Monday, March 28, 2011

France v Croatia - back to the future?

After a successful, albeit bland, win last week versus Luxembourg, France will play a friendly versus Croatia tomorrow at Stade de France. There are many questions as to what line up Blanc will roll out? He has declared that he will make some changes to the team that walked out last Friday, but what changes?

On defense, Blanc has already stated Lloris in goal and Mexes/Rami as central pairing. Wise move. While Mexes and Rami have developed a successful partnership, quickly, it never hurts to give them more games together - the partnership has only been in place since last Fall, not a long time by international standards. Other than these three positions, the other roles seem wide open.
  • Clichy back on the left? The Gunner could find himself back in the starting line up after apparently been pushed to third in the peeking order, alternatively I could see Blanc slotting Evra back at left back. Why? Inevitably there will be some strong reaction from the fans geared towards Evra and Ribery for their roles in the South African debacle, better to get it out of the way in a friendly than allow it to linger. Or maybe Clichy gets the start and have Evra come on as a substitute to suffer his slings and arrows.
  • Sagna on the right or give Reveillere some time? This one is interesting because the Lyon player is 31, so why does this matter? Not sure if he is in the long term plans for Les Bleus, while Sagna is 3 years younger and should be the French right back for a while to come. Does Blanc want to give a fringe bench player time or allow his starter more time to work with his defensive partners?
  • Midfield mixer - I will assume that Blanc will opt again for a 4-2-3-1 type formation, in which case the midfield might see the most change. Will Diarra find his place back in the starting line up? How about the Ribery - Malouda debate? And Gourcuff? I think that we will see the likes of Menez and Diarra out on the pitch. I would not be surprised if Blanc slotted Diarra and Gourcuff together as the deep lying midfielders, maybe playing along side his former Bordeaux team mate
    will be just the formula Gourcuff needs to get back on track. In addition, I think Blanc will slot Ribery on the left with Menez on the right and Nasri in the middle. Allow his team to function with a player who prefers the right (Menez) and one that excels on the left (Ribery). This would push M'Vila and Malouda to the bench.
  • Stay with the hot hand up front? Will Blanc start Benzema? The Real Madrid striker has had a great run of late, and could have added to his goal scoring tally against Luxembourg were it not for a slightly better effort 1v1 on the keeper. What about the other strikers? I think that Blanc will want to run Benzema out there for part of the game, see how he does with the likes of Menez, Nasri and Ribery behind him. However I would not be surprised if the other strikers did not get some run in the second half.
I think Blanc will go with a 4-2-3-1, but a more offensive line up than the formation would otherwise indicate.

Clichy, Mexes, Rami,Sagna
Gourcuff, Diarra
Ribery, Nasri, Menez

I see Evra coming on for Clichy in the second half, Remy in for Menez and Gameiro for Benzema.

Allez les Bleus!!!


Anonymous said...

looks like it will be malouda, not ribery (as i suggested in a comment to a previous post of your)

GFC said...

I read that as well, interest tactic by Blanc. Sit Ribery and Evra to protect them from the boos...I would think he would look to get those out of the way.

Good call as well on Malouda.

Anonymous said...

Ribery was much better than Malouda today. Menez was also impressive. Maybe that will be the line-up of the future. I would love to see a 4-1-4-1 with both Nasri and Gourcuff (who only played for 5 minutes, but had a couple of nice passes and nearly scored the winner). Rami also played very well, but had to be taken off the field on a stretcher. I hope it's not too bad.

Anonymous said...

Also, Evra didn't play, but it's nt b/c Clichy was so great. Clichy tried hard, but sometimes tried too hard. He got up the field, but often gave the ball away trying to make difficult passes or dribbles.

Anonymous said...

I see what I'm proposing (the 4-1-4-1) is exactly the same line-up you proposed for this match (except that I would substitute Evra for Clichy)

GFC said...

I have only been able to watch part of the first will hold my toughts until I can watch the entire match.

Too bad the game was scoreless but better than a loss!

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