By Jude Hall, Sheffield Wednesday writer
Sheffield Wednesday return to League One action this weekend as they face 14th place Plymouth Argyle at 3pm on Saturday.
Following defeat to Morecambe last time out in the league, Darren Moore will be looking for a reaction at Home Park where The Owls will don their brand new pink away strip for the first time this season.
Wednesday’s opponents have made a steady start to the league campaign, winning two of the first five matches and losing just once, with that only defeat coming on the opening day away at Rotherham United. Like The Owls, The Pilgrims saw last weekend’s game rescheduled due to international involvement so will feel refreshed ahead of Wednesday’s visit. Saturday’s hosts remain unbeaten at home so far this season after a 1-0 win over Gillingham, a 1-1 draw against Cambridge and then another 1-1 draw with Fleetwood Town in their last league fixture.
The Argyle manager, Ryan Lowe, will be excited ahead of the clash against his former club, with the Ex-Owls striker scoring eight times during Wednesday’s 2011/12 League One promotion season. The Hillsborough faithful hold pleasant memories of the Liverpudlian who has been linked with the Wednesday job on multiple occasions in the past.
Sheffield Wednesday’s loan goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell was nominated for the League One player of the month after he was voted as Wednesday’s best player for August, and the 24-year-old has been catching the eye again on international duty with Northern Ireland, saving penalties against Lithuania and Switzerland. The man on loan from Burnley has now faced four penalties this season without conceding whilst only letting in one goal since joining the Yorkshire club. Saturday will prove to be another stern test for The Owls’ defence as they face a strike duo of Luke Jephcott and Ryan Hardie who both have three goals so far this term.
Darren Moore has plenty of strike power in his own armoury following the deadline day addition of Ex-premier league forward Saido Berahino. The 28-year-old made a highly reported move to S6 just over a week ago and could be in contention for the trip down South. Another name back in the mix for Wednesday is that of Olamide Shodipo who is back in full training following his injury in the Carabao Cup first round exit. After decent outings in the Papa John’s Trophy last week both Theo Corbeanu and Sylla Sow also have a case to start making this Darren Moore’s biggest headache so far this season.
Despite the long journey, The Owls come into this one as favourites with just 15 points for correctly predicting an away win whilst should the hosts continue their fine home start there’s 20 points up for grabs. With both teams looking dangerous going forward, there may be a few goals in this one especially with Bailey Peacock-Farrell only recently returning to the Wednesday camp following Northern Ireland heroics. I’ll go with a 2-1 Wednesday win scoring 100 points should it come in. Head over to the ‘play’ section to have your own say…
By Nathan Shields, Manchester United writer
At his pre-match press conference, Ole Gunnar Solksjaer has confirmed that Cristiano Ronaldo will definitely make his second debut for the club this weekend.
Ronaldo arrived at Carrington on Tuesday after being released early by Portugal due to a one-match suspension.
Jadon Sancho was the only casualty of the international break, but he has since been training with his United teammates since his withdrawal from the England squad.
Solksjaer said: "Jadon has come back in and trained the last couple of days. He's disappointed he couldn't play for England but determined to be fit, and he's available. That's a positive."
Alex Telles and Scott McTominay have been training this week as they up their fitness upon returning from their injuries.
"Alex is not 100 per cent," said Solksjaer. "He's still a few weeks [away]. Scott has recovered very quickly from the operation, so, if he's going to play or not, I'm not sure."
Dean Henderson and Phil Jones have also been trying after their respective absences.
Eric Bailly returned from his Ivory Coast to work at Carrington on Wednesday, but fellow Ivorian international Amad remains injured.
Raphael Varane is in line to make his home debut for the reds after coming back from international duty with France unscathed.
Fred's availability is up in the air after FIFA's ruling, making Brazilian players unavailable to their clubs.
This came after Brazil complained that several of their players from the Premier League did not report for international duty.
Premier League clubs didn't allow their Brazillian's to go due to Brazil being a red list country and having to quarantine upon return to England.
