|Getting ready for a tour of Eastern Europe|
So squads will carry 23 players to Poland/Ukraine, I am sure that Blanc has a list for his "core." But there remains a handful of spots open that will be up and this game will go a long way for certain players. First those players I think are part of the core:
Keepers, this is cemented. Short of injury or massive drop in form the three keepers heading to the Euros: Lloris, Mandanda and Carasso.
On defense, I think the following are assured a spot - Rami, Mexes, Abidal, Evra and Sagna.
Midfield will include - Nasri, M'Vila, Cabaye, Ribery and Malouda.
Up front look for Benzema, Gameiro and Remy to be heading to the Euros.
So that means 16 spots assured, 7 to fill.
- Defense: Assuming Mexes - Rami is back in form, Abidal will slot left and Sagna back on the right (although I think that is not 100% certain) regardless, Sagna will be on the roster. Evra will be the second choice left back. That leaves a right back and most likely 2 central defenders:
- For me Debuchy has a leg up on Reveilliere for the second RB slot. The Lille fullback gives a more offensive option for Blanc.
- Sakho and Kaboul will find their way on the roster, the Gunner Koscielny will be odd man out, but could come down to him and his Tottenham rival Kaboul for that last center back slot.
- Mathieu might have an outside shot at getting back into the squad - especially if Blanc decides to take one less CB and lean on Abidal as an option for center back, so having another natural left back would be cover in that situation, and one that could also play left midfield.
- Outside looking in - Clichy and Koscielny
- Midfield: M'Vila and Cabaye look very likely to be your holding/defensive midfielders, Ribery and Malouda will share left winger duty with Nasri either centrally slotted or playing wide right. So there remain a number of questions to answer - playmaker, holding midfield and right sided player:
- Central/creative midfielder looks like it will fall on Martin's shoulders, since his explosive debut, he has steadily shown an ability to animate the game when on the pitch.
- Right side to me will still be Menez, even though Valbuena has an outside shot. Menez can be maddening, disappointing at times and other times slicing through defenses with ease.
- Gourcuff will make his come back, I was debating on whether or not the pretty boy of France football would be left at home. But I just do not see other options for the play making role. Now the OL player might not find himself in the starting line up, but having him available might be too valuable to leave at home.
- I think Blanc will lean on his former captain - Diarra - over Matuidi as his last midfielder to provide some length and defensive acumen.
- Outside looking in - Matuidi, Valbuena, N'Zogbia, Payet, Diaby (will we ever see him healthy enough?) and Gonalons
- Stikers: Benzema is clearly top of the pyramid, with Gameiro and Remy apt understudies. Remy gives Blanc the flexibility of slotting him on the right side. However Blanc will need one more striker - the likes of Ribery and Menez could also be labelled as strikers.
- Blanc will surprise and bring freshly capped Giroud to the Euros. I think there is a reason why Blanc gave the co-leading goal scorer of Ligue 1 a look friday - he is not convinced that his other options are that great: Cisse, Gomis, Hourau and the like have not excited Blanc. Hourau has not started training again, so difficult to see him get enough time to prove himself. Gomis has not seemed to give enough the few chances he has been granted with France and Cisse is maddeningly inconsistent.
- Outside looking in - Gomis, Hourau, Cisse and Anelka (he has served his 75 game suspension!)
Allez les Bleus.