Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The "Christmas Tree" option for Les Blues

My cousin Benjamin can attest, when we face off on FIFA 12, that I sometimes employ "le sapin" or the "Christmas tree" formation. The formation is a 4-3-2-1 (looks like a christmas tree). Ancelotti was famous for using this when he managed at Milan and used a similar formation with PSG. What got me thinking was is this an option for Blanc? I realize that seeing Blanc change from a 4-2-3-1 is about as likely as seeing Uruguay qualify for the Euros, but it does have some potential.

Just add presents under the tree

First a little history lesson. Les Bleus won the 1998 world cup by employing such a formation. I realize that they probably argue they had a traditional 4-4-2 formation...but with Deschamps, Karembeu and Petit on the field together you had 3 holding/defensive midfielders. Zidane and Djorkaeff acted as the two offensive midfielders with Guivarch as the "striker"....(quotes because he was really just a warm body not really an international striker). So why not with this side?

The biggest headache for Blanc - he doesn't have a real #10...so why not look for the creativity to come from your wide players, aka your fullbacks pushing up and allow your three pure offensive players to free lance...the formation could look like the following:

Evra, Mexes, Rami, Debuchy - the two full backs will push high on the pitch and both have good offensive instincts and skill
M'Vila, Diarra, Cabaye - granted the Newcastle man is not a pure defensive midfielder but he plays a deep lying role and his a good passer from deep. Diarra and M'Vila would be there to do the dirty work.
Ribery, Menez (or Nasri or Ben Arfa) - allow the two offensive midfielders space and freedom to switch wings. They would also have the potential to cut into the field and allow their fullbacks to push into the vacated space to add width.
Benzema - can play well as the lone striker, but can also drop deeper to pick up the ball or allow one of the midfielders to push higher.

Just a thought for Blanc. The advantage of this formation is France could really clog up and block the midfield and hit teams on the counter. Without a true #10, they do not really have a player that can be the outlet and the creator in the middle of the park. Granted when France ran this in 1998, they had one of the greatest players of all time in Zidane...they had a #10 that would always act as the safety valve for Les Bleus.

Something to think about Laurent!

Allez les Bleus!!!


Anonymous said...

Interesting suggestion, but i don't think France has enough holding MFs in the squad to play this formation.

GFC said...

I agree, I think a healthy Diaby would have made this formation a possibility...but with only 3 true holding players they would not have enough cover.

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