Republic of Ireland v Moldova Predictions, Betting Tips and Previews
October 03, 2017
Aviva Stadium, Dublin - World Cup Qualification Group D
Martin O'Neill's Republic of Ireland host Moldova on Friday needing a win to maintain their qualification and play-off chances for next summer's World Cup.
The reverse of this fixture in Chinsau in October 2016 was the first time that these two sides had faced each other in competitive action, with O'Neill's side winning 3-1 on the night. Ireland were made to work hard for their victory that night, with Igor Bugaiov cancelling out Shane Long's opener, only for a second half double from James McClean to wrestle the game back for Ireland.
Ireland are expected to name two different line ups for their last two qualifying games, firstly against Moldova and then on Monday night for their crunch game against Wales.
The Moldova game could see O'Neill hand debuts to strikers Sean Maguire and Scott Hogan, both of whom are in the squad for the first time. Shane Long may be rested for the wales game, with Nottingham Forest striker Daryl Murphy starting up front.
In midfield Ireland do have injury concerns, with Everton's James McCarthy and Bournemouth's Harry Arter both struggling with injuries, although Jeff Hendrick is back in the squad having missed the last two qualifiers.
Robbie Brady and James McClean are both suspended for this game, meaning potential starts for Aiden McGeady and David Meyler or Wes Hoolahan.
Minnows Moldova travel to Dublin with a squad that includes just nine players that play outside of the native Moldovan league, with Cagliari's Artur Ionita the pick of the bunch.
Striker Igor Bugaiov has been selected for the squad, but fellow forward Eugen Sidorenco misses out through injury.
Republic of Ireland v Moldova Preview and Predictions
Given the situation that Ireland find themselves in ahead of Friday's game, it looks very likely that they will be going all out to win against the side that are currently bottom of Group D. Ireland need a win against, and probably a win against Wales, to stand any chance of sealing a place as one of the best second place teams and grab a play-off place.
It will be tense for Ireland, but a win should be a formality, with a bigger test against Wales around the corner, and a home victory is priced at a paltry 1/10. Given the fact that Ireland need to face Wales with some confidence, O'Neill will be instructing his players too go out and score goals against the Moldovans, particularly if goal difference becomes a definitive factor in this group.
With plenty of attacking options available in the Ireland squad, and with a few players wanting to put their name in frame to start against Wales- Ireland could find themselves on the score sheet more than once, and an over 2.5 goals bet is priced at 4/7.
Republic of Ireland to win 3-0 at 4/1
Ireland have backed themselves into a corner with regards to qualification, following their results against Georgia and Serbia last month, and they have no choice but to go out and attack. In Sean Maguire, Daryl Murphy, Scott Hogan and Shane Long they have strikers all in need of a goal at international level and will be hungry to take their chance to impress O'Neill.
Shane Long to score first at 3/1
Long has endured a frustrating time at club and national level in recent months, scoring just once for Ireland in this qualification campaign- against Moldova a year ago, and he is without a goal for Southampton this season. However he remains Ireland's most likely goal source, and he will be hunting for a confidence boost ahead of the key game against Wales.