Saturday, September 23, 2017

Prediction: England vs Slovakia

Ashley Randall in Free Soccer Predictions, World Cup 3 Sep 2017

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Verdict: England to win to nil

Best Odds: 21/10

Bookmaker: Bet 365

England and Slovakia meet in a World Cup 2017 qualifier at Wembley on Monday night with only two points separating both teams at the top of Group F.

England

Even though England managed to beat Malta 4-0 away on Friday night, it was very much a laboured performance against the whipping boys of the group. Manager Gareth Southgate knows his men must improve when they play Slovakia if they are to open up a commanding lead at the top of the table. The Three Lions are two points ahead of their rivals and victory will mean only a disaster will prevent them qualifying automatically for the World Cup next summer. England have now won their last 12 qualifiers at home and have kept a clean sheet in 10 of those. Additionally, Southgate’s team have also shut out Slovakia in their previous three matches. Striker Harry Kane finally broke his duct with a goal on Friday night and fans will be hoping it can be the catalyst for England to win their final three games. It is essentially the attack that has let the team down this campaign with only 14 goals scored in 7 games while the defence have only conceded two. However, they will be confident of beating Slovakia, especially at the fortress that is Wembley.

Team News

Eric Dier will be available after missing the Malta match due to suspension.

Meanwhile, Marcus Rashford could start after replacing the ineffective Raheem Sterling at half-time on Friday.

Slovakia

It is now five competitive wins on the bounce for Slovakia and they currently sit just two points behind England in the group. Jan Kozak’s men have only conceded two goals in that time and they should prove difficult to break down on Monday night. However, the second-placed team are only four points ahead of Scotland and Lithuania, and a loss against England could see the pressure cranked right up on their team ahead of the final two maches. Slovakia will aim to frustrate their rivals, while hitting them on the counter and focusing most of their attack through influential playmaker Marek Hamsik. The 30-year-old has helped his national side score 13 goals during the campaign and could cause England problems at Wembley.  They were unlucky in their 1-0 loss in the reverse fixture after being the superior side and dominating possession. But, Kozak will set up his team to ensure they do not lose and will be more than happy with a point.

Team News

Jan Durica and Martin Skrtel are available after suspension.

Top scorer Adam Nemec should start as he looks to add to the three goals scored so far this campaign.

Key Factors to Consider

  • England have won four out of the five meetings with Slovakia (W4 D1)
  • The Three Lions have kept a clean sheet in their last three matches against their rivals
  • England have not lost a qualifying match since November 2007
  • Marek Hamsik has been involved in four goals in each of his last four qualifiers
  • England haven’t lost a home qualifier since October 2000 when they lost 1-0 to Germany

Conclusion

This has the potential to be a very close game, especially if Slovakia decide to keep things tight early on. Both of these sides have great defensive records, however, England’s home record will be the difference here and we can see them pinching the game 1-0 or 2-0.

Verdict: England to win to nil

Best Odds: 21/20

Bookmaker: Bet 365

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ashley Randall


Ash is a freelance football writer who lives, breathes and dreams the beautiful game. A lifelong Wolverhampton Wanderers season ticket holder, if he isn't at Molineux then he will be watching any game on television that he can set his eyes on. Producing work for various football websites and publications, Ash has also written for regional newspapers and global magazines.

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