Best Odds: 1/1
The Three Lions are going head to head with the Tartan Army looking to affirm their position at the top of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying Group F with Gareth Southgate facing a brand new test to his England role. Scotland will be looking to ruin England’s hopes in this neighbouring derby as the second spot in the table is only one point away for Gordon Strachan’s men.
It’s been a turbulent couple of months for the English national team. The Three Lions failed in France, disappointing the nation with yet another unworthy result at the international scene which ended up with Roy Hogdson leaving his post as England manager. The fans hoped that new era has begun with Sam Allardyce, but it only proved to be an embarrassing spell as former Sunderland boss was caught saying all sorts of things against the FA, his predecessors and offering insight into wrongful dealings with third party ownership. Gareth Southgate was given a surprising chance to lead the Three Lions from the helm with his spell starting with the 2-0 win at Malta before hitting a wall with a goalless stalemate in Slovenia. England are leading way with two points more than the second-placed Lithuania in the group and the forthcoming duel against Scotland will be of great importance. It will be extremely interesting to see whether Southgate will make big changes to the squad for Scotland, with captain Wayne Rooney announcing himself during the weekend with a neat performance on left wing against Swansea. A player to keep a close look at is definitely Theo Walcott who scored 7 goals in last 8 matches from his favoured wide-right wing position.
On-loan Arsenal star Jack Wilshere earned a recall to the national setup, together with Tottenham striker Harry Kane who managed to recover from his injury and Liverpool’s Nathaniel Clyne, Adam Lallana and Raheem Sterling.
Manchester United defensive duo Chris Smalling and Luke Shaw are not in the squad after picking up injuries which kept them out of Man United team for 3-1 win at Swansea.
Having won only two of their last nine meetings with England, Scotland travel to Wembley as huge underdogs. The results they had over the last five games offer no reassurance as the Tartan Army lost three and won just one in all competitions, friendlies included. Their qualifying campaign started with one of each as Scotland grabbed a win, a draw and a defeat as well. Their efforts to bounce back from the 2-0 loss at Slovakia are likely to be rebuffed against a team with more individual quality and better team atmosphere. Scotland are enduring difficult times, having plummeted down the FIFA rankings due to the fact they haven’t been a part of any major tournament since 1998. In a bid to help his country, the 31-year-old Celtic captain Scott Brown came back from his retirement and now faces a race against fitness to be able to help his team in London. The game at Wembley is pretty much the main reason for his decision to come back and he hopes to be fit to feature. There is a reason for optimism among the Scots who are hoping their team will be able to repeat the 1967 and 1977 feats at Wembley, when England suffered defeats at Wembley.
Aston Villa right-back Alan Hutton has been a surprise omission from the Scotland squad for England, while Andrew Robertson and Kieran Tierney have both been rules out through injury.
Gordon Strachan called up Roberto Snodgrass despite being sidelined through injury, whereas Lee Wallace is another new name on the squad list.
Key Factors to Consider
- England lost only 1 of their last 10 matches across competition
- The Three Lions won six of their nine encounters with Scotland
- Scotland last won in England in 1999
- Eight of last nine games between two sides ended in visitors’ favour
- Scotland failed to keep a clean sheet in last five matches
England are the more experienced team and will look to use the opportunity to flex their Premier League muscles to grab an important win, that would see them open a wider gap on top of the table in Group F. Scotland are going through a difficult patch right now and England game is coming at a particularly bad moment for Strachan’s men.
Best Odds: 1/1