Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Prediction: England vs Albania

Tom Dunstan in Free Soccer Predictions, World Cup 10 Nov 2021

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Verdict: England to score in both halves

Best Odds: 8/11

Bookmaker: Unibet

Looking to finish off their qualifying job and making a real statement on home soil this weekend, England will welcome Albania to Wembley on Friday night.

England

Starting with the hosts, while England might have all but wrapped up their spot at next year’s World Cup finals, Gareth Southgate will be calling on his side to finish with a flurry. Knowing that they missed out on a real chance when signing off October’s international break, the Three Lions had to settle for what was a disappointing 1-1 draw at home against Hungary. Although the summer’s European Championship finalists might have secured a routine 5-0 romp against Andorra on foreign soil last month, England have now had to settle for a single point in two of their last three qualifying contests. With a pair of stalemates against Hungary and Poland the only blips on their Group I record, there is no doubt that Friday’s hosts will be smelling a golden chance at Wembley this weekend. Picking up a 2-0 victory when the two nations last faced off back in March, it should be noted that the Whites have won all five of their previous meetings against Albania by an aggregate score of 14-1.

Team News

It appears that that Chelsea’s Mason Mount will be missing on Friday night after undergoing dental surgey earlier in the week.

Likewise, Gareth Southgate has seen the likes of Marcus Rashford, Declan Rice and James Ward-Prowse all withdraw.

Albania

As for the visitors, while Albania might have found themselves enjoying a much-needed purple patch earlier in the year, they are a nation still in a real uphill battle. Sat a pair of points adrift of the top-two with just two Group I matchups remaining, Edoardo Reja’s side know that they missed out on a golden chance last month. Although the Eagles might have really breathed life back into their qualifying hopes with three straight wins, the Reds were last seen getting hit with a late 1-0 win against Poland on home soil. However, despite shipping their first goal from any of their last four straight outings, Albania should at least be boosted by their recent success on the road. Last seen on foreign soil picking up what was an impressive 1-0 win away at Hungary, Reja’s side have collected nine points from their last four qualifying contests away from the Arena Kombëtare. However, knowing that they could need a minor miracle, Albania should be bracing themselves for what could be a long night’s work.

Team News

In what is a blow for Albania, Southampton striker Armando Broja will be missing at Wembley as he deals with an ankle injury.

Atalanta defender Berat Djimsiti also looks set to miss out on Friday night.

Key Factors to Consider

    • When the two nations last faced off back in March, England landed a 2-0 victory on foreign soil.
    • The Three Lions have won all five of their previous meetings against Friday’s guests by an aggregate score of 14-1.
    • However, England have had to settle for just a single point in two of their last three Group I contests.
    • Albania’s 1-0 loss against Poland last month brought an end to their three-match qualifying winning run.
    • Likewise, the Eagles have also won three of their last four contests on foreign soil.

    Conclusion

    While England might have been disappointed to have had to settle for another 1-1 draw against Hungary last month, the Whites will be looking to wrap up their qualifying job this weekend. Boasting a squad of Premier League heavyweights, it really is hard to see anything other than the Three Lions making an immediate return to winning ways on Friday night. Securing a 2-0 win when they faced off against Albania back in March, it should also be noted that Gareth Southgate’s men hold a rampant record against their Group I rivals. Winning all five of their previous meetings by an aggregate score of 14-1, we’re backing a routine home victory at Wembley here.

    Verdict: England to score in both halves

    Best Odds: 8/11

    Bookmaker: Unibet

    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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