Two more premium strikers find the net, only to be eclipsed by a dazzling display from a Manchester City midfielder.
Meanwhile, a Spurs asset – for once – fails to make an impact on the international stage as the Republic of Ireland hold Denmark to a goalless draw in the first leg of their World Cup qualifying play-off.
Here are the notes from Saturday’s internationals.
Forwards front and centre…
Two of Fantasy Premier League’s top five strikers, Romelu Lukaku and Gabriel Jesus, scored for their countries on Friday.
Two more, Sergio Aguero and Alvaro Morata, joined the party last night.
Aguero scored the only goal of the match as Argentina won 1-0 in Russia.
The visitors left it late – 86 minutes to be precise – to seal victory in the friendly, with the City striker withdrawn just a minute later.
The dilemma surrounding the two Man City strikers has vexed many a manager this season, and the latest international break has not made that situation any clearer, with both continuing to show form.
Brazil and Argentina do have another friendly to play on Tuesday – the former at Wembley against England, while Aguero will stay in Russia to face Nigeria – so further evidence might be forthcoming.
But at present, it is Aguero who seems to be winning hearts and minds.
Overall, 23.0% of FPL bosses currently favour him over his cheaper team-mate Jesus (16.0%) and, as Man City prepare for a kindly four-match run (lei hud SOT WHU), close to 70,000 new managers are buying into the Argentine this week, while 47,000+ have sold the Brazilian.
One striker more popular in the lead up to Gameweek 12 than either of them is Morata.
The Chelsea striker has been bought by close to 88,000 following his winning goal against Man United in Gameweek 11, making him the fifth most popular purchase over the break.
The Blues’ schedule – barring a Gameweek 13 trip to Anfield – is set fair for the rest of the year, and Morata’s return to decent domestic form is backed up by his international record – his goal in a 5-0 drubbing of Costa Rica last night was the fourth match in a row he’s found the net in a Spanish shirt.
Fatigue shouldn’t be a factor for Morata either as he was one of four players withdrawn at half-time, although the Spaniards do have another friendly to come, away in Russia, on Tuesday.
…but Silva is the golden boy
The undoubted star of Spain’s five-goal show was Man City’s David Silva.
The midfielder scored twice, set up Morata’s goal and was also heavily involved in the Spaniards’ opener.
Fantasy managers have, however, literally been turning away from the playmaker in recent weeks.
The rush to tap into City’s attacking riches has rendered Silva a fall guy, with a loss of over 230,000 managers over the last two Gameweeks.
That trend is continuing ahead of Gameweek 12, with a further 48,000 selling him on, despite the Spaniard being one of only three City midfielders – along with Kevin De Bruyne and Fernandinho – to have started every league match this season.
Silva’s relatively unspectacular haul of one goal and seven assists seems to be the key reason for those sales, with the more explosive returns of team-mates Leroy Sane (six goals, five assists) and Raheem Sterling (seven and three) available in the same bracket.
But with rotation such a major factor when selecting Pep Guardiola players, Silva’s slow and steady approach to points accumulation might yet win out.
And his devastating display against Costa Rica was a reminder that Silva may just be developing a stronger goal threat to become a more rounded Fantasy option.
Silva’s compatriots David De Gea and Alberto Moreno remained on the bench for Spain last night, while his City team-mate Nicolas Otamendi, who is suspended for the Gameweek 12 trip to Leicester City, played the full 90 minutes for Argentina.
Man United back-up keeper Sergio Romero also started and finished the win over Russia.
Denmark’s 0-0 draw at home to the Republic of Ireland in the first leg of their World Cup qualifying play-off was the seventh time in eight matches in all competitions that Spurs midfielder Christian Eriksen has failed to find the net.
His blank last night was particularly frustrating for the playmaker as he had scored in his six previous international run-outs.
Eriksen has produced minimal returns in three consecutive matches for his club since being handed a more withdrawn role by coach Mauricio Pochettino, and his ownership is suffering as the City options turn heads. Just over 60,000 managers have moved him out in the lead-up to Gameweek 12’s north London derby.
He and Leicester keeper Kasper Schmeichel played the full 90 minutes for the Danes, with Chelsea defender Andreas Christensen an unused sub.
Shane Duffy, Stephen Ward, Harry Arter, Jeff Hendrick, James McClean and Robbie Brady all started for the Irish.
Arter was replaced after 88 minutes and Kendrick in stoppage time.
Southampton forward Shane Long was brought on in the 75th minute, while Newcastle keeper Rob Elliot watched from the bench as the Republic survived on just 28% possession.
The second leg of the play-off takes place on Tuesday.
Elliot’s Newcastle club-mate Chancel Mbemba played the full World Cup qualifying match for Congo DR as they beat Guinea 3-1.
Spurs defender Serge Aurier and Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha started and finished the Ivory Coast’s winner-takes-all World Cup qualifier at home to Morocco.
But it was the visitors who emerged victorious, their 2-0 win securing their place at Russia 2018.
Southampton’s Sofiane Boufal was an unused sub for the North Africans.
Meanwhile, on the injury front, Phil Jones has now returned to Manchester following the recurrence of a thigh problem in England’s 0-0 draw with Germany. The centre-back will reportedly return to United’s training complex for treatment, making him an early doubt for Newcastle United’s visit in Gameweek 12.
Also this morning, there is a report that Eden Hazard was left out of Belgium’s team training session, to train alone ahead of the friendly with Japan on Tuesday. This is yet to be confirmed, and there is no suggestion that an injury is at play. However, we will monitor the news wires for a further update.
Hazard will be a key figure in Antonio Conte’s plans for the visit to West Brom in Gameweek 12 and his omission for Tuesday’s encounter may even be an arrangement with Chelsea.