Europa League Preview

Arsenal could book their place in the last 32 of the Europa League on Thursday but Everton are still looking for their first win.

The Gunners have a 100 per cent record thus far, and will seal qualification if they beat Red Star Belgrade at the Emirates, or if they draw and BATE Borisov do not win.

Arsene Wenger insists that he will be maintaining the same selection policy.

“I’ve gone into a rotation policy and I want to stick to that at the moment. I must say that I am pleased with the quality of our performances in every single competition,” said Wenger.

“I’m not tempted [to play Alexis, Ozil and Alex Lacazette] because I have another trio who will play on Thursday night, like Walcott, Wilshere and Giroud. It’s very difficult to make a [change].

“They all want competition, they all deserve competition because of their quality. If you look at the number of minutes played by all of these players since the start of the season, many of them are in very competitive shape and that should be an advantage of us for the rest of the season.”

Everton have a much tougher task on their hands, indeed their hopes of qualification could end in France. The Toffees will be out if they lose and Atalanta avoid defeat.

Interim boss David Unsworth still holds out some hope that Everton can qualify.

“We’ve got an uphill task but it’s not impossible, and when something is not impossible, we go for it,” said Unsworth.

“I certainly want to go for it and win the game, and hopefully we can win the last two games as well. We’re really looking forward to the game and I can assure you we will be giving it everything to win it.”

Elsewhere on Thursday, Dynamo Kyiv, Ludogorets Razgrad, AC Milan, Atalanta, FCSB, Salzburg, Ostersund, Zorya Luhansk, Lazio, Nice and Zenit could all seal their progress into the knockout phase.

See below for a run-down on the games, including predictions from former England, Crystal Palace and Tottenham midfielder Andy Gray, leading agent Barry Silkman and 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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Lyon 18:00 Everton

Stade de Lyon

TEAM NEWS: Wayne Rooney, Leighton Baines, Phil Jagielka and Michael Keane have all been left at home. Academy defender Morgan Feeney has been included.
KEY FACT: The French side have won four of their last five home games in the Europa League
MATCH ODDS: Lyon 4/9 Draw 7/2 Everton 6/1 
ANDY SAYS: I don’t see Everton getting anything from this game…2-0
GRAEME SAYS: I wouldn’t rule Everton out completely – they might get something…1-1
SILKY SAYS: Comfortable home win, Everton are so poor at the moment…4-0
BOYLESPORTS PICK: Lyon to win @4/9
FOOTBALLIndex – One to follow: Lyon’s Nabil Fekir at just over £3 is a good option

Arsenal 20:00 Red Star Belgrade
The Emirates Stadium

TEAM NEWS: Arsenal will be making wholesale changes for the game with Jack Wilshere, Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud all likely to come into the team – with Mesut Ozil, Alexandre Lacazette and Alexis Sanchez rested.
KEY FACT: Arsenal have only failed to score in one of their last 26 games in European competition
MATCH ODDS: Arsenal 2/5 Draw 4/1 Red Star 13/2
ANDY SAYS: I don’t see Arsenal have too many problems here…3-1
GRAEME SAYS: I think a comfortable home win, Arsenal’s second string are playing well…3-0
SILKY SAYS: Could be a decent game but Arsenal will have enough…2-1
BOYLESPORTS PICK: Arsenal to win to nil @7/5
FOOTBALLIndex – One to follow: Jack Wilshere will play tonight and is available at £1.30

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