- When: 7:45PM, Monday, September 4th, 2017
- Where: Wembley Stadium, London, England
England moved a step closer to qualification for next summers World Cup Finals with a 4-0 win against Malta on Friday night. The scoreline flatters England somewhat and the Three Lions were booed off by the travelling fans at half time after failing to score. Three late goals from Harry Kane, Ryan Bertrand and Danny Welbeck added some gloss to the scoreline on a night where England made hard work of breaking down a stubborn Maltese team.
Monday night sees England welcome second placed Slovakia to Wembley Stadium in a game that should provide a much sterner test of Southgate’s sides credentials. Slovakia overcame Slovenia 1-0 on Friday night thanks to a late goal from Adam Nemec and that result moved them four points clear of Scotland behind them. If England can win on Monday night they will move five points clear at the top of Group F, but if Slovakia manage to grab an away win, they would leapfrog England at the top of the group with just two games remaining.
Gareth Southgate surprised many people by keeping faith in under fire goalkeeper Joe Hart on Friday against Malta and that selection would suggest he still views the new West Ham United goalkeeper as his number one. Southgate is expected to name a largely unchanged team on Monday, with the only likely change being Marcus Rashford replacing Raheem Sterling. Rashford came on for Sterling at half time on Friday after a largely unimpressive showing from the Manchester City winger. Rashford impressed immediately though, continually beating his man down the left hand side and he has likely done enough to warrant a starting berth against Slovakia. Jordan Henderson captained the Three Lions on Friday, but Southgate said he would share the captaincy around so we may see Joe Hart or Gary Cahill take over the armband on Monday.
England won the reverse fixture out in Slovakia 1-0 thanks to a 95th minute goal from Adam Lallana. Martin Skrtel was sent off just before the hour mark for Slovakia on that night, but England struggled to find a goal until almost the last kick of the game. Southgate will be confident that his side can keep Slovakia at bay and if the midfield is able to nullify the threat of star man Marek Hamsik, then you would expect England to pick up another victory here.
England start this game as the favourites to pick up a win and are available at odds of 4/11 at 10Bet Review, whilst an away win for Slovakia is 7/1 and the draw is 15/4. I think England will edge this one, but it’ll be a tight game so Draw/England at 11/4 could be a good bet as England have struggled to make an early breakthrough in recent games, often relying on late goals. There was only one goal scored in the reverse fixture between these two sides and I think Under 2.5 goals at 17/20 looks like a sure thing here.
Goals Under 2.5 – 17/20