Azerbaijan vs Northern IrelandWorld Cup QualifiersToday, 17:00 (CET)Tofiq Bahramov Stadium
We are at the half-way stage in the fixtures for World Cup Qualifying Group C in Europe and it’s Germany who lead the way.
The German’s took control of the group early, thanks to wins over the Czech Republic and Northern Ireland. This leaves both Azerbaijan and Northern Ireland to battle it out with Czech Republic for second place in the group and the chance of making it to the 2018 World Cup.
1. UEFA Group C
Azerbaijan have 7 points from 15 available, having won 2, drawn 1 and lost 2 of their 5 games in the group. They were proving tough to beat in their first 3 fixtures, defeating San Marino and Norway and drawing with Czech Republic. However, heavy defeats in Northern Ireland and at home to Germany has lowered expectations.
Northern Ireland have won 3, drawn 1 and lost 1 of their 5 fixtures, leaving them in second place on 10 points. With Czech Republic in Norway, a win in this game could open a small gap between themselves and the chasing pack, going into the 4 remaining fixtures of the group.
2. Bookies Choice - 1X2 Odds
Given their performance at Euro 2016, their position in the group and the fact they defeated Azerbaijan 4-0 at home, it’s little surprise to see Northern Ireland installed as favourites for this game, priced at 2.35 with bet365.
However, it should be remembered that Northern Ireland have won only 1 of their last 4 away competitive games, which was in the Faroe Islands…
Azerbaijan are considered the outsiders for this game and are available at 3.75 with bet365. Despite falling to defeat at home to Germany, Azerbaijan have proved tough opposition on their own pitch and have recently defeated Norway and held Croatia to a 0-0 draw in competitive games.
The draw is also available for this match, at 3.00 with William Hill.
Azerbaijan vs Northern Ireland 1X2 - Best odds
3. Azerbaijan vs Northern Ireland Predictions
This match could be very tight, with little in the way of goal-mouth action. Northern Ireland have conceded only 2 goals in the group, both of which came in their match at Germany. Azerbaijan have managed to score only 3 goals in their 5 games, meaning Northern Ireland will be confident of a clean sheet.
Northern Ireland to win the match to nil and Northern Ireland to win 1-0 might be a good picks to consider.
If this game is tight, a set-piece could make all the difference. Northern Ireland defender, Gareth McAuley has proven to be a handful from corners and free-kicks, both in the Premier League and at international level. Look for McAuley to score at any time pick to bet on, as soon as it'll appear online.
Azerbaijan will be hoping Erzgebirge Aue striker Dimitrij Nazarov remains in form and fit ahead of this game because they will find it tough to score goals without him.
Northern Ireland need Jonny Evans and Steve Davis to come through the final weekend of Premier League fixtures unscathed.