However, Newcastle manager and former red Steve Bruce has confirmed that Miguel Almiron will be available after Paraguay followed suit of their South American compatriots and complained to FIFA that he didn't report to their training camp.
Bruce also confirmed Callum Wilson is out with a thigh injury, while Ryan Fraser is also unavailable after picking up an injury while on international duty with Scotland.
Martin Dubravka remains sidelined, along with Jonjo Shelvey and Paul Dummett.
Meanwhile, Isaac Hayden is closing on full fitness.
By Tyler Khan, Leicester City writer
Leicester City host the current Premier League champions Manchester City this Saturday, in their first match back after the international break. The Foxes will be looking to make it two wins in two against City this season after Kelechi Iheanacho scored an 89th minute penalty in the Community Shield just over a month ago.
Leicester City have had an okay start to the season with two wins over Wolves & Norwich, but they also suffered a heavy 4-1 defeat to West Ham.
Leicester sit 9th in the table and will be looking to push up a few more positions over the next few games.
Brendan Rodgers will be reminding the squad that they do have a chance of taking some points from the City game, after beating them just over a month ago - with the 5-2 victory at the Etihad last September still in their minds too.
Although Rodgers will be reminding the players of the previous encounter, he will also not be naive in thinking this game is going to be similar to the game that they played in the Community Shield. In this fixture we could see Pep Guardiola putting out one of- if not the strongest starting lineup he has available to him; compared to his weakened side in early August.
While Man City do have a strong backline, we have seen Jamie Vardy find ways to exploit it over the years - and this is why he must turn up on Saturday. Leicester won’t see much of the ball and they will have to take the little opportunities they get, so I can see Leicester opting with the strategy of looking to play in Vardy when they get a chance as this will be their best chance of scoring in this game.
It sounds as though it may be too early for Ademola Lookman to start the game this weekend, but the new signing could be on the Foxes bench as an option for Rodgers to exploit a tiring City defence with some electric pace.
Rodgers looks like he is going to stick with the newly adopted 442 formation. It could be a defence of Caglar Soyuncu, Daniel Amartey and Ricardo Pereira, with Luke Thomas also starting again on the left-hand side. Rodgers will be banking on his midfield four of Barnes, Ndidi, Tielemans & Albrighton; and expect the same system as the Norwich game, with Vardy and James Maddison starting up top.
Man City are the favourites going into this game, as they are in 99% of the games they play, however as I said before I do see Leicester potentially taking a point from this game if Rodgers can set his team out in the right way.
Footrace has Leicester available at 50 points, with my prediction of a draw worth 34, and - if you want to side with the favourites - Man City are available for 5 points.
By Lewis Williamson, Stoke City writer
Michael O’Neill’s side returns from the international break having a good track record in the league but with their most recent game being a loss against Championship leaders Fulham.
They’ll be looking to get back to their pre-Fulham form against a Huddersfield side that sits level with the Potters on points and only one ahead in goal difference.
Huddersfield, however, come into the clash on the back of a 4-0 routing of Reading and will look to continue this run. Carlos Corberán’s team will be aiming to keep pressure on the top spots as they sit only one point behind Queens Park Rangers in third.
Corberán’s side has received a boost this week with the reported returns of Aaron Rowe who will provide competition for the wide positions, and Josh Ruffels who could slot in either at left-back or midfield. Harry Toffolo has started the last two games at left-back, and Ollie Turton has featured on the right, so there will be plenty of choices to be made ahead of Saturday’s game.
Stoke have also been handed a boost with goalkeeper Adam Davies set to return after having been pulled out of the Wales international squad due to contracting coronavirus. Though Davies has only featured in the EFL Cup so far, he may return this weekend to O’Neill’s side.
The Potters are hoping to turn their form around after the poor display at Fulham, hoping to jump ahead of Huddersfield in the table with three points at the weekend. Huddersfield have won three straight Championship games since their loss to Fulham in their second match.
Stoke will need to lead from the front and keep an energised Huddersfield side that is on good form. Michael O’Neill’s side will look to continue the prolific nature of Nick Powell and Sam Surridge in front of goal, building on their form so far.
