Northern Ireland v Luxembourg: Hosts form not represented in price
Luxembourg’s dreadful away record should give Northern Ireland the edge in this clash between two nations both regarded as three-point guarantees by their larger counterparts.
However, a price of 4/9 is far from great value for money, even if it’s for Luxembourg to lose a football match.
The reason for this is simple – Northern Ireland have managed just two wins since April 2009, be that in competitive or non-competitive action.
This run includes two defeats to Estonia, a draw with the Faroe Islands and failing to get the better any side for the whole of the 2009/10 season, despite having a squad containing plenty of Premier League experience.
Michael O’Neill’s charges were outclassed in Russia in their opening game and, although the scoreline was respectable given the gulf in class between the sides, the reality is it should’ve been more.
That was the third blank they have drawn in four outings, having shipped 14 goals in the same time frame. This is not the form of a side who are odds-on favourites to win their next match.
Underdogs Luxembourg come into the game having won two of their last seven – the same amount of games Northern Ireland have won in three years – and ran Portugal close last time out. Daniel Da Mota opened the scoring in this game before the Euro 2012 semi-finalists came from behind to snatch a 2-1 win.
If they can perform to a similar level against the Northern Irishmen then the hosts could be in for a shock, just as Belarus and Switzerland were in ’07 and ’08.
However, since their famous win over neighbours Switzerland four years ago, Luxembourg have lost all but one of their away trips and averaged a goal a year on foreign soil.
Their two away days last season saw them surrender successive 5-0 defeats and went down to a 5-1 loss in Cardiff the last time they visited the British Isles.
This horrible run means it would be disastrous for the Northern Irishmen not to get off the mark in their World Cup qualifying campaign here but, at 4/9, punters should be sidestepping this one.
All odds and markets are correct as of publication