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Gareth Southgate has been questioned in the media in recent months over his defensive team selections and tactics and selecting seven fullbacks in the 29-man squad this time round wouldn’t have helped ease that.
The Three Lions saw a seven match unbeaten run come to an end in their last fixture when hosting a tricky Denmark outfit, though an out of form Ireland side shouldn’t prove as difficult of an opponent and we’d expect the hosts to find a way to get the result, even if the manager does opt to ring the changes.
Stephen Kenny’s side are winless in eight matches now dating back to October last year despite not facing a recognised European giant in that time.
In fairness, Denmark (13th), Switzerland (16th) and Wales (20th) are not easy matches, though it’s still certainly not the kind of form they want to be coming to Wembley with.
Under 2.5 Goals
What has been a constant for Ireland over this run though is the fact that they tend not to be put to the sword.
Indeed, five of those eight matches have finished all square and all eight have seen two goals or fewer over the 90.
In fact, 18 of their last 20 matches since September 2018 have seen that same outcome and against an England side that haven’t been blowing sides away as regularly as they used to under Southgate, there’s every chance it’ll happen again.
The argument against that, however, is that England are the only top 10 side that Ireland have faced in that two years spell, though they have drawn five of six matches with either Denmark or Switzerland, with all of them seeing under 2.5 goals land while the head-to-head record may surprise a few.
England And The Republic Of Ireland To Draw
The Three Lions haven’t beaten The Boys in Green since 1985, with Ireland winning away in 1988 and all five subsequent meetings ending level including two this decade where Roy Hodgson played strong sides.
All six meetings since England’s last victory have seen a maximum of two strikes, and another low scoring draw is worth a small flutter at the prices.
David McGoldrick has impressed for Sheffield United recently, scoring good goals against both Arsenal and Chelsea in recent weeks, and while that should be enough to earn him a starting spot here, that’s no guarantee and with only one goal in 14 matches for his country we’re not confident of backing him to net here.
Gareth Southgate will likely give players a chance to prove themselves here too, though when we’re pre-empting a low scoring encounter we’d be hard pressed to find anyone who warrants a goalscorer bet, even if we did have any clue as to who Southgate will opt to field.