Yet another match-winning showing a big ask for Gareth Bale
When last Scotland and Wales met the Scots seemed to be on the verge of a useful away win until Gareth Bale stepped up to crush their hopes 10 minutes from time with a coolly taken penalty and a 30-yard blockbuster.
“Standard” you might say.
On the evidence of the last 11 games (which have yielded 11 goals) you’d be right, but when the nations clashed at the Millennium Stadium back in October Bale had yet to display the stellar form that many have already began taking for granted.
Wales have failed to score in three of their six matches this season, but when they did manage to breach the opposition the poor man’s CR7 has plundered at least one goal on each occasion and his penchant for ‘hail-mary’ acts of at the death decisiveness makes him an attractive last goal scorer bet.
However it’s by no means certain that the home rear-guard will be breached. Scotland have kept two clean sheets in their four 2012/13 home games, shutting out Serbia and more recently Estonia in what was Gordon Strachan’s maiden voyage at the tiller.
Scoring goals has been the Scots’ problem, with Luxembourg the only foes to allow them as many as two goals in their last five matches and with their visitors failing to score more than once in eight of their last nine away games a fixture containing less than 2.5 goals could be in the offing.
The boys in blue have an increased chance of controlling midfield with Wales missing integral sideways-passing midfield cog Joe Allen and given the new gaffer will be assessing the contributions from his squad members a full-throttle Hampden Park performance can be expected.
With this – along with the subtle cooling of Gareth Bale’s hot-streak in recent outings against Liverpool and Tottenham – in mind, the hosts have a good chance of carrying this battle of Britain.