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 

Wales Watch: James Chester’s heroics were the weekend’s highlight

James Chester put in an outstanding performance for Aston Villa on Friday night. He scored the second goal to seal a 2-0 win for the home side, but it was a phenomenal clearance off the line that wowed spectators everywhere.

Harry Wilson scored another free kick for Derby on the weekend. This time it wasn’t quite so impressive as it was heavily deflected, but they all count. Tom Lawrence played 90 mins in Derby’s 3-1 win.

Though Bournemouth lost 2-1 at home to Manchester United, David Brooks put in another strong 90 minutes for the Cherries from a no.10 position.

Gareth Bale went without a goal or assist in the 70 minutes he played for Real Madrid and Aaron Ramsey was only used as a second half substitute for Arsenal.

Paul Dummett played 90 minutes at left-back for Newcastle, as did Ben Davies for Spurs. Elsewhere in the Premier League, Sam Vokes played 72 minutes for Burnley, but they got beat 4-2 by West Ham.

There were clean sheets for Chris Mepham (Brentford), Ashley Williams (Stoke), Neil Taylor (Aston Villa) and Adam Davies (Barnsley).

It was a second assist in as many games for Dan James, but there was no clean sheet this time for Joe Rodon. Connor Roberts played for Swansea in the higher position on the right, Declan John still doesn’t make the match day 18.

George Thomas has become a regular for Scunthorpe since featuring for Wales last month and scored the second in a 3-3 draw, as well as setting up the first goal.

Chris Maxwell was sent off for the first time in his career after a second bookable offence for Preston. Wayne Hennessey was in goal for Crystal Palace’s 3-1 loss on Sunday and stopped Alvaro Morata getting his hat-trick in injury time.

Ben Woodburn returned to the Sheffield United side with a 10 minute substitute appearance. Chris Gunter came on for the last 5 minutes in Reading’s 3-2 win over Bristol City.

FC Twente’s Matt Smith was again on hand to put in another match winning performance in their 3-1 victory.

Read more:
• The Welsh Wingers are on fire
• Doidge opens his account for Bolton 

Wales Watch: The Welsh wingers are on fire

It was a third goal in four games for Bournemouth winger David Brooks, who scored the second in a 3-0 victory against Fulham. The playmaker has been something of a revelation in recent times for Eddie Howe’s side after a goalless start to the season.

Paul Dummett kept a clean sheet at the back for Newcastle in a 0-0 draw with Southampton, as did Ashley Williams for Stoke as they beat Bristol City 1-0 away from home. Joe Allen assisted the only goal of the game with a headed pass.

There wasn’t much action for Aaron Ramsey, who only came on for the last 15 minutes of Arsenal’s 2-2 draw with Wayne Hennessey‘s Crystal Palace. Sam Vokes, who played an hour for Burnley, was part of the team that lost 4-0 at home to Chelsea.

Dan James continued his very impressive form on the left wing for Swansea, grabbing an assist for a second goal to seal a 2-0 win at home. Connor Roberts played in an advanced role on the right, Joe Rodon kept another clean sheet at the back and Declan John came on for the final few minutes in a rare appearance since joining in August.

Tom Lawrence and Harry Wilson played 90 minutes for Derby, but were unable to impact the scoreline of 1-1 with Tony Pulis’ Middlesborough side. Chris Maxwell and Andrew Hughes both played 90 minutes for Preston, as did Chris Mepham for Brentford, but neither could keep a clean sheet.

Ben Woodburn returned to the bench for Sheffield United and didn’t make an appearance, however, Keiron Freeman played 90 minutes in their 4-2 win against Wigan. Another Welsh full-back, Morgan Fox popped up with an assist for his club Sheffield Wednesday, but they lost the game 3-1 against Birmingham.

Wes Burns netted his fourth of the season for Fleetwood, and 24-year-old right-back Liam Shepherd scored his second goal of the week for League Two team Forest Green.

Although coming close to scoring on Sunday, Gareth Bale‘s Real Madrid were beat emphatically in El Clasico at the Nou Camp 5-1. Another Welsh expat, Matt Smith, is having a much better time with FC Twente. The Dutch side won again on Friday, taking them to third place in the league table.

Follow the blog on Twitter to receive the latest news regarding Welsh football.

