Thursday, October 19, 2017

Prediction: Wales vs Republic of Ireland

Verdict: Both teams to score

Best Odds: 21/20

Bookmaker: Bet 365

Wales host Republic of Ireland on Monday night in the final World Cup 2018 qualifier that will determine which team are confirmed on the plane to Russia.

Wales

A 1-0 victory away to Georgia on Friday night was enough for Wales to leapfrog Republic of Ireland into second place in Group D. The Dragons have now gone the whole qualifying campaign without tasting defeat, and assuming that Serbia beat Georgia at home, even a victory on Monday may not be enough for Chris Coleman’s men due to them being the worst second-placed team at this moment in time. The main problem for Wales has been the inability to turn draws into wins, and it is now five times in nine games that they have produced a stalemate. Even though a point will be enough for the home team to finish in second place, they will no doubt be aiming for a victory in order to increase their chances of making the play-offs as one of the best runners up. Like their match against Moldova, Wales must complete the match without influential superstar Gareth Bale who will be missing the match due to an injury picked up while playing for Real Madrid.

Team News

Tom Lawrence’s fine display on Friday night means he will likely start again, with Ben Woodburn occupying a place on the bench.

Gareth Bale will miss the clash due to injury.

Republic of Ireland

Even though the Republic of Ireland made a strong start to life in Group D, a run of four consecutive games without a victory saw them drop to third position in the table. However, victory over Moldova quickly restored faith and Martin O’Neill’s men know that only three points against Wales on Monday night will suffice. Even if they are successful in beating their rivals, the Boys in Green could still miss out on a place at the World Cup in Russia if they are the worst second-placed team in qualifying. It’s a huge task for Ireland to beat Wales at the Cardiff City Stadium, especially as the home side are unbeaten in the competition. O’Neill’s team are also struggling for goals with only four scored in the last five games against poor opposition in Georgia and Moldova. One positive note is that they have netted in all of their away games so far, plus the return of James McClean and Robbie Brady from suspension should improve their attacking play.

Team News

James McClean and Robbie Brady will return from suspension, giving O’Neill a selection dilemma.

Seamus Coleman and Jonathan Walters will again miss the clash.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Wales unbeaten so far in the World Cup 2018 qualifying campaign
  • Republic of Ireland have only won one of their last five qualifiers
  • The Boys in Green have only scored more than one goal in three of the last nine qualifiers
  • Each of Wales’ last seven competitive games have produced two goals or less
  • The Dragons have kept a clean sheet in four of the last five qualifying fixtures

Conclusion

Wales and Republic of Ireland know the importance of this clash and will both be desperate for the three points that could see them into the play-offs. It’s going to be a fascinating battle that Coleman’s team won’t lose but both teams look certain to score.

Verdict: Both teams to score

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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