By Archie Burkinshaw, Tottenham Hotspur writer
The Premier League is back after what felt like an incredibly long international break, I think it felt longer than usual due to the great position Tottenham find themselves in after three games, sitting top of the table with a 100% winning start. I was eager to see Tottenham continue this great form especially with fixtures such as England v Andorra being the alternative.
Thankfully Spurs are back and are the lunchtime kick-off, travelling to Selhurst Park to play Crystal Palace, the Eagles always make it a tricky affair for Spurs and dont expect this match to be any different. Palaces last outing resulted in an entertaining 2-2 draw against in-form West Ham, no doubt this result will have given them confidence and I expect them to bring it against Spurs, defending compactly and looking to release Zaha on the counter.
It will be very interesting to see what team Nuno chooses tomorrow, Tottenham are without Giovani Lo Celso, Cristian Romero and Davinson Sanchez, following the mess of Covid-19 protocols for players in South America. Worryingly, Son Heung-min is another doubt after injuring his calf on international duty. These absentees could see Tanguy Ndombele get some minutes for the first time this season or even deadline day signing Emerson Royal coming in for a debut.
I see this being another cagey affair for Tottenham so I am going for another 1-0 win for Spurs making it four in a row in the Premier League, Footrace are offering 70 points for this result. Footrace is offering 35 points for a Palace win, 27 for a draw and 8 for the overwhelming favourites Tottenham Hotspur.
By Finley Chung, Sutton United writer
After an extended COVID and injury enforced break from their last fixture, Sutton United are back in EFL action this weekend as 12th placed Stevenage visit the leagues basement side, with their first visit to the Ground since a Nationwide Conference game in 1999.
This fixture kicks off a run of three games in seven days for Sutton, who after the visit of Stevenage, welcome Hartlepool United on Tuesday night, before hitting the road and making the long journey down to Devon, to face Exeter.
Before those two assignments though, attention turns to Stevenage in what is the clubs first League match in two weeks since their heart-breaking loss to Oldham Athletic on August 28th. The form of visitors Stevenage, has stuttered a bit since winning their first three games of the season in league and cup, with the Hertfordshire side now winless in their last five matches. Sutton United assistant manager, Jason Goodlife will be very familiar with the opposition, having made over 150 appearances for Boro, along with two management spells.
The home side will have Omar Bugiel available after his international exploits with Lebanon over the break. The players that are currently injured, or COVID confined could be in line for a return too.
In terms of Footrace points for the fixture, if you fancy Sutton to bag their first ever EFL win, it’ll get you 20 points, with one more available for the draw with 21 up for grabs. If you fancy the Hertfordshire side, then a Stevenage win will earn you 15 points in your set of predictions.
By Lewis Robinson, Chief Football Writer
Harrogate Town vs Newport County
Harrogate Town had a successful first season in league football, finishing 17th and ensuring another season at this level. Fast forward to today, the Sulphurites sit top of the League Two after five matches, with a game in hand on Forest Green who are second. Harrogate have won their last two games 3-1 and are the second highest scorers in the league.
Newport on the other hand have made a decent start, sitting in 15th after the disappointment of a play off final defeat at the back of last season. The Exiles have made a mixed start to the campaign, but will be looking to gather some form in hopes of emulating, if not bettering, last season’s finish.
On paper there is not a tougher place to do that than at the Envirovent stadium, with the hosts being unbeaten at home so far. Newport however have had more success on the road so far this campaign, which could be a leveller in this clash.
Arsenal vs Norwich City
If before the season someone had said that this game would be a bottom of the table clash, I don’t think many people would have believed you. Or maybe you would? This doubt is a sad indictment of Arsenal’s fall over the last few years, with the club adopting a younger transfer strategy that will no doubt take time to come to fruition, the situation is precarious currently for the Gunners.
Like their visitors, Norwich are also without a win in the league but have been handed a tough start to the campaign. Having played Liverpool, Manchester City and Leicester in their opening four games (with Newcastle being the opener). In those games, the Canaries have only netted once, a penalty converted by Teemu Pukki.
