A week of international football came to a conclusion in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
In our final two Scout Notes of the international break, we round up the minutes played by Premier League players for their respective countries and draw attention to any key talking points that may affect Fantasy assets.
This penultimate piece focuses on the friendlies contested yesterday/today, with analysis of the European Championship qualifiers to follow.
Czech Republic 1-3 Brazil
- Matej Vydra (£5.6m) – 37 minutes
- Alisson (£6.0m) – 90 minutes
- Danilo (£5.0m) – 90 minutes
- Roberto Firmino (£9.2m) – 87 minutes
- Richarlison (£6.5m) – 63 minutes
- Gabriel Jesus (£9.9m) – 18 minutes
- Fabinho (£5.5m) – 3 minutes
- Felipe Anderson (£7.2m) – 0 minutes
- Ederson (£5.6m) – 0 minutes
Although Sergio Aguero (£11.8m) has enjoyed a full two weeks off, positional rival Gabriel Jesus (£9.9m) will hardly be suffering from any fatigue issues going into Double Gameweek 32.
The Manchester City striker has only featured for a combined 48 minutes for his country over the international break, while Transatlantic jetlag won’t be an issue given that both of Brazil’s friendlies over the last week were held in Europe.
Jesus again emerged from the bench in the Selecao’s victory in Prague, scoring twice in the dying stages to put the gloss on what had been a hitherto unconvincing performance from Tite’s side.
Jesus just about squeezed a rising shot into an unguarded Czech net to put Brazil 2-1 up on 82 minutes before following up his own saved effort to increase his country’s lead seven minutes later.
The City forward was deployed in a wide-left role after replacing Philippe Coutinho, with his national team manager saying:
He should be very happy with it. He left the box too much on the previous match, we talked among the staff and decided to try him from the flanks, it could provide more chances than overflowing the middle.
I’m happy he had those chances, not only on creating than but also finishing.
Roberto Firmino (£9.2m) played most of this match as Brazil’s lone centre-forward and scored from his only shot of the game, capitalising on a defensive mix-up to prod his country level just after half-time.
The Everton winger was also booked for a bad foul.
Alisson (£6.0m) was beaten by a well-taken David Pavelka strike but otherwise didn’t have a great deal to do, aside from saving twice in the space of a few seconds from a Patrik Schick free-kick and Tomas Soucek’s rebound.
After saving Filip Novak’s 35th-minute effort from distance, Alisson didn’t have another stop to make.
Manchester City’s Danilo (£5.0m) played the full game at right-back.
Fabinho (£5.5m) replaced club colleague Firmino for the final three minutes of Tuesday’s friendly, while Felipe Anderson (£7.2m) and Ederson (£5.6m) watched the entire match from the bench.
Burnley’s Matej Vydra (£5.6m) was thrown on as a 53rd-minute substitute for the hosts.
Mexico 4-2 Paraguay
- Javier Hernandez (£6.1m) – 78 minutes
- Raul Jimenez (£6.8m) – 0 minutes
- Miguel Almiron (£6.0m) – 7 minutes
- Fabian Balbuena (£4.2m) – 0 minutes
There was positive news for owners of Raul Jimenez (£6.8m) as the Wolves striker remained an unused substitute in Mexico’s 4-2 win over Paraguay.
Jimenez still faces a long-haul flight back after this friendly in California, which kicked off at 2am UK time, but his lack of participation is a positive for those considering the mid-price forward for Double Gameweek 32.
Wolves’ 12-goal striker has started every previous Premier League match that followed an international break in 2018/19.
There were possible repercussions for West Ham assets in this six-goal friendly at the Levi’s Stadium, too.
While Fabian Balbuena (£4.2m) sat on the bench throughout, Javier Hernandez (£6.1m) played 78 minutes of this encounter, three-and-a-half days before the Hammers take on Everton.
That could provide a boost to Marko Arnautovic‘s (£6.9m) chances of starting against the Toffees, although the Austrian produced a fairly miserable performance against Huddersfield in Gameweek 31 as his positional rival came off the bench to score a brace.
Hernandez, indeed, was on target again for his country against Paraguay, finishing confidently when clean through on goal to put his nation 3-0 up.
Chicarito had two other efforts from inside the box – one skied, one blocked – without troubling the opposition goalkeeper.
Miguel Almiron (£6.0m) had an eventful seven minutes after emerging from the Paraguay bench in the second half.
The Newcastle United playmaker was bright on his introduction and was on the pitch when his side reduced the arrears to 3-1, only to be shown a straight red card for an horrendous tackle on Mexico’s Jose Vazquez.
Almiron will return to Tyneside in plenty of time for Gameweek 32, with the Magpies not in action until Monday evening.
South Korea 2-1 Colombia
- Son Heung-min (£8.6m) – 90 minutes
- Davinson Sanchez (£5.8m) – 90 minutes
- Yerry Mina (£5.4m) – 43 minutes
- Jefferson Lerma (£4.5m) – 0 minutes
Having played the full game in South Korea’s 1-0 win over Bolivia last Friday, Son Heung-min (£8.6m) was given another 90-minute run-out in Seoul on Tuesday.
Son caused Colombia’s defence plenty of problems in the first half, firing two shots off target before opening the scoring on 17 minutes with an effort that visiting goalkeeper Ivan Arboleda ought to have kept out.
The Spurs midfielder, again playing up front for his country as he often does at club level, hit the post with an arrowed shot soon after.
Speaking after the game, Son said of his recent struggle for form at international level:
I felt like I was being a distraction to the rest of the team because people kept mentioning my name when talking about the national team. I couldn’t have scored the goal today without the sacrifices of my team-mates.
