2018-19 Europa League: Round of 32 – First Leg

With first four knockout first leg ties done in Champions League, attention now switches to Europa League where Arsenal, Celtic and Chelsea are all in action. 

BATE Borisov vs Arsenal (5:55pm)

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Given Unai Emery’s and Arsenal’s pedigree in this competition, I am expecting a comfortable result, although last season’s meeting here proved to be quite the thriller. 

One concern for the Gunners though will be the fact that they have lost three of their last five away games in all competition. 

BATE however haven’t played since qualifying for this stage back in December, so are either going to provide a tough test or be blown away due to a lack of match time. 

Don’t expect a thriller here but Arsenal will find a way to get the job done here. 

Prediction: BATE Borisov 0-2 Arsenal

Result: BATE Borisov 1-0 Arsenal


Celtic vs Valencia (8:00pm)

With a tough battle for the domestic league title, Celtic’s team sheet will be a huge indicator of how serious they are taking this competition. 

Valencia meanwhile have a 100% record at this stage but have drawn 16 of their games in all competitions and won just one away game in last two months. 

Their solid home form however suggests that Celtic probably need at least a two goal margin here if they are to stand any chance of going through. 

Sadly, I can’t see that happening unfortunately. 

Prediction: Celtic 2-1 Valencia

Result: Celtic 0-2 Valencia


Malmo vs Chelsea (8:00pm)

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2-0, 4-0, 6-0.

Those scorelines are Chelsea’s last three away results in all competitions but in between each of those games, they have been at home unlike now so this is surely the ultimate test of Chelsea as a collective unit under Maurizio Sarri. Surely they can’t do the unthinkable and lose 8-0 at Malmo of all places?

I however am expecting a strong reaction here from Chelsea against a Malmo side, who have lost four of their last five ties with English opposition.

The Swedish side however are unbeaten in their last eight home games but are yet to score in first half this season of Europa League, meaning that the opening 45 minutes will be key for Chelsea.

In end, I do expect the visitors to prevail but will definitely concede given their defensive inconsistency away from Stamford Bridge.

Prediction: Malmo 1-3 Chelsea 

Result: Malmo 1-2 Chelsea


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