Wales v Moldova - Monday 19:45, Sky Sports 1
Wales will begin their World Cup qualifying campaign at home riding the crest of a wave following their Euro 2016 exploits, but will have to be careful against a Moldova side 154 places below them in the FIFA world rankings. As the top seed in what looks like a very open group D, Chris Coleman’s side will have to deal with expectations of toping the table and securing the only automatic qualifying spot on offer.
Wales will continue to use their tried and tested 3-5-2 formation, seeking to get the best out of their star man, but it is a tactic that has served them better against sides willing to attack them, allowing Wales to play on the counter. They will have to be patient against Moldova, with Coleman’s team having on occasion struggled against opponents they ought to beat, noticeably in Gareth Bale’s rescue act against Andorra at the start of their epic European journey.
With Wales having drawn the first half in nine of their last 14 matches and Moldova doing the same in 12 of their last 17, we’re backing Draw/Wales in the half-time/full-time market at 4.0.
Wales will miss the attacking talents of the injured Aaron Ramsey, who along with Bale scored nine of Wales’ 11 goals in qualifying for Euro 2016. Taking into account the latter’s stellar form both at domestic and international level, including eight goals in the last 12 matches for Wales which he’s started, at a price of 3.5 Bale is the obvious choice for the first goalscorer.