Without the pull of our usual Gameweek schedule, we thought we’d do a little background work on the upcoming international games. While we’ll be covering the games as always with Scout Scribbles articles, this piece is just a heads-up look at some of the main Fantasy protagonists set to feature for their respective nations over the next few days:
Kicking off close to home, Frank Lampard and Ryan Bertrand have both pulled out of the England game against San Marino with knee and throat problems respectively. The Chelsea duo have returned to Stamford Bridge and will be assessed prior to Tuesday’s clash against Poland. Steven Gerrard is also unavailable for Friday’s match due to suspension.
The likes of Gareth Bale, Ashley Williams, Ben Davies, Joe Allen and Aaron Ramsey are all part of Chris Coleman’s Wales squad to face Scotland and Croatia over the next few days, while Craig Levein has named several Premier League players in his squad. James Morrison, Steven Fletcher, Shaun Maloney, Charlie Adam, Danny Fox and Russell Martin are amongst a host of names expected to feature.
John O’Shea, Shane Long and Jon Walters are included in the Republic of Ireland squad, though James McClean and Glenn Whelan have both withdraw through injury. Northern Ireland have Fulham duo Aaron Hughes and Chris Baird amongst their numbers, with United’s Jonny Evans also included.
Sergio Aguero and Pablo Zabaleta face a home clash with Uruguay before a trip to Chile in the early hours of next Wednesday morning. Argentina’s second match takes place around 1am, with both players then flying home ahead of Saturday afternoon’s trip to West Brom – Zabaleta’s owners may have some concerns then, particularly with Micah Richards available and Vincent Kompany expected to be fit. Although Carlo Tevez’s owners will undoubtedly be happy he is not involved, Roberto Mancini was highly critical of the forward’s conditioning after the last international break. After flying back to his homeland, Tevez’s fitness took a dive – indeed, he has failed to score since then, backing up his manager’s theory that he has lost a little sharpness.
Luis Suarez and Sebastian Coates are part of the Uruguay squad to face Argentina. The Liverpool pair also have a trip to Bolivia on their agenda – this game takes place on 9pm Tuesday evening, affording them plenty time before Saturday’s home clash with Reading.
As the hosts for the 2014 World Cup, Brazil have a couple of friendlies on their agenda. Intriguingly, both their matches are in Europe, meaning no long-haul flights back from South America are required. From a Fantasy perspective, Rafael’s owners can fret a little less – he has been left out of the squad. Last night’s game with Iraq saw Chelsea trio Oscar, Ramires and David Luiz all start, with Oscar bagging a brace in the 6-0 win. Spurs midfield enforcer Sandro climbed off the bench with less than 10 minutes remaining for Mano Menezes’ side.
The ever-growing Belgian influence in England’s top-flight is highlighted by the fact that 10 players have been called up by Marc Wilmots to face Serbia and Scotland over the next few days. While Marouane Fellaini has subsequently withdrawn due to a knee problem, Fantasy owners of Vincent Kompany, Thomas Vermaelen and Jan Vertonghen will be keeping a keen eye on the Belgium defence. Further up the pitch, Eden Hazard, Moussa Dembele, Kevin Mirallas, Romelu Lukaku and Christian Benteke are also involved.
Spain boss Vicente Del Bosque has perhaps heeded Roberto Di Matteo’s advice by leaving Juan Mata out of the squad to face Belarus and France. Having played in Euro 2012 and the Olympics, Mata struggled to make an impact in the opening month of the season but is fast approaching form and fitness following a series of fine displays for the Blues. Fernando Torres, Santi Cazorla and David Silva owners will be hoping the trio come through unscathed.
Laurent Koscielny has recovered from a knee knock picked up in training with the France squad. While Yohan Cabaye is a doubt ahead of Friday’s game with Japan, the likes of Patrice Evra, Gael Clichy, Olivier Giroud and Hugo Lloris are all part of Didier Deschamps’ squad. Hatem Ben Arfa and Samir Nasri’s owners can breathe a little easier – both have been overlooked for Les Bleus.
Serbia have called upon a trio of Premier League defenders for the World Cup qualifiers. Branislav Ivanovic, Aleksandar Kolarov and Matija Nastasic are in line to square up to Belgium and Macedonia.
Lukas Podolksi sat out training for Germany due to a minor ankle knock but is expected to be available for Friday’s game with Republic of Ireland. Arsenal team-mate Per Mertesacker is the only other Premier League based player in Joachim Lowe’s squad, with a home clash against Sweden also to follow.
Robin Van Persie’s owners are bracing themselves ahead of Holland’s games against Andorra this evening and Romania next Tuesday. The United forward started both of his nation’s games in the previous international break – he was handed the full 90 minutes against Romania before being subbed off at half-time in the 4-1 win in Hungary.
Several Premier League stars will participate in the Senegal v Ivory Coast match on Saturday, with the result set to have a significant impact domestically. The hosts need to overcome a 4-2 deficit from the first leg in order to advance to the African Cup of Nations in January – if they fail to do so, Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse will be available for Newcastle after the New Year. Yaya and Kolo Toure, Gervinho, Cheick Tiote, Arouna Kone and Guy Demel are all included in the Elephants’ squad.
Jurgen Klinsmann has named five Premier League players in the US squad to face Antigua and Guatemala over the next few days. Clint Dempsey is the main Fantasy concern, while Tim Howard, Brad Guzan, Geoff Cameron and Maurice Edu are also involved. The Antigua clash kicks off on midnight Friday, while the Guatemala game takes place at 00.15 on Wednesday morning. Staying with the North American qualifiers, Javier Hernandez has a couple of games for Mexico on his agenda – the United forward flies to Guyana before playing host to El Salvador at 2am Wednesday morning.
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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