The picture continues to build for Double Gameweek 32 as more Euro 2020 qualifying matches are completed.
There was a collection of games on the Saturday of this latest international break that can hand us some clues to the fitness of key assets in the next round of fixtures.
The most notable observation was a more advanced role for one of Wolves’ most exciting Fantasy assets this season…
Gibraltar 0-1 Republic of Ireland
- Shane Duffy (£4.7m) – 90 minutes
- Seamus Coleman (£5.2m) – 90 minutes
- Jeff Hendrick (£5.2m) – 90 minutes
- Matt Doherty (£5.4m) – 56 minutes
- Robbie Brady (£5.4m) – 34 minutes
- Harry Arter (£4.9m) – 17 minutes
- Kevin Long (£4.1m) – 0 minutes
Wolves’ Matt Doherty (£5.4m) got the opportunity to play in midfield for the Republic of Ireland in Mick McCarthy’s first match back in charge of his country. However, the FPL defender did not particularly impress on the right-wing of a 4-4-2 formation and he failed to link-up with Seamus Coleman (£5.2m), who was deployed at right-back. The fact that he was substituted in the 56th minute could mean well for his chances of game-time in Double Gameweek 32 amid concerns of rotation for Wolves, as they play in the FA Cup semi-finals soon after.
Burnley man Jeff Hendrick (£5.2m) was back in more familiar surroundings and scored the only goal of the game. He has largely featured on the right-wing for the Clarets in recent months but operated in central midfield for the Republic of Ireland alongside Conor Hourihane. It was Hendrick’s colleague Robbie Brady (£5.4m) who came on for Doherty.
The introduction of Harry Arter (£4.9m) in the second half indicated McCarthy’s thoughts on his front-pairing as it was Sean Maguire who made way. Gibraltar have lost every World Cup or European Championship qualifier they have ever played but were still able to create a number of chances against the Republic of Ireland. It was by no means a convincing performance from the visitors, and McCarthy may be tempted to make some changes for Tuesday’s meeting with Georgia.
Kevin Long (£4.1m) was an unused substitute while Shane Long (£4.7m) withdrew from the squad with a groin injury.
Bosnia 2-1 Armenia
- Henrikh Mkhitaryan (£6.8m) – 90 minutes
- Sead Kolasinac (£5.0m) – 0 minutes
Arsenal team-mates Henrikh Mkhitaryan (£6.8m) and Sead Kolasinac (£5.0m) were denied the opportunity to go face-to-face with each other in Bosnia on Saturday.
The midfielder played the full 90 minutes for Armenia, and having retained spot-kick duties despite a miss last autumn, he converted a stoppage-time penalty for his country.
Meanwhile, Kolasinac was given the evening off for Bosnia, remaining an unused substitute in the 2-1 win.
Italy 2-0 Finland
- Jorginho (£4.6m) – 90 minutes
Chelsea man Jorginho (£4.6m) was the only Premier League representative in Italy’s 2-0 win over Finland. He played a slightly deeper role than he is used to under Maurizio Sarri, operating in a holding pair of a 4-2-3-1 formation.
Estonia 0-2 Greece
- Sokratis Papastathopoulos (£5.1m) – 0 minutes
Arsenal centre-back Sokratis Papastathopoulos (£5.1m) was an unused substitute for Greece as they beat Estonia 2-0. It’s Armenia up next for his country on Tuesday.
Georgia 0-2 Switzerland
- Stephan Lichtsteiner (£4.5m) – 90 minutes
- Fabian Schär (£4.7m) – 90 minutes
- Granit Xhaka (£5.2m) – 90 minutes
Switzerland’s win in Georgia will be remembered more for a sickening clash of heads involving Fabian Schär (£4.7m) than anything else. The Newcastle centre-back was left unconscious after colliding with Jemal Tabidze and opposition player Jano Ananidze reportedly had to ensure he did not swallow his tongue. However, Schär still completed the game after being checked by the team’s doctor, much to the outrage of the wider football world.
According to FIFA rules, if Schär has been concussed he will have to sit out of any type of football, training or competitive action, for six days. This should not have too much impact on FPL as the Newcastle man is still suspended for Double Gameweek 32 and is scheduled to return on April 6, by which time he will have cleared concussion protocol.
“I was out for a few seconds. My skull is still humming and I’ve got a neck-ache and a bruise on my forehead. But it was worth it.” – Fabian Schär
“When the medical team of the Swiss A national team arrived immediately after the clash, Meli said he [Schär] was ‘awake and oriented’. He was examined according to the ‘sport concussion assessment tool’; no neuropsychological deficits could be detected. Therefore, after about five minutes of treatment, the medical team decided to let Schär continue playing. The centre-back could then continue the game without significant problems and play through to the end. Since later, more detailed tests after the game concluded no abnormal results, Fabian Schär was able to return to travel with the team back to Switzerland.” – FA statement
Arsenal team-mates Stephan Lichtsteiner (£4.5m) and Granit Xhaka (£5.2m) also played 90 minutes in this match.
Sweden 2-1 Romania
- Ken Sema (£4.6m) – 0 minutes
Watford manager Javi Gracia will be pleased to see Ken Sema (£4.6m) remain an unused substitute for Sweden on Saturday. That means he only has to get through Tuesday’s trip to Norway to still be available for Double Gameweek 32. If he is fit, he is likely to feature for the Hornets as they focus on their FA Cup semi-final with Wolves.
Spain 2-1 Norway
- David de Gea (£5.7m) – 90 minutes
- Joshua King (£6.5m) – 90 minutes
- Mohamed Elyounoussi (£6.0m) – 34 minutes
- Kepa Arrizabalaga (£5.4m) – 0 minutes
Joshua King (£6.5m) had further practice at dispatching penalties as he converted his latest effort for Norway. David de Gea (£5.7m) was the goalkeeper who could not stop the Bournemouth man from slotting home an equaliser.
Mohamed Elyounoussi (£6.0m), who has not started for Southampton since Gameweek 20, was not in the first XI for Norway either. The midfielder featured only as a 56th-minute substitute.
Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga (£5.4m) was an unused substitute.
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