Friday, June 06, 2014

No Ribery ... No Problem

So our fears have come to fruition. De Kaiser will not be heading to Brazil with Les Bleus. The Bayern Munich and France left winger did not recover fast enough to be fit to head to the World Cup for France. I said "no problem" tongue in cheek...first let me make a clear point: France is NOT better off without their left winger. Les Bleus have suffered a serious set back without having their true #7 patrolling the left flank. Is all lost for France? No. Even without Kaiser Franck, I think Les Bleus have a good chance to reach the 1/4 finals. But without Ribery, they have little if not zero chances of getting beyond the 1/4 finals. And their journey to the 1/4 finals will be more of a challenge than previously.

Now that we know there will be no Ribery, how does this impact Les Bleus?

  • Who plays on the left side of the formation? Remy or Griezmann? The Real Sociedad winger is the most natural fit. He is a natural left footed player. Plays a more "traditional" left wing role - meaning he is more likely to hug the touch line, make runs to the end line and look to hit crosses. As opposed to Ribery who was more of a 1v1 attacking player who liked to come from the wing and cut back to the inside. I know that Remy was tried out in that role against Paraguay, but I think the Newcastle man will more likely be leveraged as a player off the bench that can play as a second striker, right or left winger. There will also be more importance placed on Evra and his ability to bring some offensive punch from his left back position.
  • Speaking of crosses, does this impact whether it will be Benzema or Giroud up front? Without Ribery, I do think DD needs to consider starting Giroud. The Arsenal striker's playing style is to sit on the last defender's shoulder and to use his aerial game to either put crosses on goal or knock them down for teammates making runs off his distribution. Benzema tends to like to drift more, play deeper at times and plays more with the ball at his feet. DD might want this style more now that he does not have his pacey left winger. There could be the need for another player that is willing to drop deep to collect the ball and attack the opposing team. But there needs to be some consideration with regards to the different style of striker DD has available. 
  • The offensive fulcrum is now squarely on Valbuena's shoulders. Le Petit Velo has
    The keys to the offense are yours Petit Velo
    become one of DD's main offensive catalysts, even when Ribery was on the field. Without the Bayern winger, even more of the offensive emphasis will fall on the Marseille midifielder's shoulders. I think he can and will be successful with the added offensive responsibility. He is also not entire alone - more will be expected from the likes of Cabaye, Pogba and Matuidi to be more offense in their play.
There is no way to spin this as anything but devastating for Les Bleus. The silver lining is that this injury is one that DD has been aware of since day one of camp, so I am sure, or maybe I hope, he has been preparing for this possible situation behind closed doors. Clearly he has had to make due without Ribery during France's friendly matches. The only worse situation would have been to keep Ribery on the roster and constantly wondered if and when he would return.

Now Les Bleus know the situation and what they have to work with. The cupboard is far from being bare, and I think France still have a good opportunity to make a run to the 1/4 finals. That would be a success.

Allez les Bleus.


BLP said...

It is probably a stupid suggestion because of the lack of time we have to prepare. But Imagine this. We play a 4 4 2 like this

Debuchy Varane Sakho Evra
Pogba Matuidi
Giroud Benzema

This way we always have Giroud up front, and Benzema can lurk into the midfield and allow Valbuena to run on the wing. I am no football coach, but maybe this could be an interesting option.

Jeff said...

I could see that lineup possibly happening, BLP, especially if we go a goal down. The bigger story right now, though, I think, is that Griezmann suddenly looks like one of our best players.

GFC said...

BLP - not a stupid suggestion at all...seems like one DD might pursue. See my latest post about the formation that will head out against Jamaica tomorrow.

I also agree that Griezmann has stepped it up. I think he has a legitimate shot to get some time on the left wing. It will be interesting is DD eventually opts for a true left winger like Griezmann or rather find a way to play his top striker and Giroud.