Russia v Northern Ireland, Friday 7th September, 4.00pm
It’s not a great time to be a Northern Ireland fan as the team are currently going through a dismal run of form. What’s worse is that they have to head to Russia on Friday, one of the toughest opening qualifying games they could have asked for. Michael O’Neill’s men will face a tough task against a team who underperformed at Euro 2012 but will be looking to make a statement at home as the road to the World Cup 2014 in Brazil begins.
Here’s all the numbers and stats you need to know ahead of the game.
- Northern Ireland have lost six of their last seven matches
- If that’s not bad enough they have only actually won two of the last 27 games
- On the flip-side Russia have only lost one of the last 18 which makes them pretty formidable
- Seven of Russia’s last nine games have had under 2.5 goals
- But if there was ever a chance to score more, Northern Ireland have conceded three or more goals in five of their last six matches
- Russia have a good record on their own soil and haven’t lost at home since November 2010
- Northern Ireland meanwhile haven’t won away since September 2010
- Russia have only been beaten by more than a single goal once since June 2008. That’s 40 games so they very rarely get absolutely tonked
The form doesn’t read well for Northern Ireland fans and looking at the recent trends it’s hard to see past a Russian victory at 2/9. The odds unfortunately don’t reflect much value in a match the bookies expect Russia to run away with quite easily.
There’s certainly some value to be found elsewhere though. Northern Ireland have a worrying habit of conceding plenty of goals and you can back Russia to cover the two goal handicap and win by three or more at 15/8. Looking at the stats though Russia haven’t been scoring for fun of late so you might prefer to go with Russia to be leading at half-time and win at fulltime which is 4/6 on the half-time/full-time market. Alternatively Russia to win both halves might prove to be the best value at 8/5. Whatever way you choose to look at it, it makes for glum reading for the home nations side.