England play their first match of the 2019/20 campaign as Gareth Southgate's side host Bulgaria in the Euro 2020 qualifiers. George Pitts looks at the betting.
For details of advised bookmakers and each-way terms, visit our transparent tipping record
Saturday's Euro 2020 fixtures
- Kosovo v Czech Republic (1400)
- England v Bulgaria (1700)
- Iceland v Moldova (1700)
- Lithuania v Ukraine (1700)
- France v Albania (1945)
- Serbia v Portugal (1945)
- Turkey v Andorra (1945)
England v Bulgaria
- Wembley Stadium, live on ITV
England can extend their unbeaten run to 10 matches on Saturday as they look to keep setting the pace at the top of Euro 2020 qualifying Group A.
Yes, the Nations League was not great but Gareth Southgate's side drew both games before going to extra-time - against Netherlands in the semi-final then Switzerland in the third-place play-off.
In Bulgaria they face a team ranked 60th in the FIFA standings and on the surface it can be seen as difficult to find value from a game where they are so well fancied.
Marcus Rashford, Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling are the expected front three - but even money for the latter is the best anytime price you will get on those. Even the hosts to score three or more goals is odds-on.
With the Three Lions expected to have plenty of chances, there is an interesting angle to go at in the assists market.
Trent Alexander-Arnold is the first choice right-back. Aaron Wan-Bissaka pulled out with injury this week and Liverpool's young full-back is expected to get the nod ahead of Kieran Trippier.
Alexander-Arnold has an impressive record for setting up goals in his short professional career. He famously has a competition with club team-mate Andrew Robertson on the opposite flank and has a commendable 22 assists in 91 appearances for Jurgen Klopp's side. He is yet to register one in his six England outings but should get plenty of chances to attack on Saturday and he is full of confidence having started the campaign well.
At 11/4 with Sky Bet, that market is worth considering for a small play.
Elsewhere, the cards market is also worth a look. The expected Bulgaria back four are aged 29, 33, 31 and 26, fairly experienced players and if they are beaten once or twice by England's tricky youths, frustration or professional fouls could set in and referee Marco Guida could be forced to bring out the cards. The Italian is not afraid of using them after all, dishing out at least five in his last three games (Champions League, Europa League and Serie A).
Centre-back Nikolay Georgiev Bodurov is the 33-year-old and captain of CSKA Sofia. In Bulgaria's Nations League campaign, he showed a tendency to tackle rashly at times with a total of 10 fouls in 6 games, playing the full 90 minutes in all of those.
Considering how we expect this game to go, Bodurov's position and his history on the international stage, 3/1 for him to be carded is too good to pass up.
Prediction: England 3-0 Bulgaria (Sky Bet odds: 9/2)
England v Bulgaria Opta stats
- England are unbeaten in their 10 matches against Bulgaria (W6 D4 L0), with their last Wembley meeting coming in September 2010, winning 4-0 with a hat-trick from Jermain Defoe.
- England have only faced Finland and Turkey (11 matches) more often than Bulgaria (10) without losing in their history.
- Since losing 1-0 to Ukraine in October 2009, England haven’t lost a qualifying match for either the World Cup or the European Championships (W32 D9 L0).
- Bulgaria are winless in their last seven matches in all competitions (W0 D4 L3), failing to win a European Championship qualifying match so far this campaign (W0 D2 L2).
- Harry Kane has been involved in 21 goals in 29 competitive appearances for England (17 goals, 4 assists), scoring five goals and assisting once in seven European Championship qualifiers.
- Bulgaria haven’t won an away match in qualifying for the World Cup or the European Championships since June 2015 against Malta, drawing two and losing seven since then.
- England have won 16 of their last 17 competitive matches at Wembley (W16 D0 L1), losing the other against Spain in the UEFA Nations League in September 2018.
- James Maddison could make his senior England debut in this match – he has created 109 chances in the Premier League since the start of last season, 10 more than any other player and 39 more than any other Englishman.
Our football experts, including the Soccer Saturday pundits, pick their preferred starting line-ups for Gareth Southgate's side in the Euro 2020 qualifiers. Take a look by clicking the image above.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is dreaming of Euro 2020 success having watched part of England's march to the World Cup semi-final in a London bar. Click the image of the Liverpool man to take a read.
Odds correct as of 2000 BST on 06/09/19
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