Michael Owen predicts victories for all three English clubs involved in the final matchday of Europa League group-stage action on Thursday evening.
Arsenal travel to Dundalk with top spot in Group B already secured thanks to the Gunners’ impressive run of five wins in five Europa League games.
But Tottenham still have work to do in Group J, with victory over high-flying Royal Antwerp required in order to qualify in top spot.
Leicester also have their fate in their own hands and will aim to beat stragglers AEK Athens to ensure they finish first in Group G ahead of Sporting Braga.
Making his predictions, Owen turned his attention to the early Thursday evening kick-off and backed Arsenal to bounce back from defeat to Tottenham on Sunday.
The former England striker told Betvictor : “Dundalk go into their final Europa League match having lost all 5 of their fixtures in the competition.
“They have conceded at least three goals in each of their last four matches, so I fear this could be a case of damage limitation.
“Despite enduring a poor run domestically, Arsenal haven’t missed a beat in the Europa League. The Gunners have won all their fixtures so far which is no mean feat.
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“On paper, neither have much more than pride to play for. However, with Arsenal coming into this fresh from defeat in the North London derby, I think they’ll want to banish those memories with a good performance in Ireland.”
The Gunners were beaten 2-0 by Tottenham at the weekend as Spurs extended their impressive unbeaten run in all competitions – which extends back to a 1-0 defeat to Antwerp in October.
Previewing the crucial clash for Jose Mourinho’s side, Owen added: “It’s a shootout for top spot in Group J. Table-toppers Royal Antwerp are the last side to have defeated Spurs.
“Since then, the hosts have gone from strength-to-strength. A home win against North London rivals Arsenal at the weekend means that they sit top of the Premier League.
“I think they’ll be motivated to do the same in Europe. Jose Mourinho knows how important it is to finish 1st and avoid the big guns in the next round.
“The visitors arrive here with only three wins in their last eight, so I’m expecting the good vibes to continue for Tottenham in a convincing win.”
Owen also backed Rangers, who have qualified for the knock-out stage, to beat Lech Poznan and already-eliminated Celtic to draw with Lille before making his prediction for Leicester’s clash.
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“Last week’s defeat away to Zorya means that Leicester have to better Braga’s result on the night to qualify in top spot,” Owen said.
“The Foxes ended a four-game winless run with late success against Sheffield United on Sunday. Late wins like that always feel a bit more special, so there should’ve been a feel good factor around the squad this week.
“Athens travel here with nothing to play for. Their Europa League campaign is over and given that the Foxes would be favourites even if the Greek side were chasing qualification, I think a home win is likely to be on the cards.”
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