Sunday, November 19, 2017

Prediction: Wales vs Austria

Verdict: Draw and both teams to score

Best Odds: 15/4

Bookmaker: Bet 365

The World Cup 2018 qualifiers return this weekend as Wales host Austria in a crucial fixture at the Millennium stadium. Both sides will be desperate for the victory if they want to keep alive their hopes of making the tournament next summer.

Wales

After such a promising Euro 2016 in which Wales reached the semi-finals, their current qualifying campaign hasn’t quite lived up to expectations. One win and five draws in their six matches has failed to capture the nation’s imagination, and they currently sit four points behind joint-leaders  Serbia and Republic of Ireland with four games left. Even though the Dragons have remained unbeaten, they really need to start winning games fast if they are to gate-crash the top two. They may look at the match against Austria at their home turf as the fixture to break their five-game drawing streak, but the two sides 2-2 draw in October proves it won’t be easy. One factor that will give the Welsh a huge boost is the return of Gareth Bale after serving a suspension in the 1-1 draw with Serbia. The Real Madrid superstar is by far the most potent attacking threat posed by manager Chris Coleman’s side and he may prove to be the difference on Saturday evening.

Team News

Aaron Ramsey is expected to play after sitting out training in midweek with a calf problem.

Joe Allen will miss the match due to suspension.

Meanwhile Sam Vokes looks set to start up front after his impressive start to the season.

Austria

After a disappointing Euro 2016, Austria haven’t really managed to raise the tempo and find themselves on the same points total as Wales in the group. Marcel Koller’s men have been inconsistent so far in the campaign after the same amount of wins, draws and losses in six games played. It is now also two victories in 14 fixtures for them and something needs to change drastically if they are to qualify for the World Cup next year. One psychological advantage they do have over Coleman’s men is that they have won twice in their last four visits to Wales. They also possess the threat of Marco Arnautovic, David Alaba and Marco Janko who could be the difference in a tight game. The Austrians will be aware of the importance of the clash and will know they really need to win if they are to progress. A draw will not be good enough for Koller’s team, nor will it be for Wales, and it could make for a really entertaining clash on Saturday.

Team News

Marco Arnautovic will lead the line following his double in the first game between the two sides.

However, Zlatko Junuzovic , Valentin Lazaro and Guido Burgstaller will miss out due to injury.

Key Factors to Consider

  • If he plays, Chris Gunter is set to become only the third Welsh player to reach 80 caps
  • Wales have drawn five of the six qualifying matches they have played in Group D
  • It is now only two wins in 14 matches in all competitions for Austria
  • Austria have drawn three and won one of their last four games
  • The away side have also conceded in 13 of their last 16 matches

Conclusion

Wales’ record at home means they will be hard to beat but it wouldn’t be surprising if Austria could snatch a draw at the Millennium Stadium. Both sides will be going for the win as it’s the only result that will make a difference to the group and for that reason we can see both teams scoring in an entertaining match.

Verdict: Draw and both teams to score

Best Odds: 15/4

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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