Crucial tests await all four of the Home Nations in the final rounds of World Cup Qualification. Each of them still have a chance of reaching Russia, but none have secured their spot ahead of Matchday Nine.
Here are our top tips for all of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, ahead of their vital midweek fixtures. We kick off with the Three Lions…
Goals on the cards as Dragons head to Tbilisi
They may lack star names, but Georgia have proved tough to beat in recent times. Vladimir Weiss’ men are unbeaten in five games, including draws with Austria (2-2) and the Republic of Ireland (1-1). Jvarosnebi also came from behind to grab a point against Wales during the pair’s meeting last October.
The Dragons haven’t lost since Euro 2016, and have scored in seven of their last eight outings. Admittedly they will miss Gareth Bale, but five other players have found the net for them in WCQ 2018, with Aaron Ramsey and Joe Allen scoring in multiple games.
As for Georgia, they’ve managed 12 goals in their previous five outings. Expect both sides to register in Tbilisi on Friday night.
Top Tip: Both Teams to Score @ 23/20
Expect low-scoring affair as holders face Norn Iron
The two best defences in qualifying face off as Germany visit Northern Ireland. The pair have shipped a Scrooge-like four goals in their 16 WCQ games combined.
Michael O’Neill’s men haven’t conceded a goal in 2017, with five clean sheets on the trot. But even if they do fall prey to Germany’s impressive attack at some point, this is unlikely to be a goal-fest – especially with the last meeting producing two goals.
Add to that the fact a point in Belfast will secure a World Cup spot for Die Mannschaft, and it seems likely this will be a cagey affair, low on goals.
Top Tip: Under 2.5 Goals @ 6/5
Hoops hitman good value to find the net
After a slow start to his Scotland career, Leigh Griffiths has been making up for lost time. The 27-year-old has bagged three goals in as many appearances for the national side, including a Hampden Park brace against England.
He’s also looked strong for club side Celtic this term, scoring seven goals in 15 outings, including the opener in last week’s 3-0 victory at Anderlecht.
There’s every chance he’ll lead the line for Gordon Strachan’s men on Saturday, to face a Slovakia side with a less-than-stellar record on their travels. The visitors have managed just one clean sheet in 21 away games, and shipped six in Sweden earlier this year.
Top Tip: Anytime Goalscorer: Leigh Griffiths @ 7/5
Three Lions to dominate both sides of the break
Gareth Southgate’s men may have laboured to victory against Slovakia at Wembley, but as a rule, England are strong at Wembley. The Three Lions have won 13 of their last 16 at the national stadium, and most of those have been achieved with the minimum of fuss.
In five of their last 11 wins at home, England have outscored their opponents in each half. As for visitors Slovenia, they’ve managed just one win in their previous nine away trips, losing to nil against Scotland and Slovakia in the last two.
With the hosts boasting in-form strikers Harry Kane and Marcus Rashford among their ranks, we think they’ll dominate across the 90 minutes.
Top Tip: England to Win Both Halves @ 21/10
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