Things are beginning to take shape in the Nations League and Group C returns to action this evening when Norway host Slovenia in what should be a good game. The hosts are a very impressive outfit under the experienced Lars Lagerback who is moulding a strong side but they suffered a surprise defeat to Bulgaria last time out even if it was undeserved. It means Norway have one win and one defeat from their two games and they know that they need a victory if they are to catch the Bulgarians who are top with two wins.
For Slovenia, they are in similar territory as they need victories if they are to avoid relegation from this new international format. They have lost both their games, with the defeat at Cyprus last time out a particularly poor result. Therefore, Tomaž Kavčič will be expecting a big improvement from his side in what could be a tough game.
Norway vs Slovenia Prediction: Norway 2-0 Slovenia
As mentioned, there is a real optimism about the way the Norwegians are heading under the former Sweden man. He has them well organised and there are a lot of bright talents in the side that create a fast, energetic style. The hosts play with pace, with Josh King a real threat for them in recent games. With quality on the ball in midfield, and the fact they are playing in front of their home fans, we expect Norway to have too much on the night and they should record a relatively comfortable three points.
Our recommended tip: Norway -1
Norway’s superiority is reflected in the odds, so there isn’t great value in backing the Scandinavian side to win outright. Instead, a good selection will be backing the hosts to win by two or more goals. Norway are a progressive, forward-thinking side so they won’t stop playing should they take the lead, whilst they also have blistering pace. That could be vital on the break and means that Lagerback’s men have many different ways to score and ultimately they should have too much for Slovenia.
Slovenia have a very poor record in this fixture, winning one and losing five of the previous seven games, although they will take some comfort from the fact their only success came last time out. However, that was back in 2013 so there’s no recent form to go in between the two sides and it will be two very different sides lining up against each other today.
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Players to watch: Josh King & Miha Zajc
The Bournemouth striker is enjoying a fine season in the Premier League and he is starting to establish himself as one of the better performers outside the traditional big six clubs. With good movement and electric pace, he is now starting to add a consistency and end product to his game which has seen him score regularly this season. Given those qualities, King is vital in this Norway team and will be the dangerman for Slovenia to watch.
For the visitors, they will turn to Empoli attacking midfielder Zajc who will be the man to try and unlock the hosts defence. The number ten has had a tough start to life in Serie A but he has already shown his quality for his country this season. He scored in an earlier Nations League clash and will want to take that form into the game against the Norwegians.