Dec 14

Fantasy Premier League Notes From The Midweek International Matches

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There's a break in the FPL calendar this week as a number of players are scheduled to represent their countries in World Cup Qualifiers. On Wednesday and Thursday of this week a number of European countries participated in friendly matches, whilst several South American & Asian countries started their qualifying campaign. After his excellent review of last week's midweek cup matches, we've invited Steven Riley back to provide his notes from the midweek international matches with specific attention paid to player performances and team lineups. Essential research for any Fantasy Premier League manager.

Giroud, Martial and Pogba deliver attacking returns

Manchester United pair Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba provided food for thought along with Olivier Giroud as France recorded a 3-1 away win at Italy. Pogba had United fans drooling by linking up superbly with Martial for France's first, before setting up Lavyin Kurzawa for France's third. Olivier Giroud also showed he is ready for a start for Arsenal against Southampton, playing the first half and scoring. The £9.0m striker provides an alternative should Aguero get hit with a ban ahead of some enticing Arsenal fixtures. Elsewhere N'golo Kante, Laurent Koscielny and Steve Mandanda all played the full 90, while Dimitri Payet and new Spurs signing Moussa Sissoko came on at half-time.

Ozil nets again as Germany sweep Finland aside

Mesut Ozil made it two goals in two games for club and country after seeing his cross deflected in. While the goal may well have only garnered Ozil an assist in FPL (replays show the shot was not on target), the Arsenal midfielder is showing signs of the consistency that scored him 200 points last season and is an enticing cheaper alternative (9.5) to the explosive Alexis Sanchez (10.9). New Arsenal signing Shkrodan Mustafi (6.0) played the full 90 minutes and looks set to slot into the side against Southampton at the expense of Rob Holding.

Silva brace sinks Belgium

There was a host of top Premiership talent on show as David Silva scored twice to earn Spain a 2-0 away win at Belgium. Silva converted from Diego Costa's inadvertent pullback to give his side the lead before adding another from the spot in the second half. Costa himself was a menace after coming on for the injured Alvaro Morata in the 27th minute, while Chelsea teammates Thibaut Courtois and Eden Hazard played the full 90 minutes for Roberto Martinez's side. Tottenham defensive pairing Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen also played the whole match, while Kevin De Bruyne played 87 minutes and Divock Origi logged just over an hour before being replaced by Romelu Lukaku. Christian Benteke did not come off the bench and will be hoping for minutes against Cyprus next week.

Premiership defenders hold firm as Argentina beat Uruguay

Manchester City pair Pablo Zabaleta and Nicolas Otamendi and Everton's Ramiro Funes Mori played the full 90 as ten-man Argentina ground out a 1-0 win against Uruguay. Juventus forward Paulo Dybala saw red in stoppage time as the Argentine trio held on for the second half. Both Zabaleta and Otamendi have started the last two league games for City but may be rested should they face Venezuela next Wednesday. Funes Mori has seemingly slipped down the pecking order in recent weeks and is a risky pick as Koeman tinkers with his backline.

Sanchez clocks up the minutes as Chile lose

Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez turned out for the entire game as Chile lost 2-1 to Paraguay. Coming off the back of a 16-point haul against Watford, Sanchez is a contender for the captain's armband although risks his minutes being curtailed with only three days between games against Bolivia and Southampton. History shows Sanchez is likely to be fit and ready after the break however which bodes well for those trying to fit him into their plans.

United's Valencia absent as Brazil beat Ecuador

Manchester United defender Antonio Valencia watched on from the stands as Ecuador lost 3-0 to Brazil in a World Cup qualifier. Valencia was sidelined due to suspension but is eligible to feature against Peru, meaning he will return a day before the Manchester derby, raising question marks about his selection. Chelsea midfielder Willian started for Brazil and was replaced by Liverpool's Phillipe Coutinho after an hour, while Enner Valencia and Jefferson Montero started for Ecuador along with Watford's Juan Carlos Paredes, who was sent off 15 minutes from the end.

Fischer top performer of Danish Premiership trio

Middlesbrough midfielder Viktor Fischer staked a claim for a start against Crystal Palace after scoring in Denmark's 5-0 romp of minnows Liechtenstein. Fischer played 65 minutes in an advanced role similar to the one he started in against Fulham in the EFL cup last week, suggesting he could be a possible out-of-position prospect for only £5.3m. Christian Eriksen played the full 90 minutes but disappointingly didn't get any goals or assists, while Southampton midfielder Pierre-Emile Højbjerg only played the first half.

Wijnaldum delivers as Netherlands lose to Greece

Liverpool's Georginio Wijnaldum again demonstrated his eye for goal as the Netherlands suffered a 2-1 reverse to Greece. Wijnaldum has struggled to oust fellow Reds midfielders Coutinho, Mane and Firmino in fantasy squads but served a timely reminder of his goal threat by netting the game's opening goal. Manchester United's Daley Blind and Spurs' Vincent Janssen also played the full 90 minutes while Watford's Jose Holebas turned out in the first half for Greece.

King and Diomande earn minutes as Norway lose

Josh King and Adama Diomande managed 45 and 30 minutes respectively in a disappointing 1-0 loss to Belarus. Interestingly King played in a striker position similar to the one he has frequented at Bournemouth, arguably making him the standout pick of Bournemouth's £5.5m options depending on where loan signing Jack Wilshere fits in. Hull's Diomande has seen a rise in ownership over recent weeks as a budget £4.6m enabler but it remains to be seen how his minutes will be affected by new signings Will Keane and Dieumerci Mbokani.

Walters shines as Ireland defeat Oman

There was a host of Premier League players on show for the Republic of Ireland as they comfortably beat Oman 4-0. Stoke's Jonathan Walters was the star of the show as he scored two and assisted another, while Harry Arter provided the ammo for Walters' second goal to add to his assist against Palace, although the opposition's 107th placed FIFA ranking must be taken into account. Bournemouth defender Marc Wilson played the full match while James McClean, Shane Long, Glenn Whelan and new Burnley signing Jeff Hendrick each managed 45 minutes.

Lee Chung-Yong on target for South Korea

Lee Chung-yong got 63 minutes and a goal under his belt as South Korea defeated China 3-2. The Palace midfielder lost his place in the last game as Alan Pardew switched to 4-4-2 and looks unlikely to gain it back with the signing of Loic Remy. Swansea's Ki Sung-Yueng played the whole game but has struggled to make it into Swansea's first team so far this season.

Fonte and Cedric on the bench as Portugal thrash Gibraltar

Southampton defenders Jose Fonte and Cedric Soares watched from the sidelines as Portugal thrashed lowly Gibraltar 5-0. While Fonte is a permanent fixture in the Southampton XI, Cedric's owners will be watching his minutes against Switzerland, although few will be likely to play him away to Arsenal even if he is fit after his international excursions.
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