The international week is already in full swing, and the European World Cup qualifiers are the focus of our attentions as we try to turn £10 into over a grand with our BTTS & Win treble.
If our three chosen teams win their matches without keeping a clean sheet, we’ll be landing a huge 102/1 winner. Now if that’s not the perfect antidote for the lack of Premier League football, I don’t know what is.
Austria v Republic of Ireland (5PM)
The Republic of Ireland have enjoyed a fantastic start on the road to Russia, picking up seven points from a possible nine to join Serbia at the top of Group D. However, a trip to Vienna will be their hardest challenge to date, and Martin O’Neill’s men will need to be at their best to avoid defeat.
Robbie Keane’s international retirement hasn’t stopped the Green Army from scoring freely. Shane Long and co. will be eager to keep that run going against a team that has conceded in all three qualifiers.
Austria are a decent outfit, though, as they showed during the Euro 2016 qualifiers. Marko Aranutovic, Martin Harnik, and Marc Janko should give the hosts reason to fancy their chances in front of goal.
Ireland have never beaten Austria away from home, and we don’t see that run ending here. However, given that Austria’s last four internationals have been BTTS winners, we are backing the visitors to grab a consolation.
Turkey v Kosovo (5PM)
Kosovo may still be in their infancy as a footballing nation, but they’ve already shown that they’re capable of competing and will head to Turkey full of optimism.
The visitors only boast one point so far, but the squad is full of players playing across Europe’s better leagues, including several based in Turkey. Given that the hosts are yet to keep a shutout this campaign, Kosovo will fancy their chances of a goal.
Nevertheless, Turkey should have enough attacking quality to see off their plucky opponents. Cenk Tosun, Burak Yilmaz, and Hakan Calhanoglu will all be licking their lips in anticipation. Do not be surprised if the hosts score three or four.
As long as the visitors score at least once too, that would suit us just fine.
Wales v Serbia (7:45PM)
A return of five points from a possible nine leaves Chris Coleman’s Wales with plenty of work to do as they aim to seal their place in Russia. A win against Serbia in Cardiff would go a long way to boosting their cause, but they could be in for a tough night.
Following their summer heroics, Wales are now surrounded by a sense of expectation. However, a 1-1 draw with Georgia underlines that they do have a few frailties, and that’s something the in-form visitors will look to capitalise on. Aleksandar Mitrovic, Zoran Tosic, and Dusan Tadic are just three players capable of punishing the hosts, and that firepower could be crucial.
It’s hard to see Wales firing a blank, especially with Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsey, and Joe Allen in the team. However, the pressure is on Wales, and their recent draws underline that they are far from invincible.
One way or the other, it should be a fairly close contest. On this occasion, we’re backing the visitors to prevail.