WALES welcome Ireland for Sunday's Nations League encounter. Matthew Kirby (@M_Kirby95) delivers his betting analysis.
Wales v Republic of Ireland | Sunday 15th November 2020, 17:00 | Sky Sports
Wales lead the way in League B, Group 4 ahead of this clash in Cardiff against Republic of Ireland. They sit a point clear of Finland with a couple of games to go and can take control of the group ahead of that key game on Wednesday.
Rob Page takes charge of his second game this week after the personal problems for Ryan Giggs. His first in charge saw them play out a goalless draw with USA, where not much was gained other than valuable game time together.
In the opposing camp, it’s been a troubled time at the top since Stephen Kelly took over the Republic of Ireland job. Mick McCarthy had big shoes to fill and so far Kelly is yet to show he can make the step up.
You could say Irish football is going through a transition under Kelly, but you have to question if this passing, possession based game is the way forward with the players at his disposal.
But Kenny is without a number of options. Aaron Connolly and Callum Robinson limit the attacking output, while injuries to Seamus Coleman and James McCarthy weaken them further. And they weren’t helped by the head injury sustained by John Egan inside 15 minutes against England.
Lack of goals
These sides met in Dublin last month and played out a tedious bore draw. That came after Ireland had an outbreak of Covid, which ruled out five players, so the Boys in Green would have been happier with the result.
That was the fourth time this match-up has finished goalless, and the third time since 2013, so we can once again expect a close contest.
Add into the mix that Wales are yet to concede in this Nations League campaign proving they’re well set-up. Yet, they’ve scored just three goals from 11 shots on target, so aren’t necessarily ruthless in front of goal.
While Wales don’t concede many, Republic of Ireland rarely score. It’s just one goal in six games since Kenny took over, and they’ve failed to score in any of their last five.
It’s no surprise to see under 2.5 as short as 4/11 in places, with some likely to pull the trigger on an under 1.5 goals at 7/5 with Bet Victor. However, that does look tight enough.
The betting angles
Despite the injuries in both sides and the likelihood of a low-scoring game, it’s hard to escape being pro-Wales. As part of me doesn’t know how Alan Browne’s positive Covid test will impact the Irish line-up.
Yes, it’ll be third choice keeper Danny Ward in goal due to the injuries to Wayne Hennessey and Adam Davies, but they’d still be strong defensively.
Aaron Ramsey is out but Gareth Bale is back, so that’s a bit of give and take. Having Bale in any side will help and with David Brooks returning to full fitness, there’s a lot more attacking firepower in this Welsh side.
Confidence should be high. They’ve lost just once in 12 and that came in a friendly against England at Wembley last month.
If you break their recent record down further, you’ll see that they’re unbeaten in their last eight at home (W6, D2), with four of those six wins being by a 1-0 scoreline.
It’s hard to get away from a 1-0 Wales win at 9/2 with Sky Bet on what we’ve seen of late from them, and they should have the quality to break down an Irish defence that struggled on Thursday.
The three 1-0 Wales wins in this Nations League campaign has seen the winning goal scored in the 80th, 85th and 90th minutes, so some will see the appeal in backing Draw/Wales at 4/1 with Unibet.
Given all of the above, I’ll happily lap up the 7/5 on Wales to win and under 3.5 goals, while having a small play on 1-0 Wales.
I wasn’t going to dip my toe into the cards markets but seeing Paddy Power offer 13/2 for Kieffer Moore to be carded looks worth a play.
He’s 3/1 with most other firms; he’s committed the most fouls (12) in this Wales side and has already been carded twice in this campaign.
One thing I find with European officials is that they’re over zealous in penalising the big centre forward when he jumps. The arms go everywhere and when the refs see the arms heading towards a defenders head/face they tend to reach for the card, so it’s got to be worth a small go.
Czech referee Petr Ardeleanu has the whistle for this one. In 15 matches in all competitions in 2020, he’s shown 65 cards, an average of 4.3 per game; that’s enough to make this 13/2 looks enticingly priced.
In what should be a tight game, I’d expect Wales to edge it.
Wales vs Republic of Ireland – Wales to win and Under 3.5 Goals (7/5 Boylesports)
Wales vs Republic of Ireland – Wales to win 1-0 (9/2 SkyBet)
Wales vs Republic of Ireland – Kieffer Moore to be carded (13/2 Paddy Power)