This is one more goal than the Gunners have scored in the league this season, a stat Arsenal will be desperate to change against the recently promoted Canaries.
Manchester United vs Newcastle United
There is a return to Old Trafford for a certain Manchester United legend on the cards when the Red Devils take on Newcastle on Saturday.
Steve Bruce sits in the opposition dugout this time...of course I mean CR7 himself, Cristiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo’s ‘homecoming’ will no doubt dominate proceedings, but there is debate surrounding the Portuguese player’s level of impact considering his age. However, I’m sure his introduction will be a huge boost to a club already with a good feeling around the place.
This is not good news for Newcastle, who have not tasted victory since the opening day, and suffered a 4-1 defeat in this fixture last season. This, combined with Ronaldo’s homecoming could be bad news for the Magpies.
Leicester City vs Manchester City
Two teams who have won the Premier League in the last five years face off at the King Power on Saturday, as Leicester play host to Manchester City. It has been a mixed start to life for the Foxes so far this season, losing defender Wesley Fofana in pre-season and 4-1 loss to West Ham is balanced by two victories out of three. A result against Manchester City would certainly have a good chance of being a catalyst for the Foxes, with their Europa League campaign beginning on Thursday.
After a disappointing opening day defeat at Spurs, Manchester City have responded in almost perfect fashion, with consecutive 5-0 wins over Norwich and Arsenal. It will certainly be some feat if Pep Guardiola’s side were to continue that scoreline streak on Saturday, but if any team is capable, it is this City side.
Blackpool vs Fulham
Fulham have made a barnstorming start to the Championship season, not losing since the opening day. The Whites are the top scorers in the league, boasting a plethora of exciting attacking talent. Marco Silva’s men are also prudent at the back, being the division’s joint tightest defence with Birmingham, only conceding three goals.
Blackpool are winless in the league so far, with Fulham being a tough fixture to arrest that slide. Blackpool will be hoping to do better than their fellow League One campaigners last season, Hull City, who were defeated 2-0 by the West London outfit. With Fulham’s form and Blackpool’s slow start to the season, it could be a long afternoon for the Tangerines.
Sunderland vs Accrington Stanley
The Stadium of Light plays host to a top of the table clash between the Black Cats and Accrington Stanley.
Sunderland top League one and have a game in hand on the visitors. The Black Cats have only tasted defeat once this season, and are unbeaten in their last three in all competitions.
Stanley have made a good start to the campaign, winning three in a row during August. All but one of Stanley’s games have been won or lost by one goal, so it could be a tight affair on Saturday afternoon.
Home advantage plays in Sunderland’s favour, but Accrington are a team in form who could spoil the party at the Stadium of Light on Saturday afternoon.
Chelsea Women vs Everton Women
Both teams going into this one will be looking to correct their opening day results, with both sides tasting defeat.
Emma Hayes’ side lost to Arsenal last Sunday, whilst Everton were defeated by Manchester City 4-0.
Each team endured a tough opening fixture, with current WSL holders Chelsea being the favourites. Chelsea should win this one, but that opening day defeat could show signs of a blip in West London outfit’s form.
Leeds vs Liverpool
Two teams who love to throw men forward and play on the front foot take each other on at Elland Road on Sunday. 0-0 guaranteed then.
Leeds are without a win so far in the Premier League, and it will take a perfect performance you’d imagine for that to change against Jurgen Klopp’s side. The possible absence of Raphinha could also be a big blow for the Whites in what will be a challenging game.
Liverpool however come into the game on form, winning twice and drawing once so far this campaign. The Reds’ previous game was a frustrating one, with the side unable to break down a 10-man Chelsea team. Leeds will be a tough test for Liverpool, with the sheer energy and pace they bring to the game. Will Liverpool get a taste of their own medicine?
By Owain Wyse, Sheffield United writer
On deadline day much was promised, and many were linked with the Blades. It began with links to two wide players, Barcelona youngster Alex Collado and Parma winger Yann Karomah both deals were reportedly close, with Callado’s supposedly 99% complete before reportedly falling through due to money disputes between the player's representatives and the club. However, 4 players did join the Blades: Ben Davies, Conor Hourihane, Morgan Gibbs-White and Robin Olsen all on loan.
