Cheer Up, The International Break Is Almost Over

Cheer up folks, we’ve only got a few more days of international break to stomach before we switch attention back to the bread and butter of the Premier League.

Second Best
The reason we’ve all fell out a little with the international interlude was evident during the 90 minutes of Republic of Ireland v Northern Ireland, which I’m ashamed to say had me scrambling for the remote control. The fixture would once have got the juices flowing but it’s sad that some of the staff at the turnstiles could have been given the night off.

On the pitch, Martin O’Neill’s men were second best, settling for only 42% of the possession. They had just 7 goal attempts to the visitors’ 11, they were outpassed by their guests by 423-306 and they lost the corner count by 3 to 11.

Those stats at home to a team below them in the world rankings don’t bode well for Republic of Ireland’s Monday trip to tackle the team sitting 23 places above them in 10th, Denmark.

While uncertainty has swamped Brexit, the ‘Irexit’ from Nations League B looks more predictable and depending on Friday night’s result between Wales and Denmark.

Over the last couple of days,

the Brexit shambles saw Theresa May crash into 4/6 from 9/1 to be gone by the end of the year and Martin O’Neill won’t be far behind her

…if his side show more shambolics of their own in Copenhagen.

Denmark have won their last two home fixtures 2-0, while the Republic of Ireland have drawn a blank in their last 3 matches. The Danes are unbeaten at home for over two years now and 7 of the last 8 visitors to Copenhagen have left without even scoring a goal.

The prices are bound to change significantly depending on the importance of the match, because it could be a winner takes all scenario, on the other hand it could be a dead rubber. Either way, on Saturday afternoon I’ll be seeking out the price about Denmark (-1) or a home win to nil.

From a Northern Ireland point of view, they have positives to take from Thursday’s game. They moved the ball well and were denied by Darren Randolph’s ‘thou shalt not pass’ attitude.

Northern Ireland’s results have buttered no parsnips but their performances have deserved more and the 5/2 about them beating Austria at home on Sunday has caught the eye. They haven’t scored in their last three games either but they were all on the road and it’s a different story on their own patch, where they’ve won 2 of their 3 games this year.

Michael O’Neill’s side are already relegated so the pressure is off and there are some young hungry players who will want to impress ahead of the Euro 2020 qualifiers. Austria go to Windsor Park with only pride to play for too as Bosnia have secured top spot in the group and I favour the hosts to be more hungry for this dead rubber.

Double Up
England v Croatia is now a huge match with the winner taking a place in the finals, so both teams should go all out. But they’re pretty evenly matched and how ironic would it be to see Spain progress, which will happen if there is a draw at Wembley at 13/5. The double with Northern Ireland is over 11/1 and that’s a tasty price which could boost the coffers before the return of Premier League football.

*Prices correct at time of publication