Ireland take on Moldova.... then Wales in the big one!
Football: What should Ireland’s starting teams be for the Moldova and Wales games?
This is a big week for the Republic of Ireland. They play host to Moldova on Friday night where they will be expected to account for the Moldovans with relative ease, this would then set up a do or die clash with the Welsh in Cardiff on Monday night. The teams for both games be different of course, as Ireland will be without James McClean and Robbie Brady for the Moldova, as well as John Walters. Walters is also out of the game with Wales due to injury. So what team should O’Neill go with against Moldova?
Personally I would keep the same goalkeeper (Randolph) and the back four would compromise of Christie, Duffy, Clark and Ward. In midfield then I would play Jeff Hendrick, David Meyler, Wes Hoolahan, while in attack Ireland should go with a front three of Shane Long, Sean Maguire and Daryl Murphy. The reasoning behind the three in attack is down to the quality of the opposition. I could see Ireland getting a good few goals if they play more than 1 striker. Realistically no matter what team they play Ireland should win 2-0 or 3-0 to put them in a good frame of mind for the Welsh games.
The team that should face Wales will probably be more conservative. Wales will be without Gareth Bale so Ireland’s chances will be boosted as they make the short trip over the Irish Sea. Again the goalkeeper and defence should remain the same providing players don’t get injured. Robbie Brady and Jeff Hendrick will probably come into midfield, with Shane Long up front on his own.
If Ireland are to have any hope in Wales, they need to put in a decent performance against Moldova. This will in still at least some confidence going into the game. It essentially is a massive week for Irish football and if Ireland weren’t to get a play-off spot it will be seen as a failure in my opinion given their superb start to campaign a year ago. Let’s not forget if Ireland would have beaten Georgia then they wouldn’t be in this situation, it is basically out of their hands as even if they win the two games they are still guaranteed of a play-off spot.
All I can do is wish Martin and the Irish lads the best of luck. Let’s hope they can put in two good performances to finish of the campaign.