Robin Van Persie is subbed off at half-time during Holland’s win over Hungary. Shinji Kagawa misses out for Japan due to a back problem, Branislav Ivanovic and Eden Dzeko continue their strong starts to the season, while a Frank Lampard penalty saves a point for England as we round up all the main protagonists from last night’s international matches…
Shinji Kagawa’s Fantasy owners were handed a scare after the United midfielder pulled out of Japan’s game with Iraq. The former Dortmund man played down fears of any problem, going on to say:
“I felt a twinge in the back during practice when I was on the ball. I had some treatment but didn’t want to risk causing the team trouble by playing. Obviously it’s a shame I wasn’t able to play… It’s not that serious and I don’t think it will keep me out for long”.
Nevertheless, there will be concerns over Kagawa’s fitness heading into Saturday’s match with Wigan. Sir Alex Ferguson has been careful with his game time in the last couple of league games, subbing off the summer signing from Dortmund around the hour mark and with Wayne Rooney injured and Van Persie’s official prognosis still unknown, we face an anxious wait until the club releases statements. With a Champions League clash against Galatasaray the following Wednesday, Ferguson is unlikely to take any unnecessary risks.
The United boss also has Antonio Valencia and Javier Hernandez to travel back from matches in Uruguay and Mexico respectively. The pair enjoyed contrasting evenings, Valencia seeing red on 90 minutes in Ecuador’s draw with Uruguay, while Javier Hernandez netted the winner for Mexico in their 1-0 win over Costa Rica. Ferguson will now hope to get both back unscathed as he assesses his squad prior to the Wigan clash. The Friday morning press conference can’t come soon enough for many.
Branislav Ivanovic continued his superb start to the season with a goal and two assists in Serbia’s 6-1 thrashing of Wales last night. City’s Aleksandar Kolarov also played a part for the victors, providing a goal and assist in what was described in some quarters as an “inspirational performance”. Gareth Bale served a reminder of his eye for goal by lashing home a long-range free-kick for Chris Coleman’s side as a consolation. QPR’s Jamie Mackie provided an assist in Scotland’s home draw with Macedonia, while Zoltan Gera provided an assist in Hungary’s defeat by Holland – a foul on the West Brom midfielder in the box led to a converted spot-kick by Balasz Dszudszak.
John Arne Riise played a crucial part in Norway’s 2-1 win over Slovenia – the Fulham left-back hammered home a spot-kick deep into time added on to seal the three points for the hosts. Jonny Evans picked up an assist in Northern Ireland’s 1-1 draw with Luxembourg – the Man United centre-half teed up Dean Shiels to put his national ahead early in the first-half. Reading centre-half Kaspars Gorkss gave Latvia the lead in Bosnia but the hosts, led by Edin Dzeko with a goal and two assists, ran out comfortable 4-1 winners.
Frank Lampard saved England’s blushes with a late spot-kick earning a home draw against Ukraine, with Danny Welbeck providing the assist. Reading’s Alex Pearce climbed off the bench to net for Republic of Ireland in a 4-1 win over Oman; Shane Long was also amongst the goals for Giovanni Trapattoni’s side. Swansea new boy Ki-Sing Yeung turned in a mixed performance for South Korea yesterday. The midfielder’s own goal handed Uzbekistan the lead but he somewhat atoned for his error by providing an assist for his nation’s equaliser in a 2-2 draw.
Clint Dempsey, Tim Howard and Geoff Cameron were all in the US starting XI that sealed a 1-0 win over Jamaica. Dempsey played the full 90 minutes for the US as he looks to build up his fitness ahead of his debut for Spurs. A bench role looks likely for the former Fulham man when Andre Villas-Boas’ side travel to Reading on Sunday.
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For Gameweek 38
- van Persie
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“I am happy with the way I’ve started, but on the other hand, I should have scored four or five more, so that’s something for me to work on.”Robin Van Persie talks about his early form at United ahead of his first Manchester derby