Friday, November 15, 2019

Prediction: Bulgaria vs England

Verdict: England win to nil

Best Odds: 4/5

Bookmaker: Bet365

Looking to immediately bounce back from their worrying display out in the Czech Republic on Friday, England will now make the trip to a struggling Bulgaria on Monday night.

Bulgaria

Starting with the hosts, putting in yet another sluggish display in their 0-0 draw out in Montenegro over the weekend, Bulgaria have continued on a qualifying campaign to forget. Already sat at the foot of Group A and a favorite to lift the wooden spoon next month, Krasimir Balakov’s men have yet to pick up a victory this campaign and have failed to win any of their last 10 matches across all formats, a run that stems back to the 13th of October. A huge part of The Lions’ major issues over the past year have come down to some very toothless displays in the final third. Failing to find the net in back-to-back Group A appearances, there is no doubt that fans around Sofia will be growing more concerned by their side’s form on home soil. Including suffering a 3-2 loss at home to Kosovo last month, Monday’s hosts have also dropped points against both Montenegro and Slovenia at the Stadion Vasil Levski.

Team News

Manager Krasimir Balakov has also been hit with a couple of defensive withdrawals due to injury – both Strahil Popov and Vasil Bozhikov have pulled out of the squad since the Montenegro draw.

England

As for the visitors, slumping to a 2-1 loss away in the Czech Republic on Friday, their first qualifying defeat since 2007, England appear to be crawling over the finish line. While Gareth Southgate’s men might still be a huge favorite to clinch top spot in Group A, the former Three Lions defender will have a growing headache over his side’s continued defensive issues. Along with shipping a brace over the weekend, they also conceded three against Kosovo last month and they have also recorded just a single qualifying clean sheet in their last four matchups. While England might be starting to show some cracks, fans around Wembley will be boosted by Harry Kane’s continued success leading the line. Once again finding the net over the weekend, the Tottenham ace has remarkably bagged 21 goals in his 22 appearances wearing the armband. Monday’s guests will also be boosted by their most recent meeting against Bulgaria. Picking up a 4-0 win when the two sides met last month, The Three Lions have also never tasted defeat against the hosts.

Team News

Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ben Chilwell and Joe Gomez are all pushing for starting roles, while Harry Winks could come in for Declan Rice in midfield.

Key Factors to Consider

  • The last time the two sides met England came out with a 4-0 victory.
  • England have won their last three matches against Bulgaria, recording clean sheets in all three of those victories.
  • Harry Kane has scored 21 goals in his 22 matches as England captain.
  • Bulgaria are yet to record a single Group A victory so far.
  • Monday’s hosts have also recorded just one clean sheet over the past 13 months.

Conclusion

While England might be showing some recent issues, there is no doubt that Gareth Southgate’s men should see Monday as a golden chance to bounce back and make a statement. Given Bulgaria’s continued issues in the final third and not recording a single strike in any of their three matches against the guests, we’re backing England to come away with three points and a much-needed clean sheet.

Verdict: England win to nil

Best Odds: 4/5

Bookmaker: Bet365

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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