Narrow wins for Tottenham and Arsenal in Charlie Nicholas' European predictions
5 March 2018, 14:13
Charlie Nicholas provides us with his European predictions as Manchester City, Tottenham and Arsenal are in action.
Pep Guardiola brings a hefty advantage back to the Etihad, while Spurs will also be looking to book their place in the Champions League quarter-finals following their impressive comeback in Turin.
Thursday also sees Arsenal travel to AC Milan in their Europa League last-16 first leg, while Liverpool and Real Madrid have already booked their quarter-final spots in the Champions League with their aggregate victories on Tuesday.
Here's what Charlie is predicting for the ties...
Tottenham (2) v (2) Juventus (Wednesday, 7.45pm)
It's another fabulous game and Tottenham now have got the boldness that they've been waiting for at Wembley.
You're also talking about a Juventus side who know how to get a business result, but the fact that Spurs got the second goal means Juve have to do something they don't like and open up.
You'd understand Mauricio Pochettino contemplating playing two holding midfielders to protect their advantage, but I think he'll want to do it with a bit of style, thinking he doesn't need to change the way his team play.
I do expect Spurs to finish the job after being so impressive in Turin but I do expect there to be that edge to the tie where they have to come through another testing spell, but Harry Kane has proven he can step up in the big occasions.
Charlie predicts: 2-1 and Kane to score first (19/1 with Sky Bet)
Manchester City (4) v (0) Basel (Wednesday, 7.45pm)
Manchester City are four wins from the title, this job is done as well, so Guardiola will feel he can ring the changes, play Phil Foden, Yaya Toure, Gabriel Jesus and Brahim Diaz.
I could see about seven changes, maybe even more with Claudio Bravo coming in, but still no hope for the visitors. City are right back in the groove and people have stopped talking about this phantom fatigue. They're the team everybody is worried about at the moment.
Pep will be asking the youngsters to prove a point that they're not scared of stepping up and show they'll be ready to take their chances between now and the end of the season. He'll be saying to Toure that he has the chance to walk away from this club at the end of the season with an unbelievable range of medals, so I think he'll get a response and the victory.
Charlie predicts: 3-1 and Jesus to score first (22/1 with Sky Bet)
AC Milan v Arsenal (Thursday, 6pm)
I have to be honest, I didn't expect Arsenal to win at the weekend. I've never seen such pain in Arsene Wenger's face and what does he do with this squad? Laurent Koscielny was an absolute embarrassment, Shkodran Mustafi has been an embarrassment too since he joined.
AC Milan are bog standard and don't score many goals, sit seventh in Serie A with just 37 goals scored and 30 conceded, so they're far from the football machine of days gone by.
At least Arsenal have goals in them and this is the competition they're all in for, so I actually think they are value in them as outsiders to win on Thursday night.
Charlie predicts: 1-2 and Welbeck to score first (50/1 with Sky Bet)