Wednesday, 9 November 2016

10 key FPL players & their upcoming international games

The final international break of 2016 is upon us to the displeasure of all FPL managers. Players will be travelling across the world to represent their nations in World Cup Qualifiers. The miles travelled, the teams played and the date of the games will have significant implications on a player’s points return in FPL. Thus, FPL managers must be aware of players whose performance may hindered by the matches played on international break

  1. ALEXIS SANCHEZ
The Arsenal and Chilean forward has been on top form in the Premier League so far, managing 6 goals and 4 assists so far this season. However, in recent history Sanchez’s explosive form has been hindered by the fatigue and distances travelled during the international duty. This has been evident this season in Gameweek 4 where Sanchez was benched against Southampton after the first international break amassing a disappointing 1-point return.

Apart of their World Cup Qualifiers, Chile will travel to play Colombia on the 11th of November and then they will travel back to Chile to face Uruguay on the 16th. Reports of his recent muscle injury will raise questions over his availability for club and country.  Arsenal will face Manchester United on the 19th of November. Therefore, this means that Sanchez will have only 3 days to return to London, regain fitness and prepare for the United game. Thus, should he even be fit, this may significantly impact Sanchez’s GW12 performance.

  1. SERGIO AGUERO
Aguero has had an up and down season with dips in and out of form. Recent performances against West Brom and Middlesbrough have indicated a return to form but his Premier League form has been paused as he is selected to represent Argentina in their two World Cup Qualifiers over the next two weeks.

Argentina will travel to face Brazil on the 10th of November and back to Argentina to face Colombia on the 15th of November. Manchester City will face Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on the 20th of November. Knowing Aguero’s injury record, especially during international breaks, this schedule is not appealing to all Aguero owners in FPL. Regardless, Aguero will have 5 days to prepare for Premier League action, which may be enough for him to feature in future fixtures.

  1. MESUT ÖZIL
Ozil has been in great form for Arsenal in both the Premier League and the Champions League. Ozil has been an essential player for both club and country in recent seasons; however, Ozil has been left out of the German squad for the World Cup Qualifiers against San Marino on the 11th of November. This makes him a great option for GW12 against Manchester United at Old Trafford as he will be fully rested without any action for a 2-week period

  1. EDEN HAZARD
The Belgian international has shown his true quality, which was hidden from view last season. He has been critical to Chelsea’s attack so far this season. He has managed two double figure point hauls in the last two Gameweeks with 14 points in GW10 and 19 points in GW11. As a result, Hazard has unsurprisingly been selected apart of the Belgium national team to play in the Wold Cup qualifiers.

Hazard will feature for Belgium against Estonia on the 13th of November. Chelsea’s next Premier League match is on the 21st of November when they face Middlesbrough away from home. This will give Hazard an entire week to re-join his Chelsea teammates and train for the upcoming Premier League fixture. His form and fitness is also aided by the fact that there is only one game to be played during the international break. Therefore, this makes Hazard an essential FPL option for GW12.

  1. KEVIN DE BRUYNE
De Bruyne has been at the core of the Man City attack providing 2 goals and 6 assists so far this season. Considering he was injured for a month earlier in the season, he has been in staggering form for club and country. For the upcoming international break, De Bruyne has been selected to represent the Belgian national team in their World Cup Qualifying fixture against Estonia.

Belgium face Estonia on the 13th of November, while Manchester City will face Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on the 20th of November. A week to prepare for Premier League action is plentiful for the Belgian as he seeks to continue the form, which FPL managers have come to know.

  1. PHILIPPE COUTINHO and ROBERTO FIRMINO
Liverpool are in great form and are on top of the league after GW11. Centre to this success are the two Brazilian maestros. Coutinho has been at the forefront of the Liverpool attack providing 5 goals and 6 assists. This dip into great form is reflected in his FPL price has he has increased from a base value of 8m to 8.7m making him a premium pick. Similar to Coutinho, Firmino has also been an essential asset to the Liverpool attack leading them to the top of the Premier League table. His excellent form has seen him rack up 5 goals and 5 assists so far this season. It comes with no shock that both have been selected to represent their nation, Brazil.

