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Current table toppers arrive in London for fascinating encounter at Wembley


If Montenegro coach Zlatko Kranjcar needed any extra motivation to get something tonight at Wembley he could do worse than look at the betting odds. England are a tiny 1.28 to grab the three points against a team who have won all of their Euro 2012 games so far.

Unless you have pockets the size of Gordon Gekko don't waste your time and money investing in that market. Frankly, it's a bit of a slap in the face for the visitors who arrive in London as table toppers.

Kranjcar has said his team aren't in the capital for a shopping trip. His words have merit, Montenegro haven't conceded in their three Euro 2012 qualifiers and a have a good record against British and Irish opposition.

They turned over Wales 1-0 last month, hastening the departure of John Toshack, and beat Northern Ireland 2-0 in a friendly in the summer.

Even the Republic of Ireland failed to break Montenegro down in two World Cup qualifiers, with both games ending goalless (below).

Montenegro's main goal threat will inevitably come from Roma's Mirko Vucinic. He grabbed the winning goals against Wales and Switzerland to put his country top of Group G.

He'll surely test the defensively suspect Glen Johnson and is stonking value to get on the score sheet during the 90 minutes.

* Mirko Vucinic to score first/anytime @ 12.0/4.80 (Sportingbet) Bet Now

For England the goal threat will come from Peter Crouch who spearheads the attack. No Jermain Defoe and Darren Bent puts pressure on the Tottenham forward to compensate for Wayne Rooney's recent run of poor form. Crouch has netted 11 goals in 17 home matches for the Three Lions.

* Peter Crouch to score first/anytime @ 5.50/2.20 (Sportingbet)

Consider also the precocious Adam Johnson who has scored in both of England's first two matches against Bulgaria and Switzerland after coming off the bench. Johnson may not be an automatic starter for his club or country just yet but he is undoubtedly a goal threat.

* Adam Johnson to score at anytime @ 3.40 (Sportingbet)

Betting verdict
Clearly England are the favourites but with injuries mounting up they are ripe for conceding against a confident Montenegro team. The Three Lions have only kept one clean sheet in the past four matches at Wembley and Montenegro have already demonstrated they are a dangerous outfit.

Recommended bet:
Both teams to score @ 2.25 (Sportingbet)

Expert eye

Graham Lister, Goal.com UK

"Montenegro are likely to offer England their sternest test in Group G so far when the two hitherto unbeaten sides meet at Wembley. The hosts are favourites and widely expected to win, but the visitors, still in their infancy as a fully-fledged independent nation on the world football stage, will pose Fabio Capello's side a problem to solve with a well-organised and disciplined defence and swift incisive counter-attacking.

"Nevertheless, England have looked incisive and purposeful themselves since shaking off their World Cup hangover, and with home advantage should have the edge. They will not want to spend the five months until their next qualifier [away to Wales on March 26] dwelling on missed opportunities and dropped points, so a narrow home win is on the cards."

Prediction:
England 2-1 Montenegro

Odds on England 2-1 win @ 9.50 (Sportingbet)

Over 2.5 goals @ 2.0 (Pinnacle Sports)
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