Friday, October 20, 2017

Prediction: Republic of Ireland vs Moldova

Verdict: Republic of Ireland to win and under 2.5 goals

Best odds: 7/4

Bookmaker: Bet 365

We enter the final round of World Cup 2018 qualifying fixtures this week as the Republic of Ireland host Moldova at the Aviva Stadium on Friday night. The Boys in Green will be hoping they can get three vital points to boost their chances of playing in Russia next summer.

Republic of Ireland

After a promising campaign in which the Republic of Ireland looked on course to finish top of Group D, their last two results have now left them fighting to even make a play-off position. A 1-1 draw away to Georgia and a 1-0 loss at home to Serbia mean they are now one point behind Wales who sit in second place. Martin O’Neill’ men know that only a maximum return will do on Friday as they could be eliminated if they lose and other results go against them. Ireland will be confident of beating a Moldova side who have only picked up two points during the whole campaign. However, The Boys in Green have only scored more than one goal once in their last nine home qualifying matches, so it could be tighter than expected. Ireland are also suffering from a depleted front line in which their strikers are suffering a dreadful run of goalscoring form. Of those attackers who are available, Aiden McGeady has scored no goals in 28 games, while Shane Long has only scored once in 13.

Team News

Robbie Brady and James McClean are out due to suspension.

Meanwhile Kevin Doyle’s recent retirement has left him unavailable for the clash.

Moldova

There was nothing expected from Moldova when they kicked off their qualifying campaign, and quite predictably they have only picked up two points in eight games, conceding 20 goals. Their only results have come against Georgia, but they did show slight signs of improvement in their 2-0 loss at home to Wales, having held them for 80 minutes. Alexandru Curteian’s men have only scored once against a team other than Georgia, but it was against the Republic of Ireland in their 3-1 defeat last year. If they are to score, it will most likely come through Cagliari’s Artur Ionita who is one of only two players plying their trade outside the Moldovan League. The midfielder has netted twice in 27 appearances for his national side and is one of Curteian’s most technically gifted players, alongside Russian Premier League star Alexandru Gatcan. Moldova could be in for a long night at the Aviva Stadium and it would be seen as a small miracle even if they manage to snatch a draw.

Team News

Alexandru Gatcan, Igor Tigirlas and Maxim Mihailov are all out due to injury.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Ireland are winless in their last four World Cup Qualifiers (D3 L1)
  • However, it isn’t as long as their winless run in World Cup Qualification back in October (five games)
  • The Boys in Green have only lost once in nine qualifiers (W4 D4)
  • James McClean is Ireland’s top scorer in the competition but hasn’t netted in the last four games
  • Moldova haven’t won in their last 18 Euro and World Cup Qualifiers (D4 L14

Conclusion

Ireland will get the vital three points at the Aviva Stadium which could set up a winner takes all clash against Wales on Monday. However, it will be tighter than people expect due to their lack of fire power up front. Meanwhile, Moldova shouldn’t cause them any problems at the back.

Verdict: Republic of Ireland to win and under 2.5 goals

Best odds: 7/4

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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