Sports Mole previews Friday’s Euro Champ Qualifying clash between Poland and Czech Republic, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Poland welcome Czech Republic to Warsaw for a crucial Euro 2024 qualifier in Group E on Friday.
The hosts must win to have any chance of progression in what is their final group game, while the Czechs can seal qualification if they win and Moldova drop points against Albania....Click Here To Continue Reading>>
In the most fascinating group across Euro 2024 qualifying, there is a scenario where all four sides can still progress going into the final matchday next Monday.
Anything but a win for Poland and they will be eliminated because of their inferior head-to-head against the Czechs, but should Michal Probierz’s side win and Moldova also see off Albania, just two points will separate the four nations ahead of the final set of matches.
A draw here could also be potentially fatal for the Czechs too, as they would then need a result against Moldova to make sure of a top-two spot.
The permutations are seemingly endless in Group E, especially regarding Czechia and Moldova as they still have to face each other, while Poland’s and Albania’s tasks are much more straightforward.
Nevertheless, despite both still being in the running to qualify, it has been an embarrassing campaign for both of these sides, and especially Poland, who no matter what happens, will not have their fate in their own hands.
There was some excitement when Poland managed to convince Portugal’s Euro 2016 winning manager Fernando Santos to take over for the start of this qualifying campaign, but within five matches he had been sacked.
After defeats away in Czechia, Moldova and Albania, Poland had just six points before October’s internationals, when Probierz moved up from the Under-21s to take charge of the senior side, but his appointment has not had the desired effect.
Poland struggled past 10-man Faroe Islands in Probierz’s first match in charge, before they were held to a 1-1 draw at home with Moldova in their last outing, meaning a remarkable set of results would need to transpire for them to qualify automatically now.
Things have not been much better for Jaroslav Silhavy’s side, who were quarter-finalists in the last European Championships just two years ago.
With just three wins in their last 11 competitive matches – two of which were against the Faroes – confidence is not particularly high for a side that must get a result to ease the pressure on themselves before a clash with Moldova next week.
A poor showing in the most recent Nations League campaign too means the Czechs have won just one away fixture since fans returned to stadiums in 2021 – against the Faroes in June.
Despite a very underwhelming campaign, Silhavy’s side are still huge favourites to progress automatically, helped largely to Poland’s implosion.
Last month’s internationals provided very little for the Czech faithful to get excited about though, as they needed a late Tomas Soucek penalty to see off the Faroes, just three days after being thrashed 3-0 in Tirana.
Poland Euro Champ Qualifying form:
Poland form (all competitions):
Czech Republic Euro Champ Qualifying form:
Czech Republic form (all competitions):
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Aston Villa’s Matty Cash was dropped by Probierz for the Moldova match last month, and he has withdrawn from the squad here, despite returning from injury at the weekend.
Fellow defender Sebastian Walukiewicz is also absent with injury, while his Empoli teammate Bartosz Bereszynski has been dropped.
Along with the right-back, Arkadiusz Milik and Jakub Kamiski have also surprisingly been omitted from the squad for their final fixture in the group, but Robert Lewandowski is back in the fold after missing October’s matches with injury.
Patryk Dziczek and Adrian Benedyczak are also late pull-outs with injury, while Kamil Piatkowski remains a long-term absentee.
Czechia will be without their goalkeeper Jiri Pavlenka and Sparta Prague captain Ladislav Krejci due to injury for their final two qualifiers.
Ales Mandous is set to come into the side in goal in Pavlenka’s place, while there could be a debut for highly-fancied 20-year-old Martin Vitik – who is clubmates with Krejci at club level – in defence.
Mojmir Chytil is back from suspension following his red card against Albania and is one of a few promising young attacking options for Silhavy, along with Adam Hlozek and Tomas Cvancara, joining the more experienced pair of Vaclav Cerny and Jan Kuchta.
Hlozek’s Bayer Leverkusen teammate Patrik Schick remains absent as persistent injuries means he has not featured at all during the qualifying campaign.Poland possible starting lineup:Szczesny; Kedziora, Peda, Kiwior; Frankowski, Wszolek, Zielinski, S Szymanski, Zalewski; Swiderski, Lewandowski
Czech Republic possible starting lineup:Mandous; Coufal, Holes, Vitik, Jurasek; Soucek, M Sadilek; Cerny, Lingr, Hlozek; Cvancara
We say: Poland 1-2 Czech Republic
A defeat here for the Czechs would make their final qualifier against Moldova an incredibly nervy encounter, so Silhavy will be desperate to see his side get a result here.
