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England vs Albania: Best bets for Friday's qualifier

England vs Albania Betting Preview
England vs Albania Betting Preview

England welcome Albania to the ‘new’ Wembley Stadium for the first time ever on Friday evening, knowing that a win would all but secure their qualification for the 2022 World Cup.

Currently three points already of 2nd-placed Poland; and with the better goal difference, a win for the hosts would mean at least a five-goal swing would be necessary for the Biało-czerwoni to top the group in the highly unlikely event that the Three Lions were to lose in San Marino next Monday.

The visitors, on the other hand, need a lot to go their way to give themselves a remote chance of qualifying for next winter’s tournament in Qatar. Albania currently sit two points behind Poland in third, but their goal difference of +4 is vastly inferior to the +17 that the side above them boasts - not to mention they visit Andorra whilst this game is taking place, meaning the Kuq e Zinjtë could be eliminated from contention by full-time.

This group has really been split into three factions; the elite sides (Poland, England), the decent sides (Albania, Hungary) and the bad sides (Andorra, San Marino). Nowhere is that more clear than the away side’s record.

Against the elite sides they’re pointless, losing all three whilst scoring once and conceding seven times. Against the bad sides they’re perfect, winning all three whilst scoring eight and conceding none.

Versus Hungary, they won both games 1-0 with the winner coming in the last fifteen minutes on each occasion. It’s an indicator of the gulf in class between the three factions that the results have been so obviously different.

The two goals they scored against Hungary were thanks to Southampton striker Armando Broja.

England vs Albania Tips

The Chelsea loanee, whose 79th and 87th minute contributions settled the tie on each occasion, has scored three goals in just 113 minutes of international football from Albania’s bench since September.

The 20-year-old, who has also provided two assists in this campaign, has been involved in 45% of his nations qualifying goals despite featuring just 32% of the time and will be pushing for a start at Wembley - especially with Rey Manaj out of the squad.

Another player that will be pushing for a start is England’s Emile Smith Rowe, who earned his first ever call up to the senior squad following the withdrawal of about 25 other players.

The Arsenal midfielder has been in fantastic form for his club, netting in three consecutive Premier League starts, and claims ditching chocolate and takeaways has led to his recent success.

With Mason Mount unavailable to start and several players having dropped out of the squad, it wouldn’t be a shock to see him given a go alongside Arsenal teammate Bukayo Saka and former England youth teammate Phil Foden, though it's more likely he features in San Marino next week.

Missing out alongside Mount will be Luke Shaw with the concussion he suffered in last week’s Manchester Derby; whilst Declan Rice, Marcus Rashford, and James Ward-Prowse have withdrawn from international duty with injury. For the visitors, Manaj is joined on the sidelines by Atalanta defender Berat Djimsiti.

England vs Albania Odds

Today's Football Tips
Albania Over 2.5 Cards
Odds correct as of 2021-11-12 09:30 Odds subject to change.

Taking charge of this one is German official Felix Zwayer, who is a real outlier when it comes to his peers. The average cards per game for all referees in the Bundesliga stands at 3.93, whilst Zwayer averages an impressive 5.17 per game.

He’s fished out eight more cards than any other official in the division, and now has to deal with a desperate Albanian side that are no strangers to cards themselves.

They’ve earned at least three cards in every qualifier they’ve played that wasn’t against San Marino, at an average of 3.83 per game.

World Cup Odds
Elseid Hysaj to be carded
Odds correct as of 2021-11-12 09:30 Odds subject to change.

One man that could find himself in trouble with Mr.Zwayer on Friday evening is Lazio full-back Elseid Hysaj, especially if he has to deal with the dangerous Jack Grealish all night.

Normally operating on the left for his club side, he switches to the right for his National team and it causes him all sorts of trouble.

In Serie A this year he has started on the right on only two occasions, and committed three fouls. In the nine games before that on the left, he committed just four.

In this qualifying campaign for his National side, he has picked up three bookings in just seven starts - including one in the reverse of this fixture.

Elseid Hysaj & Klaus Gjasula to be carded and Albania Over 2.5 Cards
Odds correct as of 2021-11-12 09:30 Odds subject to change.

Combining the two plays above with the Klaus Gjasula to be carded gives us an enticing 9/1 play for the evening.

The Darmstadt midfielder practically lives in the referee’s notebook. So much so that in five appearances during the World Cup qualifiers, he’s picked up five bookings.

He has nine yellows despite starting just 11 times for his country, and in his last full Bundesliga season he accumulated NINETEEN in just 30 domestic starts.

I’m not sure what else I can say here. Getting above evens on him as a single is a steal.

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