Our man Daniel McCulloch (@danmcc84) believes there’s value looking at Northern Ireland in Sunday night’s UEFA World Cup qualifying action.
Switzerland vs Northern Ireland | Sunday 12th November 2017, 17:00 | Sky Sports
When looking at this match, the first angle I wanted to see was the booking line.
Given the magnitude of this game, the decisions made by the referee in the first leg and the fact that a booking will not have many repercussions – I hoped there would be some value in going over.
Unfortunately, very few lines are available, so I had a look at the goals market again.
Despite being one down from the first leg, I can’t see Michael O’Neill taking anything other than a cautious approach initially here.
Before the first leg he stated that an open contest would not suit his side and I feel that Northern Ireland’s best hope of making it through is by keeping it at 0-0 for as long as possible.
I believe that everyone within the Northern Ireland camp would settle for the game being goalless after 60 minutes and with that in mind, I like the look of the 0-0 halftime scoreline, available at 7/4 with Paddy Power.
Eight of the away sides last 15 competitive games have failed to see a first-half goal and whilst Switzerland’s recent games have been slightly more free-scoring I believe that is due to the lack of quality they have faced.
Moreover, despite being in a group containing so many minnows, it is worth noting that the Swiss only beat Faroe Islands 2-0 at home whilst it took them to the 43rd minute to open the scoring against Andorra in St Gallen and it was the 66th minute before they broke the deadlock against Latvia.
I don’t doubt that the Swiss will look for an early goal that will effectively confirm their participation in Russia next summer, but I think that Northern Ireland are sufficiently organised to prevent them doing so.
It may ultimately end in glorious failure, but Michael O’Neill’s men can go into the interval with their hopes very much still alive.
Switzerland vs Northern Ireland – HT Score to be 0-0 (7/4 Paddy Power)