Thursday, August 26, 2010

Blanc makes his first list of 21 for the start of the Euros

This morning Laurent Blanc gave us his list of 21 players that will be kicking off the Euro qualifiers, including 9 returning World Cup players. With all the current events there were certain players we knew would not be available:

So with that in mind here is the list:

Gardiens : Lloris, Mandanda, Carrasso
Défenseurs : Clichy, Mexès, Rami, Sagna, Sakho, Trémoulinas
Milieux de terrain : Malouda, Diaby, A. Diarra, L. Diarra, Valbuena, M’Vila, Ménez
 Attaquants : Benzema, Gameiro, Hoarau, Rémy, Saha

Notable returns are the three keepers from the World Cup, not sure if Ruffier helped or hurt his chances during the Norway game. He had some good moments but also ended a bit shaky with his handling of corner kicks. On defense, Clichy and Sagna return from their one match suspension and from the looks of it, I see both of them starting on Sept 3. The recalling of Mexes and Rami is a strong indication that Blanc will go with this pairing at central defense for the near term, something I think is very positive.

In the midfield, the return of Malouda, Diaby, ADiarra and Valbuena from the World Cup ban. Interestingly no striker from the World Cup is on the list. Finally Gameiro received his first call up in what many were waiting to see.

Notable absentees -
  • Ben Arfa who is in the middle of a tug of war with his club over his transfer. Blanc did send him a pre-convocation but in the end did not select him. This could be a show of respect to Blanc's former team mate and current OM manager - Deschamps. Why give a player a cap when he is acting like a child for his club.
  • N'Zogbia who started against Norway, unfortunately there is competition for that left sided midfield slot - Malouda and Diaby.
The big issue for Blanc will be how he lines up his midfield without a clear option at the play maker - Gourcuff, Nasri, Ribery and Ben Arfa absent. I have a feeling he will go with the similar 4-4-2 diamond with the following line up:

Clichy, Rami, Mexes, Sagna
Malouda, Valbuena
Hourau, Benzema

This will allow him to also shift to a 4-3-3 with Menez pushing up higher, but much like he plays for AS Roma, look for Menez to act like a 9 1/2 - just behind the two strikers. Malouda and Valbuena will be asked to animate the offensive game with M'Vila providing the cover and linking from the midfield. Mexes will also be asked to push high, as he does, to carry some distribution from his deep slot.

Let us see what happens over the next few days in training.


Anonymous said...

I'd like to see a 4-3-3 with Remy at RW, Benzema at CF and Malouda at LW.


This is similar to the formation OM plays. It puts 2 playmakers in the center of the pitch (although you could substitute Diaby for Valbuena if you want more defense), and puts speed at the wings and a proven finisher in the center. I say, attack!

GFC said...

Wow that is a very offensive formation. I could see Malouda and Menez swapping, allow Malouda to play deeper. I think the Chelsea man is also a better defensive minded player.

Not sure Sakho would get the start, while I think he has a very bright future for France, I think that Mexes-Rami will be the central axis for the near term...not a bad thing!

Should be interesting.

Anonymous said...

That's true, Malouda and Menez can swap positions during the game to further confuse the defense. Also, if playing as a winger, Malouda can press the opponent's fullbacks when France is not in possession or fall back a bit to adjust the formation to a 4-1-4-1. I also like Remi; it's true that he might be more ready than Sakho at this point.

GFC said...

Good points about the 4-1-4-1 a bit like the Spanish....although I would not dare compare Les Bleus' midfield to Xavi, Iniesta, Cesc, et al. but the formation is a good possibility.