Europa League Last 32 Preview

The knockout stages of the Europa League see Arsenal and Celtic in action on Thursday.

The Gunners, second favourites to capture the trophy, travel to Sweden to face Ostersunds – who are managed by Englishman Graham Potter.

Many people regard the Europa League as Arsenal’s best chance of getting into the Champions League and Wenger insists they want to win.

“When you go into a competition it is to try to win it, no matter where we are in the league. The pressure might be higher maybe but we try to go as far as we can,” he said.

Celtic face a somewhat tougher looking task having dropped down from the Champions League as they come up against Russians Zenit St Petersburg.

And Bhoys chief Brendan Rodgers is taking Zenit very seriously and said: “I have always been realistic. I think I have always been a realist and when you look at their investment and level of players they have they will expect to go through. Listen, I think you get to the last 32 and they are always going to be tough games.”

See below for a run-down on the games, including predictions from our own Football Insider Graeme Bailey together with everything you need to know from the bookies – with BoyleSports’s Leon Blanche.

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First leg
Ostersunds 18:00 Arsenal

Jamtkraft Arena

TEAM NEWS: Arsenal come into the game with only one striker in Danny Welbeck with Alexandre Lacazette ruled out for for up to six weeks and former Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang ineligible to play. Laurent Koscielny and Jack Wilshere did not travel to Sweden due to injury.
KEY FACT: Ostersund have made it to knockout phase in debut European season
MATCH ODDS: Ostersunds 13/2 Draw 7/2 Arsenal 4/9
GRAEME SAYS: Arsenal will win this for me, be quite comfortable…0-2
BOYLESPORTS PICK: Arsenal to win -3 @5/1 
FOOTBALLIndex – One to follow: Mesut Ozil number 30 in the Index, could still be a good buy

First leg
Celtic 20:05 Zenit St Petersburg

Juventus Stadium

TEAM NEWS: Celtic have a lengthy injury list with Dedryck Boyata, Leigh Griffiths, Tom Rogic, Nir Bitton, Patrick Roberts, Stuart Armstrong, Jonny Hayes and Craig Gordon all sidelined, whilst Marvin Compper is both injured and ineligible for European competition.
KEY FACT: Zenit have been on winter break since mid-December
MATCH ODDS: Celtic 13/8 Draw 12/5 Zenit 17/10
GRAEME SAYS: I think Celtic will get something, indeed I can see them sneaking the win…2-1
FOOTBALLIndex – One to follow: Moussa Dembele is still a good buy

The other games on Thursday are:
16:00 Astana v Sporting Lisbon
5/2 21/10 6/5
18:00 Borussia Dortmund v Atalanta
3/4 11/4 7/2
18:00 Ludogorets Razgrad v AC Milan
14/5 11/5 21/20
18:00 Nice v Lokomotiv Moscow
EVS 21/10 3/1
18:00 Spartak Moscow v Athletic Bilbao
7/5 11/5 2/1
18:00 Real Sociedad v Salzburg
20/23 13/5 3/1
18:00 Ostersund v Arsenal
15/2 7/2 2/5
18:00 Marseille v Sporting de Braga
4/9 10/3 6/1
20:05 Celtic v Zenit St Petersburg
17/10 9/4 9/5
20:05 AEK Athens v Dynamo Kiev
7/5 15/8 12/5
20:05 FC Copenhagen v Atletico Madrid
11/2 12/5 8/13
20:05 Lyon v Villarreal
10/11 13/5 14/5
20:05 Steaua Bucharest v Lazio
14/5 12/5 20/21
20:05 Partizan Belgrade v Viktoria Plzen
31/20 11/5 15/8
20:05 Napoli v RB Leipzig
EVS 5/2 13/5

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