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A superb evening for Ollie Watkins saw him get a goal on his debut and round off a rather predictable 5-0 victory for England against San Marino.
That takes the Three Lions’ goals aggregate to 42-1 from their last seven against the minnows, but that isn’t exactly surprising given their population is roughly 1700 times bigger.
Albania have a respectable W8-D3-L5 record from their 16 matches under current manager Edoardo Reja, including victories in all their last four.
Those recent victories haven’t been anywhere near the standard they’ll come up against this weekend of course, with the highest ranked side being 88th ranked Belarus, and against the better sides they’ve faced since June 2018; France, Turkey, Wales, Ukraine and Scotland, they’ve lost seven of their eight such matches as their solitary result came in a friendly against a Welsh outfit without their key men.
Against those teams in competitive games alone on home turf, they lost all four by at least two clear goals, netting just once.
England To Win To Nil
Gareth Southgate’s men have got off to a good start in their 2022 World Cup campaign, but they have failed to win their last two outings on the road at Denmark and Belgium now, while back in October 2019 they also lost against Czech Republic.
However, there is obviously a serious gulf in class between these two sides and given only Belgium (three times) and Denmark (once) have scored against Southgate’s men from their 12 games at all venues dating back to 14th October, winning nine of them and the win to nil looks appealing.
The visitors will obviously have one eye on their Wednesday fixture against Poland, but they’ll still put out a strong side for this encounter nonetheless.
That should see the likes of Harry Kane and Phil Foden get a starting birth in this one and you’d be a brave man to bet against either of them making a huge impact given their form.
The captain has five goals from his last five games for his club now in all competitions, while Foden has four assists from as many games for both Man City and England.
Unsurprisingly, the striker is at odds-on to get his name on the scoreboard but we do like the chances of the City youngster at a fairly big price.
He has a brace of assists and goals in his last two matches for the Three Lions and with Marcus Rashford out he looks set to be in a tussle with Bakayo Saka for the starting jersey.