Sam Langston (@Samlan98) previews France v Albania and provides us with his best bets for Saturday’s Euro 2020 qualifier by analysing team news, potential line-ups, head-to-head, key stats and facts and more.
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France v Albania Betting Preview, Odds & Tips
- Date: 07/09/2019
- Time: 19:45
- Venue: Stade de France
- Channel: Sky Sports (Red Button)
Only three points on Saturday night will guarantee France control of their Euro 2020 Qualifying group, as the World Champions welcome Albania to the Stade de France for Matchday 5.
Les Bleus lead the way in Group H but only by virtue of goal difference. They currently sit level on nine points with both the second-placed Turks and third-placed Iceland, after a surprise 2-0 away defeat to the former earlier in their qualifying campaign.
Albania travel to France just three points behind their opponents and are still in with a shout of securing a second consecutive European Championship spot. The Balkan nation had never qualified for a major tournament prior to their involvement at Euro 2016 – they’ve struggled since then, leading to a number of managerial changes.
Veteran coach Edoardo Reja has recently taken over from Italian gaffer Christian Panucci – the successor to the man who led Albania to the Euro’s, Giovanni De Biasi. Reja will be hoping to build on his maiden 2-0 win against Andorra in June over the upcoming week; he’s got two tricky fixtures in France and Iceland to plan for, though.
Aymeric Laporte and Paul Pogba have been forced to pull out of the France squad due to injury. Didier Deschamps will also be without N'Golo Kante, Tanguy Ndombele, and Kylian M’Bappe. The trio aren’t fit to feature in either of the qualifiers against Albania or Andorra.
Albania are expected to utilise a 5-3-2 system here. Notable names in their squad include: Lazio keeper Thomas Strakosha, Napoli full-back Elseid Hysaj, and FC Basel’s Taulant Xhaka.
Potential France Starting XI: Lloris, Pavard, Umtiti, Varane, Hernandez, Sissoko, Matuidi, Ikone, Griezmann, Coman, Giroud.
Potential Albania Starting XI: Berisha, Hysaj, Mavraj, Ismajli, Veseli, Lenjani, Abrashi, Xhaka, Memushaj, Unzuni, Balaj.
Head To Head
- France have had their troubles against Albania in recent years. They required two goals in stoppage time to beat the Balkan outfit at Euro 2016, whilst the sides’ two meetings prior, both friendlies, saw the Albanians collect a win and draw a-piece.
Key Stats & Facts
- Albania have lost to nil in each of their eight competitive meetings with top 50-ranked nations since Euro 2016.
- France – 1/8
- Draw – 19/2
- Albania – 33/1
France’s strength in-depth is almost unparalleled on the international scene and that should see them secure a valuable three points here, despite being without a few of their regulars.
Albania are expected to set up with a back five and will try to frustrate their hosts by defending deep and remaining compact. It’s commendable that only five sides have surrendered a lower xGA sum than the Eagles across the opening four rounds of qualifying – only France, Belgium, and Spain have conceded less shots per-game as well. Admittedly, two games against Moldova and Andorra go some way in explaining that data; it’s still impressive stuff, though and demonstrates they’ll be no pushovers.
As such, I’m inclined to favour the under line here, set at 3.25. It’s a high line that’s worth taking on in my opinion – with a number of their key men missing, it may take some time before France break down a well-organized outfit. This selection ensures we’ll collect a half stakes win should exactly three goals be scored at the Stade de France. Any less and a full payout will be secured; any more and we lose our stake.