England’s remarkable run to the semi-finals at the 2018 World Cup tournament raised expectations amongst many fans but they were quickly brought back down to earth with their 2-1 defeat to Spain in the UEFA Nations League.
This loss was the first time they had been beaten in a competitive match at the Wembley Stadium since 2007 and it served as a reminder of England’s struggles against stronger oppositions in world football. The Three Lions’ attention will now be towards upcoming friendly against Switzerland – who are ranked 8th in the world – on Tuesday who are going all guns blazing after thrashing Iceland 6-0 at the weekend.
That being said, Football Weeks have highlighted three key battles between the Premier League sides that would face each other which could define Tuesday’s game at the King Power Stadium:
Xherdan Shaqiri v Jordan Henderson
England v Switzerland will see a clash between two Liverpool teammates as Xherdan Shaqiri will no doubt play from midfield and will that’s likely to come against Jordan Henderson. Shaqiri was a surprise signing for Liverpool when he joined from Stoke City in the summer but has found his first-team chances at Anfield hard to come by so far. Although, the 26-year-old showed glimpses of impressive performances with his goal and two assists in Switzerland’s 6-0 win against Iceland at the weekend.
Henderson, on the other hand, may be charged with trying to hold down Shaqiri as he continues to work his way back to form and fitness. Henderson’s three appearances for Liverpool so far this season as been from the bench before starting the win over Leicester City as the Reds captain. The Liverpool man was booked before being taken off for Eric Dier in the second half against Spain.
Granit Xhaka v Dele Alli
Xhaka up against Alli looks a potential North London derby as the Arsenal man will play a holding role for Switzerland and he could be the one to come up against Tottenham’s star. Xhaka will be looking to put in a strong and convincing performance as his position in the Arsenal midfield is under pressure following the arrival of Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi from Sampdoria and French Ligue 2 side Lorient respectively.
Arsenal fans are growing weary with Xhaka’s poor performance in midfield and it could be a touch encounter with Alli, who is still searching for consistency for England. Dele Alli has three goals and five assists to his name for England, and holds record for contributing to a goal for his team once every 258 minutes on average.
Fabian Schar v Harry Kane
Harry Kane looked a little laboured at the World Cup for England and in his early appearances for Tottenham this season. Kane, however, broke his August goal hoodoo against Fulham and has scored two goals for Tottenham this season. The striker has registered 19 goals in 31 appearances for England and he will look to add on this when he come up against Newcastle United centre-back Fabian Schar.
Schar, who joined Newcastle from Deportivo La Coruna in July, have not had the best of his days since joining the Magpies, making his debut in the 2011 Premier League defeat to Chelsea before last being seen struggling during the Magpies’ embarrassing 3-1 loss to Nottingham Forest in the EFL Cup.