Albania v Switzerland: Slick Swiss to dominate Euro debutants

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On paper, Saturday’s opener may lack some of the razzmatazz of the games set to follow it but try telling that to a fired-up Albania side making their European Championship bow.

Gianni De Biasi’s side are living the dream having made it to France in the first place but unfortunately for them their bubble could burst pretty quickly.

Switzerland are the opposition for the 14:00 kick-off in Lens, and they will harbour much loftier ambitions in Group A.

The Swiss may have only won one of their previous nine games at the Euros but they look set to improve upon that statistic against a team who are unlikely to trouble them at either end of the pitch.

Albania are the lowest scorers to have made it through in qualifying having netted a paltry seven goals.

They’ve also only kept two clean sheets in their last nine fixtures with those coming against Armenia and Luxembourg.

Therefore, the 10/11 for Switzerland to remain unbreached looks fairly safe but it’s the goalscorer markets where the real value lies.

Stoke’s Xherdan Shaqiri is the obvious pick having top scored for his country in qualifying for this tournament. He was also on the scoresheet when these sides last met in 2013.

The midfielder is 6/1 to net the opener at the Stade Bollaert-Delelis while it’s 3/1 for Shaqiri to score and Switzerland to win.

Indeed, the middle of the park is likely to be key with the Swiss unable to rely too much on the unpredictable and out of form striker Hans Seferovic to do the business.

That brings in to play new Arsenal signing Granit Xhaka, with the Gunners’ latest bright young thing 10/3 to score at any time.

He may have only netted six goals in 41 internationals but this could well be his breakout tournament with manager Vladimir Petkovic’s 4-3-2-1 formation offering him plenty of wriggle room at the heart of the team.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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William Geldart

Having graduated with a degree in English Literature from the University of Wales, Bangor, William contributed to a number of online football blogs before finally finding his pot of gold at the end of the rainbow alongside the rest of the Ladbrokes News team. Now indulging passions for football, horse racing, greyhounds, boxing and political betting. Supports Wycombe Wanderers and can be spotted at various lower league and non-league grounds across the country.