Following a somewhat uninspiring 1-0 victory over Georgia on Thursday night, Ireland make the trip to Eastern European minnows Moldova for their next stop on the road to World Cup 2018 on Sunday night (7.45pm).
The Zimbru Stadium in the Moldovan capital of Chisinau is the venue for the game, which will be the first ever meeting of the sides.
Three points will be seen as essential for Martin O’Neill charges, as Moldova are seen by many as Group D’s whipping boys.
Ireland head into the game knowing they’ll be without the services of key midfielders Jeff Hendrick and Robbie Brady.
Hendrick is suspended after picking up a second yellow in-a-row in the battle with Georgia, while poor Brady is out after a nasty clash of heads that saw him temporary lose consciousness.
Even with those losses, Ireland are still massive favourites to score back-to-back wins.
It’s easy to see why Moldova are outsiders, they’ve only won a single game in their last 24 internationals and that was a 1-0 away success in Andorra.
In the run up to this international window we got our stats man in the office furiously crunching the numbers on Ireland and the results are in. The Boys in Green lose loyal punters money away from home.
Starting with matches since January 2015 and an average stake per bettor of €10, Ireland would have cost the customer €32.40 if you stuck a tenner on them in each of the 8 games where the Green Army played outside their shores.
While you’d have to believe they’ll beat Moldova at a canter, be super cautious of backing them away on Monday. Ireland being on the road is not a good recipe it seems.
O’Neill’s men have only two wins in last 16 away internationals, those come over Thursday’s vanquished foes Georgian and lowly Gibraltar.
It’s a habit they need to put to bed – fast.
For punters searching for value in the field there are a couple of bets well worth a flutter for Sunday’s contest.
Firstly, Ireland to win both halves comes in at . Moldova have conceded in both halves in all their last three internationals and that will be music to the ears of a goal starved Shane Long.
Goals are another that are hard to come by for Ireland’s opponents, as they’ve have only managed four in their last 11. So Ireland to win to nil at is definitely worth more than worth a punt.
Finally, Serbia scored a 0-3 victory in Chisinau on Thursday and Ireland are well capable of matching that, despite an injury ravaged squad.
The would land you an shot and that would make waking up on Monday morning a little more tolerable should in register in the win column. Let face it, anything other than a win for O’Neill and Ireland would be a disaster.