Shane Duffy’s late equalizer saw Ireland pick up their first point in these qualifiers last time out hosting Azerbaijan, but confidence must be at an all time low with minnows Luxembourg still five points ahead of them after four rounds of action.
At the other end of the table, Serbia remain unbeaten in Group A, level on points with Portugal and ahead of them on goal difference, with the Selecao the only side to deny them maximum points so far.
A 3-2 win for Serbia over Ireland on the opening day set them on their way and their games have been packed with goals, with 17 across their four qualifiers to date.
They’ve also put four past Qatar during the current international break in a friendly, before their 4-1 win over Luxembourg last time out.
In fact, excluding a couple of friendlies with the Dominican Republic and Panama where Serbia fielded weakened line-ups, five of their past eight outings have now seen at least four goals.
Ireland’s lack of a clinical edge still continues to be a thorn in their side, as they’ve managed to score more than once in just two of their past 16 outings now.
Even one of those occasions was a friendly win over minnows Andorra, which is their only victory from those 16 games (W1-D8-L7).
Serbia To Win
On home turf alone, Ireland have managed just a single goal from five fixtures since the start of 2020, despite a lack of real high-end opponents as they’ve squared off with Finland, Wales, Bulgaria, Luxembourg and Azerbaijan.
Those encounters saw a combined four goals as they’ve been ridiculously low-scoring affairs, though that may change here given Serbia’s recent goalscoring exploits.
It’s hard to look past Serbia as clear favourites with Ireland’s last competitive win coming back in June 2019 over Gibraltar.
Stephen Kenny has a further blow with captain Seamus Coleman picking up an injury last time out, whereas Dragan Stojkovic is without any fresh concerns, meaning the likes of Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Dusan Tadic, Nemanja Gudelj and Aleksandar Mitrovic will all take to the field.
Aleksandar Mitrovic To Score Anytime
Mitrovic rarely fails to deliver for the national side and is actually Serbia’s all-time top scorer, with his brace against Luxembourg taking his tally to 43 goals in 65 games.
In fact, he’s scored 20 times in his last 17 appearances, netting at least once in 13 of these. His last four matches have been Serbia’s four qualifiers so far, as he netted twice each against Ireland, Azerbaijan and Luxembourg, and just the one against Portugal.
SERBIA TO WIN
ALEKSANDAR MITROVIC TO SCORE ANYTIME