From London to Buenos Aires to Dakar, a total of 96 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers were played in this current international break. Premier League clubs are laden with top international players so unsurprisingly, many of them have dominated headlines across the globe.
We will take a tour across continents and check out some of the Premier League players who has seen action in international football over the past 10 days.
We start our round-up in Asia, where all eyes were on Spurs’ Heung-Min Son (7.6). The Korean played nearly 180 minutes and found the net once. With Spurs playing on Saturday, Son might see action but his fitness may not be at 100% after the travelling.
African teams played just one set of fixtures this break and Nigeria’s young starlets Alex Iwobi (5.8) and Kelechi Iheanacho (6.9) both found the net. Both players have a good chance of starting for their respective clubs this weekend.
South American teams resumed their 10-team league style qualification and a swathe of Premier League players were in action. Willian (7.3), Robert Firmino (8.4) and Philippe Coutinho (8.3) all found the net for Brazil over two fixtures. Sergio Aguero (13.1) played over 160 minutes but did not score for Argentina, which is somewhat of a surprise. For Ecuador, Antonio Valencia (5.6) and Enner Valencia (5.4) both scored, with the latter bagging a brace. Enner, is however, still struggling to break into the Everton first team. Liverpool and Manchester United plays on Monday so we can expect their South American starts to be back in action. Players like Willian may struggle to make it back to the Chelsea XI as they have a Saturday lunchtime game. Will Aguero start? Our guess is yes, but he may not be in the top of his game. Another FPL favourite, Alexis Sanchez (11.3), also played full 180 minutes for Chile and may not start for Arsenal this weekend.
Many Premier League stars played and scored for their respective UEFA nations and it will not make sense to list all of them. Special mention goes out to Paul Pogaba (8.3) and Dimitri Payet (9.4) whom both played well and scored for France. Serbia’s Dusan Tadic (7.2) was red-hot for Serbia with 3 goals and 2 assists as they recorded two very crucial wins. Austria’s Marko Arnautovic (7.2) also scored twice.
Diego Costa (10.1) and Nolito (8.8) were on target for Spain and both are expected to lead the lines for their respective clubs this weekend as well. Elsewhere, the Belgians enjoyed two easy games, scoring 10 goals in the process. Romelu Lukaku (9.4), Toby Alderweireld (6.5), Eden Hazard (9.9) [x2] and Christian Benteke (7.6) [x3] all scored but surely Premier League defence are tougher than that of Bosnia and Gibraltar.
Injuries also got the better of a few players on international duty. The most significant would be that of Georginio Wijnaldum (7.7), who looks certain to miss Liverpool’s home game against Manchester United. Joe Allen (4.8), Ryan Bertrand (5.4) and Tom Heaton (4.6) all picked up injuries that will sideline them this weekend. Shane Long (6.1) will be out of action as well, though he is hardly in the Southampton starting line-up of late. Meanwhile, Everton will lose Phil Jagielka (6.1) while sweating over the fitness of Lukaku for their visit to Manchester City.