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Armenia welcome table toppers Italy to Yerevan for their crunch Euro 2020 qualifying match with six points separating the sides.
Italy sit on top of Group J of Euro 2020 qualification with 12 points, having won their opening four matches, The Azzurri have scored 13 times in those four games, six of which came against Liechtenstein in March. The Italians have conceded just once so far in this campaign and that was an Edin Dzeko goal in a 2-1 victory over Bosnia & Herzegovina in Torino in June.
ITALY TO WIN THE GAME BY TWO GOALS
Under new Coach Roberto Mancini the Azzurri have played some entertaining and attacking football, unlike his predecessor Gian Piero Ventura who failed to qualify his side for the last World Cup held in Russia. The Azzurri will want to get on the score sheet early in this game and ensure themselves the three points and that could be why the bookies expect goals.
ITALY TO SCORE OVER 2.5 GOALS
Juventus centre-back Giorgio Chiellini was struck down with knee ligament damage last week and is ruled out for up to six months, however the Azzurri can call on Milan captain Alessio Romagnoli to step in and fill his boots alongside Leonardo Bonucci. Mancini’s men will want to keep a clean sheet here in this game.
ITALY TO WIN TO NIL
Italy have kept clean sheets in six of their last seven internationals and are a tough nut to break down now under Mancini as his possession-based style gives the opposition very little to work with.
GAME TO END 0-2
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Head to Head
These sides last met in qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, and the Azzurri won their away game 3-1 while they drew 2-2 at home when qualification was already assured. Henrikh Mkhitaryan scored in both those matches for the Armenians and he will want to impress again after sealing a loan move to Serie A outfit Roma in last few days.
The match to end in a draw.
Armenia will be desperate to get something out of this game, however there is a gulf in class to overcome first. The home crowd will no doubt get behind their team and with attacking players like Mkhitaryan and Gevorg Ghazaryan available they could potentially cause the Azzurri some problems.
For Italy, this match is a first chance this season for Mancini to weigh up the strides his side has made since he replaced the hapless Ventura. Nothing but the three points here will be acceptable for a team that is rebuilding in the hope of being a contender in the summer at the final tournament. A routine victory for the Italians is your best bet.
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Callum Brady is an avid football fan and overly optimistic Leeds supporter #MOT! When he is not spotted visiting Elland Road, Callum spends his time following European Football, Rugby, and has recently taken interest in the NFL. A travel enthusiast, Callum is always looking for recommendations on where to travel based on football pitches to visit.
All Predictions by Callum Brady