Tuesday, May 15, 2012

PSG gets cold shoulder by Blanc - France domestic players for Euro

Well well well, Blanc announces his list from Ligue 1 that will head to Clairfontaine in order to prepare for the Euros. For the most part no major surprises...except for the strikers and one defender. First the defender - Montpellier defender Mbiwa gets the nod over PSG defender Sakho. On that decision, Blanc has stuck with what he has been saying all along - player needs to be a regular with his club and showing something. Sakho has found himself sitting on the bench recently and when he has played - he has not covered himself with glory (see red card and PK versus Lille). Hopefully Blanc will not need to do so, but if he has to play Mbiwa for any considerable time it will be a risk since the player has never been called up and has no time with the other central defenders. Even thought Sakho has not been playing for PSG, he has had time over the past year with the others...something to watch.

The list:

Gardiens : Hugo Lloris (Lyon), Steve Mandanda (Marseille), Cédric Carrasso (Bordeaux)
Défenseurs : Mathieu Debuchy (Lille), Anthony Réveillère (Lyon), Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa (Montpellier)
Milieux de terrain : Alou Diarra (Marseille), Blaise Matuidi (PSG), Yann M'vila (Rennes), Yoann Gourcuff (Lyon), Marvin Martin (Sochaux)
Attaquants : Olivier Giroud (Montpellier), Jérémy Ménez (PSG), Loïc Rémy (Marseille), Mathieu Valbuena (Marseille)

Will he be fit by June 11th?
The second surprise for me, are the strikers. He calls up Remy, but then also states that he does not believe the Marseilles striker will be able to make it to the Euros....hmmm...curious. Blanc did state that he will wait for a few weeks to determine how Remy is doing. What surprises me is that if Remy cannot go, Blanc will be leaning on two pure strikers - Benzema and Giroud. While he might lean on a 4-2-3-1 or even a 4-3-3 which both require one lone "pure" striker, only carrying two on his roster seems a little risky. What about Gomis or Gameiro? Having another healthy striker gives Blanc substitution options if he is chasing a goal or needs to deal with injury. As currently constituted he has two pure strikers, if one is substituted out and he needs to chase a goal late he will need to move one of his wingers/midfielders high up the pitch: Menez and Ribery could do so in a pinch, but why take them out of their wide positions? I would think that Blanc would have taken Gameiro as cover for Remy...something to be watched.

Something else that is to be watched, but not a surprise, is the inclusion of Gourcuff. Both Diarra and Gourcuff were instrumental to Blanc's run at Bordeaux and he has shown them loyalty since taking over the French national team, even keeping Diarra in the captain's arm band race...even thought the Marseilles midfielder was not a lock starter! As much as I like Gourcuff, I recognize that his game has dropped that he has been injured and that I am not sure he is any where close to his past form. I realize that in terms of pure #10s, Blanc is limited in what he can call upon. But I feel that he might be a little blind to his former protege. It will be interesting to see how camp goes and how the friendly matches are managed to give us some indication of who will make the flight to Poland - Ukraine.

Allez les Bleus!

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