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.
Clichy, Mexes, Rami,Sagna
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!!!