat if it meant they got the game time they needed.”
Arsenal finished in fifth place in the Premier League table last term to miss out on a Champions League spot for the third successive season.
The Gunners haven’t won the Premier League title since 2004, when Arsene Wenger’s side famously finished the season unbeaten.
Arsenal haven’t won a European trophy during the Premier League era under Wenger or Emery.