Scotland vs Czech Republic | Wednesday 14th October 2020, 19:45 | Sky Sports
Czech Republic head to Glasgow for this top of the table clash in League B Group 2 of the Nations League on Wednesday night.
Scotland are currently sitting one point ahead of their visitors on seven points. Both teams go into this on the back of a victory, the Scots winning 1-0 at home to Slovakia, the Czechs triumphing 2-1 in Israel.
Steve Clarke's side won 2-1 in Olomouc last month in the reverse fixture. It was a hard-fought victory despite it being probably a third-choice Czech XI due the initial squad having to self-isolate. So the Czechs line-up will be looking for all three points here to put that right.
Hard to beat
Clarke it seems has settled now on a three central defenders set-up. In the last two matches against Israel and the Slovaks this has worked particularly well. Very few chances were given up, and Scotland suddenly look a lot more solid. It has all the hallmarks of what Clarke created at Kilmarnock, building the foundations of a difficult-to-beat side.
Yes, this Czech Republic team will be a step-up in class from Israel and Slovakia, however it will be an ideal test prior to the play-off final in Serbia next month – as Scotland try and protect a seven-match unbeaten run.
Familiar names like West Ham's excellent Tomas Soucek and Burnley's Matej Vydra will ensure the Scotland rearguard will be tested to the full.
However, Scotland themselves, despite missing attacking threats like Ryan Christie and Stuart Armstrong, have three forward players who are in decent form too at the moment.
The infectious John McGinn (who could be given the captain’s armband in the absence of the suspended Andy Robertson), has been in superb form. Ryan Fraser playing in a free roaming role off the striker, put in a Man-of-the-Match performance against Slovakia. Lyndon Dykes is impressing as the main striker, getting better every game. Dykes is now two goals from four matches.
It’s a difficult game to call with the Czechs quality and the undoubted improvement in Clarke's Scotland. My angle into this game is the fact like recent games at Hampden, it could be a slow-burner and a tight first half. I will have a go on the 0-0 half-time score 13/8 with SkyBet.
Felix the card
The referee for this top-of-table crunch match is German whistle-blower Felix Zwayer:
- Since the resumption of football in May, Felix has dished out a whopping 66 yellow cards in 13 matches in all competitions. Averaging just over 5 yellows per-game.
- In those same 13 matches the whistler has also brandished the red card on 3 occasions.
- Scotland in their last 3 games have picked up 4-3-4 yellow cards themselves.
The two plays in the card markets I like are: Scotland to receive most cards at a very generous 21/10 with Unibet. The Czech Republic have only picked up 2-2-1 yellow cards in their last three competitive matches.
The home advantage-influence on referee’s decisions is missing at the moment, so I think there is a discrepancy in Unibet's odds here, with Czech Republic priced at odds-on to receive most cards.
Andy Considine had a decent debut for the Scots at the weekend. He was obviously very keen to do well and was very competitive in his challenges against Slovakia. The 33-year-old was sent off in the first game of this season against Rangers, and is no stranger to picking up a caution.
It’s not inconceivable if he is given his second start, Considine could fall-foul of this evidently card-happy ref. Given his enthusiastic style of play Bet365’s 11/4 to receive a card, is perhaps worth a play.