In what is quickly starting to look like a must-win contest for Wales on Friday night, Ryan Giggs’ men will be desperately looking for an empathic bounce back when Azerbaijan make the trip to Cardiff.
Although a 1-0 win over Slovakia back in March would have boosted the mood in the Dragon’s camp, Friday’s hosts have since suffered back-to-back defeats against Hungary and Croatia with their EURO 2020 dreams taking a dent in the process.
Now sat down in fourth in Group E and hunting a three-point deficit, fans around South Wales should see Friday as a golden opportunity to gain some much-needed momentum.
Wales have won each of their three previous meetings against the Group E strugglers and have never lost an international matchup against Azerbaijan in the six contests between the two nations.
With the Reds also recording three consecutive clean sheets in their victories over Nikola Jurčević’s side, you will be interested to know that a similar result can be found at 4/6 with SkyBet.
The return of Gareth Bale
With Wales desperate to keep their EURO 2020 ambitions alive and kicking, there is no doubt that Head Coach Ryan Giggs will be most excited by the return of talisman Gareth Bale.
Bagging a brace in his final appearance for Real Madrid and now firmly back in Zinedine Zidane’s plans, Wales’ leading goalscorer will also take over the captain’s armband with Ashley Williams not making Giggs’ 23-man squad.
With Bournemouth defender Chris Mepham praising a “rejuvenated” Bale in midweek, you will be interested to know that the Madrid marksman can be found at 3/4 with Ladbrokes to announce his international return with a goal on Friday.
Sadly for fans in South Wales, while they might be boosted by the return of the Madrid ace on Friday, the Dragons are still seen to be an overwhelming underdog to secure a route out of Group E.
Giggs’ men are currently pencilled in at 7/4 to secure a top-two finish in Group E.
Elsewhere, while one big-name star might be making a return at the Cardiff City Stadium, Wales will be unable to call upon Juventus midfielder Aaron Ramsey who has had to withdraw from the squad.
Azerbaijan’s woeful run continues
Although Wales might still be dreaming of a route out of Group E, Azerbaijan have seen any chance of reaching next summers European Championships go up in the smoke.
Coming off the back of yet another woeful display in their 5-1 hammering at home to Slovakia back in June, Head Coach Nikola Jurčević has seen his men fail to win any of their three qualifying matches.
Already sat rock-bottom of Group E, Friday’s guests are already priced at 1000/1 with Bet365 to secure a top-two finish.
A huge part of Azerbaijan’s continued issues over the past 10 months has been down to their defensive mistakes.
Already shipping 10 goals in their opening three Group E appearances, no other team in qualifying have conceded more than four goals.
Shipping three or more goals in three of their last five contests, Azerbaijan can be found at 13/8 with SkyBet to endure another defensive nightmare on Friday.