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World Cup Qualifiers – Winning start a must for Southgate

World Cup Qualifiers – Winning start a must for Southgate

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England take centre stage on Saturday evening when they start the post-Sam Allardyce era at home to minnows Malta in their latest 2018 World Cup qualifier.

Gareth Southgate has stepped into the breach for the next four games and will be highly confident of making a winning start against the Maltese, who were well beaten 5-1 at home by Scotland last time out.

He will also be keen to build up the Three Lions’ goal difference, with over 6.5 goals in the game at Wembley available at an enticing 16/5.

The quest for goals will go on in the absence of the injured Raheem Sterling, with winger Andros Townsend called up as a replacement to try and provide a spark from the flanks.

Manchester United teenager Marcus Rashford is also back in the senior squad after registering a hat-trick for the Under-21s against Norway, having been overlooked by Allardyce for the 1-0 win in Slovakia.

The talented forward is priced at 2/5 to score anytime against Malta, having marked his England debut against Australia in May with a goal.

Last time out on their travels, Malta earned a 1-1 draw with Estonia but a 6-0 drubbing at the hands of the Czech Republic in late May is more the sort of scoreline England will expect to run up – with a 6-0 home win priced at 8/1.

Also in World Cup qualifying Group F, Scotland entertain Lithuania at Hampden Park, with the hosts looking to make it two wins out of two after their mauling of Malta.

However, Gordon Strachan’s men were given an early shock in Valletta when Malta made the score 1-1 before eventually running out comfortable winners.

The Scots will have to be more attentive in defence against Lithuania, with Hearts youngster Callum Paterson set to deputise at right-back for the injured Alan Hutton.

Scotland, who have conceded in each of their last three games, are 21/20 to be unable to keep a clean sheet against a Lithuania side who have not found the net in the last two meetings between the sides.

Lithuania head coach Edgaras Jankauskas saw his side throw away a two-goal lead in the qualifying opener at home to Slovenia, with the game ending in a 2-2 draw as the Baltic nation took their recent run to just one win in their last eight games.

Their last success on the road came in San Marino in September 2014, meaning the visitors to Hampden are a potentially tempting 8/1 to win the game by a single goal.

Don’t forget, if you’re new to ComeOn! we have enhanced odds of 3/1 for England to beat Malta on Saturday night.

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Gareth Freeman Gareth is our daily tipster, who has years of successful sports betting behind him and is always on hand to offer a value bet. As well as a passion for Football (UK and European), he also has in-depth Tennis, Boxing, Snooker and Basketball knowledge.