Friday, April 19, 2019

Prediction: Montenegro vs England

Verdict: England win and over 2.5 goals

Best Odds: 13/10

Bookmaker: Bet365

England will follow up their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign opening victory against the Czech Republic with a visit to Montenegro on Monday night.

Montenegro

Starting with the hosts, while Montenegro might have felt robbed to have conceded a highly controversial penalty against Bulgaria on Friday, Ljubiša Tumbaković’s side are still enduring a very worrying 17 months. Having to settle for a third-place finish in League C behind both Serbia and Romania in the inaugural UEFA Nations League, they managed to record just seven points out of a possible 18. Now failing to win any of their last three contests across all competitions, Montenegro’s 4-1 win away at Lithuania back in November is only their second win since September 2017. Along with slumping to a 4-1 loss when they last faced England five years ago, a huge part of the Reds’ ongoing issues has been their form in Podgorica. Putting in a lackluster display in their 1-0 loss against Romania in their last appearance at the Stadion Pod Goricom, Tumbaković’s side have lost three of their last four matches in front of their own supporters and have also failed to find the net in each of those defeats.

Team News

Montenegro will be missing former Manchester City striker Stevan Jovetic, who has withdrawn from the squad through injury.

England

As for the visitors, while Montenegro might be enduring an incredibly testing period the same can not be said for England. Getting their qualifying campaign off to a winning start by picking up a 5-0 win over the Czech Republic, Gareth Southgate’s side also have a UEFA Nations League semi-final to look forward to this summer. Unsurprisingly tipped as an overwhelming favorite to win Group A, the Whites have now won their last four matches on the bounce and the mood in their camp couldn’t be any higher. Along with now scoring 12 goals on their winning run that stems back to November, it has been their recent defensive displays really catching the eye. Southgate’s side have now gone nearly 300 minutes without conceding a goal and have recorded five clean sheets in their last six outings. One man to watch for Monday’s visitors will be the red-hot Raheem Sterling. Bagging a hat-trick against the Czech’s last week, the Manchester City ace is also enjoying his most successful spell at the Etihad already scoring 15 Premier League goals this season.

Team News

Gareth Southgate had a number of players withdraw from his squad through injury prior to the game with the Czech Republic.

The England boss lost Fabian Delph, John Stones, Luke Shaw, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Marcus Rashford before the opening game.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Montenegro have recorded just one home victory since September 2017 and have also lost three of their last four matches at the Stadion Pod Goricom.
  • They also failed to score a single goal in any of those three defeats.
  • The last time the two sides met England came away with a 4-1 win.
  • England have won their last four matches across all competitions.
  • Gareth Southgate’s side have kept five clean sheets in their last six matches.

Conclusion

On paper, Gareth Southgate should see this as a golden opportunity to continue their stellar run of form. Given Montenegro’s ongoing issues, particularly at the Stadion Pod Goricom, we’re backing the Three Lions to put on another clinical display on Monday night.

Verdict: England win and over 2.5 goals 

Best Odds: 13/10

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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