Wales Watch: Harry Wilson is on fire for Derby

Harry Wilson continued his superb goalscoring form for Derby by netting another 2 goals on the weekend against Swansea, including a wonder strike from 30 yards out. Wilson has now scored four goals in his last three appearances for Derby.

In the same match, Tom Lawrence also played 90 minutes, while Joe Rodon, Connor Roberts, Dan James and Declan John all started for Swansea in the 2-1 loss against Derby.

James Chester scored again for Aston Villa as they had a shock 3-0 away victory against Middlesborough. Chester has now scored 3 goals in his last 7 games for Villa, a superb run of form for a central defender.

Although Unai Emery does not feel the need to start Aaron Ramsey, the Welsh talisman came on in the North London derby and played a huge part in Arsenal’s 4-2 victory. Ramsey was brought on at half time as Spurs went into the break 2-1 ahead, however the Welshman assisted Arsenal’s final two goals to secure the huge win. Ben Davies played 82 minutes for Spurs in the same match.

Wayne Hennessey kept a second clean sheet in two games for Crystal Palace in their 2-0 win against Burnley. Hennessey also picked up the player of the month award for Palace, voted for by the fans.

Christian Doidge and Lee Evans faced each other on Saturday as Bolton drew 1-1 with Wigan. Although Doidge played as a central striker, he saved Bolton their hard-earned point by clearing Evans’ strike off the line in the final minutes.

Wales regulars Chris Gunter and Joe Allen played 90 minutes on the opposing sides in Reading 2-2 Stoke. Ashley Williams came on for Stoke in the 89th minute.

And our foreign exports: 

Despite not getting on the scoresheet Gareth Bale was back in form for Real Madrid in their 2-0 win over Valencia. Matt Smith and James Lawrence both played 90 minutes for FC Twente and Anderlecht, respectively. Alex Babos came on in the last 15 minutes for Real Union in their 2-0 win against Real Sporting B.

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Read more:
• There were so many Welsh goal scorers in the weekend matches!

There were so many Welsh goal scorers in the weekend matches!

On Monday night, Matt Smith scored his first professional career goal for FC Twente against Jong AZ. Smith scored a volley in what happened to be the winning goal for his team.

Sam Vokes scored a stunning long-range header for Burnley against Newcastle, in what was the furthest headed finish for 3 seasons. Paul Dummett was not in the Newcastle squad.

Harry Wilson was on hand to score his third league goal for Derby on Saturday with an excellent volley in the 18 yard box. Ash Baker and Morgan Fox started for Sheffield Wednesday in the same game, both in full-back positions. Tom Lawrence was brought on for Derby for the last 15 mins.

Joe Allen also got his third of the season for Stoke City in a goalmouth scramble and Ashley Williams started in the same game at centre half.

Although he was absent from the Wales squad last week, Ben Davies was back in the Spurs starting 11 as they beat Chelsea 3-1 at home to go third in the Premier League, behind Manchester City and Liverpool.

Wayne Hennessey put in a stellar performance to keep a clean sheet at Old Trafford against Manchester United. Hennessey was tested throughout the game but made some excellent saves to earn Crystal Palace a 0-0 draw away from home.

Gareth Bale started for Real Madrid in their shock 3-0 loss away at Eibar. Meanwhile, Aaron Ramsey unfortunately continues to be used sporadically by Arsenal manager Unai Emery, only playing for 10 minutes on Sunday.

Swansea were hammered 4-1 at home by league leaders Norwich, but the main consolation was for Dan James, who tapped into an empty net for his first league goal for the Swans. Joe Rodon and Connor Roberts also started in the game, while Declan John was an unused sub.

After winning his first cap in midweek, Keiron Freeman grabbed an assist for Sheffield United on the weekend in their 2-2 draw with Rotherham. Ben Woodburn, who was absent from the Sheffield United squad again, put in an excellent display for Liverpool U23’s in a 1-0 win over Everton.

It was pleasing to see Chris Gunter back in the starting line up for Reading at right-back, following his record 93rd cap for Wales against Albania last week. Reading drew 0-0 with Wigan, for whom Lee Evans was an unused substitute.

