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    Joe Jones
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    Twitter: twitter JoeJones1862

    Europa League Preview: Arsenal and Everton wrap up groups with little at stake

    As we edge ever closer to Christmas, we prepare to put European football on hiatus - the group stages of the Champions League have already been wrapped up, now it's time for the Europa League group stages to also get through their last group fixtures, before a pause of several weeks.

    Only Everton and Arsenal are in the competition so how will they see out their respective group stage campaigns? Football Manics takes a look.

    Apollon Limassol vs. Everton (6pm)

    Everton's Europa League campaign has been nothing short of a disaster, with just one miserly point from an available 15 so far, and in a group that wasn't especially difficult, except for maybe Lyon.

    With the top two sides in Group E both on 11 points - eight ahead of third-placed Apollon - there is nothing to play for except pride and, even though the Toffees could focus on salvaging third place, the reality is they will probably just use fringe players and youngsters with an eye on the weekend's Merseyside derby.

    Everton are now out of immediate relegation danger, sitting 10th in the table and eight points clear of the drop zone, but with just nine points separating 10th from 20th, the busy festive period will be a crucial time for all clubs down there - so why waste resources on a dead rubber?

    The Daily Mail has claimed that Davy Klaassen and Sandro Ramirez are likely to start, while youngsters Beni Baningime and Morgan Feeney will also feature. The Liverpool Echo, meanwhile, claims that Sam Allardyce will hand debuts to Alex Denny, Harry Charsley, Nathan Broadhead, Fraser Hornby and Michael Collins.

    Speaking of Sam Allardyce, he will not be taking the reins in Cyprus due to a long-standing medical appointment, so Craig Shakespeare will be back in the dugout, only six weeks after being sacked by Leicester City.

    How do I see this game panning out? Well, like a friendly in all but name. The fringe players will be hoping to stake a place in the first team while the more senior players will be just looking to give an acceptable account of themselves without over-exerting themselves. Let's call it a draw.

    Score prediction: 1-1

    Arsenal vs. BATE Borisov (8:05pm)

    Another game of little significance, the Gunners are already in the knockout stages of the competition having won Group H, and Arsene Wenger has already dropped a huge hint about naming fringe players by saying "I have many players available who need competition."

    Unlike Everton's game with Apollon, where neither team has anything to play for, BATE are one of three teams still hoping to get second place, although their task is harder by virtue of playing the top-placed side in the group and having a point less than Red Star Belgrade and Koln, who face each other - whoever wins that one is through to the next round.

    Jack Wilshere is likely to be given a runout for Arsenal alongside Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud - none of whom have started a league game this season between them - while young trio Eddie Nketiah, Matt Macey and Ben Sheaf - who recently penned new long-term deals - could also feature.

    Arsenal clearly have better players on paper and beat BATE 4-2 earlier in the campaign but, with the Emirates unlikely to get a bumper crowd and the opposition giving this game much more importance, I can see the visitors getting a result - not one that will see them into the second round of the EL, mind.

    Arsenal have failed to score in their last two outings in the competition. They have never gone three European games without finding the net, but I see this changing on Thursday night.

    Score prediction: 0-0

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