Brazil will face Argentina on the 10th of November and Peru on the 15th of November. Further, Liverpool will face Southampton at St Mary’s Stadium on the 20th of November. This will give Coutinho and Firmino 5 days to prepare for the Southampton game. The major problem with Coutinho and Firmino during the international break is not the fact that they’ll only have 5 days to prepare but also that they will play 2 games over the 2 weeks before any Premier League action. This is unlike other PL stars such as, Hazard, De Bruyne and Ozil; who all either play one game or not at all. This is a major problem because it’ll have negative implication on the Brazilians’ fitness levels going into the Southampton game and it may potentially affect their form as well.

  1. DIEGO COSTA
The fierce Spaniard striker has been on tantalising form so far this season. In terms of FPL, the Spaniard has only blanked in 2 of the 11 games played so far this season, providing either an assist or a goal in those games.  He is the league’s top goal scorer with 9 goals and he has added 3 assists as well. Costa has also ben picked for the Spain national squad.

Costa will represent Spain in their World Cup Qualifier against FYR Macedonia on the 13th of November and then also in a friendly match against England at Wembley on the 16th of November. Costa will have 5 days to prepare for Premier League action as Chelsea’s next Premier League match is on the 21st of November when they face Middlesbrough away from home. 2 matches during the international break mean Costa not being 100% in GW12 and more exposed to injury. He is reportedly suffering a minor injury but is set to overcome it. Therefore, for this fact, FPL managers must keep track of Costa’s progress during the international break

  1. ROMELU LUKAKU
The Belgian striker has been his usual self so far this season, scoring goals; a lot of them. Lukaku has almost carried Everton along with off the pitch best friend, Yannick Bolasie. Lukaku has managed 7 goals and 3 assists thus far this season. His contributions to his club have seen him earn a call up to his national team.

So therefore, Lukaku will likely represent his nation in their World Cup Qualifier against Estonia on the 13th of November and then his club, Everton, in the Premier League away against Swansea City on the 20th of November. A week to re-join with his teammates and recover fitness along with only one game to be played during the international break makes Lukaku an essential FPL asset for GW12

  1. HARRY KANE
Kane hasn’t had the season fans were expecting after the master class on display last season winning him the golden boot in the process. Injury has plagued his season so far but now he is back and he reminded the Premier League fans of his qualities with a goal against Arsenal in his return game. Even though being injured for a while, Kane has been surprisingly selected for the England national team.

England face Scotland on the 11th of November as part of the World Cup Qualification and then they also face Spain in a friendly match at Wembley on the 16th of November. If Kane is to start both of these games and considering he has just recently recovered from a 2-month injury, Kane may be coming into a tough few weeks and FPL managers must be aware of his situation for GW12 and future Gameweeks as well.

10. LAURENT KOSCIELNY
The French defender has been an integral part of the Arsenal defence this season, also proving an asset in the other side of the pitch with his aerial abilities in set pieces. Even though there has been a significant shortage in clean sheets this season in the Premier League, Koscielny has kept 4 clean sheets and is the highest scoring defender on FPL. Along with his ability to keep clean sheets, Koscielny has also added some attacking return to his arsenal managing 2 goals.

Apart of the French national team, Koscielny will take part in France’s World Cup Qualifier against Sweden on the 11th of November and Ivory Coast in an International friendly on the 15th of November. This is all great however Arsenal play Manchester United in the Premier League at Old Trafford on the 19th of November. This gives koscielny only four days to recover fitness and train for the upcoming fixtures. This is a problem for FPL managers who own Koscielny as he is more exposed to a lack of match fitness and potential injury.

Written by:  Mark Dinkha