Europa League: Michael Owen predicts Leicester City, West Ham, Rangers, Bayern, other games

Former Manchester United and Liverpool striker, Michael Owen, has predicted the outcomes of some of Thursday’s UEFA Europa League group stage matches.

West Ham United will face Rapid Wien in an away Europa League tie, while Leicester City will host Legia Warsaw.

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Bayer Leverkusen will tackle Celtic and Rangers will clash with Sparta Prague.

Providing his predictions, “This is a tough ask for Celtic. The Germans strolled it in their last match at Parkhead, and you’d fancy them again on home soil.

“That said, Ange Postecoglou will still set his side up to attack, so I can see the visitors scoring here. Any kind of result would be impressive for Celtic, and although I don’t see a repeat of the reverse fixture, I still believe Leverkusen will come out on top. Bayern 2, Celtic 1.”

Commenting on the Rapid Vienna vs West Ham United game, Owen said, “Victory for West Ham will take them through as group winners. Defeat against Wolves at the weekend is a small blip on an overall great campaign so far and the Hammers’ will need to be wary not to slip up again. However, I have a feeling the new demands of European football may be taking a toll on the Hammers, so a share of the spoils could be on the cards. Rapid 1, West Ham 1.”

Speaking on the Rangers vs Sparta Prague, Owen said, “The Giovanni van Bronckhorst era begins at Ibrox as Rangers look to shake off a miserable League Cup exit at the hands of Hibernian.

“The Gers have conceded first in each of their last six matches, and with the new management team only a few days into their new roles, it might take a bit longer to iron out their defensive problems. However, Ibrox will be rocking, so I think the home side will play on the front foot for sure. There’s not much between these two on paper, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it end all square. Rangers 1, Sparta 1.”

On the Leicester vs Legia Warsaw match, Owen said, “Just a point separates Leicester and Legia going into this one. The are way behind where they want to be in the Premier League, with last weekend’s 3-0 defeat at home to Chelsea proving to be a damning realisation of where they’re at.

“That said, European football can be the perfect springboard to better domestic results. If Brendan Rodgers can get more from his players, which I think he can, I think Leicester will win this. They are the better team, and maybe this can be a catalyst to set their season straight. Leicester 2, Warsaw 0.”