Date: 12th October 2018 at 7:45am
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Sky Sports pundit Charlie Nicholas believes that West Ham United striker Marko Arnautovic will give Northern Ireland “problems all night long” when Austria face them on Friday.

The two sides meet in the UEFA Nations League this evening, and Nicholas has predicted that the Hammers’ ace will net a brace to ensure his country of a 2-0 victory at home.

He adds that Arnautovic will be the “difference” between the two countries after being in blistering form for the Irons so so far this season, which has resulted in four Premier League goals.

“Marko Arnautovic 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,” he told Sky Sports.

OPINION

It is not surprising that Nicholas has predicted that Arnautovic will be the difference between the two countries on Friday evening. Given Arnautovic’s form this season – bar the display in the 1-0 loss to Brighton last time out – any pundit would predict that he would churn out an excellent performance for Austria. He is clearly one of their stand out players and it would be a shock if he did not score against a relatively mediocre Northern Ireland side. The fact that Nicholas has said that the forward will give his opponents “problems all night long” suggests that he thinks that an Arnautovic master class is incoming on Friday. He looks menacing at the spearhead of the West Ham attack at the moment, and even though he has been impotent in front of goal for his country recently, it would be hard to argue with Nicholas that he would not not be able to find the net this time around – especially with his current form.