Charlie Nicholas’ European predictions

Charlie Nicholas returns with more Champions League and Europa League predictions as the knockout stage continues.

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Chelsea vs Bayern Munich – Tuesday, 8pm kick-off

Chelsea got a very good result against Tottenham; I did anticipate that if they started Olivier Giroud, they would get something.

What Frank Lampard is doing, playing the youngsters, is excellent. I see a style, which I don’t with some of the other teams that are rebuilding.

But they are still unpredictable. There’s a vulnerability to them.

Bayern came and battered Tottenham, annihilated them, but they do struggle at the back and they are being questioned with RB Leipzig and Borussia Dortmund running them close in the Bundesliga.

They are not as good as they have been in the past; I think they’ve regressed since Jupp Heynckes. They play narrower with Philippe Coutinho and Serge Gnabry. Gnabry has proven a lot of us wrong, as he was not cutting the mustard at Arsenal, but he has been excellent.

But I think they will prevail here; I don’t think Chelsea are at this standard yet.

CHARLIE PREDICTS: Chelsea 1-3 Bayern Munich (12/1 with Sky Bet)

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Real Madrid vs Man City – Wednesday, 8pm kick-off

Real Madrid are unpredictable. They blew their position at the top of La Liga with defeat at Levante. But they are the masters of this competition.

They knew how to win it even when they were not playing well. They were not favourites then, and they are not favourites now. I do not even think they are favourites in this tie.

I see Manchester City scoring here. Aymeric Laporte played another 75 minutes and hopefully he is fit as he will be a positive for them at the back.

Where is the big fear factor for City? Sergio Ramos is coming to the end and will be moving on. Eden Hazard is out. I think they’d sell Luka Modric and Gareth Bale if they could. The reputation of the club is the answer but Pep Guardiola has won there in domestic competitions before. City will embrace the Bernabeu.

They have not been playing as well as they should but when they go after a game, they are a different class, especially when they get on the ball. Ilkay Gundogan, Kevin de Bruyne and Bernardo Silva will be key.

CHARLIE PREDICTS: Real Madrid 2-2 Manchester City (11/1 with Sky Bet)

Braga vs Rangers (agg: 2-3) – Wednesday, 5pm

  • Europa League fixtures
  • Europa League results

Rangers know the title is gone. Steven Gerrard has been unhappy with the defence and questioned it quite a bit. It has been poor and evident for all to see.

Gerrard has introduced the fighting spirit to this Rangers team. They have a really good away record in the Europa League, but I fear Braga are too good for them. It has been amazing for them to get here but I think they will go out on away goals.

You cannot trust the defence at the minute, while Alfredo Morelos is suspended, so this spells trouble.

CHARLIE PREDICTS: Braga 2-1 Rangers (15/2 with Sky Bet)

Espanyol vs Wolves (agg: 0-4) – Thursday, 5.55pm kick-off

Wolves seem to have got over a spell of tiredness and confidence is building.

Diogo Jota is fit and Willy Boly has come back in. Ruben Neves has picked up a bit of form, while Raul Jimenez’s eyes have lit up since Jota has started firing. I also like Pedro Neto, who looks a tidy player.

They are in the shake up for the top four and have some decent fixtures coming up. The job is done for me from the first leg so I think Nuno Espirito Santo will make four or five changes.

I am going to tip them to lose. Espanyol may be bottom of La Liga but they are still a decent side. With plenty of changes, nothing to worry about for Nuno.

CHARLIE PREDICTS: Espanyol 2-1 Wolves (10/1 with Sky Bet)

Arsenal vs Olympiakos (agg: 1-0) – Thursday, 8pm

I do not think this is a certain win for Arsenal. Mikel Arteta will sit and read into the fact that they let in two against Everton. Bernd Leno gets Arsenal out of a lot of holes but he did slip up for the second goal.

Joe Willock and Alexandre Lacazette will come in I think. You have to keep Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in for his goals. Will Nicolas Pepe get another run? Probably. Does he deserve it? Probably not. I would probably look at Gabriel Martinelli.

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The game against Manchester City has been postponed as they are in the Carabao Cup final, which means Arsenal can go at it and get into the last 16. You can still see the mess at the back, but Arteta will change things again. Sokratis Papastathopoulos may come in, while Hector Bellerin may drop out.

You have to play Bukayo Saka at the back. This side has got its attacking side back and got its mojo back in that respect.

CHARLIE PREDICTS: Arsenal 3-1 Olympiakos (12/1 with Sky Bet)

Manchester United vs Club Brugge (agg: 1-1) – Thursday, 8pm

Manchester United are getting a pat on the back after victory against Watford but I still think there are issues.

Jesse Lingard is back in training, as is Scott McTominay, while Paul Pogba is on the verge of returning – does that disrupt things again? I do not think Pogba gets back in.

Anthony Martial is in good goalscoring form, Juan Mata has been their best creative player as of late and young Mason Greenwood has been getting on the scoresheet too. Bruno Fernandes has been brilliant since coming in.

Their next few league games are tremendously tough – Everton, Manchester City, Tottenham, Sheffield United – so it will be good to get past this one and keep another clean sheet. I’m backing them to do that.

CHARLIE PREDICTS: Manchester United 2-0 Club Brugge (5/1 with Sky Bet)

Celtic vs FC Copenhagen (agg: 1-1) – Thursday, 8pm kick-off

The Premiership is in the bag for Celtic and I think this will be a comfortable European night.

Copenhagen have no pace up front and little quality in the centre-back department.

Dame N’Doye scored against Celtic – he is a handful but Celtic could play a high line without getting too worried. The two Copenhagen midfielders are decent talents but the rest, I think, are average.

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