Sports Journalist at FST, Gareth qualified as a journalist after graduating from university and spent over a decade as a freelance broadcast journalist, commentator and tipster before joining FST. Now living in Manchester, he is a long suffering Bolton Wanderers fan who also enjoys boxing, the NBA, tennis and rugby league.
England entertain Albania in a key World Cup qualifier on Friday and we’ve put together a 248/1 ultimate Bet Builder ahead of the clash.
A win for the Three Lions would virtually guarantee their place at the World Cup in 2022 as group winners, while the visitors need a win if they are to keep their own hopes of reaching the tournament in Qatar alive.
Our seven selection ultimate bet builder pays out at a whopping 248/1 and you can view and back our selections below.
England vs Albania Ultimate Bet Builder Tip
England to win
England beat Albania 2-0 in the reverse fixture in what was a comfortable and routine victory back in March. There is more at stake in this second meeting and it could be a closer game but it is hard to see the visitors getting a result.
England are unbeaten in their last eight games on home soil, winning seven of those matches. Albania have a fairly strong away record with just two defeats in their last 10 on their travels but they have come up short against top level opposition.
Both teams to score
England had an excellent defensive record not too long ago but mistakes have started to creep in. The likely centre-half pairing of Harry Maguire and John Stones haven’t been at their best for Manchester United and Manchester City respectively recently, while Everton keeper Jordan Pickford has just one clean sheet in his last 10 appearances for club and country. Gareth Southgate’s men do have three clean sheets in their last seven games but two of those came against Andorra, while Albania have scored in 10 of their last 13 fixtures so there are a few reasons to suggest we may well see goals at both ends here.
Phil Foden to score
With Mason Mount expected to miss out as he recovers from dental surgery, Phil Foden is expected to start and the Manchester City man can make his mark with a goal.
The 21-year-old has three goals in his last four starts for City, and is the form player in an England attack that will probably also include Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling and Jack Grealish.
Raheem Sterling anytime assist
Raheem Sterling has struggled for game time at Manchester City but he retains Southgate’s trust and should start on Friday. Sterling has been chipping in with assists at club level with three in 15 games this term, despite largely having to settle for a place on the bench, and he’s averaging a solid 1.2 key passes per-game for England in this qualifying campaign so is a contender for an anytime assist against Albania.
Albania 3+ shots on target
Albania need to win this game, any other result and their qualification bid is over unless Poland fail to beat Andorra, and with that in mind they’re likely to be more adventurous than they perhaps normally would be. The Shqiponjat (Eagles) failed to register a single shot on target in the reverse fixture, but they have managed at least three in five of their last six games despite coming up against the Poles (twice), the Czech Republic and Hungary so three or more looks a realistic target at Wembley on Friday.
Sokol Cikalleshi to have one or more shots on target
If Albania do manage to test Jordan Pickford in the England goal, Sokol Cikalleshi could be the man to do it. The Konyaspor forward is averaging 0.9 shots on target per-game for his club in Turkey and for Albania in the Nations League averages an impressive 2.0 per-game.
Elseid Hysaj to be shown a card
Given how badly Albania need a result it wouldn’t be a surprise to see a few of their players pick up yellow cards and Elseid Hysaj of Lazio looks a candidate for an anytime booking. The 27-year-old has averaged 1.6 fouls per-game during qualifying and has been booked three times already in seven appearances.
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