Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Which 11 to face Ukraine?

As the first leg of the home - away matches creep up on us, which starting 11 will DD turn to? While I would love to see DD go with a 4-3-3, I am sure he will once again lean on the usual 4-2-3-1. So who to fill out the spots?  I do not disagree too much with with EuroSports called out, click here for their formation. So what does the Frog see for France?

Goalkeeper - Lloris. The only thing that might keep him out is how he is feeling from his concussion. Other than that, he is in goal.

Right Back - There is some talk that Sagna needs to be there, and his recent form with Arsenal warrant his starting. But I am going with Debuchy. I just like the Newcastle defender's offensive ability. Especially on this team when the offense leans too heavily left. Having a right back that can push up offensively and has a legitimate threat to score a goal from time to time could be the difference maker.

Center Backs - I am not sure I want to see Abidal as one of the central defenders...not that I do not like the player, but there are better options in Varane - Kos. DD needs to give the keys to these two players (or could Sakho get back into the equation?) But I like the duo of the Real Madrid and Arsenal defenders. They were thrown out there against Spain, and they both play for two of the largest clubs in Europe. This stage will not intimidate them.

Left Back - France is starting to feel a little unstable at left back! With all the drama around Evra there was questions whether or not DD would even call up the Manchester United player. Clichy is too trick or treat. End of the day I do not see the former France captain not getting the call on the left side. Evra also has a good rapport with Ribery. Manchester United over Manchester City on the left side.

Holding/Defensive Midfield Duo - I cannot see Pogba not getting one of the starting spots. His form for Juventus has been world class, and since his first start for France it became clear that DD regarded him as the nearest thing to an unquestionable starter. So who to partner with Pogba? I think there are two directions DD could head. If he wants more offensive he will go with Cabaye. The Newcastle man offers a real goal threat from distance, something that might be very crucial in these games. Or if DD wants to ensure he locks up the midfield he might lean on the Parisian midfielder - Matuidi. I think Sissoko and Mavuba, both solid players, are unfortunately playing a position where France has ridiculous depth. I am going to lean on the offensive option and Cabaye.

Offensive Midfielders - Well on left we can assume Ribery gets the start. Question becomes who gets the #10 spot and who tries to animate the right wing? Until recently DD has leaned on the Petit Velo - Valbuena - to act as the #10 and the right side winger has been an enigma. But in the last few games the combination of Nasri either playing wide right or in the center has given France some new life. I would go with Nasri in the role of the #10. I am not a huge fan of him playing on the right, he tends to drift back to the middle too much and sometimes all the way to the left. Out on the right I want to see Remy back out there. I think he is one player that holds his channel, has the pace to disrupt the defense and has some characteristics of a #9 - only needs a half chance to score. I also like to see Remy and Debuchy link up as they do for Newcastle.

Striker - Titi Henry...oh wait that was 4 years ago against Ireland...never mind. DD will to give this some serious thought. Giroud's hot start for Arsenal has cooled off considerably. While Benezema has picked it up for Real Madrid and...on a two game goal scoring run for France. So to go with? I think DD will go with Giroud and expect to bring Benzema off the bench after 65/70 minutes. Not sure I would go with that player.

It will be very interesting to see how the formation looks like for France as well as what happens after the game before the return leg in Paris.

Allez les Bleus! 

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