Sky Sports pundit Charlie Nicholas believes Arsenal will beat Vitoria 2-0 in Portugal on Thursday night
Charlie Nicholas believes Arsenal will ease to a 2-0 victory over Vitoria in the Europa League on Thursday night.
The Gunners will be looking to return to winning ways against their Portuguese opponents in their fourth Europa League fixture of the season.
Arsenal have been on a difficult run of form in domestic competitions following a run of three draws and one loss in their last four outings.
Unai Emery’s side have a 100 per cent record in the Europa League following victories over Eintracht Frankfurt, Standard Liege and Vitoria.
The north London outfit will be looking to secure their progress to the Europa League round of 32 thanks to successive victories over Vitoria.
Sky Sports pundit Nicholas is confident Arsenal will ease to a 2-0 win against Vitoria at Estádio D. Afonso Henriques.
“I don’t know what is going on with Arsenal at the moment. I could pin the hopes on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Nicolas Pepe, who must start to get going by the way, but I am not sure it would do me any good,” Nicholas told Sky Sports.
“Mesut Ozil is back in the team as he got himself fit and has featured in their last two matches, playing well in both. I am a fan of Dani Ceballos but I am not sure where to play him. If Ozil is in, he is out. Ceballos is a bit frantic in the domestic set-up where he is harried, but he is made for European nights. He must play closer to the front three for me.
“Hector Bellerin is fit, but you can see and understand why Unai Emery hasn’t played him much yet. He struggles to get his feet going and he is struggling to get his pace back into his game. However, Bellerin and Rob Holding will play, but I am not sure what else the manager will do. Pepe should start and I would play Joe Willock and Bukayo Saka.
“Arsenal will win, but it is a bad time for them at the moment. The only positive is that young players will play and that will get them over the line, but I am not happy with what I am seeing at the moment.”
Arsenal have won only one of their six Uefa encounters in Portugal, though that was the most recent, last season’s 1-0 victory at Sporting CP ending a run of three successive defeats in the country – all in the UEFA Champions League.
The Gunners reached the Uefa Europa League semi-finals at the first attempt in 2017/18, losing to eventual winners Atlético, before going one step further and making it to last season’s final, where they were defeated 4-1 by west London rivals Chelsea.