Weblog: The football punter

Slovakia can deal killer blow to Welsh hopes

Wales made the semi-finals of Euro 2016 but things aren’t looking quite as promising for Ryan Giggs’s men three years on.

The Dragons are only three points adrift of second-placed Slovakia in Group E and have a game in hand, but defeat on Thursday could irreversibly damage their hopes of qualifying for next summer’s showpiece.

Slovakia have won four of their last six outings and despite one of their failures coming in Cardiff, it’s reasonable to expect a much better performance in Trnava.

They have won nine of their last 13 games on home soil and welcome a Welsh side who tend to struggle on the road.

Giggs has lost seven of 15 games in the Wales dugout, including four defeats in seven away matches.

That road record includes their current run of three consecutive away defeats – losing in Albania and Hungary (both 1-0) – and they’ve scored just twice in their last six away games.

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Match in Focus


Sheff Utd v Arsenal

Home WinDrawAway Win
Key stats
  • Arsenal have won five of their last six matches
Expert verdict
Some Arsenal supporters are not happy with Unai Emery’s tactics but the Gunners are third in the Premier League after eight matches and can maintain their upward trajectory by beating Sheffield United. The visitors have lost only one match in all competitions this season and should continue to improve with Hector Bellerin and Kieran Tierney both fit again after injury. They haven’t always been brilliant but Arsenal tend to get the job done. Sheffield United held firm for 70 minutes against Liverpool and have proved hard to break down, but they have lost four of their last five home matches in all competitions.