After tipping up two winners in England's victory over Albania on Sunday, Jake Pearson returns to preview the Three Lions' home match against Poland.
While the nation may not have been wholly enamored with England’s 2-0 victory over Albania, Sporting Life followers might well have been given we tipped the Three Lions to win with under 3.5 and under 2.5 goals in the match, as well as correctly prediction the final score.
Even had you not backed those tips though, the fact remains that England are two from two in their World Cup qualifying matches and are in an incredibly strong position to finish top of Group I.
Gareth Southgate’s side comfortably swept aside minnows San Marino in their opening match, looking exciting and electric, but Sunday’s victory away in Albania was a much more measured performance, showing professionalism against a team more than happy to sit deep and concentrate solely on keeping England at bay.
That is before we get on to the pitch conditions, and while it is not an excuse that England’s football was nowhere near as sharp on grass as long as we saw in Albania, things will be much different as they return to the crisp surface at Wembley.
Poland made a somewhat inauspicious start to their World Cup qualifying campaign, coming from two goals down to salvage a 3-3 draw against Hungary in their opening fixture, but they got themselves back on track with a routine victory over Andorra on Sunday, running out comfortable 3-0 winners.
Poland certainly look England’s closet rivals in terms of topping the group, making this a big game for both sides.
Fortunately for England however, Poland’s skipper Robert Lewandowski has been ruled out of the match with a knee injury.
Obviously, Poland have other good players in their ranks, but losing arguably the best striker in the world is going to affect any team, and Poland are no exception there, not to mention the fact that Paulo Sousa’s side have also lost a further four players to Covid-19, with Grzegorz Krychowiak and Kamil Piątkowski testing positive in the latest round of testing, as well as Mateusz Klich and Lukasz Skorupski, who have also previously tested positive.
Lewandowski has been responsible for half of the goals Poland have scored in this qualifying campaign so far, as well as scoring a third of their goals in the Euro 2021 qualification process, and a third of their goals in the Nations League.
Lewandowski’s injury saw England’s price cut from 2/5 into as short as 2/9 in places, such is the importance of Poland’s captain to their chances.
Interestingly though, there was not the same kind of shift in prices in the goals markets, which surely there should have been, considering Poland have lost roughly half of their attacking prowess.
Under 2.5 goals is still available at the same price it was prior to the Bayern striker’s injury announcement, despite the fact that Poland’s price of getting on the scoresheet has drifted from 4/6 to even money.
This makes the unders market the sensible play in this fixture, and with England now even more heavily fancied to win this match, a price of 23/10 for ENGLAND TO WIN AND UNDER 2.5 GOALS seems a little bigger than it should be.
England to win and Under 2.5 goals at 23/10 (Betway)
Score prediction: England 2-0 Poland (Sky Bet odds: 5/1)
Odds correct 1200 GMT (30/03/21)
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