6 players have also left Bramall on a permanent basis the biggest being Aaron Ramsdale to Arsenal for £25 million. Club legends Phil Jagielka and Simon Moore were released by the club and have joined Derby and Coventry respectively. Midfielder John Lundstram was also released and has joined Rangers, defensive duo Jack Rodwell and Kean Bryan also saw their contracts run out and haven’t found a club since leaving S2.
2 fringe players departed on loan, promising young striker Dan Jebbison joined Burton as he sought tutelage from former great Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Max Lowe joined Nottingham Forrest on a season long deal.
The first signing of the window was centre half Ben Davies from Liverpool. The left footer joined United on a season long deal and will be looking to bolster the fragile Blades backline. United struggled to fill the void left by Jack O’Connell after his injury and will be hoping Davies can solidify the backline and be a mainstay within the team over the course of the season.
The Blades then left it until the second last day of the window before the next addition arrived through the doors. Experienced midfielder Conor Hourihane joined United from Aston Villa. Formerly of Barnsley, Hourihane has superb set piece delivery a great range of passing whilst having an eye for goal. He will provide competition for the current midfield three and has a wealth of experience to call upon at this level.
Morgan Gibbs-White was the third fresh face to join the Blades. The England Under 21 international is an attacking midfielder who usually slots into the number 10 role, or the Duffy role as it is commonly known within the Blades fanbase. Gibbs-White spent the first half of last season out on loan at Swansea where he made 5 appearances scoring one goal on debut before an injury stopped him in his tracks. He was recalled to Wolves in January, featuring in 11 games before the end of the season.
The final signing of the window came at the 11th hour of deadline day with Swedish goalkeeper Robin Olsen brought in from AS Roma as a replacement for Aaron Ramsdale. Olsen made his first foray into English football last season when he joined Everton as back up to England number 1 Jordan Pickford. Despite being signed as cover, Olsen did briefly replace Pickford as Ancelotti chose to rotate his keepers. Olsen is Sweden’s number 1 and has 48 caps to date.
By Juan I Giulianelli, Escritor de fútbol argentino
La semana pasada, la Premier League tomó la decisión de proteger a sus equipos de las convocatorias de la Conmebol para los futbolistas sudamericanos citados por sus selecciones nacionales para disputar la clasificación para la Copa Mundial de la FIFA 2022. En un primer momento muchas asociaciones de fútbol europeas se unieron a esta idea, pero afortunadamente luego declinaron su posición.
Por supuesto que el COVID-19 es la razón principal, América del Sur está mostrando que la Pandemia en el continente lamentablemente todavía está muy activa en muchos países y algunos de ellos tienen serios problemas como Argentina, Brasil y Venezuela, entre otros....
La FIFA pidió a las federaciones europeas, especialmente a Inglaterra y España que reflexionen al respecto de esta medida y desistan de su postura como una forma de apoyar al “mundo” llamado fútbol y crear igualdad de condiciones para cada país miembro de la Asociación. Es importante recordar que los anteriores partidos de clasificación para la Copa Mundial de la FIFA en Sudamérica fueron pospuestos por similar motivo (COVID-19) en este caso con acuerdo de la FIFA.
¿Qué hay detrás de esta posición de la Premier League y otras asociaciones de fútbol que hacen que futbolistas como Alisson, Fabinho y Roberto Firmino del Liverpool, Ederson y Gabriel Jesus del Manchester City, Fred del Manchester United, Thiago Silva del Chelsea o Raphinha del Leeds, todos de ellos jugadores brasileños que juegan en la Premier League o Malcolm y Claudinho del Zenith (que sugirió regresar temprano a los jugadores) o Raúl Jiménez del Wolverhampton (Federación de México), Ben Brereton del Blackburn Rovers y Francisco Sierralta del Watford (Federación de Chile) o Davinson Sánchez del Tottenham (Federación Colombiana) que ha acordado con el jugador que juegue solo dos partidos y regrese temprano para unirse al equipo de la Premier League, o Miguel Almirón del Newcastle United (Federación de Paraguay)?, la única razón es el dinero, el dinero que los equipos podrían perder si son derrotados en las competiciones europeas jugando sin sus mejores futbolistas, pero claro la excusa en este caso ha sido el COVID-19.
