Wales take on Poland in Cardiff tonight in what is a do or die game for the hosts. They currently sit bottom of group A4 in the Nations League, knowing that anything but a victory will see them relegated to League B. Even then, Welsh hopes are slim given their 2-1 loss to Poland in the reverse fixture back in June, as head to head is the first tiebreaker. An early goal could well change the course of the group, but Poland will do all they can to avoid being drawn into a relegation scrap, with a draw being good enough for them to maintain their place in League A.
I’ve put together a stats pack to provide you with all the nuggets of information that you should need if you’re looking to put together a bet builder tonight. This will provide you with all the numbers behind stats such as goals, shots, corners, and cards. If you’re having a bet tonight, then this’ll help out with the tough decisions on what, and what not, to include.
Despite the need for a result tonight, Robert Page is unlikely to make too many changes unless forced to do so. That means talisman Gareth Bale looks set to start a second game in a row on the bench. Keiffer Moore, Dan James, and Brennan Johnson are expected to continue in the front 3.
There could well be a change of formation due to suspensions, as both Chris Mepham and Ethan Ampadu picked up their second yellow cards of the Nations League campaign on Thursday night. Page could well revert to a back 3, with Ben Cabango deputising at the back, and Joe Morrell coming into the midfield.
Poland have a deep talent pool when it comes to their front line, but unsurprisingly, main man Robert Lewandowski should get the nod up top, with the likes of Krzysztof Piatek, Karol Swiderski, and Arkadiusz Milik likely to miss out again.
An unchanged lineup from their 0-2 defeat to the Netherlands on Thursday is a real possibility for Poland. Karol Linetty and Grzegorz Krychowiak should retain their places in midfield, with talented playmaker Piotr Zielinski expected to play further up the pitch in support of Lewandowski.
With just 1 point from 5 Nations League games, Wales have struggled to match the numbers that they were able to put up in World Cup qualifying.
Their 2.00 goals conceded per 90 in this competition highlights how weak they’ve been at the back when playing against stronger opposition, as their 0.90 goals against per 90 from World Cup qualifying makes for much more favourable reading.
They’ve also struggled for goals against Europe’s elite, with just 1.20 per 90 in the Nations League compared to 1.60 in World Cup qualifying. The Wales frontline however, are more than capable of causing Poland problems.
Poland’s nations league stats are very much comparable to that of tonight’s opponents. 5 goals scored and 12 conceded over their 5 games is actually worse than Wales in both metrics. Their sole win against the Welsh is what keeps them out of harms way for now.
Despite the attacking talent in the Polish squad, not much can be taken from their World Cup Qualifying stats. 2.91 goals per 90 and an xG of 2.04 were both heavily inflated by 4 games against both San Marino and Andorra. Outside of these games, Poland’s xG and xGA stood at 1.18 and 1.04 respectively. This would suggest that tonight’s game could be incredibly close given the comparable strength of both sides.
Player Shots and Shots on Target
Unsurprisngly, Welsh superstar Gareth Bale tops the rankings for both shots and shots on target per 90, with 1.42 shots on target from 3.95 shots. He will be a threat, as ever, if he gets the nod tonight.
Elsewhere, towering centre forward Keiffer Moore is a solid shout for shots on target. He managed 1.18 per 90 in World Cup qualifying and will provide a similar threat here. Brennan Johnson (1.29 shots on target per 90) will also cause problems for the Polish defence.
Poland have a host of forwards that rank very well for both shots and shots on target. Polish captain Lewandowski leads the way here, with 2.28 shots on target per 90, and is closely followed by Piatek and Swiderski, who mustered 2.16 and 1.82 shots on target per 90 in World Cup qualifying.
With the latter two forwards unlikely to start, Lewandowski will be under plenty of pressure to perform, but with 4.55 shots per 90, it’s clear that his teammates provide him with plenty of chances.