James Chester and Neil Taylor both got 90 mins in the Second City Derby, as Aston Villa beat Birmingham 4-2 at home. Chris Mepham withdrew from international duty before the Denmark game last Friday, but he was back in Brentford’s team on the weekend, losing to Tony Pulis’ Middlesborough 2-1 at home.

And finally, new Wales-capped James Lawrence came on as a sub in Anderlecht’s 4-2 loss against Saint-Truden.

Follow the blog on Twitter to receive the latest updates on Welsh football.

Read more:
• Wales v Denmark: Pre-match Press Conference
• Wales Watch: Gwion Edwards, Hal Robson-Kanu and Joel Lynch among the goals 
• Ryan Giggs speaks at the squad announcement ahead of Denmark and Albania
• Wales Watch: James Chester’s heroics were the highlight of the weekend 

Wales Watch: Gwion Edwards, Hal Robson-Kanu and Joel Lynch among the goals

Gwion Edwards was back amongst the goals this week in a 2-2 draw with Reading. Edwards opened the scoring for Ipswich after 5 minutes with a perfectly struck low first-time volley. Chris Gunter was an unused sub.

Paul Dummett will go into the international break with another 90 minutes under his belt. He is more than likely going to start against Denmark on Friday because of Ben Davies’ absence through suspension. David Brooks played 90 minutes for Bournemouth in the same game in the no.10 position, after his excellent showing last weekend.

In the other Premier League matches, aforementioned Ben Davies played at left-back for Spurs in their 1-0 win over Wayne Hennessey‘s Crystal Palace. Sam Vokes played 73 minutes for Burnley but didn’t score in a 0-0 outing with Leicester.

Aaron Ramsey technically got an assist in Arsenal’s 1-1 tie with Wolves, giving the ball to Mkhitaryan to setup a stunning finish. Ramsey started on the bench again and only played the last 15 minutes of the match.

In the Steel City derby on Friday night, Keiron Freeman was the Welshman on the Sheff United side, while Ash Baker and Morgan Fox were part of the Sheffield Wednesday 11. The game finished 0-0; clean sheets for all of the Welsh defenders here, but none of whom are in Wales’ international squad this week. However, Ben Woodburn, who did not make the Sheffield United match day squad has been called up for Wales.

Connor Roberts and Joe Rodon were part of the Swansea defence that earned another clean sheet for Swansea. Dan James started again on the wing, but without a goal or assist this time around.

After making the squad for the first time under Ryan Giggs this week, Neil Taylor went off at half-time because of an injury in Aston Villa’s 3-0 hammering against Derby. James Chester was at the heart of defence for Villa with another clean sheet, while Tom Lawrence and Harry Wilson were off the pace for the home side.

More clean sheets for Ashley Williams‘ Stoke against Nottingham Forest on Saturday evening, Joe Allen was also in the same side. Meanwhile, Chris Mepham‘s Brentford conceded three against QPR, where Joel Lynch scored a rare goal for the home team.

Hal-Robson Kanu scored in a 4-1 hammering against Tyler Roberts‘ Leeds. Roberts only played 25 minutes of the game in the second half.

Third-choice goalkeeper, Adam Davies kept his place for Barnsley’s 4-0 win against Notts County in the first round of the FA Cup. Ryan Hedges came on as a late substitute.

New call-up James Lawrence played 90 minutes at centre-back in their 2-0 win on Sunday and Matt Smith played the full match for FC Twente on Friday night. Our other foreign export, Gareth Bale, came through seemingly unscathed against Celta Vigo on Sunday evening. He will meet with the squad in South Wales on Monday.

Follow the blog on Twitter to receive the latest updates on Welsh football.

Read more:
• Ryan Giggs speaks at the squad announcement ahead of Denmark and Albania
• Wales Watch: James Chester’s heroics were the highlight of the weekend 
• The Welsh Wingers are on fire 
• Doidge opens his account for Bolton 

Ryan Giggs speaks at the squad announcement ahead of Denmark and Albania

Ryan Giggs announced his squad for the final Nations League clash against Denmark and an away friendly in Albania to finish 2018. The biggest surprise was the call-up of the unknown defender, James Lawrence. Neil Taylor returns to the squad, as does Dan James and Tom Lockyer.

