Friday, April 19, 2019

Prediction: Italy vs Poland

Tom Dunstan in Free Soccer Predictions 7 Sep 2018

1,448 Views

Verdict: Both teams to score

Best Odds: 6/5

Bookmaker: Bet365

A nation that is desperately looking to rebuild, Italy will be hoping to kick off their inaugural UEFA Nations League campaign with a win when they host Poland at the Stadio Renato Dell’Ara on Friday night.

Italy

Starting with the hosts, after missing out on their spot in Russia at the hands of Sweden at the playoff stage, Italy have turned to former Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini in the hope to bring them back to the side that lifted the World Cup back in 2006. While many believe that the four-time world champions have shown some signs of improvement, The Blues are still struggling to grind out a result. Coming off the back of a 1-1 draw with Holland back in June, Italy have now only managed to pick up one win since they beat Albania back in October 2017. Electing to recall Giorgio Chiellini from a year in the international wilderness, Mancini will need the Juventus man to plug what is a very leaky defensive record. Now only managing to win one of their last four matches on home soil, the hosts have also failed to keep a clean sheet in their last five matches and were also heavily tested by Saudi Arabia back in May.

Team News

Roberto Mancini has included some new faces in his first squad as national coach such as Cristiano Biraghi of Fiorentina and Cagliari goalkeeper Alessio Cragnio, with Giorgio Chiellini recalled after not featuring for Italy for nearly a year.

Poland

As for the visitors, much like their hosts, Poland are a team who have put their trust in a new man. After a disappointing summer out in Russia, former international midfielder Jerzy Brzęczek will take charge for the first time out in Bologna. Although some had Poland tipped as a potential dark horse, The White and Reds could never get going and their lack of creativity was often criticised. Slumping to a pair defeats against both Senegal and Columbia, even Poland’s 1-0 win over Japan couldn’t stop them picking up the wooden spoon. Although they might have suffered a 4-0 loss away to Denmark last year, Poland have gained plaudits for their form on the road. They scored 28 and conceded 14 across the last World Cup qualifying campaign, scoring 13 times in five away games. While Poland’s all-time leading goalscorer Robert Lewandowski couldn’t find the net in Russia, he has started the new season in emphatic fashion, scoring six in his last four outings in the Bundesliga.

Team News

Jerzy Brzęczek has selected a squad that has eight players who play in Serie A. Aside from Dortmund right-back Lukasz Piszczek announcing his retirement over the summer, Poland have a full squad to choose from.

Talisman and captain Robert Lewandowski is also included in the squad and will lead the line on Friday.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Italy are unbeaten in their five home matches against Poland (W3, D2).
  • Poland have only managed to keep one clean sheet in their last seven away matches.
  • Both sides last seven combined games have seen both teams find the net in 90 minutes.
  • Robert Lewandoski already has six in his opening four games for Bayern Munich.
  • Four of Italy’s last five matches on home soil have seen both teams score.

Conclusion

Two sides looking to rebuild, on paper, this is a great opportunity for both managers to get off to a winning start. With both sides only managing to keep one clean sheet in their last eight combined matches, there should be plenty of chances at both ends. With Poland only losing one match on the road since 2015 and scoring 13 times on the road in qualifying, we believe Lewandoski and Co will ask plenty of questions. Backing both teams to score at 6/5 seems like the smartest bet here.

Verdict: Both teams to score

Best Odds: 6/5

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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