England vs Scotland Preview

England will look to keep their unbeaten run intact when they host Scotland at Wembley on Friday.
England will look to keep their unbeaten run intact when they host Scotland at Wembley this Friday.
World Cup Qualifiers | Friday 11 November | Wembley Stadium | 21:45

England’s road to Russia continues with a clash against British rivals, Scotland. The Three Lions have been superb in their 2018 World Cup qualifying stages, leading Group F with three games played so far. Scotland find themselves fourth in the table, with just a win separating themselves with England. It’s still early days in the group, but both teams will be coming out guns blazing for top spot, ensuring automatic qualification to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

To Win (90mins)
England 7/20
Draw 7/2
Scotland 8/1

England

England have been a class-above the rest in Group F, beating Slovakia 1-0 away from home before humbling Malta to a 2-0 scoreline at Wembley. They then kept up their unbeaten run by salvaging a point in Slovenia, drawing 0-0 in what was interim boss Gareth Southgate’s second game in charge of The Three Lions.

England are yet to concede in the group, which has come down to their rock-solid defence. Southgate is likely to go with a backline of Kyle Walker and Danny Rose in the fullback position who are in a Tottenham side that have conceded just six league goals in the Premier League – the lowest in the division. Also at the back, Gary Cahill has been in a Chelsea defence which have kept five consecutive clean sheets in a row, with his partner likely to be Manchester City’s highly-rated, John Stones.

England captain, Wayne Rooney, has been included in the squad as a midfielder, which in all fairness, doesn’t surprise me at all. Up front, Rooney has been ice-cold and looks far from the striker who broke all sorts of English records in previous years. It looks like an automatic starting place now for Rooney who has to compete with the likes of Danny Drinkwater, Eric Dier, Jordan Henderson and Jack Wilshere.

England look solid in almost every position, with just the striker role leaving me asking plenty of questions. Harry Kane has just come back from injury and only played 70 minutes last weekend in the North London derby. That said, Daniel Sturridge and Jamie Vardy haven’t looked their best either.

England’s biggest hopes of threatening up front will be in the wide areas with Theo Walcott, Raheem Sterling and Adam Lallana all being exceptionally brilliant for their domestic teams.

Full Squad

Goalkeepers: Fraser Forster (Southampton, England), Joe Hart (Torino, Italy), Tom Heaton (Burnley, England)

Defenders: Ryan Bertrand (Southampton, England), Gary Cahill (Chelsea, England), Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool, England), Phil Jagielka (Everton, England), Michael Keane (Burnley, England), Danny Rose (Tottenham, England), John Stones (Manchester City, England), Kyle Walker (Tottenham, England)

Midfielders: Eric Dier (Tottenham, England), Danny Drinkwater (Leicester City, England), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool, England), Jack Wilshere (Bournemouth, England), Adam Lallana (Liverpool, England), Jesse Lingard (Manchester United, England), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United, England), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City, England), Andros Townsend (Crystal Palace, England)

Forwards: Theo Walcott (Arsenal, England), Harry Kane (Tottenham, England), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United, England), Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool, England), Jamie Vardy (Leicester City, England).



Scotland

Scotland come into this game off the back of their first defeat in the group stage. Their 3-0 loss to Slovakia meant that Gordon Strachan’s side dropped two places lower from 2nd spot. Four points from three matches isn’t the worst situation to be in right now for Scotland, considering the way Group F is looking.

This is likely to be a cagey affair for Strachan’s men against their British rivals, with the group’s leading goalscorer, Robert Snodgrass, looking to do something no player has done since the start of the qualifying stages – which is to score against England.

Scotland’s defence leaves me worrying, though, with just Stephen Kingsley of Swansea, Callum Paterson of Hearts and Lee Wallace of Rangers playing in the top flight of their domestic leagues. They do, however, have plenty of goalscorers in their ranks with the likes of Snodgrass, James McArthur, Leigh Griffiths and Steven Fletcher.

They’ve also got the experience of captain, Darren Fletcher, to guide the team through the middle of the park, breaking down the play and turning defence into attack. England’s biggest concern, though, is Oliver Burke. The 19-year old RB Leipzig winger has been likened to Gareth Bale with his dashing speed on the flank and his ability to go past two or three players at a time. Scotland will need him at his best if they are to cause any upset over their British rivals at Wembley.

Full Squad

Goalkeepers: Craig Gordon (Celtic, Scotland), Jack Hamilton (Hearts, Scotland), David Marshall (Hull City, England).

Defenders: Christophe Berra (Ipswich Town, England), Gordon Greer (Blackburn Rovers, England), Grant Hanley (Newcastle United, England), Stephen Kingsley (Swansea City, England), Russell Martin (Norwich City, England), Callum Paterson (Hearts, Scotland), Lee Wallace (Rangers, Scotland).

Midfielders: Ikechi Anya (Derby County, England), Barry Bannan (Sheffield Wednesday, England), Scott Brown (Celtic, Scotland), Oliver Burke (RB Leipzig, Germany), Darren Fletcher (West Bromwich Albion, England), James Forrest (Celtic, Scotland), James McArthur (Crystal Palace, England), John McGinn (Hibernian, Scotland), James Morrison (West Bromwich Albion, England), Matt Ritchie (Newcastle United, England), Robert Snodgrass (Hull City, England).

Forwards: Steven Fletcher (Sheffield Wednesday, England), Leigh Griffiths (Celtic, Scotland), Chris Martin (Derby County, England), Steven Naismith (Norwich City, England).

Prediction: England Win + Under 2.5 Goals (5/4)
This is likely to be a low-scoring affair with England yet to concede in the qualifying stages so far. Scotland are usually involved in high-scoring matchups, but England’s defence should be too good on the day. Every game of the Three Lions so far has seen the Under 2.5 Goals market triggered, while Southgate’s men managed to go undefeated in the process. With home advantage, England should come out on top, but not by a far margin. The home Win + Under 2.5 Goals is the tip at a valuable 5/4.

Written by Jesse Nagel.