Monday, March 21, 2011

France welcomes back Evra and Ribery...moving on

Okay I tried to publish a quick post over the weekend from my iPad but clearly it did not make it...I will blame the terrible wifi in my hotel. But I am finally back at my laptop with somewhat normal web connectivity so here are some thoughts on Laurent Blanc's latest list for France's up, first the list (to be noted that Diaby has already withdrawn to be replaced by Cabaye)

GARDIENS : Cédric Carrasso (Bordeaux), Hugo Lloris (Lyon), Steve Mandanda (Marseille)
DEFENSEURS : Gaël Clichy (Arsenal), Patrice Evra (Manchester United), Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal), Philippe Mexès (AS Rome), Adil Rami (Lille), Anthony Réveillère (Lyon), Bacary Sagna (Arsenal), Mamadou Sakho (Paris SG),
MILIEUX : Abou Diaby (Arsenal), Alou Diarra (Bordeaux), Yoann Gourcuff (Lyon), Yann M'Vila (Rennes), Florent Malouda (Chelsea), Samir Nasri (Arsenal)
ATTAQUANTS : Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Kevin Gameiro (Lorient), Guillaume Hoarau (Paris S-G), Jérémy Menez (AS Roma), Loïc Rémy (Marseille), Franck Ribéry (Bayern Munich)

The biggest surprises, but not really surprises, are the inclusion of Ribery and Evra. The former would probably have been in the list last go around had the Bayern winger not been injured. The former is interesting. To me he was selected primarily due to Abidal's absence. The past few matches have seen the Barcelona left back, reestablish himself as the first choice left back for France. The question remains, will Blanc go with what he has established as the hierarchy at the position and have Clichy start or does the Manchester United and former France captain have a claim to his old role? I am not convinced that Clichy is an uncontested choice as the #2 left back for France so there is a chance that Evra finds himself back on the pitch.

The other question is what formation will Blanc look to roll out? With Nasri and Gourcuff back in the mix, will Blanc go with two play-makers together again as he did with success end of last year? Not that France should be taking Luxembourg lightly, they have taken points from other nations in qualifiers, but Les Bleus should win the match. The following will be a friendly with Croatia, which might be interesting from a coaches stand point since it was Bilic's dive that saw Laurent Blanc miss the World Cup finals in both men will face off from the side lines. However the game is a friendly so another chance to build, but not a concern with regards to Euro Qualifiers.

What might France's line up resemble? I think that Blanc might stick with his 4-2-3-1

Sagna, Mexes, Rami, Clichy
M'Vila, Diarra
Nasri, Gourcuff, Ribery

Ribery might be given some run on the left side of midfield with Gourcuff in the middle and Nasri slotting back right. Benzema has found his scoring touch again for Real Madrid so continues to be the first choice up front. The inclusion of Menez will also beg the question of whether or not he should get another shot out right, sliding Nasri back to the center and sitting Gourcuff. It will be interesting to see how Blanc plays this and how the returning players are integrated.

Allez les Bleus.


Anonymous said...

I like that lineup. The only thing I'd change is Reveillere in place of Sagna. Sagna looked awful for a good chunk of the Brazil match.

GFC said...

I think that Blanc will stick with Sagna. With regards to Reveillere I think he keeps knocking on the door but just falls a bit short with Les Bleus - in terms of securing a starting roll.

Matuidi has also come in to replace Cabaye, not surprising, but it is telling that Toulalan seems to be completely off the radar as a holding midfielder...