On Monday night, England travels to Sofia to face Bulgaria in Group A of qualifying for the European Championships, with the visitors looking to bounce back from a surprise defeat last time out in qualifying.
Bulgaria (Odds of 12/1 for victory)
The home side has endured a nightmare qualification campaign for Euro 2020 so far. In fact, they currently sit bottom of the group, having taken just three points from their six group games so far.
Last time out, Bulgaria at least ended a three-game losing run in qualifying by picking up a goalless draw in Montenegro. In truth, the home side has struggled in their latest European Championship qualifying campaigns, winning just once in their last ten outings. The fact that they have kept just two clean sheets in those aforementioned ten games has not helped their cause.
Their recent home form in qualifying has also not helped Bulgaria pick up results, as they have won just once in 11 home games in qualifying. Once again, clean sheets have been hard to come by in home qualifiers, as they have kept just one clean sheet in their last nine matches. Their recent qualifiers on home soil have been relatively low-scoring affairs, with under 2.5 goals scored in ten of their last 13 games.
England (Odds of 1/ 4 for victory)
England head into this clash reeling from a 2-1 defeat in the Czech Republic last time out that ended a 43-match unbeaten run in European Championship and World Cup qualifiers. The Three Lions produced a below-par display in Prague, but are unlikely to repeat the display in this clash.
Prior to the defeat last time out, England had won all four of their qualifiers in Group A, scoring at least four times in each victory. Captain and star striker Harry Kane scored the Three Lions goal in Prague, which means he is up to seven goals in qualifying in just five appearances. He is still three goals behind Israel’s Eran Zahavi, who tops the scoring charts in qualifying.
England may have lost their last away qualifier, but the visitors had recorded victories in their previous six away games in qualification. The Three Lions have previously scored in their last 13 matches on their travels in qualifying for the European Championships.
The defeat against the Czech Republic has given Gareth Southgate food for thought when it comes to selection. The likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez and Ben Chilwell could all start for the Three Lions, with Kieran Trippier, Danny Rose and Michael Keane’s starting spots in jeopardy.
England will be expecting a response after defeat last time out. No doubt Gareth Southgate’s team have superior quality players, but it remains to be seen what sort of effect a rare qualifying defeat will have on the visitors.
However, we expect the Three Lions to come out on top. England’s games are usually high-scoring, although Bulgaria’s recent home qualifiers have not seen goals galore. Eight of England’s last nine qualifiers have produced over 2.5 goals, so we are going with that as our second tip.
Verdict: Back the away win at odds of 1/ 4 and/or over 2.5 goals at odds of 27/40 (All odds are taken from Bet365).
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Will England bounce back from defeat last time out with a win in Sofia?