In their Nations League opener, Wales walloped the Irish 4-1 in Cardiff and so, in addition to points, Martin O’Neil’s men will be seeking revenge at the Aviva Stadium this week.
After an indifferent run of form, the Irish will now be looking to build on their first point of the competition, after drawing 0-0 with Denmark at the Aviva over the weekend.
Ryan Giggs’ side meanwhile were unable to build on the Cardiff win and were beaten 2-0 in Denmark, leaving them on three points. Arguably though, even more damaging – certainly in terms of morale – was their midweek 4-1 hammering at the Principality Stadium by Spain.
Yet the Welsh will fancy their chances in Dublin, and will know a win leaves them breathing down the Danes’ necks, even if they again look likely to be without talisman, Gareth Bale, who was also injured for the Spain game. They will however have to overcome this mini-dip in fortunes that has seen them suffer back-to-back defeats.
TOP TIPS! – Ireland to win 1-0 @ +550 / Shane Long First Goalscorer @ +500
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For the Irish, they desperately need a win to get themselves off the bottom the group, but their form is unimpressive, with just a single win to their name in 2018 – in a friendly against the United States.
In addition to being without the services of Bale, Giggs will also be without midfielder Ethan Ampadu, who was injured in the defeat to Spain, and Chris Mepham, who picked up a knock in training ahead of the same game. The pair have returned to their clubs and have been replaced by the uncapped pair of Gwion Edwards and Kieron Freeman.
For their part, Ireland will again be without captain Seamus Coleman – who is still recovering from an injury picked up at the start of September – as well as Jonathan Walters, Robbie Brady and Stephen Ward.
A look at their head-to-heads offers few clues as to the way this one is going, other than to suggest it is going to be very tight, with their 16 meetings resulting in six wins apiece with four games drawn.
Let’s not expect a goal-fest as prior to the 4-1 win for Wales, the previous three games between the two sides produced two goal-less draws and a single goal.
With a fit and firing Gareth Bale in situ, we’d be veering heavily towards a Welsh win but without him the Dragons look a little toothless, and so we have a sneaky feeling that an early goal for the Irish may just be enough for them to claim all three points (1-0 @ +550 with Bet365).
We also have a hunch that it may be time for Shane Long to end his 18-game goal-less streak and notch the only goal ( +500 Bet365).
TOP TIP! – Gibraltar and Liechtenstein to draw @ +220
We can’t believe we’re writing this, but Gibraltar head into this one looking to make it two wins on the spin. And they’ll believe they can do it. Having just registered their first ever victory in a competitive match, Julio Ribas’ men will be positively bursting with confidence going into this one.
Liechtenstein won 2-0 when the two sides met in September but will be coming into the game off the back of a 4-1 defeat by Macedonia, and so we can see some value here in betting on a Gibraltar win.
But, the visitors have far more experience in international football than those from the Rock and we think realistically two wins on the bounce for them is a big ask. So we’re going for the draw ( +220 with Bet365).
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