So it’s now raining goals, is it? Football matches are at sixes and sevens are they?
A record-breaking start to the Premier League season has seen an average of 3.79 goals scored per game – a full goal a game more than last season’s average.
Cue an international break … and a Wembley international which threatens to put a dampener on all the excitement.
England and Wales have only met five times this century – and those meetings have produced a grand total of … nine goals.
The last time the sides met – at Euro 2016 – was the highest-scoring clash, a positively goal-laden 2-1 to England.
And the last two matches involving Gareth Southgate’s side have ended 0-0 and 1-0, while Wales haven’t scored more than twice in a game since beating Ireland in September 2018.
So you tell us why England’s friendly with Wales is 6/10 with thepools.com to be Over 2.5 goals , and 6/5 to go under ?
It can’t be because it’s a friendly. England have contested seven friendly matches since their five-goal thriller against France in June 2017 and only one has yielded Over 2.5 goals, a 2-1 victory over Nigeria at Wembley in June 2018. Before then there were goalless draws with Germany and Brazil, a 1-0 win over Holland, a 1-1 draw with Italy and then victories over Costa Rica (2-0) and Switzerland (1-0).
So friendlies rarely see the shackles thrown off.
And Harry Kane is likely to be saved for Sunday’s Nations League showdown with the best team in the world …. according to FIFA’s rankings anyway.
Raheem Sterling is injured, Jadon Sancho and Tammy Abraham on the naughty step, Mason Greenwood and Phil Foden still being punished for their Icelandic misdemeanours, so Dominic Calvert-Lewin is a great price to mark his full international debut with a goal.
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The Everton striker is 15/4 to score first something he has managed in his last three starts against Premier League opposition and a feat he has achieved in three of his four Premier League starts this term. He was denied a clean sweep by Grady Diangana’s blockbuster at Goodison Park for West Brom, but Calvert-Lewin nevertheless still scored his side’s first goal before going on to score a hat-trick. He is 11/10 to score at anytime .
Wales are without Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey and England to win to nil is Evens , while the 2-0 correct score is 11/2 .
Bosnia & Herzegovina vs Northern Ireland, 7.45pm Thursday
Northern Ireland are just one match from a potential European Championship play-off decider with Ireland.
But while their neighbours face Slovakia, Northern Ireland go to a Bosnia team showing solid form, in a stadium which will allow 2,000 spectators to watch, while Northern Ireland have won just one in their last seven.
Bosnia may be 12 places below Northern Ireland in the FIFA rankings, but they earned an impressive 1-1 draw away to Italy in the UEFA Nations League last month and only lost narrowly to a good Poland side.
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Ian Baraclough’s men can point to a gritty 1-1 draw in Romania despite playing more than half the match with 10 men. But in their next match they were demolished 5-1 by Norway.
Bosnia are 19/20 with thepools.com while Northern Ireland are a big 3/1 . And the home side has lost just four of their last 19 games on home soil – to Belgium, Spain, Italy and Poland.
Notably Bosnia have led at half-time in five of their last seven home fixtures and Bosnia half-time Bosnia full-time is 2/1 .
And don’t look any further than Edin Dzeko first scorer. The former Manchester City marksman has 59 goals from his 109 appearances for his country and opened the scoring for his country in Italy last month.
Scotland vs Israel, 7.45pm Thursday
Can Scotland go one better than March’s Nations League draw with the same opponents on Thursday night in a European Championship qualifier?
They know if they do they will face either Norway or Serbia next month for a place at a major tournament finals for the first time since 1998.
Scotland look to have turned a corner under Steve Clarke, with four wins and that one draw in their last five. They are Evens with thepools.com to make it five from six – and with John McGinn and Kieran Tierney available again after missing that March frustration are a good price to justify that favouritism. Another draw is 23/10 .
Ryan Christie was Scotland’s scorer that night in March – from the penalty spot – and has scored in three of his last four international starts.
He has scored in four out of 13 starts for club & country so far this season, while 38 starts in all competitions for Celtic and Scotland last season produced 14 Anytime Scorer payouts.
He is 11/2 first scorer and 11/5 anytime and both are big prices.
Slovakia vs Ireland, 7.45pm Thursday
Like Guinness, Ireland are so much better on home soil. Stephen Kenny’s side hasn’t won away from the Emerald Isle in almost three years – and even that victory was a slender 1-0 win against the minnows of Gibraltar.
“We can’t hide from that fact, and there must be a reason,” said Kenny.
It is why Slovakia are 13/8 favourites with thepools.com , the draw is 2/1 and Ireland a big 15/8 for victory .
The absence through injury of skipper Seamus Coleman also doesn’t help and Under 2.5 goals and the draw returns more than £35 profit for a £10 stake.