Sam Langston (@Samlan98) previews Ukraine v Slovakia and provides us with his best bets for Sunday afternoon’s Nations League clash by analysing team news, potential line-ups, head-to-head, key stats and facts and more.
Ukraine v Slovakia Betting Preview, Odds & Tips
- Date: 09/09/2018
- Time: 14:00
- Venue: Arena Lviv
- Channel: Sky Sports
Following a terrific performance in the Czech Republic last Thursday, Ukraine will be aiming for another win this weekend.
The impressive Yellow and Blues recorded a 2-1 victory, courtesy of Oleksandr Zinchenko’s 93rd minute tap-in.
Out-shooting their opponents 26 to 11, the Eastern Europeans were dominant offensively. They generated a 2.58 xG compared to the Czech’s 0.93, and could have won by more if it were not for home stopper Tomáš Vaclík.
Sunday’s hosts are now unbeaten in six and have lost just four out of 18 under ex-skipper Andriy Shevchenko. Having won 10 and drawn four as national team gaffer, he will fancy his side’s chances against an ageing Slovakia outfit.
The majority of Ján Kozák’s Slovaks are now past their sell by dates and they may be exploited here by the useful Ukrainians – in the two year period since EURO 2016, minnows: Thailand, United Arab Emirates, Lithuania, and Malta are the only sides that The Falcons have defeated on away soil.
Gent forward Roman Yaremchuk was handed his international debut against the Czech Republic and could lead the line for Ukraine again. Oleksandr Zinchenko may come into central midfield if Andriy Shevchenko opts to freshen up his starting line-up.
Ján Kozák criticised Denmark’s decision to field a severely weakened team versus his side last Wednesday. However, the Slovakia boss still fielded a strong set of starters, including captain Martin Škrtel and star man Marek Hamšík. Both players are set to feature in Lviv.
Potential Ukraine Starting XI: Pyatov, Matviyenko, Kryvtsov, Rakitskiy, Karavayev, Konoplyanka, Zinchenko, Malinovskiy, Yarmolenko, Marlos, Yaremchuk.
Potential Slovakia Starting XI: Kozáčik, Mazáň, Škriniar, Škrtel, Hubočan, Lobotka, Kucka, Rusnák, Hamšík, Mak, Nemec.
Head To Head
- Most recently, the nations met last November for a friendly. Lukáš Štetina opened the scoring for Slovakia, but Ukraine’s Andriy Yarmolenko and Yevhen Konoplyanka struck thereafter to earn the home side a 2-1 triumph.
- Previously, the teams had played each other in EURO 2016 qualifying. A 0-0 draw was contested in Slovakia, whilst hosts Ukraine were defeated 1-0 in the reverse fixture. Róbert Mak’s goal proved to be decisive on that occasion.
Key Stats & Facts
- A massive 32 of Ukraine’s last 53 goals have been scored by either Yevhen Konoplyanka or Andriy Yarmolenko.
- This season, Ukraine midfielder Ruslan Malinovskiy has bagged seven goals in 11 for Genk. He is 18/5 with 188Bet to net anytime on Sunday.
- The Slovaks have scored first in three of their last four losses. Ukraine ‘To Win From Behind’ is a substantial 14/1 with SkyBet.
- Ukraine – EVS
- Draw – 23/10
- Slovakia – 18/5
Two angles take my fancy for this one. Firstly, using the Bet365 Bet Builder, the 9/10 on Ukraine not to lose in a match that features two or more goals is an appealing punt. 12 of Andriy Shevchenko’s 18 games have seen this bet land.
Secondly, backing the hosts to hit corners may be another shrewd investment. Personnel changes are inevitable in international football, however certain coaches will always adopt specific playing styles. For instance, a feature of Slovakia’s play under long-standing boss Ján Kozák is their tendency to sit deep and defend for large periods. This has resulted in the frequent surrendering of corners, particularly when The Falcons are playing away from home. When classed as the visitors, 13 of their last 18 competitors have racked up six or more corners and given Ukraine’s attack-minded approach, 4/5 for a repeat is an attractive price.