Wembley is clearly no fortress for England at the moment, with Fabio Capello’s team having stuttered to a stalemate with Montenegro and a 2-2 draw against Switzerland in their last two Euro 2012 home qualifiers.
However, the Three Lions seemingly enjoy more freedom on the road, with a 3-1 win in Switzerland highly impressive before complete domination of Wales in Cardiff, results which ensure that England sit top of Group G.
The visitors will look to continue their 100% away record in Sofia on Friday night against a Bulgaria team that started their Euro 2012 qualifying campaign pretty badly, losing 4-0 to England a year ago after Jermain Defoe had plundered a hat-trick.
However, Lothar Matthaus is now in charge of the Bulgars and there has been considerable improvement now that the German is in charge of the reins, with the team achieving a 1-1 draw away to Montenegro in their last match.
It hasn’t stopped the bookmakers from making England firm favourites to win this clash, with 4/6 currently available (Ladbrokes – £50 free betting) that the Three Lions take a giant step towards qualification, especially as they have a winnable home match against Wales on Tuesday.
It is not easy predicting the team that Capello will pick, although Wayne Rooney is a definite in attack and the Manchester United striker is a man that the bookmakers fear, with the majority of punters likely to pick the 25-year-old for their First Goalscorer bet.
Rooney is a 4/1 shot (bet365 – £200 free betting) to break the deadlock in this match and he will fancy his chances against a team that can no longer call on the services of Manchester United team-mate Dimitar Berbatov.
If you fancy Rooney to score at any stage of the game, he can be backed at 11/10 with bet365 and he has found the net in all three of United’s opening matches.
A draw would represent further progress for the Bulgarians, who have certainly grown in maturity and confidence since that Wembley humiliation. Victor Chandler offer 13/2 that the home side pull off what many people would describe as a shock, while the draw surely can’t be ruled out at 3/1 – this is England we are talking about!
With Darren Bent (5/1 bet365) looking as though he could miss out with injury, perhaps Ashley Young might be employed in a supporting role to United colleague Rooney and the former Villa winger is a 7/1 chance to continue his excellent form by breaking the deadlock.
If you fancy England to prove too classy for their opponents, the visitors to be leading at half-time and full-time is a 6/4 chance and there seems to be a returning confidence that this team can make Euro 2012 and do well there.