Ireland to win war of attrition
The Republic of Ireland top Group D following five rounds of matches. Will they further cement their place at the summit starting off with a game in Georgia? Have a read of our preview here:
Mick McCarthy’s EFL army
Mick McCarthy has put together a squad that is heavily made up of players outside the Premier League. Maybe that is an indictment of the poor options available to the former-Ipswich boss or is he just looking to give his best performers a chance?
Darren Randolph is likely to start in goal with a defence that is solid if not spectacular. The Sheffield United duo of Enda Stevens and John Egan have played really well for the Blades over the last couple of seasons and they will be able to dictate the play from deeper positions.
The midfield sees James McLean keep his place despite the struggles Stoke have endured this season. His selection is something of a controversy amongst the supporters with many questioning whether he deserves his place in the side.
Josh Cullen, currently on loan at Charlton, is a supreme talent and he has been developing and improving really well under the guidance of Lee Bowyer at the Valley. Charlton have, despite a low budget, been very impressive in the Championship so far this season.
Oxford graduate Callum O’Dowda, plying his trade under Lee Johnson at Bristol City, gets a call-up and can provide service on the wing while the front men of Scott Hogan and James Collins are proven goal scorers.
The latter has been so effective for Luton over the last couple of seasons and deserves an opportunity to show what he can do on the international stage. His goals propelled the Hatters from League Two to the Championship double quick-time and he could be key if given service.
Georgia lack the quality required
Georgia are not an easy opponent and Ireland only just beat them in the reverse fixture thanks to Conor Hourihane’s goal. They held Denmark to a draw in the last game and although they couldn’t grab a goal, it was a decent performance.
The star player is arguably Valeri Qazaishvili who has netted 10 in 42 appearances for the national side. He currently plays for the San Jose Earthquakes in MLS. 26-year-old midfielder Jano Ananidze offers a goal threat from midfield. The Spartak Moscow man has netted seven times for Georgia and is experienced for his age.
It will not be a classic and Ireland will be forced to be patient, but you feel they’ll have enough to win.
Georgia vs. Republic of Ireland betting tip
Even though Georgia will make themselves tough to break down you feel Mick McCarthy’s side should be winning this one especially with the game against Switzerland coming up. Therefore, backing Republic of Ireland to win at odds of 23/20 with William Hill is a fair shout here.