Austria are set to take on Northern Ireland in group B3 of the UEFA Nations League on Friday evening.
The two sides are currently joint bottom of their group, having both lost to league leaders Bosnia & Herzegovina. Northern Ireland & Austria will be expected to go all-out to get the win in this match, in an attempt to avoid relegation from the group.
In anticipation of this match-up, Charlie Nicholas gave his score prediction and highlighted West Ham United’s Marko Arnautović as the main threat for Northern Ireland.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Nicholas predicted a 2-0 victory for Austria said: “Marko Arnautović has been great for West Ham this season and at home he’s bound to give Northern Ireland problems all night long, so he could be the difference and it wouldn’t surprise me if he scored both goals in this one.”
Arnautović has been on fine form for West Ham United ever since he was converted from a wide-man to a striker by David Moyes. After a slow start to last season, the Austrian forward bagged an impressive 11 goals in a season as the Hammers narrowly avoided relegation.
This campaign, under new manager Manuel Pellegrini, Arnautović has already bagged four goals in just seven appearances. He has become an integral figure in West Ham’s attack and, whilst having an obvious eye for goal, is also brilliant at linking up with the likes of Felipe Anderson and Andriy Yarmolenko.
A slight worry for Austria and West Ham is the fact that their star striker is struggling with a knee injury and has been unable to train consistently this season. Fans of club and county will be crossing their fingers that the injury will not sideline the Austrian.