Entiendo que los equipos locales pagan todos los meses altos sueldos a los mejores futbolistas y ellos "sugieren al respecto" ..., también entiendo que alguien puede argumentar que esta es una situación diferente porque en partidos anteriores a la pandemia de Covid-19 los equipos han dado permiso a sus jugadores, pero… ¿Qué pasó con Moisés Caicedo de Brighton que estaba autorizado para jugar con la Selección de Ecuador? (Finalmente ha dejado la Premier League para pasar a la liga de Bélgica) Bringthon le dio autorización para viajar porque el futbolista no forma parte del primer equipo actualmente, entonces ¿No es importante la salud de Moisés Caicedo? ¿O porque Moises Caicedo no es actualmente parte del primer equipo puede viajar a Sudamérica donde la Pandemia es un Caos? ¿Este caso no les recuerda cuando Sevilla quiso prohibir a Maradona y Simeone viajar a jugar con Argentina porque tenía un importante partido de competición europea?
Como argentinos, estamos muy orgullosos de jugadores como Emiliano Martínez y Emiliano Buendía del Aston Villa o Cristian Romero y Giovani Lo Celso del Tottenham que desafiaron a su equipo y viajaron para jugar con la selección, pero ¿tendrá consecuencias para ellos? ¿No es este tipo de rebeldía bien aplicada parte del talento buscado para sumar calidad a su equipo?
La mayoría de estos jugadores forma parte de la Selección antes de llegar a sus actuales equipos de la Premier League, por supuesto jugar en la Premier League les da prestigio, dinero y potencialmente más reconocimiento para ser seleccionados en sus equipos nacionales, pero los equipos lo saben cuándo firmaron un extranjero, los mejores futbolistas deben jugar con la selección nacional si lo desea, porque desde el punto de vista de los futbolistas, los equipos en los que juegan en algún momento desaparecerán de su vida, pero las selecciones serán parte de su vida por siempre después del fútbol porque la gente en sus países los reconocerá por sus partidos con la selección nacional, no por la cantidad de goles que marcaron en la Premier League…
Por supuesto que hay algunos casos excepcionales como Lionel Messi, Diego Maradona, Ryan Giggs, Francesco Totti, David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo, etc., que son y fueron muy importantes en su carrera también en sus equipos, pero considero que el caso de Lionel Messi nos da la oportunidad de entender cómo piensa el futbolista sudamericano. Messi vivió en Barcelona desde los 13 años, ganó dinero y reconocimientos jugando para el Barcelona y lo invitaron para jugar en la Selección de España, pero el decidió jugar en la Selección Argentina, para la Argentina donde probablemente no puede caminar por la calle y seguramente en el futuro solo vendrá como turista porque el estilo de vida en los países de américa del sur está muy por detrás de Europa pero, como la mayoría de los jugadores de fútbol en todo el mundo, ama a su país y se sienten muy orgullosos de unirse a él y viajar horas para jugar solo 90 minutos con sus colores nacionales y luego volver y jugar de nuevo con los colores de su empleador de turno ...
Será una pelea entre la Conmebol y especialmente la Premier League, con la FIFA como árbitro.
Solo una pregunta para comprender finalmente los puntos clave de esta decisión ... ¿Por qué no utilizar un enfoque similar al adoptado por el gobierno del Reino Unido para las etapas finales de la EURO 2020 para los próximos partidos internacionales?
Por supuesto que entiendo la situación, y como todas las personas alrededor del mundo en los sudamericanos somos muy apasionados por el fútbol. Lo entendimos también cuando hace unos meses se pospuso la fecha de eliminatorias anterior, pero los futbolistas nacieron en un país y si lo desean, deben jugar en su nacional
By Juan I Giulianelli, Argentinian football writer
Last week the Premier League made the decision to protect its teams when the Conmebol association called South American footballers to play for their National Teams on FIFA’s World Cup 2022 qualification. At first many footballs association added to the Premier League’s idea and suggested to their South American footballers not to travel to play with their National Teams but fortunately then they declined their position.
