Scottish giants Celtic and Rangers, as well as the English duo Arsenal and Chelsea, will resume their UEFA Europa League
duties on Thursday evening hoping to avoid any real major slip-ups against relatively smaller sides from across the continent.
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Qarabag vs Arsenal – TOFIQ Bahramov Republican Stadium
Azerbaijani outfit Qarabag are undefeated in six matches domestically but head into Thursday’s clash with the Gunners looking to bounce back from a 2-0 defeat to Sporting Lisbon on matchday 1. Nigerian-born striker Innocent Emeghara, who has 9 caps for his adopted Switzerland, is the man in form for Atlilar having found the back of the net three times in his last two appearances.
Arsenal are on a 7-game winning run in all competitions under new manager Unai Emery after their latest 2-0 victory over London rivals Watford in the English Premier League
. The Gunners began their European campaign with a convincing 4-2 victory over Europa League debutants Vorskla Poltava with Pierre Emerick Aubameyang bagging a brace along the way.
This will be the pairs first-ever meeting, although Qarabag’s record against English teams doesn’t make for pleasant reading. In four Europa League group-stage matches (vs Tottenham in 15/16; vs Chelsea in 17-18) Qarabag have lost all four, conceding 14 goals in the process whilst scoring just once.
Chelsea vs Mol Vidi FC – Stamford Bridge
The Blues face arguably the easiest test against Hungarian minnows Mol Vidi who are appearing in a UEFA club competition for the very first time. Maurizio Sarri’s men are the only English side that remain unbeaten in all competitions since the start of this season, having dispatched PAOK 1-0 away from home in their opening European affair before dumping Liverpool out of the League Cup last week.
Mol Vidi, formerly Videton until 2018, do not boast any recognisable names in their small squad, but will be looking to pull off one of the major European upsets of their time when they travel to London to take on the 2012-13 Europa League champions Chelsea. Vidi are on a three-match winning run since a 2-0 opening day defeat at home to BATE Borisov.
Red Bull Salzburg vs Celtic – Red Bull Arena
Salzburg have won all six matches since they were dumped out of UEFA Champions League qualifying at the final hurdle by Red Star Belgrade of Serbia, scoring a whopping 21 goals at an average of 3.5 goals per game. Israeli striker Moanes Dabour, who netted the opening goal in his sides 3-2 victory over Leipzig on matchday 1, has scored four times in his last three outings for Die Roten Bullen.
Celtic have really struggled for goals this season since selling top scorer Moussa Dembele to French side Lyon in the summer. Five of their last eight matches have ended 1-0 to the Hoops including victories over bitter rivals Glasgow Rangers in the Old Firm Derby before beating Rosenborg on matchday 1 by the same margin.
Salzburg and Celtic faced each other on a couple of occasions in 2014 when they were drawn together in Group D of the Europa League. The corresponding fixture ended 2-2 before Salzburg orchestrated a shock 3-1 win in the reverse fixture at Celtic Park two months later.
Rangers vs Rapid Wien – Ibrox Stadium
Steven Gerrard has had a tough start to life as Rangers boss, having overseen just three wins from seven league games. Rangers twice had to come from behind in their clash with Villarreal on matchday 1 to eventually salvage a 2-2 draw. Their latest run-out saw a 1-0 loss to Livingston in the Scottish Premier League
leaving The Gers languishing in seventh place on the table.
Rapid Wien represent ultimate inconsistency so far this season. After finishing third in the last top-flight campaign in Austria, Die Grun-Weisen head into Thursday’s clash having notched up just two wins from their last seven matches in all competitions. They surprised Spartak Moscow on matchday 1, beating the Russians 2-0 to go top of Group G on goal difference, before a penalty shootout success against Mattersburg in the League Cup. Their last league win came way back on August 26th
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