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Bale's Wales should have too much for Azerbaijan

Sky Sports Premier League, 7.45pm Friday

Wales have fallen off their pace in Euro 2020 qualification campaign but they can begin the recovery process with a comfortable victory over Azerbaijan at the Cardiff City Stadium.

Ryan Giggs's side opened up with a hard-fought 1-0 victory at home to Slovakia but back-to-back summer defeats in Croatia (2-1) and Hungary (1-o) have left them playing catch-up in Group E.

There is still plenty of time to turn the situation around, although any dropped points against the Azerbaijan, the section's whipping boys with no points from three games, would put them in a difficult position.

Azerbaijan caught the eye towards the start of 2018 World Cup qualifying by winning 1-0 at home to Norway and drawing 0-0 away to the Czech Republic.

But it has been downhill ever since for the Azeris, who won just two of six games in a weak Nations League section alongside the Faroe Islands, Malta and Kosovo and have continued to disappoint in Euro 2020 qualifying.

Wales are hampered by the absence of influential duo Aaron Ramsey and David Brooks, who miss out due to injuries, but they still have sufficient quality to win the game with ease.

Talisman Gareth Bale is back in favour at Real Madrid and has started each of their three La Liga games so he should be in better shape than he was in the June qualifiers.

And Bale no longer carries the burden of being the only potential match-winner in the side.

Dan James will be full of confidence after making such a positive start to his Manchester United career and Liverpool winger Harry Wilson has netted twice in three games at the start of a season-long loan at Bournemouth.

The quality of Bale, James and Wilson should be too much for the Azeris and the gulf between the sides is wide enough to back Wales to be leading at half-time and full-time.

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