Armenia vs Wales recommended bets
Armenia vs Wales match preview
After a famou victory in Cardiff last time out, Wales’ qualification destiny is in their own hands, but they must now win two more very tricky matches to reach a third successive European Championships.
In October, Rob Page’s side pulled off a big upset, beating Croatia 2-1 at the Cardiff City Stadium, with Harry Wilson the star of the show, scoring twice in quick succession shortly after half time.
This propelled the Dragons up to second spot in Group D, above Croatia on head-to-head record.
Given that last year’s World Cup semi-finalists are likely to win their two remaining games, Latvia (A) and Armenia (H), Wales must do the same if they’re to cling onto a top two finish.
The Dragons welcome Türkiye, who’ve already qualified, to Cardiff on Tuesday, although that’ll be all but irrelevant if they do not take care of business 2,400 miles east in Yerevan.
Well, that certainly won’t be straight-forward, emphasised by the fact Armenia actually prevailed 4-2 when the pair met back in June, with both Lucas Zelarayán and Grant-Leon Ranos bagging braces.
Oleksandr Petrakov’s team have also drawn with Türkiye in this campaign, very unlucky not to win in Eskişehir, although a shock 2-0 defeat in Latvia last time out more or less ended the Mountaineers’ qualification hopes.
Armenia’s wait for a first tournament goes on, although they are on the rise, claiming notable scalps in recent years, including Ireland, Romania, Iceland, Bosnia, Greece and of course Wales themselves.
Thus, can they massively derails Wales’ automatic qualification hopes, or will the traveling continent of fans have a crucial victory to celebrate at Vazgen Sargsyan Republican Stadium?
Armenia team news
Record-goalscorer Henrikh Mkhitaryan may not play international football anymore, but Armenia do have some new stars leading their attack.
20 year old Grant-Leon Ranos marked his first two appearances with braces, against Cyprus and Wales, although he’s without an international goal in five outings since the win in Cardiff.
The Borussia Mönchengladbach striker will be partnered in attack by Lucas Zelarayán, who also scored twice in the reverse fixture, albeit these are his only two goals since switching allegiance from Argentina.
Captain Varazdat Haroyan will win his 79th cap at centre-back, only three Armenian men have more, but key midfielder Tigran Barseghyan will not be featuring, as he’s out injured.
Predicted XI (3-4-2-1): Čančarević; Harutyunyan, Haroyan, Mkrtchyan; Dashyan, Spertsyan, Iwu, Tiknizyan; Zelarayán, Bichakhchyan, Ranos.
Wales team news
Captain Aaron Ramsey has not made the trip due to injury, but Joe Morrell is available again, having served his two-match suspension, while Brennan Johnson also returns to the squad after injury.
The main pre-match talking point has been, does Rob Page put Johnson straight back into the XI, or does he stick with the winning formulae that beat Croatia so impressively?
Harry Wilson’s brace will surely see him keep his place, but Johnson could displace David Brooks on the other flank, with Dan James also in reserve.
Neither goalkeeper, Danny Ward nor Wayne Hennessey, have played a single second of club football this season, presenting Page with quite the conundrum, likely to go with Ward, as he did in October.
Predicted XI (3-4-2-1): Ward; Mepham, Rodon, Davies; Roberts, James, Ampadu, Williams; Wilson, Johnson, Moore.