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.

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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 

Match report: Rep. of Ireland 0 – 1 Wales

Wales recorded their second victory in as many months against the Republic of Ireland in Dublin on Tuesday night.

Wales have only won three competitive games without Gareth Bale or Aaron Ramsey in twelve years, however a magnificent free kick from Harry Wilson ensured that Wales’ footballing future is most definitely in good hands.

The first chance of the game fell to Ireland, when Matt Smith slipped on the edge of the 18-yard box, following Giggs’ instruction of passing from the back. Cyrus Christie pounced on Smith’s mistake guided the ball towards Hennessey’s bottom left corner, forcing him into a good save in the opening ten minutes.

Ben Davies and Connor Roberts started to push high in attack, with Matt Smith or Joe Allen dropping into back four in their absence. Despite forcing Ireland to press high, Wales could not force an opening to hurt Ireland.

The first 30 minutes saw both teams cancelling each other out. Wales and Ireland enjoyed spells of possession but struggled to find a way to break each other down.

Ben Davies was booked on 32 minutes for a rash challenge on Harry Arter, meaning he will miss Wales’ final Nations League match against Denmark in November.

David Brooks was by far Wales’ brightest player in the first half; his quick feet and guided movement caused Ireland problems down the right side.

A low ball from Brooks into Tyler Roberts looked dangerous, but the forward couldn’t get enough power in his strike to trouble Darren Randolph.

Matt Smith recovered well from his earlier mistake by throwing his body on the edge of the 18-yard box to block a powerful Irish shot. His passing was excellent and looked comfortable next to Joe Allen in midfield.

The first chance of the second half fell to Wales, when Arter brought down Connor Roberts on the edge of the box.

Harry Wilson, who scored a world-class free kick against Man Utd recently, stepped up and struck it straight into the top left corner, leaving Randolph no chance of a saving it.

Wales looked much brighter after going 1-0 up, but Ireland almost found a reply when Jeff Hendrick edged through the Wales defence and shot straight at Hennessey.

On 73 minutes, Smith started a Welsh counter attack by playing a through ball to Lawrence, and the Derby winger was able to force a corner.

From that same set piece, James Chester almost scored his first goal in a Wales shirt from Wilson’s perfectly drilled cross, but he headed wide.

Wales continued the pressure, this time with Tyler Roberts, who was slightly off balance when he hit the ball wide.

Ireland’s counter attacks were few and far between. A break in the 81st minute only led to a comfortable save for Hennessey, even though Ireland were throwing players forward into the Welsh half.

Giggs enforced a more defensive shape for Wales with three new introductions late in the second half. George Thomas played in an unfamiliar central midfield role, Chris Gunter came on at right-back and Andy King came on to make a three in midfield.

The result looked confirmed as the game headed into the 90th minute, but McClean almost changed that with a powerful strike. Hennessey’s solid performance between the sticks continued when he saved the shot and followed this up by collecting a cross with ease.

The final Welsh chance of the match fell to youngster, George Thomas. Tyler Roberts played him into a one-on-one with Randolph, but he squandered this golden opportunity to secure the game with a second goal for Wales.

Ireland had one more opportunity and sent Randolph up for a corner in a desperate attempt to equalise. However, this came too late for the Irish and Wales secured their second win over Ireland in a matter of weeks, taking them to first in the group with one game remaining.

Player ratings:
Wayne Hennessey (7), Connor Roberts (6), Ashley Williams (7), James Chester (6), Ben Davies (6), Joe Allen (6), Matt Smith (7), David Brooks (7), Harry Wilson MOTM (7), Tom Lawrence (6), Tyler Roberts (7).

Subs: George Thomas (6), Chris Gunter & Andy King (not enough time on the pitch).

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

Read more:
• 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 

Ramsey and Brooks hit form at the perfect time

Bournemouth beat Watford 4-0 at Vicarage Road on Saturday in their biggest away victory in the Premier League. David Brooks was key in Bournemouth’s victory, scoring the first goal after 14 minutes – his second goal in as many games. He was replaced on 70 minutes, but his overall contribution was magnificent; a perfect way to go into the international break with Wales.

Sam Vokes was another player to get his second in as many games in the Premier League. Burnley drew 1-1 with strugglers Huddersfield and Vokes managed the only goal for the home side with a guided header.

Aaron Ramsey was outstanding in his 25 minute cameo for Arsenal, scoring a world-class goal just 39 seconds into his appearance. He also assisted Aubameyang’s second goal for Arsenal to win 5-1. There is a slight doubt that he could miss either of Wales’ fixtures in the international break, due to his wife being very close to giving birth to twins. However, if he has a 39-second cap for Wales and does something as special as this, none of us will care!

Crystal Palace were fortunate not to concede more than one goal against Wolves on Saturday, thanks to the efforts of ex-Wolves goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey. Meanwhile, Ben Davies came on for the last few minutes in Tottenham’s 1-0 victory over Cardiff at Wembley.

Ipswich Town’s Gwion Edwards scored his second goal for the club with a header in a 3-2 win over Swansea at the Liberty Stadium. Joe Rodon, Connor Roberts and Dan James all played 90 minutes together for the first time this season for Swansea. Like Edwards, James was outstanding in his performance and at the moment, Wales are spoilt for choice with wingers. Although Declan John was called up for Wales this week, he didn’t make the match day squad. Rodon was called up for Wales after Paul Dummett withdrew on Saturday evening.

It was a slight worry to see Gareth Bale come off in the 80th minute with a precautionary injury in Real Madrid’s 1-0 loss. It will soon be seen whether he will be fit enough to face Spain on Thursday, but Bale has still travelled to Wales to meet up with the national team regardless.

Tyler Roberts and Chris Mepham played against each other in a promotion-rivals clash. It finished all square at 1-1 and both will travel to the Wales camp in good form.

Derby’s Tom Lawrence played 78 minutes in a 1-1 draw away to QPR. Harry Wilson came on in the 54th minute but couldn’t grab the winner.

Chris Gunter was brought off at 77 minutes for Reading, whilst they were 3-1 against West Brom. Hal Robson-Kanu wasn’t brought on but the game finished comfortably for the Baggies with 4 goals scored.

Neil Taylor played his first 90 minutes in a while for Aston Villa against Millwall, as James Chester was suspended for his red card in the previous Villa match. Steve Morison came on for Millwall, Tom Bradshaw was an unused sub.

Joe Allen and Ashley Williams played 90 minutes together for Stoke in their 1-0 away win against Norwich. Preston pairing, Chris Maxwell and Andrew Hughes also played the full match together in their huge 4-0 victory against Wigan. Lee Evans was an unused sub for Wigan.

In League One, Ched Evans won and converted a penalty for Fleetwood in a 4-0 away win against Doncaster. There was another 4-0 away thumping in League One; Adam Davies captained Barnsley against Peterborough and Ryan Hedges was brought on for the last 15 minutes to see out the huge win for Barnsley. Joe Jacobson also scored a penalty for Wycombe in their 2-1 win against Burton.

Matt Smith played 90 mins in FC Twente’s 1-1 away draw, while Real Union’s Alex Babos made a 10 minute appearance at the end of the match with Real Sociedad B.

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

Read more:
• 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 
• Wales Watch: Tyler Roberts shines again for Leeds in midweek 

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