Read more:
• Doidge opens his account for Bolton
• Match Report: Rep. of Ireland 0-1 Wales 
• Chris Mepham is “loving” his season with Wales and Brentford 

Doidge opens his account for Bolton in the Championship

Christian Doidge was the only notable Welsh player in the top divisions on the scoresheet this week. He signed for Championship side Bolton Wanderers from Forest Green Rovers on deadline day in August and netted his first goal against Rotherham on Saturday, after coming on as a second-half substitute.

26-year-old Doidge was a prolific goal scorer in the lower leagues but has never featured for Wales at any age grade.

It was fantastic news for Cardiff City on Saturday, winning their first Premier League game of the season in a dramatic 4-2 win over Fulham. Jazz Richards was brought on in the last 15 minutes to see out the victory.

Ben Davies was back in action for Spurs and played 90 minutes as they beat West Ham. Other Welsh left-backs, Paul Dummett, Andrew Hughes and Neil Taylor also played 90 minutes for Newcastle, Preston and Aston Villa, respectively.

David Brooks and Sam Vokes once again had Premier League starts and both were subbed around the hour mark. Aaron Ramsey came on for ten minutes in his return to the Arsenal squad.

It was a strange weekend for on-loan Sheffield United player Ben Woodburn as he turned out for Liverpool U23’s instead. Woodburn has not had much game time this season under Chris Wilder and it is thought that there’s a clause in his contract to guarantee a certain amount of games throughout the season.

Despite a solid performance for Liverpool U23’s, it was Welsh U21 international, Isaac Christie Davies who got his name on the scoresheet in the 77th minute.

Swansea gave a debut to youngster Cian Harries on Saturday in a 1-0 loss against Aston Villa. He played alongside regular Joe Rodon in a back three and was replaced by winger Daniel James around the 50 minute mark. Connor Roberts played his usual 90 minutes at right wing-back. James Chester was back to captain the Villa side under new manager Dean Smith.

It was a bad weekend for Chris Mepham as he was sent off for a second bookable offence for Brentford. Joe Allen and Ashley Williams played 90 minutes in Stoke’s fifth loss of the season, meanwhile, Gareth Bale came on at half-time to try and salvage a win for Real Madrid, but ended with another defeat.

Lee Evans and Harry Wilson played 90 minutes for Wigan and Derby in their sixth league wins of the season. Tom Lawrence was brought on in the 36th-minute for Derby.

Matt Smith started for FC Twente and was brought off after an hour as they went 4-0 up. They ended up winning emphatically away from home; the game finished 6-1.

Follow the blog on Twitter to receive the latest news regarding Welsh football.

Read more:
• Match Report: Rep. of Ireland 0-1 Wales
• Chris Mepham is “loving” his season with Wales and Brentford 
• Giggs and Williams speak ahead of clash with Spain 
• Harry Wilson eager to fulfil childhood dream 
• Everything you need to know about Joe Rodon – the latest Wales call-up 

Giggs and Williams speak ahead of clash with Spain

Ryan Giggs and Ashley Williams spoke to the media this morning ahead of the friendly match against Spain at the Principality Stadium. They speak about Gareth Bale missing out, playing at the Principality Stadium and the younger players keen to make their mark. 

RYAN GIGGS

Gareth Bale missing the game

“Bale is extremely doubtful for tomorrow with muscle fatigue, it’s not serious just monitoring it. There is every chance he will be available for Tuesday against Ireland. It’s 50/50 at the moment we don’t want to take risks.

“If he’s able to play on Tuesday then great, but my mind is just on Spain at the moment and then I will concentrate on Ireland.”

“We are in conversation with Madrid, but it’s nothing serious. It’s what is best for everyone involved.

“The medial team are in constant dialogue with every club, so that’s no different.

“He had a scan a couple of weeks ago. We rescanned him and done everything we could to get as much information. We’re treating it symptom wise as well, he feels good but we have to weigh up the risk.”

“With him playing club football in Spain he wants to be a part of it obviously, but first and foremost we want him to be fit for Ireland.”

“Gareth doesn’t have to be 100% to play, but when they are small injuries it’s difficult because sometimes in a short turnaround. We’ll take no chances, but if he is available on Tuesday then great.”

Other options in the squad

“We have other striking options in Vokes, Lawrence, Roberts – all can play up top. Or we can play two up top.

“We need the options because Gareth won’t always be there, that was something I was aware of and we needed something different to not rely on top players all the time.

“We need a plan B if our best players aren’t available, but even if they are available we want them to be pushed in training for their place.”

“Nothing has changed our plan, we want to win the game tomorrow, but it is a friendly.”