Of course, COVID-19 is the main reason, South America is showing that the Pandemic in the continent is unfortunately still in progress in many countries and some of them have serious issues such as Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela, etc....
FIFA requested to the European associations, especially England and Spain, to think about it and decline their position in order to support the “world” called soccer and to create equal conditions for each country member. It's very important to remember that the previous matches of FIFA World Cup qualification in South America were postponed for similar reasons (COVID-19) but on that occasion with FIFA’s agreement.
What is behind this position from the Premier League and the other football associations that make football players like Alisson, Fabinho and Roberto Firmino from Liverpool, Ederson and Gabriel Jesus from Manchester City, Fred from Manchester United, Thiago Silva from Chelsea or Raphinha from Leeds, all of them Brazilian players that play on the Premier League or Malcolm and Claudinho from Zenith (who were suggested to came back early) or Raúl Jiménez from Wolverhampton (Mexico federation), Ben Brereton from Blackburn Rovers and Francisco Sierralta from Watford (Chilean federation) or Davinson Sánchez from Tottenham (Colombian federation) who agreed with the team players to play just two matches and come back early to join the premier League team, or Miguel Almirón from Newcastle United (Paraguay federation)? Of course, the only reason for this teams that made this decision is money, the money that the teams could lose if they are defeated in European competitions especially if they play without their top footballers, but what was the reason they said there was? COVID-19. But is it a real issue? Of course local teams pay high salaries every month for the Top footballers and we “suggest about it”.... Of course, some people might think that it is a different situation because in previous matches until Covid-19 pandemic, the teams had given permission to their players but… What happened with Moisés Caicedo from Brighton who was authorized to play with the Ecuador National team? Of course at the end of the time he had left the Premier League to Belgium League but Bringthon didn’t give him authorization until the football player was part of the team. Isn't Moises Caicedo health important? or because Moises Caicedo is not currently part of the first team can travel to South America where the Pandemic is a caos?
As Argentinean, we are very proud of players like Emiliano Martínez and Emiliano Buendía from Aston Villa or Cristian Romero and Giovani Lo Celso from Tottenham who challenged their team and travel to play with the national team, but will it have consequences for them? Perhaps this kind of rebellion is not part of the talent chosen to add quality of his team?
Most of them were part of the National team before they arrived on their currently Premier League teams, of course playing on Premier League has given them prestigious, money and potentially more recognition to be selected on the national team, but the teams know it when they signed a foreign, top footballers that must play with the national team if he wish because
from footballers point of view teams will passed away on their life but national teams will be part of their life post football.... because the people in his countries will recognize them for the national teams.... not for how many goals they scored at the Premier League...
Of course, there are some exceptional cases as Lionel Messi, Diego Maradona, Ryan Giggs, Francesco Totti, David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo, and so on, who were and are very important on their career on teams and national teams, but I think that the Lionel Messi case give us the opportunity to understand the brain of the south American football player.
Messi lived on Barcelona since 13 years old, he won money and recognition playing at Barcelona and he was requested to play on Spain National team but he decided to play on Argentinian team, on Argentina he probably can't walk on the street and probably in the future will come just as tourist because the lifestyle in south America countries is many steps behind of Europe, but as most football players around the world, he loves his country and its feel very proud to join it and travel many hours for play just 90 minutes with his national colors and then come back to play with its employer colors ...
It will be a fight between Conmebol and especially the Premier League with FIFA as referee.
Just a question to finally understand the key points of this decision.... Why don't use a similar approach as adopted by the UK government for the final stages of EURO 2020 for the upcoming international matches?
Of course we understand, and as all people around the world we are very passionate of soccer and we understood when some months ago the south American World Cup qualifications was postponed, but the football players were born in a country and if they wish they must play on their national team.