Poland have to go all out for the win, but they have been hapless all through the campaign, and their chances may end here, while the visitors will be hoping for a huge favour from Albania.For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.
Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 1.5:data
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Arsenal considering Viktor Gyokeres signing, scouted him more than once
Arsenal have been closely monitoring Sporting Lisbon striker Viktor Gyokeres ahead of a possible approach, according to Portuguese publication Record (page 14).
The Sweden international had a good stint in the Championship with Coventry City last term. He registered 22 goals and 12 assists from 50 appearances.
He was linked with a potential switch to the Premier League over the summer, but Sporting eventually won the race to sign him for €20 million plus add-ons.
It is now reported that the Gunners have scouted him more than once this campaign and they are now considering the possibility of landing his signature.
However, Sporting are quite clear that they don’t want to lose him in January unless any club is willing to trigger the hefty €100m release clause in his contract.
Arsenal linked with surprise move for Gyokeres
The 25-year-old was linked with a Premier League switch last summer after Coventry missed out on top-flight promotion to Luton Town via the play-offs.
West Ham United were the most interested English club in the Swede, but he chose to make the move to Sporting, who are currently top of the Primeira Liga.
Gyokeres has been pivotal for the club with 15 goals and seven assists from just 17 appearances and we are not surprised that Arsenal are monitoring him.
The Gunners already hold an interest in his teammate Ousmane Diomande, but any deal could be delayed until the summer with Sporting unwilling to negotiate in January.
A move for Diomande seems justifiable with his huge potential as a 19-year-old centre-back, but we believe there are better strikers that Arsenal could pursue over Gyokeres.
Gyokeres would be a good acquisition for a mid-table Premier League side, but the Gunners should aim higher and recruit someone like Victor Osimhen if they want to win titles.
Stats from Transfermarkt.com
AC Milan ‘intensify efforts to sign Arsenal defender Jakub Kiwior’
AC Milan are reportedly set to step up their efforts to sign Arsenal’s Jakub Kiwior and are ready to open discussions over a possible move for the player in January....Click Here To Continue Reading>>
AC Milan are reportedly set to step up their efforts to sign defender Jakub Kiwior and are ready to open discussions with Arsenal over a possible move for the player in the January transfer window.
The 23-year-old arrived from Italian outfit Spezia in the last window but has not been able to nail down a regular starting role under Mikel Arteta during his time in North London.
Kiwior has made only five starts in all competitions over the last 11 months, with two of those coming in the Carabao Cup.
According to 90min, Kiwior is keen to play more regularly, and The Gunners are open to granting the defender a loan to move away from the Emirates Stadium in January.
The report adds that with the possibility of the defender becoming available in the New Year, AC Milan have emerged as one of the frontrunners to secure the 23-year-old’s services and are preparing to open discussion with Arsenal over a potential move.
It is understood that the Rossoneri are keen on a loan move for Kiwior, with the option to purchase him outright next summer.
The Serie A giants are also believed to be happy to agree with an obligation to buy the player next summer if it will help get the deal done.
AC Milan are expected to be active in the upcoming transfer market as they try to bolster their defensive line, with the likes of centre-backs Malick Thiaw and Pierre Kalulu currently sidelined through injury.
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Preview: Inter Milan vs. Udinese – prediction, team news, lineups
Sports Mole previews Saturday’s Serie A clash between Inter Milan and Udinese, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
After disposing of last season’s Scudetto winners, Inter Milan will continue their quest for this term’s Serie A title on Saturday, when they host Udinese.
Having crushed Napoli down south, Inter return to their San Siro stronghold topping the table by two points from old foes Juventus; meanwhile, the visitors are Italy’s draw specialists....Click Here To Continue Reading>>
Already most pundits’ favourites for the Scudetto, Inter rubber-stamped their status as the team to beat last weekend, as they dismantled reigning champions Napoli in their own backyard, with a little help from Hakan Calhanoglu’s stunning opener just before half time.
