Monday, November 19, 2018

Prediction: Scotland vs Albania

Tom Dunstan in Free Soccer Predictions 9 Sep 2018

1,146 Views

Verdict: Under 2.5 goals

Best Odds: 3/5

Bookmaker: Bet365

Looking to get a vital first win in their inaugural matchup in the UEFA Nations League, Alex McLeish’s Tartan Army will welcome Albania to Hampden Park on Monday night.

Scotland

Starting with the hosts, although the Tartan Army may have come within touching distance of landing a final playoff spot in qualifying, Scotland have struggled under Alex McLeish. Handing the armband to Liverpool full-back Andrew Robertson prior to last weeks matchup with Belgium, the 24-year-old will be demanding an immediate response after a lackluster showing on Friday. Shipping four against this summer’s bronze medalists, it will be Scotland’s form in the final third that is most worrying the former Aston Villa boss. The Blues have now failed to find the net in five of their last six matches in all competitions and now have just one win in 2018. Sadly for fans in Glasgow, Scotland’s recent form at Hampden Park will also be an issue that needs resolving. Now losing their last three home matches without scoring one in return, eight of their last 10 matches have also finished with under 2.5 goals.

Team News

Hearts captain John Souttar has been selected for the first time, while Celtic players including Craig Gordon, James Forest and Leigh Griffiths return to the squad after being rested last time out.

Newcastle’s Matt Richie and West Ham’s Robert Snodgrass are not included, but Manchester United’s Scott McTominay has retained his place despite only making one club appearance so far this season.

Albania

As for the visitors, while Albania may sit 24 places below their hosts in FIFA’s standings, Christian Panucci’s side have also struggled with their consistency. Although the former Italy international did see his side pick up a 1-0 win over Isreal in their opening Nations League outing in midweek, Albania had lost their previous three matches on the bounce, including an embarrassing 3-0 loss at home to Kosovo. While the visitors have now lost 10 of their last 15 matches in all competitions, the Reds did gain a reputation for their record on the road. Even though they were always set to struggle in a group shared with both Spain and Italy, Albania have now lost just six times in their last 18 away matches, winning nine of them.

Team News

Rangers winger Eros Grezda has been sent home over injury concerns, whilst mainstays like Napoli defender Elseid Hysaj are included in the squad.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Eight of Scotland’s last 10 matches at Hampden Park have now seen under 2.5 goals.
  • The Tartan Army have also lost their last three home matches on the bounce.
  • They have also now managed to find the net just once in their last 540 minutes of play.
  • Albania have lost six times in their last 18 away matches, winning nine of them.
  • However, they have lost ten out of their last 15 international games in all competitions.

Conclusion

Although on paper it may appear that this is a great chance for Alex McLeish’s side to pick up a crucial win, we believe that this could be a cagey encounter. With Eight of Scotland’s last 10 matches at Hampden Park ending with under 2.5 goals at full time, Albania’s reputation to frustrate sides could mean another tough nights work for the Tartan Army. With the hosts now failing to find the net in five of their last six matches, backing under 2.5 goals seems like the safest bet here.

Verdict: Under 2.5 goals

Best Odds: 3/5

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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