After a stunning start to the campaign; England face a hostile trip to Montenegro to take on a side who have struggled of late but can’t be underestimated.
Five star Four Lions
England got off to a dream start against the Czech Republic in their opening qualifier. A 5-0 win courtesy of Harry Kane, an own goal and a Raheem Sterling hat trick put aside any niggling doubts and cemented England as the dominant force in the group. We saw a dynamic, pacey and deadly attack from England. We should see more of the same but with a more defensive minded midfield trio in place with England playing away from home. Jadon Sancho may take a seat on the bench despite his excellent performance against the Czech’s in order to not burn him out, this could mean a first International start for Callum Hudson-Odoi who was bright and direct when he came on at Wembley. He’s at 3.1 to score anytime and get his first international goal.
England will maintain the same defence as they look to build strong relationships at the back; Chilwell and Walker supported the attack well in the opening qualifier and saw a lot of the ball. They’ll be required to perform very similar duties here, especially if England adopt a more defensive midfield shape.
Eric Dier was forced off with an Injury and has returned back to Tottenham. Dele Alli isn’t at full fitness so this culmination of factors makes a start for Declan Rice look likely. He’ll be joined in the midfield by Ross Barkley and Jordan Henderson. Barkley will be tasked with the creative role on his own now without Alli and Southgate will be looking for the Chelsea man to stamp his mark on the match.
Some unpredictability with Montenegro
The hosts have lost three of their last four home games. Defeats to Poland, Denmark and Serbia left Montenegro with some questions to answer in this qualifying campaign. They fancy themselves on a relatively even keel with the Czech Republic, but England represent a stern test. These sides last met in 2013 and in the previous four meetings there have been three draws. However England look much improved since that last meeting. The draw is priced at 4.5.
Montenegro will operate their usual 4-2-3-1 system and will rely on their defensive midfielders to try and shut down England’s threat at its earliest source. This task will fall on the shoulders of Levante’s Nikola Vuckevic and Nebojsa Kosovic of Partizan Belgrade. They’ll sit just infront of the defence in and attempt to lock down any space with the attacking being left to Mirko Ivanic who’ll look to find space in the number 10 role; but may struggle with England using two defensive minded midfielders.
The biggest name England face is Stefan Savic. The former Manchester City flop now plays for Atletico Madrid, but has seen little game-time over recent seasons due to the dominant pairing od Diego Godin and Jose Maria Gimenez. Savic is a fitness doubt for the game and will be a huge miss if he’s unable to play, as he’ll most likely be the man designated to marshal Harry Kane.
Back England to continue to impress
There’s a real buzz about England these days and Southgate has shown he will give players their chance, so any who play will be driven to play at their absolute maximum; very few positions aren’t up for grabs in this squad. The Likes of Hudson-Odoi, Barkley, Rice and Keane are all looking to stake a claim to becoming regulars in the squad and will all play a part in the match. England’s blistering start has set them up perfectly for this game and I believe the Czech Republic are a stronger side than Montenegro. The only issue will be the environment; but I still see England coming through unscathed. They’re the favourites for the game at 1.33.
Harry Kane to score anytime @ 1.73
England to score 2 or more goals @ 1.44
Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling to have 2+ shots on target each @ 5.0