Turkey vs Wales | Wednesday 16th June 2020, 17:00 | BBC
These two sides will come in to this clash at the Olympic Stadium Baku with wildly contrasting feelings after their performances in the opening round of Group stage matches, as we quickly move in to some crunch fixtures in the battle for progress through to the next stage of the European Championships.
Turkey were arguably the biggest disappointment after being hyped up as “dark horses” they barely laid a glove on Italy in the tournament curtain raiser as the Azzurri swarmed all over them hardly allowing them time to breathe let alone compile any kind of meaningful attack and as a result have now been pushed out to as big as 125/1 with Paddy Power and Bet Victor.
An xG rating of 0.52 illustrates just how little the Crescent-Stars threatened Gianluigi Donnarumma’s goal but when you take in to account that 0.43 of that came from the last attack of the game when Burak Yilmaz was denied by an excellent last-ditch challenge from the fist pumping Giorgio Chiellini, we can clearly see just how much of a no-show it was.
It would be a real shock if Senol Günes, who was in goal when the Turks suffered their last head-to-head defeat way back in 1981, didn't change things around for this clash with the Welsh, as we will find out if it was a case of his side being awful, the Italians being simply magnifico or a combination of the two.
Given its logistics, this will likely be a home game for Turkey in all bar name, with their fans expected in large numbers and will surely look to get their support onside from the first whistle against a Wales side that will feel fortunate to have taken a point from their own opening dual with Switzerland.
Robert Page, who made his international debut in a goalless draw against Turkey, will be thankful to Leicester shot stopper Danny Ward for keeping at bay a Swiss side who produced an infogol xG of 2.60 after raining in 18 shots.
Ten of those attempts came from front pair Breel Embolo and Haris Seferovic, affording similar generosity to the 35-year-old Yılmaz, who hit a quarter of Lille’s Ligue 1 goals en-route to the French title in 2020/21, will surely be a recipe for disaster for the Euro 2016 semi-finalists.
With odds of 6/4 (Boyle Sports) I’m prepared to give another chance to a side that was, after all, so highly thought of and in good form going in to that Italy game, will be more accustomed to the Azerbaijani heat and face opponents who have struggled to find the back of the net themselves – only scoring more than one goal once in their last 13 fixtures.
The temptation was high to play Yilmaz at least two shots on target however at best odds of 9/5 (Paddy Power) we aren’t getting value on our side for a player despite his good form who only managed two or more shots on target in nine of 33 appearances this season (27%) – the odds imply it is a 36% probablity.
However, a line in which the veteran striker can definitely add to is the match offsides total, having been his sides only threat in Rome where he played on the shoulder of the defence making himself available for a long direct ball, but being caught the wrong side of the last man twice, in a game which saw six in total, whilst Wales caught Switzerland out on four occasions.
Wales have the threat of Dan James who could be a key player for them in attempting to exploit the wide areas against Turkey, as Italy showcased to such great effect last week, especially in the work of right footed left back Leonardo Spinazzola.
James will look to work off the goalscorer against Switzerland, Kieffer Moore who despite his goal was overly relied upon as a target man by his side, which can be the problem when you have player standing at 6 feet 5 inches at the top of the pitch.
With those styles of play, running in behind the defence, we should see more work for the referee’s assistants and I like the line of over 3.5 match offsides, which is slightly under the average of 3.7 per game for these two countries over their last 10 competitive internationals and is offered by Bet 365 at odds of 5/6.
For my final selection I am using Bet Builder as available again through Bet 365, which is providing a nice amount of stat based options to combine together.
I crunched some numbers on the key stats and have combined two lines which stand out to me based on the averages these teams have accumulated over their last 10 competitive fixtures.
First of all, I am taking over 11.5 Wales free kicks.
Turkey have conceded 142 fouls over the aforementioned period of time with a low of 10 coming in their last game, as already mentioned where they couldn’t get near to their opponents, but still giving an average of 14.2 per game.
Adding the offsides accumulated in that period, which is exactly 20 and we get a total average of 16.2 free kicks conceded per match and crossing the magic number of 11.5 in each of them.
Using the same stats, Wales were awarded on average 15.2 free kicks per game over those last 10 competitive outings and combing both sides data we get an average of 15.7.
To complete the bet, I selected over 5.5 Turkey goal kicks.
Using the same process as above, working out both sides averages over the last 10 competitive fixtures, Turkey took an average of 9.2 goal kicks per game, with the Dragons’ opponents averaging 6.8 and providing a combined average of exactly 8.
Turkey have taken at least 6 goal kicks in each of their last seven competitive internationals and in nine of their last ten.
Combining those two bets together via bet builder gives odds of exactly even money (1/1).
Turkey vs Wales – Turkey to win (6/4 Boylesports)
Turkey vs Wales – Over 3.5 Offsides (5/6 Bet365)
Turkey vs Wales – Over 5.5 Turkey Goal Kicks and Over 11.5 Wales Free Kicks (1/1 Bet365)