CHRIS Graham (@chrisgraham79) looks ahead to Sunday’s Euro 2016 qualifiers and gives us his two best bets.
Turkey v Netherlands | Sunday 17:00 | Sky Interactive
Tough coupon on Sunday. Somehow I’ve ended up landing on this game. Not sure how. My gut feel is a total disconnect with the price of the Netherlands. I’m not sure how anyone could back them at 6/5 in Turkey.
This is the worst qualifying campaign in my lifetime for the Dutch and it’s not inconceivable that they fail to qualify for Euro 2016. Defeat here in Turkey would see them slip to fourth in the table with just three games left.
The disastrous reign of Guus Hiddink is over and Danny Blind has come in to replace him but his reign didn’t start well on Thursday. Holland were beaten 1-0 at home by Iceland in a result that cast further doubt over their participation next summer.
That was the Oranje’s third defeat in the group and there must be a real nervous fear hanging over the squad as we enter the home straight in qualifying.
Turkey have also had a wretched campaign. Their only victories have come against group minnows Kazakhstan and they’ve fluffed their lines home and away against Latvia. They need to get something from this game or they are in the soup. A trip to Prague and a meeting with Iceland await.
As I said earlier, it’s a tough coupon today so I’ve no interest in playing at short prices. I’ll be backing 1-1 and 2-2 correct scores in this game, it’s do or die for Turkey to be honest and they need something from this game.
Malta v Azerbaijan | Sunday 17:00 | Sky Interactive
I love both these sides and they represent further proof of the cliché that there are no easy games in international football (bar San Marino and Andorra of course).
Both sides have conceded 11 goals in their seven qualifying games. Think about that. It’s not a lot, just over 1.5 per game. Considering they’re in a group with Italy and Croatia you would have thought it would have been a lot higher.
Malta managed to draw in Bulgaria while Azerbaijan drew in Norway and held Croatia at home. Malta only lost 1-0 home and away to Italy while a 2-1 loss in Italy was nothing to be ashamed about for Azerbaijan.
On Thursday both sides emerged with real credit. Malta only losing 1-0 to Italy and Azerbaijan drawing with Croatia. Both sides must be feeling good going into this game.
I’m taking a real punt here on a bet that is simply not backed up at all at the stats. I’m backing Over 2.5 Goals at 2/1. Yes, it’s unlikely as the sides have only scored five goals between them in 14 matches in this group but I get the feeling both will have a pop at winning this.
The sides must be brimming with confidence and the prospect of picking up three points is a real one. For Malta there really is nothing to lose so why not have a go? It’s an unlikely one but the 2/1 really stands out for me.