FootballInternational Football

Andorra v England betting tips: The Three Lions will comfortably win but may keep us waiting

October 7, 2021January 7th, 2022

GARETH Southgate’s squad for September’s World Cup qualifiers contained hardly any surprises which in itself wasn’t a surprise considering that just seven weeks earlier England had reached a Euro final.

The headline inclusion was newbie Patrick Bamford, drafted in to replace the injured Marcus Rashford and admittedly it warranted a few column inches that Manchester United’s Mason Greenwood was once again overlooked despite scoring in his opening three league games but, by and large, this was a selection free of talking points with Southgate turning to his tried and trusted group.

That is not the case on this occasion, not with several weeks of Premier League action tweaking player’s hamstrings and straining quads and requiring the England manager to shuffle his pack ahead of his side’s corresponding fixtures with Andorra and Hungary. Up front, Bamford is now unavailable too after picking up an ankle injury and with Dominic Calvert-Lewin unavailable and Greenwood still clearly on the naughty step from his antics in Iceland last year, that means Ollie Watkins is recalled, the Villa striker celebrating his return with a goal at Tottenham at the weekend.

England should obviously be backed to score liberally against Andorra on Saturday. 21/20 on -3.75 in the Asian Handicap covers it.

At the back, a calf problem for Harry Maguire means AC Milan’s Fikayo Tomori comes back into the fold, two years after making a six-minute cameo against Kosovo, while deputizing in goal, Aaron Ramsdale is preferred to Nick Pope and though this small handful of enforced changes is not overly problematic for Southgate – indeed, it could be argued that he has been fortunate all told – for us as punters it is significant.

 

 

That’s because Southgate has plenty of previous during international breaks for playing two distinctly different teams across the fortnight and this was evidenced last month when his strongest eleven took on Hungary in Budapest before a shadow team was deployed against Andorra. Three days after his ‘reserves’ easily dispensed with the minnows 4-0, Southgate reverted to his opening side who fought out a 1-1 draw in Poland to ensure England kept their unbeaten record and top spot in Group I.

This time out there is no Poland, only Andorra away on Saturday evening followed by a hosting of Hungary next week but it is still reasonable to assume the Three Lions coach will divvy up his squad accordingly. And with the new faces who are set to feature, that offers up a refreshingly novel range of bets beyond the typical fare whenever the national team plays. You know the ones: Harry Kane to score, Raheem Sterling to assist, and England to win to nil.

First though, let’s start with the Hungary clash and those predictable tips that are, after all, predictable for a very persuasive reason.

Harry Kane may be visibly struggling in a Spurs shirt this season but for his country he has scored seven in his last seven games having firmly laid to rest all doubts about his impact that bizarrely arose during the Euros. It is not inconceivable that the 28-year-old will relish the prospect of leading the line for England after a torrid period in North London so a bet builder containing Kane to score and Sterling to assist is a decent shout. The Manchester City winger has assisted the striker six times for England and this is the most a player has set up a team-mate for the Three Lions for over a quarter of a century. Furthermore, of course you should back England to keep a clean sheet against Hungary because they have done so the last 12 times they’ve faced a nation ranked 40th or beyond.  

As for the Andorrans, a nation ranked lower than New Caledonia and with a population smaller than Telford, they host England at the weekend hoping to pull off the international shock of 2021. They won’t. Instead, a routine away win can safely be anticipated, with only the score-line a deliberation.

In their previous five meetings, England have beaten Andorra 5-0, 3-0, 2-0, 6-0 and 4-0 and here we should perhaps err towards the lower end of that spectrum due to many of Southgate’s likely picks being unfamiliar with each other’s movements leading to some adaption in the early stages. A 3-0 at 21/5 jumps out.

Regarding the line-up, should the England boss maintain his strategy of utilizing every corner of his squad during the qualifying rounds we can forecast a back-line of James, Tomori, Coady and Trippier with Ramsdale in nets. That would mean four-fifths of England’s defence will go into the game boasting a measly 15 caps between them.

From that rearguard, Reece James emerges as the principle goal-threat with a goal and two assists for Chelsea this term. That’s not bad at all from just 187 minutes. Conor Coady meanwhile can pose problems at set-pieces and has already notched for his country against Wales last year.

 

 

In midfield, expect Jordan Henderson and Jesse Lingard to start and the latter to be influential. Though a peripheral figure at Old Trafford right now, Lingard has been directly involved in a goal every 156 minutes for England since his debut in 2016.

Up front, it gets a touch trickier to second guess Southgate’s intentions. Who for example will get the easier gig between Grealish and Foden? Certainly, it’s a safe bet that Jadon Sancho will feature at the Estadi Nacional alongside Watkins and on the winger’s underwhelming first couple of months at United, Southgate said this last week: “Does he deserve to be in on these performances over the last few weeks? Well, probably not.”

We can only imagine how that quote went down with the excommunicated Greenwood.

England’s second half performance should be focused on with the betting. Eight of their previous nine goals have come in the second period and as already suggested they may need a little time to harmonize.

A 2-0 score-line in the second half is a generous 13/5

Betting against a goal in both halves offers 11/4 though that will be a nervy 45 minutes for the brave who fancy it.