After the Turkey international struck sweetly to become the first Inter midfielder with more than five goals at this stage of a Serie A season since Lothar Matthaus in 1990, Simone Inzaghi’s side seized the momentum, and further finishes from Nicolo Barella and Marcus Thuram secured a superb 3-0 success at Stadio Maradona.
As a result, they moved back to the top of the Serie A standings, leaving Napoli 11 points behind – arch-rivals Milan trail by six.
Now boasting a goal difference of +26 (33 scored and just seven conceded) – equalling the club’s best record after 14 games, set some 90 years ago – the Nerazzurri have proved themselves a well-oiled machine that could take some stopping in Italy and beyond.
Indeed, Inter captain Lautaro Martinez (13 goals) has scored more times in Serie A this season than Saturday’s opponents Udinese (12), and his side have still lost just once in all competitions, having also confirmed their place in the Champions League’s last 16.
With a win this weekend, the second-city club would reach 38 points after their first 15 matches for just the fourth time this century, and recent history suggests that victory is theirs for the taking: Inter have lost only one of their last 11 league meetings with Udinese, winning each of the last five at San Siro.
Udinese’s lone win during that sequence did come as recently as last season, when they triumphed 3-1 on home turf, but the Fruilani are up against the odds on this occasion – not only due to their hosts’ might, but also because of their own failings.
Last week, Gabriele Cioffi’s side let victory slip through their fingers, as they led 2-0 and then 3-2 against lowly Hellas Verona but still contrived to miss out on maximum points once again.
Substitute striker Lorenzo Lucca left the bench after seven minutes and bagged a brace for the Bianconeri, but conceding deep into stoppage time left them with just one Serie A win all season.
A meagre total of 12 points from their first 14 games means Udinese have recorded their lowest tally at this stage of a season since 1994, and a relegation battle could be in prospect if they cannot hold on to such leads more frequently.
Since Cioffi replaced Andrea Sottil in the dugout, his team have at least edged their way out of the drop zone, but they still await a first league victory in Udine this season, having also drawn no fewer than nine times home and away.
Inter Milan Serie A form:
Inter Milan form (all competitions):
Udinese Serie A form:
Udinese form (all competitions):
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Inter’s fitness woes deepened last time out, as injuries to Dutch duo Stefan de Vrij and Denzel Dumfries left Simone Inzaghi somewhat short-handed at the back.
Carlos Augusto was required to deputise in the back three at Stadio Maradona, as Benjamin Pavard (knee) is still out of action. The latter’s defensive colleague Alessandro Bastoni (calf) should return to the squad, though, after missing each of Inter’s three games since last month’s international break.
Starting up front, summer signing Marcus Thuram has been directly involved in 11 Serie A strikes already this season (five goals and six assists) – the most of any new Nerazzurri player since Champions League hero Diego Milito recorded 13 in his first 15 appearances back in 2009.
A brace against Verona last Sunday took Lorenzo Lucca on to four league goals this term, so the ex-Ajax striker is set to start for Udinese in Milan; fellow forwards Florian Thauvin and Isaac Success should overcome minor injuries to feature on the bench.
Slovenian centre-back Jaka Bijol has been ruled out until January after having surgery on a foot fracture, while long-term absentees Gerard Deulofeu, Enzo Ebosse and Brenner remain unavailable too.
Meanwhile, in midfield, captain Roberto Pereyra plays a more advanced role, and Serbia international Lazar Samardzic comes up against the club he was within a whisker of joining earlier this year.
Inter Milan possible starting lineup:Sommer; Darmian, Acerbi, Augusto; Cuadrado, Barella, Calhanoglu, Mkhitaryan, Dimarco; Thuram, Martinez
Udinese possible starting lineup:Silvestri; Ferreira, Kabasele, Perez; Ebosele, Samardzic, Walace, Payero, Zemura; Pereyra; Lucca
We say: Inter Milan 2-0 Udinese
With defensive injuries mounting up, Inter boss Simone Inzaghi will be keen to take care of business against Serie A strugglers Udinese without taking too much of a toll on his squad. The Nerazzurri can take a stranglehold of the game by scoring at least once in the first half, then cruise towards win number 12 of their league campaign.For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.
Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a home win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home Win:data
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