Monday, November 19, 2012

Domenech...back again

So our favorite French national team manager has found a way back into the spotlight with the upcoming release of his book - "Tous Seul." Translated, the title means "all alone," which is where I wish he had stayed. I will actually shell out some money to get the book, read about how Dumbenech was a victim in everything and he is not to blame. Sigh.

From some excerpts from the book, it sounds as if Domenech decides to blame everyone - Anelka, Henry, Ribery, Evra... for the terrible adventure in South Africa. While the players deserve blame, I cannot help but wonder what Domenech is complaining about when HE selected these players. This is not like a team that Domenech had to take over. He was the manager...he picked his team. Henry complained that he wasn't playing. Don't select him. Anelka was divisive. Leave him at home. Ribery was self-centered, don't bring him. I realize this is easier said than done. But seriously.

I look forward to reading what other pearls of wisdom come from Dumbenech. While it pains me to give him any of my money, I still want to read what it is like to be completely delusional. Must be nice.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Ridiculous goal - Sweden v England

Some amazing goals yesterday, Valbuena's might have been the best one. Cutting in from the end line, dribbling two Italian defenders and then hitting the upper 90 from a ridiculous angle. Might have been...had this goal not been scored -

Unbelievable...pure audacity

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Have Les Bleus turned a corner? Come from behind to beat the Italians 2-1

Okay so I was not able to watch the game today...and even ESPN 3 did not offer the ability to see the replay. But I was able to find the high lights -

From the video, two fantastic goals from Les Bleus. Great way to end the international season for France. Let us hope they can continue to build on this success.

3 Holding midfielders? Maybe..or maybe 4-2-3-1

According to different publications, Les Bleus will either go with a 3 holding midfielder block or the old fashioned 4-2-3-1.

According to L'Equipe, we might see the 4-2-3-1, with Matuidi and Capoue as the holding players with, Menez, Valbuena and Ribery as the attacking three. Eurosport suggests the same.

And according to France Football, look for a 4-3-3 with Matuidi, Capoue and Gonalons as the holding players. It will be interesting to see who comes out of the tunnel later today in Italy.

I still think it would be interesting to see Gourcuff as part of the midfield in a 4-3-3.

Allez Les Bleus.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Deschamps mum about starters...except for one

With 24 hours to go, it appears that Deschamps has been mum with regards to who will walk out for France to face their trans-alpine neighbors. One things appears to be, possible - Valbuena might be in the starting line up for Les Bleus. But in what role...not sure. Add to this the apparent knocks pick up by both Cabaye and Menez, and we have a thinning roster from which DD can select.

Here is what I think France will do tomorrow. Deschamps will continue to lean on his 4-3-3.

Debuchy, Mbiwa, Sakho, Evra

I think the defense will be what Deschamps will look to lean on as much as possible during qualifiers, giving them more time together will be valuable.

The midfield and up front is where things will get interesting:

Only player we know will start...or will he???
I think Deschamps will line up these three in the middle - Gonalons, Gourcuff and Matuidi.  I look for Matuidi and Gonalons to be called on to do the dirty work in the midfield, the PSG midfielder deserves another start after his fantastic showing against Spain. Gourcuff will be allowed to play deeper, a role that actually suits him and allows him greater visibility of the field.

Up front I will look for Ribery back on the left, Giroud as the central attacker and Valbuena on the right. With Menez out, this is a chance to see Le Petit Velo out on the right flank.

I expect to see Payet get some time on one of the wings at some point in the match. Finally I hope that Tremoulinas gets some time on the field. After getting a late call up to replace Clichy, it would be interesting to see the Bordeaux left back, who is very offensive minded, to get some run. I think that he, if given the chance, has a card to play with Les Bleus.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

France v Italy we meet again old friend...

This past week Deschamps unveiled his list for the upcoming friendly against Italy, our old foe. In the list we have much of the same with not too many real surprises. What is a surprise are some of the absent names. The list -

Gardiens : Lloris (Tottenham/ ANG), Mandanda (Marseille), Landreau (Lille)
Défenseurs : Clichy (Manchester City/ ANG), Evra (Manchester United/ ANG), Debuchy (Lille), Jallet, Sakho (PSG), Rami (Valence/ ESP), Yanga-Mbiwa (Montpellier), Koscielny (Arsenal/ ANG).
Milieux : Cabaye (Newcastle/ ANG), Gourcuff, Gonalons (Lyon), Matuidi (PSG), Valbuena (Marseille), Capoue (Toulouse), M. Sissoko (Toulouse)
Attaquants : Giroud (Arsenal/ ANG), Gomis (Lyon), Ménez (PSG), Ribéry (Bayern Munich/ ALL), Payet (Lille)

Back in the mix...but what role?
Somewhat surprised to see Gourcuff back in the side. The Lyon midfielder has not been able to live up to the scintillating form he exhibited a few seasons ago for Bordeaux. Suffering through injuries and a drop in form has made many question what his long term future would be for France. Deschamps' actions indicate that the door is not entirely closed to the former golden boy of France football. Question is where does he fit in the Deschamps 4-3-3? He could play a deep lying role, similar to a Pirlo. Something I was a proponent of for a while. Or he could play higher up the field supporting the two wide players, but that would leave Les Bleus without a true center forward. Or could Deschamps opt for the 4-2-3-1 again? We shall see.

As for Payet, not a surprise in seeing him back on the side. He can play both wing positions and gives Deschamps some real options.

What is surprising are the absent names - Nasri and Ben Arfa in particular. Both former Marseilles midfielders continue to carry the bad karma from their actions during the Euros. It appears that Deschamps is going to build his team around a more defensive minded midfield and look for the creativity to come from his wingers. Of course with Gourcuff that could change that philosophy. Mavuba is also absent, maybe he suffers from the showing that Matuidi had against Spain in the primary holding role.

Without Benzema, out due to injury, look for Giroud to feature up front with Menez and Ribery flanking him. The midfield will be interesting, I think Cabaye and Matuidi will be midfield the question is who else will feature? I expect we will see the Sakho - Mbiwa central defensive pairing with Debuchy and Evra/Clichy on the flanks and Lloris in goal.

Since the list was published - Jallet had to withdraw and Reveillere was brought in as cover.

It will be interesting to see what Deschamps does during training.

Allez les Bleus.