England are set to face off with Malta at Wembley Stadium on the 17th November, and the Three Lions are set to see several debuts with a blowout expected.
Check out our predicted lineup and expectations for the European qualifying clash.
England vs Malta Predicted Lineup and Preview
England’s Recent Form
In recent months, England have continued their predictable consistency time and time again. A solid 3-1 victory over Italy followed a clean 1-0 win against Australia, with Southgate’s side having not lost a single match since the dramatic World Cup quarter-final against France last December.
Fans might still have their complaints about the manager’s dedication to Kalvin Phillips, Harry Maguire and Jordan Henderson, or even the style of play, but there can’t be any issues with the results that have been coming.
What to Expect from Malta
Malta shouldn’t provide any significant issues for this England side. In the reverse fixture, three first-half goals effectively settled the match before Southgate handed appearances to Eberechi Eze and Callum Wilson, using the second half as a combination of a training routine and an opportunity to get everyone to full fitness.
As the first match of the qualifying campaign both Malta and England will have wanted to set the right first impression. However, the Maltese forwards didn’t take a single shot on goal, with half as many passes as the Three Lions and very few opportunities to get into the English defensive third. Expect more of that from this match, as the likes of Jodi Jones will look to convert strong club form into counter-attacking chances.
England vs Malta Tactical Preview
The Three Lions’ typical style of play is to win the ball in a mid-block and hold possession, working the ball from flank to flank to try and draw out a press and open up as much space as possible. In possession, this means playing in a 3-2-5 structure, with the right-back inverting into midfield and a solid back-three ready to clean up any threatening counter-attacks.
Without the ball, the structure turns into more of a 4-2-3-1. Following this system not only suits eliminating defensive frailties but means the likes of Harry Maguire won’t have any problems by being exposed in one-on-one situations. Malta will look to counter with speed and precision, but the pace and physicality of the English back-line mean that the away side should struggle to turn rare moments of possession into any real chances.
England Predicted Lineup
North Macedonia and Malta won’t provide too much of an issue for the European finalists, so this could be the perfect opportunity for Gareth Southgate to make some changes to his first team and look at players who tend to be on the fringes.
In goal, this is the perfect opportunity for Aaron Ramsdale to play, boosting his fitness and keeping him in the best possible condition after some time out of the team at Arsenal. Harry Maguire, in spite of his club form, has been reliable enough for Southgate, but outside him there is relatively little Italian experience at centre-back. Marc Guehi, with just five caps, receives the call-up in this case. The ever-present Kyle Walker gets a start at right-back, with Rico Lewis making his debut as an attacking left-back.
England have some slight selection issues in midfield, with Jude Bellingham recovering from a shoulder injury. Kalvin Phillips is a good option for breaking up rare Maltese attacks, and could pair perfectly with Trent Alexander-Arnold in a more creative role.
Cole Palmer could also receive a debut in the middle of an attacking line of three, with Marcus Rashford and Bukayo Saka on either side of him. Harry Kane at centre-forward is always likely, with him rarely receiving rests from the England gaffer as one of his stalwarts.
England vs Malta Predictions and Odds
There is no real question as to whether or not the Three Lions win this fixture, with the score being the only significant doubt. Expect the home team to score three or four goals in the first half before easing off to avoid any unnecessary injuries or sprains.
England are, unsurprisingly, favourites at 1/50 according to this betting apps review website. If you feel brave (or lucky) enough to back Malta, you can get odds of 70/1.