Europa League Preview

Arsenal and Everton are back in European action on Thursday, after contrasting opening days in the Europa League.

Whilst The Gunners came out on top against Cologne at The Emirates, Everton were soundly beaten by Atalanta in Italy.

Arsenal face a first ever trip to Belarus as they come up against BATE Borisov and Arsene Wenger insists he is taking the match seriously, although he is planning a raft of changes.

“I have a decision to make and at the moment I would say that the schedule for us is a bit cruel,” bemoaned the Frenchman.

“When you look at the schedule over the weekend I think there was some room for us to be scheduled differently. ‘But we have to accept it and we want to go to Borisov with a good team. I will go with a team of senior players and certainly with a young bench.”

Everton are hosting Cypriot side Apollon at Goodison looking for their first win of the group stages.

“It is really important to play full of confidence. They (the players) get it by themselves and through good results. We need to play better, more aggressive, we play at home and we need to win,” said Koeman.

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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Everton 20:05 Apollon Limassol

The Emirates

TEAM NEWS: Phil Jagielka and Michael Keane have joined Ross Barkley, Ramiro Funes Mori, Seamus Coleman, Yannick Bolasie and James McCarthy on the sidelines. Oumar Niasse – who returned to the Everton squad to score twice at the weekend – can’t play as he was not registered for this stage by the club.
KEY FACT: Apollon have lost their past five group stage away fixtures
MATCH ODDS: Everton 2/7 Draw 9/2 Apollon 10/1
ANDY SAYS: Yeah, can’t see Everton being troubled in this one…3-0
GRAEME SAYS: Easy win for for Everton, could be a big score…3-0
SILKY SAYS: Comfortable home win, Everton will be too good…3-0
BOYLESPORTS PICK: Sigurdsson to score anytime @11/10
FOOTBALLIndex – One to follow: Gylfi Sigurdsson still looks a good pick up, even though he is yet to find his form

BATE Borisov 18:00 Arsenal

TEAM NEWS: Arsenal could play a number of their youngsters with Reiss Nelson, Eddie Nketiah, Joe Willock, Josh DaSilva Chuba Akpom, Matt Macey, Marcus McGuane, Charlie Dragomir and Charlie Gilmour all included in the squad.
KEY FACT: Arsenal’s first encounter with Belarusian opponents
MATCH ODDS: BATE 6/1 Draw 7/2 Arsenal 1/2
ANDY SAYS: Tough trip for Arsenal but I think they will win…0-2
GRAEME SAYS: Not sure about this one depends on the time, but will just side with Arsenal…0-1
SILKY SAYS: Easy win for Arsenal, I think they will be too good…0-3
BOYLESPORTS PICK: Arsenal & Both teams to score @19/10
FOOTBALLIndex – One to follow: Theo Walcott should be seeing some action in Belarus, interesting option

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