Sky Sports pundit states his prediction for Arsenal v Valencia
Sky Sports pundit Charlie Nicholas is backing Arsenal to beat Valencia in the Europa League on Thursday night
Charlie Nicholas is backing Arsenal to ease to a resounding 3-1 victory over Valencia in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final on Thursday night.
The Gunners will be looking to park their miserable Premier League form and redouble their efforts for the visit of the Spanish side at The Emirates.
Arsenal are in fifth place in the English top flight and could miss out on a top-four finish with two games to go in the Premier League.
However, Unai Emery’s side can still qualify for the Champions League if the Spanish head coach wins Europe’s second tier competition for the fourth time.
The Gunners are unbeaten at The Emirates in the Europa League this season following five victories and one draw.
Arsenal were 3-0 aggregate winners against Serie A giants Napoli in the previous round to secure their place in the Europa League semi-final for the second successive seasons.
Sky Sports pundit Nicholas is tipping Arsenal to beat Valencia in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final on Thursday night.
“What’s happened at Arsenal of late is really troubling,” Nicholas told Sky Sports.
“They got beat at home to Crystal Palace but what is Unai Emery’s best scenario? Valencia sometimes play one up front and Goncalo Guedes is the main threat, while against Celtic, Dani Parejo was the danger man – he can pick a pass and open Arsenal up.”
Nicholas added: “Emery knows Valencia aren’t going to be overly physical do Arsenal need to play with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette closer together with Mesut Ozil back in.
“These are the types of games which Ozil can really do something in. Thursday may, finally, just be Ozil’s night.”
Arsenal lost 2-1 to Atletico Madrid in the Europa League semi-final last season after a 1-1 draw with Diego Simeone’s side in the first leg at The Emirates.
The Gunners have never previously won the Europa League but lost to Galatasaray in the Uefa Cup final in 2000.