England favourites in Allardyce debut
Sam Allardyce will take charge of England for the very first time on Sunday night as he takes his side to Slovakia. The game will see Big Sam thrown in at the deep end somewhat as it is the first of England's qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup. So with no friendly to bed himself in, Allardyce will be under pressure to hit the ground running with points up for grabs from the off.
Slovakia should provide a tricky test for England in front of their own supporters and they were able to hold England to a 0-0 draw during the group stages at Euro 2016. However with Allardyce at the helm, there will be a renewed sense of optimism amongst Three Lions supporters no matter how shortlived. The bookies are certainly confident of Allardyce making a winning start and have England as favourites. Ladbrokes are currently offering the best price on this and you can get an England win with them at 21/20.
Much talk this week has involved various members of the squad for a host of different reasons. It was perhaps Joe Hart who has had the most interest from the papers after his departure from Manchester City to Torino but he is likely to retain his place as England number one. For all of the talk of a new era under Allardyce, there is in fact only one new name in the squad.
Michail Antonio has been called up after his impressive last 12 months or so for West Ham, where his pace and power down the right hand side have seen hm as obvious contender for an area of the pitch where England are short of options. With Theo Walcott as the only other real right winger in the squad, Antonio could well get a decent amount of game time in Trnava be it from the bench or from the start. Bet365 are offering the best price on him to mark his debut with a goal and you can get odds of him to score at anytime at 5/1.
England's opponents however should not be completely dismissed in this one and they are a decent side at home. They have lost just once in their last 14 games in front of their own supporters. They held Roy Hodgson's men to a 0-0 draw in the summer although Hodgson did ring the changes for that game. Any team with Marek Hamsik in the side is likely to cause problems and they are 16/5 with Betfred to inflict a debut defeat on Allardyce.
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