Thursday, August 08, 2013

Deschamps out with the old and in with the old - list for upcoming Belgium friendly

It is that time of the year again...back to school you say? No! The kick off for club footy as well as the international calendar. Whoohoooo!!! Granted most think this first friendly is useless, players are barely back in game form, some leagues will not have even started yet. But I am not one of those naysayers. I think internationals are great, and these vital with the remainder of the World Cup qualifiers taking place later this Fall.

What is interesting is that Deschamps has put out a list of players, that looks very similar to a list that Blanc or gasp...Domenech might have used when they were managers. Abidal, Evra, Ribery, Landreau, Nasri, Benzema??? Okay I realize that some of these players are in their prime...but just something I wanted to point out. So the list:

La liste des Bleus :
Gardiens : Landreau, Lloris, Mandanda
Défenseurs : Abidal, Clichy, Debuchy, Evra, Koscielny, Mangala, Rami, Sagna
Milieux : Capoue, Grenier, Guilavogui, Kondogbia, Mavuba, Sissokho
Attaquants : Benzema, Giroud, Nasri, Payet, Ribéry, Valbuena

Some observations:
  • Abidal has to be a bit of a surprise. The player has returned to Ligue 1 and Monaco after a very successful run with Barcelona. But after making an amazing recovery from a liver transplant just over a year ago.  He is really only now returning to top flight action, nothing short of amazing. But does that mean he is back in the plans for then national team? It feels a bit premature. And where is he to play? On the flank or as a central defender? Clearly with Clichy and Evra on the list, it would appear that he is most likely to see action as a central defender. Is that really who DD is going to lean
    Back in Ligue 1
    on? An interesting selection.
  • Where are the PSG players? Okay okay, I realize that players like Matuidi and Menez were not going to be called due to suspensions and injury. But what is a little surprising is that both Jallet and Sakho were not called up. The right back spot, in my mind, is not guaranteed for Sagna and Debuchy. I do think the Newcastle man has an edge to hold the starting spot, but I do not see a clear gap between 1 and 3. What is a real surprise, coupled with the call up of Abidal, is the absence of Sakho. Early in his tenure, it appeared that DD was going to lean on Sakho as one of his pillars in the central defender role.  Now it appears that there remains a bit of chaos at that spot. Is Kos one of those pillars? Seems that way. So who to shoulder him? Mangala? Abidal? One is very green and the other will be in his mid 30s once the World Cup rolls around. I guess we have to wait to see when Real Madrid wonder kid Varane gets back to form if he figures to be the second central defender.
  • Notice that Deschamps is rotating some serious muscle in his midfield? I guess as a defensive midfielder himself he knows the value of having a strong and defensive minded midfield. Mind you, Pogba is suspended for the next qualifier otherwise the new U20 World Cup champion would most likely figure in this mix. With Capoue, Grenier, Guilavogui, Kondogbia, Mavuba, Sissokho the only non-holding midfielder is Grenier! Granted, players like Ribery, Valbuena, Payet and Nasri I would consider as attacking midfielders more than strikers. It will be interesting to see what happens with Cabaye, Pogba and maybe even M'Vila come back into the equation (I realize the last mentioned is on a FFF suspension).
  • Speaking of the strikers....stop me if you have heard this, but Benzema has to start scoring again because Les Bleus seem to have a shortage of goal scoring options. With the retirement of the Petit Louis today, Louis Saha, it is another reminder of how
    The good old days for French strikers
    good we had it a while back! Remember when Saha was a third option behind Henry and Trezeguet...there was a time France could lean on the leading scorers of Ligue 1 - Cisse, the EPL - Henry or Serie A - Trezeguet. Okay enough nostalgia! But France had better hope that some of the freshly minted U20 World Cup champions such as new Arsenal man Sanogo or Thauvin can build on their success and start helping the senior club find some goals. Of course Benzema could rediscover his Lyon form and we would be all set...but how long have we been waiting for that?
Overall a relatively "stable" line up from Deschamps. No real surprises. We will see how he lines up against a very tough Belgium side, one that France might face if they go to a home and away playoff for qualifiers. Will DD give Nasri a start? And if so where? Ribery on the left, Nasri in the middle and Valbuena on the right? Or flip Le Petit Velo and Nasri? Right side seems to be a revolving door again for Les Bleus. What central defensive pairing will be used this time? Does Evra get the nod again on the left and what about the right?

Many questions ahead. I will be interested to see what DD does during training, will give us a glimpse of what is ahead.

Allez Les Bleus!


pierrot said...

in your discussion of striker crisis, you didn't mention lyon's lacazette, whose brace on saturday was clinical. if he continues that form, OL supporters will forget the departures of lisandro and gomis, and deschamps will have to take notice. he's already been called up a couple of times, but this could be his year to blossom into a L1 star, and an important option for the NT.

GFC said...

Good call - Lacazette. I think he still needs time to develop. I agree that he could have a break out year for OL this season.

I just don't see Lacazette as a lone striker, but more of a winger. Not a bad place for him, just not a pure goal scoring striker similar to a Drogba, Klose, Trezeguet, Henry, Van Persie style player. Granted he could evolve into such a player.

Time will tell. But not sure he will be ready to have a huge influence for Les Bleus in 2014.

pierrot said...

up until saturday's match vs nice, i was not convinced by lacazette, who'd been touted by some OL faithful as the next big thing. i thought he'd become a good L1 forward, but not a star, and maybe an occasional NT sub.
that MAY have been because he'd been playing on the wing since joining the OL first team, with lisandro or gomis up front. saturday, he lead the line as lone striker, and was GREAT! his first goal was classic center forward; great long pass through the air from grenier, lacazette between the 2 central defenders (arguably half a step offside) perfect first touch to control the pass, then a clinical finish. read somewhere today that could be an henry situation -- striker converted to winger, then back to striker again with great success.
as i said, if he continues to play as lone striker the way he did saturday, you may have to change your opinion. i think i already have!

GFC said...

I will keep my eye out for him. You might be on to something as he could have been wrongly slotted as a pure winger and maybe the lone striker role is more fitting.

I do like the Grenier - Lacazette potential duo. The former as the creative midfielder the latter as the finisher. Still a long way to go, but both played well for the youth NT and playing together for club can only help.

Long Ligue 1 season to go but something to keep an eye on.

GFC said...

Lacazette's first goal was clinical, good point about it being a pure "strikers" goal