Monday, June 06, 2011

Les Bleus head to a week of friendlies

So Les Bleus will head into the two matches this week limping into the summer break. After a lackluster 1-1 draw away to Belarus, I will admit I was not able to watch due to travel but I will do so and provide a write up later this week, Les Bleus still sit atop Group D. With a 4 point lead over second place Belarus, and 6 points over Bosnia (the nation most likely to push France, they also have a game in hand so really that is a 3 point lead over Bosnia), France look like their path to the Euros remains on strong footing. Granted Les Bleus still face tricky ties home and away to Albania, away to Romania and home to Bosnia.

With two matches against Euro co-hosts Poland and Ukraine, it will be interesting to see how Blanc plays these matches. Based on his comments we should expect some turn over of his roster allowing fringe players to be granted an opportunity to show what they can do on the pitch as well as giving the starters some much needed time off.

What can we expect from the line ups? I full expect to see the likes of Kaboul, Gameiro, Matuidi, Sakho and Cabaye given every opportunity to show to Le President what they are capable of. Players such as Menez, Remy and M'Vila will also be given time, however there roles with Les Bleus I believe is clear to Blanc. Also look for Mandanda and Carrasso to get time in goal.

For today's game versus the Ukraine, look for the following formation:

Mandanda - Réveillère, Kaboul, Sakho, Evra - Cabaye, M'Vila, Matuidi - Rémy, Gameiro, Menez.

An entirely new defense, it will be interesting to see how Kaboul-Sakho works out in central defense, there remains an open competition for who will be the second pairing after Rami-Mexes. Koscielny will also remain in the wings. If Blanc does go with this 4-3-3 it will be interesting to see how the midfield trio of Cabaye-M'Vila-Matuidi perform: you could consider all three as "box to box" midfielders, high work rates, great engines - question becomes which one assumes a more offensive role? Or will Blanc look to his wide players, Remy and Menez, to drop deeper and provide the offensive link between the back and Gameiro? I could see this formation looking a bit like an old Italina "Christmas Tree" or a 4-3-2-1. Gameiro on the last defender with Menez and Remy dropping deeper when need be, the midfield trio destroying any Ukrainian offense. The wide backs will also look to push up the pitch and provide extra width.

It will be interesting to see, if this is the formation that Blanc goes with today, who will play end of week against Poland. I would not be surprised if we saw Blanc going back to a 4-2-3-1 for that match, looking to roll out N'Zogbia on the left, Martin in the middle and Valbuena on the right, give Gamerio another match at the top of the formation, select two of the three defensive midfielders from the Ukraine match (probably Matuidi and M'Vila) and roll out a similar back line.

Speaking of Matuidi, a nice piece of goal scoring from the ASSE midfielder.



The players are on the verge of a much needed break, I hope we get to see the new faces for Les Bleus, two good matches and no injuries!

Allez les Bleus!!!

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