Who is James Lawrence?

“We were made aware of him over the last six months or so. He’s played the majority of his career abroad.

“Albert [Stuivenberg] has watched him a couple of times, I’m looking to see him up close in training.”

“He fits the profile of what I want to play, he’s good with the ball at his feet. He’s playing regular football and fits exactly how we want to play.”

“His grandmother is from Haverfordwest, that’s how he qualifies for Wales.

“Someone at the Welsh FA made us aware of him, we will always check them out and see if they’re good enough.”

Chris Gunter potentially winning record caps this month:

“When he does get there [93 caps] and beats the record, it’ll be a fantastic achievement. He is someone who deserves all the plaudits he gets.

“He’s been brilliant to have around the squad, a good pro and is ready to be called upon like he did against Ireland. He’s a valuable member.”

“There’s great competition for places – during the week in training; it’s what I had as a player and we have that in our camp at the moment.

“It will be on my mind for Chris to break the record against Albania, but we have to look at the overall picture. Whether it will be in November or March we will have to wait and see.”

Neil Taylor’s return:

“Taylor has been unlucky for the past few squads, I know him and have played with him.

“He’s a popular member of the squad and playing regular football for Aston Villa. It gives Ben Davies a chance to have a rest over that period [because of his suspension].”

“Ben was disappointed not to be involved with Albania, but there’s a chance for him to take part in light training with Tottenham and get some rest.

“He’s played constantly since the summer, so it will be good for him to have a break.”

“Paul Dummett and Neil Taylor are very good replacement players for us to have when Ben is not available.

“Paul would have played in the last set of matches, it’s a shame he had to pull out because of his injury.”

Tough time for Gareth Bale in Spain:

“I’ve not seen many of the Real Madrid games this season, but we’re talking about a world-class player who never lets his country down. Hopefully, he’ll be meeting with us on Sunday.”

“He doesn’t need extra help, he’s been at Madrid for 5 years, I had stick at times at Man Utd. That’s something Gareth is used to dealing with.”

“He can’t wait to join up with the lads and be a part of the game. He’s an experienced player, he’s been there and experienced most things as a player.”

Dan James’ excellent form and embedding young players:

“He’s on fire at the moment and he’s someone who has got genuine pace. He’s exciting and he could start or act as an impact sub.

“We had him in the training camp before Mexico, he was unlucky to not travel to LA, but it will be good to have him with us now.”

“You always want players joining the squad who are playing regularly, especially forward players; if they’re confident and doing well it can make the difference.”

“It’s important to get the balance of the squad right [with youth and experience]. Exposing the younger players to play against Ireland in Dublin and Spain at home will hopefully stand us in good stead.”

“You saw with Matt Smith who made the mistake early on, he was helped by the more experienced players through the game.”

Matt Smith potentially missing Albania for a club game:

“That’s something we have to monitor in the next week or so.

“It’s a juggling act because we have a massive game on the Friday against Denmark and he’s a huge part of our squad.”

“We’ll have dialogue with Matty and the club and see how it goes.”

A chance to win the Nations League group v Denmark:

“I already knew they were a very good team, but we were in the game up until the penalty.

“It’ll be tough for us and Denmark, but we’re back at the CCS with a great atmosphere. It’s a really important game for us because we have a chance to win the group.

“I’m looking forward to it, as are the players to make it as difficult as possible for Denmark.”

“We are looking for the players to perform, it is a cup final – if we win, we top the group. There’s another chance for the Euro’s, we’ll be in Pot A and there’ll be financial rewards as well.”

“I’ve really enjoyed the Nations League, the fans have as well because it’s been really competitive.

“Like I’ve said, it gives us a big opportunity to win things if we win this game.”

Follow the blog on Twitter to receive the latest updates on Welsh football.

Read more:
• Wales Watch: James Chester’s heroics were the highlight of the weekend
• The Welsh Wingers are on fire 
• Doidge opens his account for Bolton 

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