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.

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