England v Montenegro - Five key battles

England Crowd Two

England head into the vital World Cup qualifying Group H game against Montenegro this evening with a one point advantage over their opponents.

England have back-to-back home games which will determine whether they will qualify automatically for the World Cup in Brazil next summer and they can take one step closer with three points this evening.

England have bigger names in their side than the Montenegrins but Montenegro have proven to be a very difficult side to play against and beat so far during the qualification campaign.

Here are five individual battles to keep an eye on this evening.

Joe Hart v Mladen Bozovic

Both goalkeepers are going to have key roles to play during the 90 minutes. Hart is under pressure to show form following recent errors for Manchester City while Bozovic is likely to have a difficult night at the office, with England expected to dominate possession and the key stats.

Bozovic is an injury doubt for this game but will play if he’s anywhere near match fitness.

Phil Jagielka v Stevan Jovetic

Jagielka has been a very consistent player in England’s back four in recent matches and he will have to deal with Manchester City’s Jovetic. Jovetic has made some big comments this week about how he’s ready to cause a big upset in this game but Jagielka does have the game to keep him quiet.

LIVE Premier League match alerts to your phone - goals, red cards, half and full time scores

Leighton Baines v Stefan Savic

Baines will start the game at left-back due to the injury to Ashley Cole. Savic is likely to play on the right hand side where he played in the match against Poland, which means a direct confrontation with the Everton man. Savic will be one of Montenegro’s outlets in terms of counter attacks.

Steven Gerrard v Milos Krkotic

Gerrard has a very big role to play in this game. Every England player and fan will be looking to him to dominate in the middle, especially if the early part of the match doesn’t go as England plan. Gerrard can pin one of Montenegro’s most influential ball players back inside his own half.

Daniel Sturridge v Marko Basa

Sturridge is the most in form English striker and he’ll be the main threat from Roy Hodgson’s team. Lille defender Marko Basa plays on the side of Montenegro’s defence where Sturridge is likely to drift which means the pair could end up locked in a battle all night.

Basa is also a fitness doubt for the game but he’s one of his side’s most important first team regulars and the magnitude of the game means Montenegro may gamble.

What’s your score prediction for the match?

image: © philosophyfootball

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch