ENGLAND warmed up well for their tricky World Cup qualifier against Ukraine by cruising to an impressive 4-0 victory against Slovakia.
But it didn’t come without a cost as opening goalscorer Emile Heskey picking up a knock that rules him out of tonight’s clash.
Nevertheless, with home advantage, Fabio Capello’s men should have enough in their locker to edge what could be a tight encounter and the bookies confidently concur, Victor Chandler making the hosts 2/5 to maintain their 100% qualifying record and Jenningsbet quoting odds of 17/2 for England to suffer their first defeat of the campaign.
A draw is a 3/1 chance with Betfred.
The unbeaten visitors will be fresh, having only played for a month following their league’s lengthy winter break. They can provide a decent test for Capello’s players, who are approaching the latter stages of a draining Premiership season.
Subsequently, bet365’s 23/10 for England to edge it by a one-goal margin looks a little big and, in turn, Betdaq’s 6/1 for them to bag the game’s only goal also catches the eye.
With England looking relatively defensively sound, a clean sheet (8/11, Blue Square) looks likely, so Boylesports’ 6/5 for Capello’s troops to prevail without conceding seems set to pocket punters a profit.
At the other end, Wayne Rooney silenced his critics with a brace at the weekend and he’ll be well supported at 4/1 in Stan James’s first scorer betting.
Domestically, Fulham heroically helped to re-ignite the title race by beating Manchester United last time out, but their influence on matters at the top isn’t expected to extend to the weekend as they host Liverpool.
The Reds are 8/13 with Coral to at least temporarily hit top spot by landing a maximum haul at Craven Cottage.
Finally, on Sunday, Everton should tighten their grip on a top six berth by seeing off Wigan at Goodison Park, a result Sportingbet chalk up at 7/10.
England tied the five-match, one-day series against the West Indies at two-each on Sunday in a rain affected contest and that result will give skipper Andrew Strauss and his colleagues a much-needed confidence boost ahead of Friday’s decider.
However, it’s the home side, at 4/5 with Stan James that command favouritism in St Lucia.
For their part, the tourists are even money (Boylesports) but sadly it’s the hosts that represent the best value.
Those in agreement could do worse than back them at 8/11 to be the highest scorers in the first 15 overs, a wager made doubly attractive by the aggressive style of opening batsman Chris Gayle.
Odds supplied by www.betrescue.com
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