International weeks are worrying times for Fantasy managers but they do sometimes provide indication on how some players will perform on their return. Most worrying is that a fantasy Premier League star will pick up an injury while on international duty.
This week we scan the globe to pick out the outstanding players playing for their nations, the not-so-good ones and the ones who are going to miss out on Premier League action this weekend.
Brazil were particularly impressive in their 2018 FIFA World Cup (CONMEBOL) qualifiers as they collected six points from two games. Their 3-0 win over arch-rivals Argentina really stood out. Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho scored a stunner in the said match and earned much praises for his performances – igniting talks of a possible move to FC Barcelona in the coming summer. 19-year-old Gabriel Jesus also impressed as he had one goal and one assist over two games. If this name is unfamiliar to you, don’t worry – Jesus will be joining Manchester City in Jan 2017 so do keep him on your radar.
In the African qualifiers, the Chelsea duo of John Obi Mikel and Victor Moses were on fire for Nigeria has they scored the three goals that defeated Algeria. Moses is in a rich vein of form now and is expected to further cement his spot as a right wing-back. Mikel, on the other hand, will hope that performance like this will remind his manager Antonio Conte of his existence – he has yet to make any match-day squads under the Italian thus far.
Another forgotten man, Manchester United’s Memphis Depay, also enjoyed a good outing with his Netherlands side. He came on the substitutes’ bench to score twice for his country as they beat Luxembourg. Depay has only played 20 minutes of Premier League this season and goals for his national side will give him the confidence he needs at this difficult stage of his career.
Liverpool’s Ragnar Klavan endured a tough 90 mins against Belgium as Estonia’s captain. His led a defence that shipped in 8 goals and was unfortunate enough to score as own goal as well. He can look forward to returning to Liverpool where is he is likely to play with higher calibre teammates.
Manchester City’s Pablo Zabaleta and Sergio Aguero will also want to forget this particular week with Argentina. Zabaleta was in the side that was entirely outplayed by Brazil. Aguero played 45 mins of that game. Both players were unused substitutes as Argentina returned to winning ways against Colombia in the following game. The piece of good news is that both players will be stay fresh for City when they return to England.
Elsewhere, American goalkeeper Brad Guzan conceded 5 goals in 135 mins action in goal. The United States lost 2-1 to Mexico at home before losing 4-0 in Costa Rica to start their current round of World Cup qualifiers in the worst possible way. He will struggle to dislodge Victor Vlades at Middlesbrough with performances as such.
As usual, several players suffered knocks over the internationals and are doubtful for this weekend’s Premier League. Chelsea’ Eden Hazard and Diego Costa are facing late fitness tests. Hector Bellerin is almost certainly out (Arsenal has a early Saturday game as well), while Liverpool will be sweating over the fitness of Adam Lallana, who lasted 27 mins for England against Spain.
Dusan Tadic suffered a broken nose on international duty with Serbia but has a 75% chance of playing for Southampton this weekend. The unluckiest Premier League team over this round of internationals is Tottenham – Christian Eriksen, Moussa Dembele and Vincent Janssen all suffered knocks and are doubtful this weekend.
This article was written for Togga Blog.