Verdict: Under 1.5 goals
Best Odds: 7/4
Albania and Wales will lock horns in a friendly effort to end the year in high spirits. Having both suffered the UEFA Nations League disappointments, the two sides will have their pride to play for at the Elbasan Arena in Elbasani on Tuesday night.
A 4-0 drubbing at the hands of Scotland was a fitting ending to Albania’s dreadful Nations League campaign. The Red and Blacks opened the competition with a 1-0 win over Israel but subsequently suffered three successive defeats which leave them in third place of League C Group 1.
Albania will go through the ranking of third-placed teams to determine its faith in the competition. With Cyprus and Montenegro needing a win over Norway and Romania, respectively, Albania will still have a chance to hang around. The forthcoming clash against Wales will be the first time Albania lock horns with the Dragons in 23 years. The home side will be hoping this occasion will help them boost the overall home record which currently stands at two wins and seven defeats in ten matches. Albania will be hoping to at least give their fans something to cheer about and score their first goal after a blank double-header against Jordan and Scotland. As a man who last scored for Albania back in September, Taulant Xhaka will be the one to watch in this game.
Mergim Mavraj saw red against Scotland but will suffer no consequences in this friendly match and is expected to start again.
Christian Panucci will definitely hope to shuffle his deck a bit against Wales and we could expect to see a couple of notable changes to his line-up.
Wales hopes of joining the European elite in the next stage of the UEFA Nations League competition were ended on Friday night at the hands of Denmark on Friday night.
Goals from Jorgensen and Braithwaite forced Ryan Giggs’ side to settle for second place in Group 4 and will remain in League B when the competition returns in 2020. Wales will now focus on European Championship qualification in March but will first want to beat Albania and finish the year in an upbeat mode. The forthcoming clash in Albasan will be a good opportunity for Giggs to rotate his team and the former Manchester United legend is widely expected to do so on Tuesday night. Giggs confirmed that Chris Gunter will be given a Wales tribute by becoming the most-capped player in nation’s history. The friendly in Elbasan will be his 93rd appearance which will see him break Neville Southall’s record. Wales boasts a young and exciting squad and the lack of competitiveness on Tuesday night will provide a fine opportunity for the boss to give his youngsters a run-in.
Ethan Ampadu was forced to withdraw from the Wales squad and will return to Chelsea after a violent tackle on Denmark’s Kasper Dolberg in a 2-1 defeat in Cardiff.
Uncapped Manchester City teenager Rabbi Matondo has been called up following the withdrawals of James Chester and Paul Dummett because of injury.
Key Factors to Consider
- Albania and Wales meet for the first time in last 23 years
- Hosts lost 4 of their 6 home matches in all competitions
- Chris Gunter is set to become Wales’ most capped international (93)
- Albania failed to score in any of their last 3 games
- Wales scored only once in last three matches in all competitions
Albania and Wales lock horns for the first time in almost quarter of a century. Both sides have finished their respective UEFA Nations League campaigns and will be keen to give their youngsters a chance to get a proper international feel and boost their confidence before they return to their clubs. Albania or Wales do not exactly boast a solid goalscoring record of late and goals (lack of those that is) could be the best option to go for.
Verdict: Under 1.5 goals
Best Odds: 7/4
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!