England U21 coach Stuart Pearce might have been hit by a striker shortage but odds of 3/4 on there being at least three goals in his side’s fixture against Norway still look likely to pay off.
The Young Lions have been rampant in front of goal of late, with 13 goals scored in the three matches since a disappointing group-stage exit at the European Under-21 Championships in the summer.
A 6-0 win over Azerbaijan on 1st September was followed up by a 4-1 victory over Israel four days later, while a 3-0 success over Iceland last Thursday continued this fine run of form.
Pearce’s preparations for the game have been disrupted by injuries to forwards Nathan Delfouneso and Martyn Waghorn, leaving Watford’s Marvin Sordell as his only recognised striker.
The former Nottingham Forest star attempted to call up Manchester United’s Danny Welbeck as cover but this move was blocked by the player’s manager Sir Alex Ferguson amid concerns about the travel schedule.
Nevertheless, the fact England have Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain available suggests they will still carry a significant goal threat this evening and continue their run of scoring three or more goals in 90 minutes.
The Arsenal wide-man scored a hat-trick in England’s 3-0 win over Iceland last week and is in good touch.
Either way, England certainly look good to claim all three points despite Norway’s equally-impressive start to the qualification campaign.
Like the Young Lions, Norway have two qualifying wins out of two and have yet to concede a goal.
However, a 3-0 defeat to Scotland U21s in August pointed to a vulnerability which England have more than enough quality to exploit.
Interestingly, there have been more away wins (45 per cent) than home wins (39 per cent) in the European U21 Championship qualifying fixtures played so far this year, with only 16 per cent of the matches ending in a draw.
This means England’s status as 31/50 favourites is fully justified, with Norway priced at 4/1 for victory in bwin’s 3Way football betting market and a draw at 13/5.
Another betting option would be to back one of the teams to fail to score at 19/20 given both sides have yet to concede in the campaign so far.
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