Friday, February 08, 2008

Les Bleus - goaless in two matches

Les Bleus played two matches this week one against Spain and the other against Congo (with their second 'A' team). The Congo game ended in a scoreless draw while the Spain game saw the Iberian giant earn a last minute 1-0 victory. Unfortunately I was unable to watch either match but did "watch" via the play by play on the web.

The Congo game is one of those international scrimmages that is very difficult to draw any conclusions from other than France was not able to score...but did throw out there a number of the "youth" - Nasri, Menez, and Mandanda. Of course Domenech also put out Boumsong....why? Again, why is the former Auxerre defender being considered....if he is on the roster for next summer's tournament I may return my FFF fan card.

So what of the second game, against Spain? From what I was able to determine from the online commentary both teams had their moments of controlling the game and neither team was able to really put its stamp on the game with Spain getting a late game winner. The main concern coming out of the match is France's lack of goal scoring...I realize one game is not a trend. However when you have the luxury of leaving a goal scorer such as Trezeguet off your roster and have players of the likes of Henry, Anelka, Cisse, and Benzema at your disposal you need to make your opponent's keeper work slightly harder than it appeared that both Congo and Spain's keepers had to work.

Domenech's next few months will all be about finding out the proper combination up front and in support of the strikers. It is clear that he is looking at Benzema-Henry-Anelka as his top three strikers, with Cisse, Menez, Briand as the players vying for the 4th slot, but which pairing to lean on? While I realize it is taboo, I might argue that Benzema - Anelka could be the combination up front....this will never happen since Titi will always have his spot in the starting line up. However Anelka and Benzema have demonstrated they can play different styles depending on what the situation calls for...they can roam the 18 yard box, carry the ball from deep, play alone up front, are able to appear on either wing, and both can score with their head. While I am not ready to say Henry is done, he has dropped a level from his glory days of Arsenal. Might he better as a late game, change of pace option? Not sure this will ever happen or even considered, however based on recent form it would appear that Benzema and Anelka may cause opposing defenses more problems than Henry....

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