Sitting in second place in Group D, the Republic of Ireland travel to Georgia on Saturday knowing that an away victory could well majorly enhance their chances of qualifying for the World Cup Finals next year. Georgia are still without a win in qualifying, with Kakhaber Tskhadadze’s men now playing for pride in their remaining fixtures.
World Cup 2018 Qualifying – Boris Paichadze Dinamo Arena, Tbilisi – Saturday 2nd September – 17:00 UK Time
Best Odd of: 4 at William Hill
Best Odd of: 12/5 at Sky Bet
Republic of Ireland
Best Odd of: 4/5 at Ladbrokes
Ireland will be looking to make it 9 wins from 9 matches against Georgia, with manager Martin O’Neill hoping that his squad, made up of talent from the English and Scottish Premier League primarily, can do the business once again in Tbilisi this weekend. Currently with a four-point cushion over both Wales and Austria in the table, three points is certainly the goal for the visitors.
Georgia Team News & Form
A 2-2 draw with Moldova pretty much summed up Georgia’s qualifying campaign so far, with the minnows having lost three and drawn three of their six outings to date. The Georgian playing squad is made up of players based across the globe, with many plying their trade in the Russian Premier League, as well as Serie A and the Ukrainian top flight. Empoli striker Levan Mchedlidze could well lead the line for the home side against Ireland, with the 27-year-old having scored just two goals at this level. Meanwhile, Captain Jaba Kankava has over 60 caps to his name, and will look to be at the heart of everything for Georgia.
Republic of Ireland Team News & Form
Like group leaders Serbia, Ireland are unbeaten in their opening six encounters, having won three and drawn three. Martin O’Neill will have been left disappointed by a draw with Austria last time around, with three points a must for his side on Saturday. The Irish have the best defensive record in Group D, however scoring goals has been their problem, with only Georgia and Moldova having scored less. As a result, the pressure is on the likes of Shane Long and Captain Jonathan Walters to deliver in front of goal, with Preston North End forward Sean Maguire potentially earning a debut for O’Neill’s side. With Seamus Coleman still absent through injury, Premier League players such as Robbie Brady and Harry Arter will be looking to shine in his absence.
Head to Head
As previously mentioned, the Republic of Ireland have won all eight previous meetings with Georgia, dating back to 2003. The Irish gained a valuable 1-0 win over Georgia back in October last year, having also gained victories over them in 2014 and 2015. If this is anything to go by, then Ireland are the strong favourites to come out on top this weekend.
Betting Odds and Predictions
Given their dominance over Georgia over the years, simply backing another Irish victory could well be a good idea, with bookmakers Ladbrokes offering them odds of 4/5 to do just that. Elsewhere, backing Ireland to win and both teams to score is likely to be an attractive market, with Ladbrokes offering odds of 15/4 here. Finally, backing Shane Long to score at any point during the 90 minutes is also worth considering, with Ladbrokes also offering odds of 11/8 for this.
Top Betting Tip
However, our top betting tip for the match is to bet on both teams scoring in Tbilisi, which can be found at odds of 6/5 with William Hill.