For my club, I’ve played both as a striker in a two-forward setting and as a winger. No matter where the coach puts me, my job is to do the best I can in that position. I think it’s important for me to keep playing the way I did today. That kind of consistency will help the national team and myself as a player.
Jefferson Lerma (£4.5m) was an unused substitute.
Senegal 2-1 Mali
- Cheikhou Kouyate (£4.7m) – 76 minutes
- Sadio Mane (£10.0m) – 14 minutes
- Idrissa Gana Gueye (£4.7m) – 0 minutes
Sadio Mane (£10.0m) emerged as a 76th-minute substitute to inspire Senegal to a 2-1 win over Mali in Dakar.
The Liverpool midfielder, who is the second-most-bought FPL midfielder of Double Gameweek 32 despite only having one fixture, was thrown on with his country trailing 1-0 and played a part in both of the hosts’ goals.
Mane produced a superb dummy and feint to sell two Mali players before firing a deflected shot past the visiting goalkeeper to level the scores up on 87 minutes.
The former Southampton winger then teed up Moussa Konate for a stoppage-time winner following a short corner.
Mane has only blanked in two of the last nine Gameweeks and is still owned by over 30% of Fantasy managers going into this weekend.
Cheikhou Kouyate (£4.7m) played 76 minutes of this encounter but Idrissa Gana Gueye (£4.7m) was an unused substitute.
Ivory Coast 1-0 Liberia
- Jean Michael Seri (£4.9m) – 7 minutes
Three of the four Premier League-based players called up to the Ivory Coast squad over the international break didn’t feature in the Elephants’ 1-0 win over Liberia on Tuesday.
Wilfried Zaha (£6.9m) had been sent back to London after making a 6,400-mile round-trip without kicking a ball, while Serge Aurier (£5.7m) and Eric Bailly (£5.0m) had picked up injuries in Ivory Coast’s 3-0 win over Rwanda on Saturday and didn’t feature in this latest friendly.
Bailly suffered a blow to the head at the weekend and was substituted as a precaution, while Aurier limped off after 30 minutes with a hamstring strain – the same injury that Zaha is recovering from.
Depending on the severity of the injury, Aurier’s issue could spell good news for Kieran Trippier‘s (£6.0m) chances of featuring in both of Spurs’ Double Gameweek 32 fixtures.
Jeffrey Schlupp (£4.5m) could be the “out of position” beneficiary at Crystal Palace if Zaha fails to recover over the next week.
Fulham’s Jean Michael Seri (£4.9m) came on as an 83rd-minute substitute against Liberia, meanwhile.
Algeria 1-0 Tunisia
- Riyad Mahrez (£8.2m) – 90 minutes
Riyad Mahrez (£8.2m) lasted the course as Algeria beat Tunisia 1-0 on Tuesday afternoon.
The Manchester City winger lined up in the same 4-3-3 formation that he has become accustomed to at club level and won the decisive 70th-minute penalty that team-mate Baghdad Bounedjah converted.
Mahrez went close to scoring in the first half with a shot that crept wide, while team-mate Aissa Mandi headed over his
The former Leicester midfielder, who wasn’t used in Algeria’s draw with the Gambia on Friday, was handed the man of the match award for this latest display.
Morocco 0-1 Argentina
- Romain Saiss (£4.2m) – 90 minutes
- Roberto Pereyra (£6.0m) – 90 minutes
- Juan Foyth (£5.0m) – 0 minutes
- Manuel Lanzini (£6.4m) – 0 minutes
Two Premier League players who are in action twice in Double Gameweek 32 were given 90-minute run-outs in Tanger.
Romain Saiss (£4.2m) played the full game at centre-back for the hosts, while Roberto Pereyra (£6.0m) was taken off in injury time by Argentina.
The Watford winger played on the right flank in North Africa, the opposite wing to where he usually plies his trade at club level, registering one shot and two key passes.
Saiss, who looks set to feature in at least one of Wolves’ matches in Gameweek 32 with Ryan Bennett (£4.1m) suspended, produced a brilliant last-ditch tackle to deny Argentina a certain goal in the 57th minute.
Juan Foyth (£5.0m) and Manuel Lanzini (£6.4m) were unused substitutes for the visitors, meanwhile.
Nigeria 1-0 Egypt
- Leon Balogun (£4.2m) – 90 minutes
- Wilfred Ndidi (£4.9m) – 90 minutes
- Alex Iwobi (£5.4m) – 73 minutes
- Mohamed Elneny (£4.2m) – 90 minutes
There were four Premier League players on show in Asaba on Tuesday for the friendly between Nigeria and Egypt – though Mohamed Salah (£13.3m), of course, wasn’t among them after being handed the international break off.
Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi (£5.4m) and Mohamed Elneny (£4.2m) lined up on either side, with a weak shot on target from the Gunners’ Nigerian midfielder the closest he came to scoring.
Brighton’s back-up centre-back Leon Balogun (£4.2m) impressed in defence and played the full 90 minutes, as did Leicester City’s defensive midfielder Wilfred Ndidi (£4.9m).
USA 1-1 Chile
- DeAndre Yedlin (£4.5m) – 90 minutes
- Tim Ream (£4.2m) – 90 minutes
DeAndre Yedlin (£4.5m) and Tim Ream (£4.2m) both played 90 minutes at full-back for the United States in their 1-1 draw with Chile in Texas.
While Yedlin isn’t in action until Monday evening for his club, Ream’s Fulham side face Manchester City in the early kick-off on Saturday afternoon.
Honduras 0-0 Ecuador
- Antonio Valencia (£6.4m) – 0 minutes
Antonio Valencia (£6.4m) was an unused substitute as his country drew 0-0 with Honduras in New Jersey in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
The veteran Manchester United defender played 90 minutes of Ecuador’s previous friendly against the USA last week.