As the European Championships proved once again, the huge number of foreign footballers playing in England’s top flight has had an increasingly noticeable negative impact upon the national’s team’s performances.
Indeed, such is the diminishing pool of indigenous players from which the new England manager Sam Allardyce can select, it seems likely that Slovakia will present another stern test for the Three Lions in Sunday’s World Cup qualifier.
Slovakia kick off as bet365’s 3/1 underdogs, with Marathonbet installing England as their 11/10 favourites, although these odds have more to do with the weight of money backing England than on any objective assessment of their chances of winning.
The pair last met at the Euros in June when England were denied by some outstanding defending by Martin Skrtel.
The match finished goalless and the likelihood of another draw is rated a 23/10 shot by BetVictor.com.
England’s starting XI is likely to be radically different from the one fielded in St Etienne and while a 1-1 result is the correct score market’s most popular outcome, priced at 11/2 by 188bet, another goalless encounter cannot be ruled out – it’s priced at 17/2 by Winner.com.
In other markets, Ladbrokes consider the probability of both teams scoring an 11/10 chance and punters expecting Sunday’s duel to produce more in the way of goalmouth action than the pair’s previous encounter can get 8/1 (Matchroom.com) against England winning 2-1.
As the match stats team at bettingexpert.com report, that was the score the last time England won in Slovakia – when a certain Michael Owen and David Beckham were on the scoresheet – a time when the number of England players at the national team manager’s disposal was considerably greater than it is today.
Odds supplied by www.smartbets.com, the customisable odds comparison site