“Three points on Tuesday are to be had against Rep. of Ireland and we have five days in between to prepare, so there’s a bit more leeway.

“We will try and give everyone minutes tomorrow, with a mind on Tuesday as well.”

Younger players

“I think they’ll be fine because they did really well, especially in the first game. From my perspective it’s exciting, a new stage, a new venue.

“Like always, I want them to express themselves. If they’re in the team it’s for a reason, so I will ask the same of them and don’t expect anything different.”

Playing at the Principality Stadium

“The roof is closed and that was our decision. I enjoyed it as a player and it creates a good atmosphere – something different for many of our players.”

“I was excited when we had the chance to play here, I’ve had happy memories here as well as some not so happy ones.

“It’s a great stadium right in the middle of the city, the view, the pitch is magnificent – maybe too good. We want a good football match to test ourselves against a very good team.”

“We’re lucky that we have so many different stadiums to choose from, Cardiff and Swansea in recent times.

“In every game we think about where the best place to play is, we’re lucky but we take it game to game really.”

Facing Spain

“They have a new manager and were very impressive last month against England and Croatia.

“We’re in for a tough game but an exciting one and a chance for our players to play against in the best in the world.”

“In the last international break we played very well and that’s the standard we set. We dropped against Denmark so there’s things we can work on but if we play to the standard last time against Ireland we’ll do well.

“We’re in for a tough game and we have to play like that [Ireland] again.”

ASHLEY WILLIAMS

Gareth Bale missing out

“Yeah obviously it’s a blow, he’s our best player. He’s here in the group but we will miss him on the pitch, but it’s a great chance for someone to step in and show what they’ve got.

“We want him available for as many games as possible, but it’s something we have to deal with.”

“I’m sure he’s frustrated like everyone is when they get injured, but he’s been laughing and joking and seems okay.

“He suffers a lot of injuries but he deals with it fine.”

“He’ll be in the dressing room tomorrow to help the boys as much as possible.”

“The gaffer wanted me in the dressing room to help out when I missed the Denmark game. I was fine with that and we will go with what he says.”

Facing Spain

“It’s a good game against Spain, a few of the lads have played here before. It’s why you play football, it’s a good test and challenge. This is the type of test you’d want.

“The Spain team are in a bit of a transition stage, a lot of the world-class players have moved on and retired.

“It will still be a challenge. They’re a team with quality everywhere like they showed against England and Croatia last month.”

“We will try and implement our game and see what happens. We must make sure we’re not to get frustrated without the ball.

They will have a lot of the possession, so it will be an interesting challenge.”

“Whenever you can get on the field and get more caps and experience it’s great.

“It’s a chance for all of us to play again together, different lads as well. We’ll find out the team tomorrow, whenever you play against quality it’ll be a test.”

Strength in depth

“It’s the strongest squad that I’ve seen since I’ve been involved with Wales.

“You have to be doing well for your club to play. We have a few players ready to step in at anytime.

“It’s probably two elevens that can go out and be very strong; the strength in depth is fantastic.”

“From what we’ve seen already the younger players seem to be a good set of lads, down to earth and always listening.

“Talent wise an unbelievable set of players, we are just trying to fuse together and see what happens.”

On new call-up Joe Rodon: “He’s doing well I know him from Swansea. He’s a nice kid and we made him sing again.

“He sang something, I cant remember what it was but it was rubbish anyway!”

Playing at the Principality Stadium again

“It’s impressive when you go out there, the roof is closed and it has changed a bit since I was here last.

“It’s something different for a lot of the guys, a few of us have played with the roof closed but everyone wants to play some part tomorrow.”

“I played a few games here and as a pro you want to play in the best stadiums in the world and this is definitely one of them.

“We are expecting more fans and they will make a lot of noise and give us that help we need.”

“It won’t be full, so it will be a different atmosphere [to the CCS]. The Cardiff City Stadium feels like home, we are always keen to play matches there.

“It’s a friendly here and I’m sure the fans will come out and make a lot of noise.”

Follow the blog on Twitter to receive the latest news regarding Welsh football.

Read more:
• Harry Wilson eager to fulfil childhood dream
• Everything you need to know about Joe Rodon – the latest Wales call-up 
• Ramsey and Brooks hit form at the perfect time 
• Mitchell Clark “surprised” at not being named in the Wales U21 squad 
• Ryan Giggs announces his squad for the fixtures against Spain and Rep. of Ireland 

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