So it’s international week, we know how everyone feels about these! But at least we’ve got a scrap between Celtic cousins to look forward to as the Republic of Ireland host Wales at the Aviva Stadium tonight.
If Martin O’Neill was gathering his knights at a round table to assess the progress of Ireland’s campaign to reach the 2018 World Cup in Russia, he must be delighted at the epic battles his army has won up to this point.
Georgia, Moldova and most-significantly Austria have already fallen to the Irish sword as they top Group D on 10 points from four qualification games, but a fire breathing monster lies in wait outside the castle of The Boys In Green tonight.
After having a Euro 2016 that will go down as the stuff of legend in the Valleys, Chris Coleman’s Wales were seen by many to be the favourites to progress to the promised land in Russia at the start of qualification.
However, three draws on the spin with Austria, Georgia and Serbia have left their hopes stuck in the trenches of late. Trailing the Irish by four points, Wales now find themselves out to 5/2 to win Group D.
Storming fortress Aviva Stadium could be a must for Wales if they are to appear at a second major tournament in-a-row.
However, that’s easier said than done as Ireland’s defensive wall has been impressive in their four qualification outings to date. O’Neill’s backline has coughed up only three goals so far, the best record of any team in the group.
So don’t be surprised if Ireland comes out on top with the Welsh held blank on the scoreboard at 13/5.
While Ireland’s treatment room must have resembled a war zone in Westeros with Wes Hoolahan, Shane Duffy, Ciaran Clark, Daryl Murphy and Harry Arter all out – joined by the suspended Robbie Brady, Wales have been boosted by the return of their chief dragon Gareth Bale.
After a three-month layoff with an ankle injury, Real Madrid’s Bale could be the one to burn Ireland at 4/1 to score the first goal.
Ireland, however, enter tonight’s battleground as favourites thanks to a three-match winning streak and if you fancy them to slay the dragons for a fourth victory on the bounce you can grab a win for The Boys in Green at 6/4.
* All prices correct at time of posting.