Sunday, May 27, 2012

France v Iceland: De l'audace, encore de l'audace, et toujours de l'audace

Well well well. "Le President" must have read my post about the Christmas Tree...of course my Christmas Tree is more to act as defensive base with three holding midfielders protecting the back 4 and acting as the destroyers in the midfield. Blanc's Christmas Tree is one that is all about moving forward. France's line up:

Le onze tricolore :
Mandanda - Debuchy, Rami, Mexès, Evra - Cabaye, Gourcuff, Nasri - Ben Arfa, Benzema, Ménez

Reunite again
The top three are really more of a 2-1, with Ben Arfa and Menez expected to animate the wings with Benzema up top as the striker. The midfield three of Cabaye, Gourcuff and Nasri are not going to be mistaken for the likes of Karembeau, Petit and Deschamps, three very defensive minded midfielders. Much pressure will be placed on Cabaye, playing somewhat our of position, as the only true holding player. This formation could rapidly evolve into a 4-1-4-1 with Gourcuff and Nasri pushing higher on the pitch filling the space behind Benzema and between the two wingers. They can also stay deeper allowing the wingers freedom to roam in the offensive zone.

While I would be shocked to see this formation showcased on June 11th, it is interesting to see Blanc think "outside" the box for these friendlies. I am sure Blanc has his system in mind, but wants to allow some of his players an opportunity to showcase themselves before he has to cut two more. This game will be key for the likes of Ben Arfa and Gourcuff. For the former I think Blanc will look to see if he can animate either wing and even slot to the middle supporting the high striker. For the former Bordeaux midfielder, he must demonstrate that he can bring some creativity from the midfield as well as being able to keep up for the majority of the match. Another player to keep an eye on is Debuchy, can he build upon his good showing against Germany? The right back role is wide open. While I do not think he is at risk of not going to the Euros, he must still show progression in his play to warrant, what I believe will be, his starting at right back for the tournament.

I like this strategy by Blanc, it will give him a sense of what he has offensively and allow the likes of Gourcuff and Ben Arfa to showcase immediately.

Prediction: France 3 - Iceland 1

Goals: Benzema, Ben Arfa and Menez...with assists from Nasri to round out the 87 Generation!


Anonymous said...

very strange line-up. Where is M'Vila?

GFC said...

Blanc is giving the Rennes midfielder some much needed time off to recover. The formation isn't so strange - 4:3:3 Blanc used this in the past. The offensive players is what is eye opening

Anonymous said...

4-3-3 is ok, but France usually plays (and in my view needs) 2 holding MFs. This line-up reminds me of the WC game vs Uruguay.

Adam said...

wow. the French defense is awful.

Philip said...

Mandanda is playing so I am not surprised they are down 2-0 and Evra is really sucking. Hope they don't lose. I think it would really help if they enter the tournamnet with there impressive undefeated streak.

Anonymous said...

I don't think either goal was mandanda's fault. Just bad defense (mostly evra)

GFC said...

Dont forget, Blanc did not play with a true holding midfielder. This added some pressure on the back 4 for France, forced Mexes further up the pitch allowing space behind him.

But I agree, the defense was shaky and Evra looked lazy...

Anonymous said...


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