Republic of Ireland play host to Austria in crucial World Cup qualifier as martin O’Neill’s men hope to keep up the pace with group leaders Serbia in search for automatic Russian visa.
Ireland’s team selection dilemmas
Martin O’Neill has experimented with a good number of player over the past two games his team played last week. Ireland manager did not only change his roster, but he also deployed two different formation and playing styles in order to find the most adequate solution for the forthcoming crucial qualifier. Having succumbed to a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Mexico last Friday, Ireland executed exactly the same win to out-of-sorts Uruguay. The 3-1 win over the South American side will have been a good morale boost ahead of Austria, but more importantly a great test for Martin O’Neill from the tactical point of view. The Republic seem desperate to complete a double over the Austrians to cement their place as joint-leaders of Group D, hoping to even leapfrog Serbia who entertain Wales on the same night in Belgrade. Given some team selection issues Martin O’Neill faces, Ireland will not have an easy task.
Johnathan Walters picked up a knee problem earlier in the week and was forced to miss Ireland’s midweek training. Ipswich forward David McGoldrick has already left the camp through a knee injury of his own, joining Shane Long on the casualty list. Should Walters be unfit to feature, Daryl Murphy will have to be slotted upfront.
Disharmony in Austria camp?
Austria find themselves in a tight spot ahead of the match against Ireland. A repeat of the November 1-0 defeat from Vienna would leave their qualification hopes hanging by a thin thread and the latest reports are claiming that Marcel Koller’s men travelled to Dublin troubled by in-squad disharmony. Having been prematurely eliminated from the Euro 2016, the Austrians could be feeling a bit of pressure sitting fourth in Group D after dropping a couple of points somewhat unexpectedly. Inconsistency seems to be Austria’s biggest issue ahead of Ireland match as Koller’s men only won two of their last ten matches in all competitions, alternating between draws and defeats along the way. Austria played their last match back in March and lack of competitiveness might be another problem against Republic of Ireland who have played two games in last week. And to make things worse, Austria boss is faced with fresh selection worries.
Sparta Prague striker Marc Janko has been ruled out with tonsillitis, adding to Austria’s woes as the visitors are also without influential but suspended midfielders Marko Arnautovic and Stefan Ilsanker. RB Salzburg defender Andreas Ulmer has arranged his wedding for this week and will also be unavailable.
Republic of Ireland seem to be wanting it more and seem to be more determined to get a positive result against Austria. Marcel Koller is faced with a couple of huge and possibly crucial selection issues which only make his job at Aviva Stadium even more difficult.
Top pick: Ireland 2/50 (6/4) @PaddyPower
Alternative pick 1: Ireland to win to Nil 3.75 (11/4) @SkyBet
Alternative pick 2: Both teams to score – No 1.83 (5/6) @BetVictor