Switzerland v Northern Ireland: Shaqiri to be on target in Geneva

Northern Ireland travel to Switzerland as the next step on their road to Qatar 2022, and Paul Robinson is expecting another low-scoring affair between the two of them.

Italians out of sight for the Swiss

Switzerland resume World Cup Qualifying sitting in second place in Group C. They have two games in hand over leaders, Italy, but the gap is six points, and they still have to travel to Rome.

Murat Yakin will be rueing the two dropped points at Windsor Park in September, as his side could only draw 0-0 in Belfast - and they missed a first half penalty.

The manager will be expecting better at Stade de Genève on Saturday, but he will be without the services of Granit Xhaka and Dortmund's Gregor Kobel, but Xherdan Shaqiri will return after missing September's fixture.

Irish need wins to close the gap

Northern Ireland are third in Group C, but they trail Switzerland by three points. On the face of it, a draw with the Swiss wasn't a bad result, but the reality is, if they want to have a chance of earning a Play-off place, they likely need to win this weekend.

Winning football matches didn't come easy to Ian Baraclough when he first took over from Michael O'Neill, but they have now won three of their last five - albeit against Malta, Lithuania and Estonia.

Experienced players are thin on the ground for Baraclough, as Jonny Evans, Trevor Carson, Michael Smith, Alistair McCann, Gavin Whyte and Shayne Lavery are all missing for their qualification double-header.

Smith, McCann and Lavery all started against the Swiss in September, so there will be at least three changes to the team that lined up at Windsor Park - with Niall McGinn and Josh Magennis likely to fill two of those three slots.

A back to lay opportunity

The Betfair layers are in no doubt that the hosts are the strong favourites to win this match. They are trading at around the 1.34 mark, with the visitors the outsiders at 13.0. The draw is available to back at 5.4.

Baraclough would no doubt take a point if offered - even though I think they need to win the game - so don't expect a gung-ho approach from the Irish.

Switzerland have struggled for goals under their new manager - their last two have finished 0-0 - so backing the draw with a view to cashing out at half-time could be a good strategy in a match-odds market that offers few options.

Get stuck in to Unders

Under 2.5 Goals is trading at 1.78 and I make that a strong bet. As mentioned, the Swiss head into the game on the back of two goalless draws, and four of Northern Ireland's last six have seen Unders backers collect.

Over 2.5 Goals is available to back at 2.2, and I guess the case could be made that the home side could potentially score three goals themselves - especially if they get an early one - but I would want a much bigger price than that to tempt me.

Bet Builder

My Bet Builder on the Sportsbook is Under 2.5 Goals, a Half Time Draw and Shaqiri to have 1+ Shot on Target.

Shaqiri will be on all of the dead balls and I have already outlined the case for the other two selections. The treble comes in at 5.66 and remember that if you place multiple bets of £20 or more, you will receive a £10 free bet.

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