Midfield: Whether DD goes with a 4-2-3-1 or a 4-3-3 (which I would much prefer), he will lean heavily on this group to carry the play. Those that are going to Brazil - Pogba, Matuidi, Valbuena, Cabaye and Ribery. Those that have a question mark -
- Nasri. What to do with the former jewel of the French developmental system. The Manchester City midfielder is maddening in his inconsistency. Some games he looks like what many hoped he would become - a massively talented and creative midfielder. A player that carve up a defense with his dribbling and his passing as well as scoring key goals. Yet at other times he just seems to be getting in other player's way and does not seem to know what is going on. The fact he can play as a true #10 or out on one of the wings makes him difficult to ignore. Sometimes I feel as if we keep waiting for the potential to emerge...can we afford to keep waiting?
- Mavuba. The Lille midfielder is a little snake bitten...he plays a role where France have some absurd depth. He is clearly behind the likes of Pogba, Matuidi and Cabaye when it comes to that holding/deep lying midfielder. But that does not mean he does not have the talent to start. I am sure there are a number of national sides that would love to have such a player...think England who cannot seem to find a natural holding midfielder. Their last great holding player was Hargreaves and he is Canadian! Mavuba has plenty of other players he needs to keep at bay, the likes of Capoue, Gonalons, Kondogbia and Guilavogui. And what if by miracle of all miracles Diaby gets back to 100%....naaaaaa.....that is just crazy talk, sorry. A real outsider could be
Thumbs up to France...or England?
- Grenier. The playmaking Lyon midfielder has found his way onto DD's list recently, but has not figured in any games. Would DD bring such a player with him to Brazil? Granted his playmaking ability make him an offensive option off the bench. But if DD already has the likes of Ribery, Valbuena and Nasri who can all carry that #10 role, does he have room for Grenier? What about the likes of Thauvin at Marseilles? He offers a left footed option in attacking midfield. Watching him for the U20 French World Cup winning side he was a real threat with his pace and guile in the midfield. He is a little bit of a head case - see the way he shot his way out of Lille. But if he has a good second half of season for OM he might force his way to Brazil. Another offensive midfielder that is forgotten is Ben Arfa. Le Petit Prince has been cast out in to the national team waste land, but watching him play for Newcastle and one wonders why he isn't in the conversation. He could play out on the right...a huge issue for France or as a the #10.
- Sissoko. The Newcastle man has had somewhat of a resurrection under DD. After getting his start with Domenech he fell out of the picture under Blanc and only recently has found his way back into the mix. His power and pace make him an intriguing combination for DD. He can play high on the pitch as a more offensive minded midfielder or drift back and play a more traditional holding role.
Strikers: After Benzema and Giroud who do we have? Gomis...no. Gignac? Please, he is terrible. Henry? Don't laugh I might take him...Lacazette? Not ready for prime time. I would take Remy. I do like him for his ability to play out wide on the right side as well as the lone striker. He offers flexibility that DD will need in Brazil. Granted Remy has not shown well for France in recent matches, but I think he is the best option Les Bleus have. Especially if, as I hope, DD goes with a 4-3-3. In which case Remy could play that outside role in the top 3 or even the top of the formation. But if DD goes with a 4-3-3 he will not need as many pure strikers as he would otherwise and probably a player of Remy's make up would suit the squad even more.
Heading to Brazil: Benzema, Giroud and Remy.
Outsiders that might have a chance:
- Menez - the PSG winger has an outside chance since France remains weak on the right side. Menez, if he has a stellar second half of season, might force DD to consider taking him to Brazil.
- Payet - same as Menez. But the Lille right winger just doesn't do it for me. He is completely invisible in the games I watch him play for France. There are better options than him. Granted DD seems to like him, but I cannot see him going to Brazil.
- Gourcuff - the next "zidane" has failed to impress when given the chance. Might be a result of having too lofty expectations placed on him early on. Since his wonder season at Bordeaux he just has not seemed ready to regain his place. I fear that he has flamed out when it comes to the national side.
We shall see over the next few months. But at least France are heading to Brazil!
Allez Les Bleus!!