When England step on to the pitch against Ukraine on Wednesday night, the short but vociferous debate on their new home kit will probably come to an end as the fight continues for crucial World Cup qualifying points.
Under Fabio Capello, England have yet to put a foot wrong. They sit on top of Group Six with 4 wins out of 4 and are already 5 points ahead of their Wembley visitors.
However, any talk of strolling to a 5 from 5 record is being dismissed by the players. Midfielder Frank Lampard is wary of the Ukrainian threat and particularly that of his former Chelsea team mate Andriy Shevchenko.' Lampard said:
Andriy Shevchenko is a fantastic player, has always been and is now.
He will be a huge threat to us on Wednesday because he is a top player who can produce something out of the blue – score a goal or make a goal, so I don’t know why it didn’t quite work out at Chelsea.
I think he had quite a few injury problems and slight problems settling in England. He was in and out of the team at certain times, so it didn’t work for him for a lot of reasons, and I think only he can explain that.
The Ukrainian marksman is now back in Serie A although he’s on started 2 games for AC Milan. However his stats remain impressive and in this qualifying tournament, he’s scored half of his team’s goals.
England meanwhile can be thankful football is a game of two-halves, with 86% of their goals coming after the break. If the first-half only was taken into account, England would have 6 points instead of the 12 they have currently.
England had to wait 52 minutes to score against Kazakhstan and 49 minutes against Andorra. Interestingly, Ukraine haven’t conceded a first half goal in their 3 qualifiers to date. So, if you are going to be late home from work or have been blackmailed in to going shopping with your Mum, that might not matter!
The latest Castrol Performance data suggest that an England win is rated at 64%, a victory for the visitors at 13% with the draw at 23%.
The Castrol Index is an innovative way of using technology and statistics to objectively analyse player performance by ranking a player’s contribution to a team’s overall play in terms of scoring and conceding goals. Read the Castrol Index Explanation.
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