Player Goals and Assists
Gareth Bale was key to Wales’ success in World Cup qualifying, but unfortunately he’s been unable to replicate that sort of form in the Nations League, with just 1 goal via a penalty to his name so far.
Target man Keiffer Moore has managed similar numbers in both World Cup Qualifying and the Nations League, and scored last time out against Belgium. Brennan Johnson managed to earn Wales’ their only point so far in the Nations League, and has notched two goals. Pacy winger Dan James, has failed to offer the same threat as he did in World Cup qualifying, with 0 goals to his name.
There’s not a lot to say here given that Poland have only scored a singular goal a game. Lewandowski leads the way for his country in World Cup qualifying with a quite staggering 9 goals and 4 assists. His fortunes haven’t quite been the same in the Nations League however, with just the 1 goal to his name.
Likewise, Karol Swiderski was a force to be reckoned with in World Cup qualifying, but has only managed to notch a single goal, although he has largely played second fiddle to the Poland Captain. Playmaker Piotr Zielinski may not have notched an assist yet, but he has managed to equal his goal tally from World Cup qualifying.
Kieffer Moore managed a card in every other appearance in World Cup qualifying, with his combative style seeing him make 4.05 fouls per game. He’s yet to be booked in the Nations League, but he will certainly look to rough up the Poland defenders as Wales attempt to find themselves a goal through any means necessary.
Dogged and persistent midfielder Joe Morrell was booked twice in World Cup Qualifying and has seen yellow once in the Nations League thus far. His desire to press could well land him in the book again.
Wingbacks Roberts and Williams will also be worth keeping an eye on. Despite only 0.42 fouls per game, Roberts is incredibly aggressive in the tackle and certainly will be tonight given what’s at stake.
Veteran midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak is an incredibly smooth operator in the Poland midfield, and knows how to buy himself a free kick in the middle of the park. He will attempt to slow the game down as he comes under pressure from the likes of Morrell, and this should lead to fouls. The fact that he is fouled 2.90 times per 90 for his country is evidence of this.
The combination of Sebastian Szymanski and Piotr Zielinski will be a dangerous proposition for the two Wales wing backs. The pair were fouled 2.50, and 1.61 times per 90 in World Cup qualifying and will look to get on the ball as much as possible tonight.
Match-Ups to watch
Morell vs Krychowiak
Roberts vs Szymanski
Williams vs Zielinski
As good as Grzegorz Krychowiak is at drawing a foul, he’s also liable to give away a fair few. He committed 2.75 fouls per 90 and picked up 2 yellow cards in World Cup qualifying. This form has carried over to the Nations League, with Krychowiak already serving a suspension for 2 yellows. His lack of pace could also be a real hinderance tonight up against an energetic Welsh side.
Midfield partner Karol Linetty will also be worth keeping an eye on given the nature of his game. He gave away 2.62 fouls per 90 in qualification for the World Cup. Southampton centre back Jan Bednarek hasn’t played much in the way of club football this season and lack of game time could come back to haunt him. The defender picked up 2 yellows in qualifying for the World Cup and has one to his name in the nations league.
Kieffer Moore is bound to cause Jan Bednarek a whole host of problems tonight. The physicality present in his game, and the willingness to both challenge for the ball and hold it up could see Bednarek in the book, especially given the defenders lack of match sharpness. Moore was fouled 1.67 times in World Cup qualifying and I expect that number to be eclipsed tonight.
Joe Morrell was also fouled plenty of times in World Cup qualifying, 1.36 times per 90 to be exact. His energetic playstyle could well be difficult to handle for the likes of Krychowiak in the Polish midfield.
Match-Ups to watch
Krychowiak vs Morrell
Bednarek vs Moore
Linetty vs Morrell
That’s a wrap for the Wales vs Poland stats pack. Given the significance of this match I’m expecting plenty of cards and goals in an end to end affair.
If you’re having a bet tonight then good luck, but remember to keep the stakes low, and to stay in control. Don’t force a bet on this game if you’re not interested in it.