Friday, April 19, 2019

Prediction: Republic of Ireland vs Georgia

Verdict: Ireland win and under 2.5 goals

Best Odds: 21/10

Bookmaker: Bet365

Looking to make it two wins out of two, Mick McCarthy’s side will host a stubborn Georgia side at the Aviva Stadium on Tuesday night.

Republic of Ireland

Starting with the hosts, after turning to former boss Mick McCarthy to take charge following the departure of Martin O’Neil last November, fans in Dublin would have undoubtedly been expecting more from their side in Saturday’s qualifying opener. With a second-half Jeff Hendrick goal seeing the Greens pick up a hard-fought 1-0 win over Gibraltar, a side ranked 194th in the world, there is no doubt that McCarthy will be calling for a more professional performance on Tuesday. Sharing Group D with the likes of Switzerland and former foes Denmark, it will be Ireland’s on-going issues in the final third most concerning fans around the Aviva Stadium. Failing to win any of their four UEFA Nations League matches last year and finishing bottom of Group B behind both Denmark and Wales, Tuesday’s hosts managed to find the net just once in any of their four group matchups. Even more worrying for the former Wolves boss, their goal against Gibraltar over the weekend was just their first goal in over 400 minutes of action.

Team News

McCarthy revealed central defender Shane Duffy, who did not train at Abbotstown on Monday morning, is to undergo a precautionary scan on an ankle injury he suffered.

Georgia

As for the visitors, while on paper Georgia may have suffered a 2-0 loss against Switzerland in their Group D opener on Saturday, Vladimír Weiss’ side did impress for over 60 minutes and proved to be a tough test for a Swiss side who booked their spot in the semi-finals of this summer’s Nations League. Really catching the eye during their own exploits in the inaugural Nations League, they amassed 16 points topping Group D1 above Kazakhstan, Latvia and Andorra. This means that Georgia, have already guaranteed a League D play-off next March should they fail to finish in the top two of this group. Marching through their six Group D1 matches unbeaten and steadily climbing back up the FIFA rankings over the past 24 months, Georgia also have a history of being a tough test for Ireland. When the two sides last met in the qualifying campaign for last year’s World Cup finals, Weiss’ side picked up a 1-1 draw in a matchup that was incredibly balanced. Also enjoying a three-match unbeaten run away from Tbilisi, the mood in Georgia’s camp will certainly be on a high.

Team News

Georgia won’t be able to call upon Giorgi Chakvetadze. The 19-year-old scored 4 goals in the UEFA Nations League but is out after picking up an injury playing for Gent.

Defender Giorgi Navalovski is also injured so Otar Kakabadze will continue to deputise.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Ireland have scored just one goal in their last five matches across all competitions.
  • Tuesday’s hosts have also failed to score in their last three consecutive matches at the Aviva Stadium.
  • Georgia are unbeaten in their last three matches on the road.
  • However, Georgia have not scored in their last three matches against Ireland in Dublin.
  • The Republic of Ireland have won each of their five previous home meetings against Georgia by an aggregate score of 10-1.

Conclusion

While Ireland are a clear favorite with the bookmakers, Georgia’s newfound confidence and their performance against Switzerland on Saturday should not be overlooked. With Mick McCarthy’s side registering just one goal in their last five appearances, we’re backing a very evenly balanced contest that could produce a shortage of chances at both ends. With only a single goal scored by either team in the last three matchups at the Aviva Stadium, we’re backing a cagey encounter on Tuesday night.

Verdict: Ireland win and under 2.5 goals

Best Odds: 21/10

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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