The last International break of 2016 so far: Some insights for FPL managers

Eden Hazard / Эден Азар
Eden Hazard for Chelsea“(CC by 4.0) by Aleksandr Osipov

The international breaks during the Premier League season are usually a source of worries and uncertainty for most Fantasy Football managers. Who played well for their country? Who lost their form? Who will return healthy or come back with an injury? In other words, the breaks are periods full of questions, which is why we decided to have a look at the latest one and highlight some performances that might be interesting for your Fantasy squads. You can see also what odds most betting sites have on the remaining international football fixtures later this week.

The Belgian national team is full of Premier League stars, just think of Eden Hazard, Kevin de Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku, to name a few. They played a friendly derby against the Netherlands first, followed by a visit of Estonia to Brussels. The Belgians were not very spectacular against the Dutch, with Vertonghen causing a bit of a clumsy penalty and the game ending in a 1-1 draw due to a deflected attempt from Carrasco, but they completely demolished Estonia a few days later. Midfield maestros Hazard and KDB led the Red Devils to a smashing 8-1 victory over the helpless Estonians. Hazard managed to net once, De Bruyne didn’t score, but both players were instrumental to the free-flowing attacking display of their team. The two of them will be joining Chelsea and Man City respectively in great form although Hazard did leave the field near the end with what appeared to be a knee injury. Romelu Lukaku, who was unlucky against Holland, scored twice and assisted once, so keep an eye on him as well. Especially with a home game versus Swansea coming up.

Brazil vs Argentina
The showdown in Belo Horizonte between South American archrivals Brazil and Argentina was probably the most interesting and star-studded confrontation of the latest international break. Seven Premier League players either started or were substituted in during the match, of which Liverpool’s Coutinho probably impressed most. His thundering right-foot strike in the 25th minute to give Brazil the lead had Coutinho written all over it, and the next day he was on the front pages of major newspapers around the world. Klopp will be welcoming back a player in great confidence.

Man City’s Fernandinho played the full 90 minutes and did so with authority as he played a crucial part in controlling an Argentinian midfield filled with the likes of Di Maria, Biglia and Messi. Roberto Firmino was given only 10 minutes of playing time, in which he showed his technique, but the game had already been decided by then. On the Argentinian side defenders Zabaleta and Otamendi, both City stars, will be returning to their club with their confidence dented a bit. The Brazilian attack ran circles around them in Belo Horizonte. Kun Aguero was only brought in after the half-time break, but not even the Premier League’s best player could anything to change the course of the game. On Tuesday this week they have another game against Colombia before flying back to their teams in Europe. Fun fact: Liverpool, Chelsea, City, and Paris Saint Germain rented a private jet together (costing them £120,000) to bring back their Brazilian and Argentinian players as quickly as possible.

England vs Scotland
Although Scotland put up some decent resistance, the Three Lions got a comfortable 3-0 victory in the end. Second half goals by Lallana and Gary Cahill followed Sturridge’s first half strike. England’s two wingbacks, Spurs’ team mates Walker and Rose, played an excellent game and both assisted a goal, while the assist for Cahill’s goal came from none other than Wayne Rooney. Is it enough to convince Mourinho to give him some playing time at home versus Arsenal on Saturday?

Lallana seems to have hit a rich vein of productivity in the form of goals and assists lately, so he should be worth considering. City players Stones and Sterling played the full 90 minutes versus Scotland on Friday and will be returning to their club in a good mood. Finally, with Tottenham hosting a struggling West Ham, Spurs’ defenders are an interesting target for most Fantasy squads