Wales went in to their final two qualifiers high on confidence, until Gareth Bale was ruled out for both. That makes this a difficult few days for the Welsh, can they still get over the line and secure a spot in the play-offs? Chris Coleman needs to find a way to grind out a win without his star player, especially with a crunch game against the Republic of Ireland coming up on Monday. After making the semis at the Euros last year, it would be a huge disappointment for the Welsh to fall short here.
Wales travel to Georgia on Friday, which is a difficult trip even with Bale in the side. The hosts may be seen as minnows in this group, but they’ve lost just three of their eight matches so far. That includes a 1-1 draw in Cardiff earlier in this group, when Wales were on a poor run of draws. Like Georgia the away side have also drawn five matches so far, which is poor return for a side who were so impressive in France last year.
Without Bale, Wales are significantly weaker, and they’ll be turning to Aaron Ramsey to step up in his place. The Arsenal midfielder scored in their last international, but he also put in a big display in a tough away trip to Serbia. That was the other game Bale missed in this group, and Ramsey’s penalty was huge for the Welsh. With Bale out, we expect the Arsenal man to score here. He looks like great value to score any time at 12/5 with bet365.
We expect Wales to score, but they should also concede in this clash. The hosts have only failed to score once in this group, and they’ve been in strong scoring form of late. Georgia have seen both teams score in their last six qualifying games, and in their last six competitive games at home. That has us backing BTTS in this one, which is priced at 11/10 with bet365.
While Wales have a tough trip ahead, this is still a must win game for them. They’re hoping to build on back to back wins last month. We’re expecting the Welsh to use that momentum to claim three points here. We’re backing Wales to win and both teams to score, given Georgia’s record up front.
PREDICTION;Wales & Both Teams To Score