CANADIANS ABROAD: All eyes on Alphonso Davies as Bayern star continues recovery
With a nine-point window in the bag, it’s back to club commitments for Canada’s men’s internationals.
The women, meanwhile, are gearing up for international action of their own, with Bev Priestman set to name her squad for the upcoming Arnold Clark Cup on Monday afternoon.
Here is your guide to the Canadian storylines to watch this week.
All eyes on Davies' recovery
We should receive an update on the health of Alphonso Davies this week as he continues to recover from a mild case of myocarditis.
Bayern Munich announced that Davies would be ruled out indefinitely on January 14. He is scheduled to have his heart examined again after four weeks, which would be Friday (February 11). From those results Bayern will decide what, if any, physical activity Davies can resume and a timeline for his first-team comeback.
Nagelsmann on Davies: "He's doing well. I spoke to him last week. He's a bit bored because he can't do anything. After the end of the 4 weeks, he will undergo further exams then we'll see how we're going to proceed" pic.twitter.com/jM7zSaHnTm— Bayern & Germany (@iMiaSanMia) February 3, 2022
At this point Davies’ participation in the March international window is in doubt. Canada’s first game is not until March 24, but he will likely require at least a few weeks to ramp up his workload in a safe and gradual manner before being cleared to play.
New starts for Laryea, Eustaquio, Ugbo
Elsewhere in Europe, multiple men’s national team players are getting settled at new clubs.
Stephen Eustaquio made his debut for Porto as a late substitute in a 2-0 win over Arouca at the weekend and will now hope to be involved in the top-of-the-table clash away to Sporting on Friday. It may prove to be the decisive match in the Portuguese title race, with Porto currently six points ahead of Sporting and comfortably clear of everyone else.
Richie Laryea, meanwhile, was an unused substitute as Nottingham Forest stunned Leicester City in the FA Cup, winning 4-1 against Premier League opposition. Laryea has stiff competition at right wing-back in the form of Djed Spence, who has been linked with Arsenal and Tottenham. But Forest’s busy week, with games against Blackburn Rovers on Wednesday and Stoke City at the weekend, and Laryea’s versatility could earn him a first start.
Ike Ugbo has joined Jonathan David in Ligue 1, signing with Troyes on loan in search of more regular first-team minutes. Nigeria international Paul Onuachu’s 13 goals in 20 games have made them difficult to come by at Genk. A minor injury kept Ugbo on the bench for Canada’s win in El Salvador and he was not involved on Sunday as Troyes drew 0-0 with Metz.
Ugbo’s long-term future at Genk would appear to be in doubt. The Belgian club’s coach, Bernd Storck, accused him of a “lack of respect” for asking to leave on loan instead of staying to compete for a first-team place.
Fleming continues to flourish at Chelsea
Coming off a spectacular 2021, Jessie Fleming’s stock continues to rise. The 23-year-old started for Chelsea on Sunday in a 1-0 win over Manchester City that leaves the Blues two points behind league leaders Arsenal with a game in hand.
Fleming has won admirers in England for her versatility, tireless running, and tactical discipline. Capable of operating as either a midfielder or in a more advanced role, Fleming was stationed on the right against City to help deal with the threat posed by left winger Lauren Hemp, one of the most gifted young players in the Women’s Super League.
First, we can play around with quantitative data all we want, so let's be careful with this.— Mia Eriksson (@mia_eriksson) February 7, 2022
Jessie Fleming's heat map from yesterday shows obvious signs of where she worked really hard to prevent Lauren Hemp from doing Hemp things. pic.twitter.com/Mvum6FyzmO
Next up for Chelsea? Arsenal, of course. Emma Hayes’ side will go head to head with the Gunners on Friday in a match with huge title implications.
The best of the rest
Lille’s fall from grace hit a new low on Sunday when they were thrashed 5-1 by Paris Saint-Germain. That’s the kind of result which eliminates any doubt around Jonathan David’s departure this summer. David and Les Dogues are back in action on Saturday against Montpellier, live on OneSoccer.
It has also been a disappointing season for Besiktas, but Cyle Larin and Atiba Hutchinson will hope to find some redemption in the Turkish Cup when they host Goztepe in the round of 16 on Thursday.
Julia Grosso has made a swift adjustment to life at Juventus, notching a first start in Sunday’s win over Hellas Verona. Juve host Inter on Sunday in the second leg of an Italian Cup quarter-final tie on Sunday, with the score at 1-1 on aggregate.