Republic of Ireland v Georgia, Euro 2020

Mick McCarthy has been charged with the short term responsibility of turning around an ailing Irish team. Image credit: RTE Sport

David Hollywood looks forward to the Euro 2020 Qualifier of Rep. of Ireland v Georgia at the Aviva Stadium, Tuesday, Mar 26th, KO 7:45pm

Form:

It’s not encouraging reading for Ireland fans of late.

In their last 10 games they have won just twice, including last weekend’s 1-0 victory over Gibraltar. Four defeats and four draws completes the 10.

Aside from the 80 per cent winless ratio, Ireland’s fans are despairing at the complete lack of attacking success.

Jeff Hendrick’s goal at the weekend was the first by a player in the green jersey in 397 minutes (four and a bit games) of international football.

The early signs suggest the newly-hired, former and current manager Mick McCarthy has yet to find the solution to that specific issue.

In terms of silver linings, Ireland’s defence remains solid. Since their harrowing 4-1 defeat to Wales, the Irish have only conceded twice in the last six.

See Bar One Racing’s Republic of Ireland v Georgia betting here

Competitive games against Wales and Denmark, friendlies against Poland and Northern Ireland in that run are challenging fixtures so it gives McCarthy and his side a starting point.

Based on recent form, Georgia will have to fancy their chances of emerging from the Aviva Stadium with at least a point.

Vladimír Weiss and his side have produced seven wins from their last 10, including topping their Nations League group.

Wins on the road against Kazakhstan and Latvia frank that form.

Prior to their 2-0 home defeat at the hands of a classy Switzerland team, Georgia had conceded only three in their last 10 and boasted a goal difference from those 10 of +16.

Then again, they lost to Luxembourg in that set.

And therein lies the rub with the Georgians. They are inconsistent and unreliable, and therefor, never a great betting prospect.

The Match:

I was lucky enough to be in Tblisi the last time these two sides met in the qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup.

Georgia were a joy to watch. Ireland less so.

The Irish were played off the park that night and were very lucky to emerge with a 1-1 draw and a point.

Georgia should have won, and that’s not the first time they’ve left points on the table.

A 1-1 draw at Andorra in the Nations League should have been three points based on they’re having 70 per cent of the ball and 12 attempts on goal.

Again, they dominated the ball and the shots count in their 1-0 friendly defeat to Luxembourg.

They were bossed around the park against the Swiss, they’ll likely be the ones doling out that medicine on Tuesday evening.

That is not to say however that Ireland are set for defeat or disappointment.

Shane Duffy’s early goal in Tblisi is a good example of how to beat Georgia without doing much at all.

They do not like an arial contest, we can all agree the Irish do, McCarthy won’t be shy in that regard. Don’t expect to see Ireland with much of the ball though.

Lastly in terms of this match-up the head to head record must be pointed towards. Ireland have won eight of nine against Georgia.

Will the side travelling from the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe start re-writing that particular bit of footballing history?

Weiss’ side retain the capacity to disappoint, but I see them giving a good account of themselves.

Team News:

The Republic of Ireland have no new injury concerns since the win over Gibraltar. Shane Long was sent home injured prior to that game and Sean Maguire is being carefully monitored as he continues his comeback from persistent hamstring issues.

For the away side, there appear to be no fresh injury concerns ahead of their trip to Dublin.

Verdict:

It won’t be a game for the neutral sadly.

Each of Ireland’s last five fixtures have produced under 1.5 goals and while Georgia boss Vladimir Weiss has held his own against Ireland in three of four managerial encounters (D3, L1) – all four produced under 2.5 goals.

My first bet is Georgia +1 to Win at 13/10.

A secondary option is the Draw and Under 2.5 Total Goals at 14/5.

 



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