England vs Slovenia preview, betting tips and predictions: Three Lions to ease to victory over tough opponentsPublished October 03, 2017
Raheem Sterling to score and England win @ 5/2 with Coral
England to win 2-0 @ 19/4 with Coral
England to win with a-2 handicap @ 27/10 with Coral
Coming into their clash with Slovenia on Thursday night, the job could hardly be simpler; win the game and prepare for the World Cup in Russia next summer with qualification assured. In reality, reaching the finals is just a formality given the five-point gap to Slovakia in second with two games remaining, but the job still must be done at Wemble
Since scoring away in Malta on September 1, Harry Kane has been in amazing form, netting 12 goals in the month. He will be back at his temporary club home looking to continue that form into October, but backing him to score is unlikely to offer much value. Raheem Sterling has five Premier League goals to his name for this season and is a good bet to continue that form in this international game at 5/2 with Coral.
Slovenia have been impressive in qualification and are in no way out of the race for a playoff spot, sitting just one point behind Slovakia. Their defence has been impeccable, with only England (three) conceding fewer than their four, but that is hardly surprising given that they have one of the world’s best goalkeepers, Atletico Madrid’s Jan Oblak, between the sticks. Going forward, they have scored ten goals, providing their base for winning four games and drawing two of their eight matches so far. Tim Matavs and Josip Ilicic are talented players who will look to threaten on the counter attack, but their main focus will be sitting in and attempting to frustrate England as best they can.
This is likely to be one of Gareth Southgate’s toughest games in qualification and it is important he and his team have the same attitude as they did going into the Slovakia game. There is arguably less of an attacking threat, but it may be tough to break them down, especially with Oblak in goal. The pace of Sterling will be crucial, but it could take a while for the breakthrough. If it does, 2-0 seems like a good bet, but a -2 handicap generally could come into play if England score early. Both of these are well priced at 19/4 and 27/10 with Coral respectively.
Key battle: Valter Birsa vs Eric Dier
Birsa is a cultured midfielder with 87 caps for Slovenia. He has made a great career for himself in Italy with Serie A side Chievo having previously played for AC Milan. He will keep the team ticking over while maintaining the defensive shape.
Dier will do this for England too, but it will be his job to allow the more creative players to take a hold of the game. Dele Alli will miss the game and Adam Lallana is still absent, that role could fall to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, whose pace and dynamism will give England some impetus. But if Dier is not on top of his game, Birsa could control the tempo and make it very tough for the hosts.