Thursday, September 19, 2019

Prediction: Spain vs Sweden

Verdict: Both teams to score and over 2.5 goals

Best Odds: 13/8

Bookmaker: Bet365

Two sides who find themselves battling it out at the top of Group F, Spain will welcome a resurgent Sweden to the Bernabeu on Monday night.

Spain

Starting with the hosts, after missing out on a spot in the semi-finals of this year’s inaugural UEFA Nations League and also coming under some scrutiny for their sluggish display out in Russia last summer, Spain will know that they need a dominant qualifying campaign in Group F. Despite not being at their lethal best on Friday, former Barcelona boss Luis Enrique saw his side pick up a 4-1 win away at the Faroe Islands and are enjoying a bright start to their EURO 2020 qualifiers. The former World champions have won each of their three opening fixtures, scoring eight goals. Despite holding a two-point buffer over Monday’s guests at the top of Group F, fans around Madrid will still have some growing concerns about Spain’s defensive issues. Once again failing to record a clean sheet against a Faroe Islands side that is ranked 86th in the FIFA rankings, La Furia Roja have managed to record just three clean sheets in their last 11 matches across all competitions.

Team News

Chelsea duo Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso have been left out of the squad for this clash, while David De Gea could earn a 40th cap.

Sweden

As for the visitors, Sweden caused a surprise at the 2018 World Cup as they progressed from a group which included Germany and Mexico in order to reach the quarter-finals. Despite eventually falling to England, the mood in the Yellows’ camp continues to be at a high and they will also be boosted by their promotion-winning performances in the inaugural UEFA Nations League. Heading for League A when the tournament comes back around in 2021, Janne Andersson will have his sights set on securing Sweden’s spot at next year’s European Championships. Putting in another professional display and picking up a 3-0 win over Malta on Friday night, Blågult are unbeaten in their opening three Group F appearances and will be firmly believing they can fight off Norway and Romania to secure a second place finish behind Monday’s hosts. Along with enjoying an unbeaten start to their qualifying campaign, Andersson will be growing more impressed by Sweden’s form in the final third. Despite being unable to call upon Zlatan Ibrahimović, the Yellows have scored two or more goals in each of their previous four outings.

Team News

The Swdes have a squad of players based around the world going into this clash. Former Sunderland man Sebastian Larsson could earn his 113th cap.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Spain have recorded just three clean sheets in their last 11 appearances.
  • The last time the two sides met back in 2008 Spain came away with a 2-1 win.
  • Sweden are unbeaten in their last four outings and have lost just one of their last nine appearances.
  • The Yellows have also scored two or more goals in each of their last four outings.
  • They have also now lost just one of their last five matches on the road.

Conclusion

Two sides who are enjoying a very bright start to their qualifying campaign, Monday could prove to be a lively encounter in the Spanish capital. While the hosts may boast a squad that is glittering with attacking talent, it is hard to look past Spain’s continued defensive issues. Given Sweden’s impressive resurge, particularly in the final third, we’re backing plenty of action at both ends when the two sides met at the Bernabeu.

Verdict: Both teams to score and over 2.5 goals

Best Odds: 13/8

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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