Thursday, August 27, 2015

Deschamps' list for start of international friendlies...not much to see here

Les Bleus will head into the first international break with many questions looming. After a pathetic end to the last international season - getting badly outplayed by the Red Devils from Belgium as well as being hijacked away to Albania - France are not looking like they are anything but a welcoming host to next year's Euro. France and Deschamps are still haunted by the same issue they have been facing, for what feels like years now, a lack of both star power and a winning formula. Unfortunately for Les Bleus, time is not our their side and clearly there is not a whole lot of options for Deschamps.

So here is the list for next months games versus Portugal and Serbia - two massive challenges.

Les 23 Bleus retenus

Lloris, Mandanda, Ruffier
Varane, Debuchy, Evra, Koscielny, Mangala, Sagna, Trémoulinas, Zouma
Cabaye, Kondogbia, Matuidi, Pogba, Schneiderlin, Sissoko
Benzema, Fekir, Giroud, Griezmann, Martial, Valbuena.
The only new face is the Monaco striker - Martial. Feels like another candidate Deschamps wants to take a look at to bring some attacking talent to the French front line. His profile feels much like Lacazette - pacey forward who plays down the middle but can also slot out to the wings. Of course there is a glut of players who play the wide role: Griezmann, Valbuena, Fekir and even the likes of Sissoko can slot there. Reality is Les Bleus are still looking for a central striker that can truly carry the goal scoring load. Neither Benzema or Giroud have truly taken ownership of that role. 
The old man still sticking around
Otherwise the roster does not really surprise me, other than seeing Evra once again in the roster. It felt as if he was at the end of the road during the last World Cup...and not sure how he is going to be better two years later at the Euros. With other left backs such as Kurzawa waiting in the wings, why constantly go to an aging back who has lost his bite?
What to watch for - Which central defensive pairing does DD lean on? Varane - Kos? Will Zouma get some time, could he be paired with Varane? That could be a pairing for the long term. Does Griezmann lock down the left wing for himself? Other than Pogba and Matuidi in the midfield, who else gets their chance? Does Cabaye keep his role as the sentinel in front of the back 4?
Lots of questions and little time to answer them. Deschamps has a lot of work ahead of him and not much time. Not sure if he will lean on the 4-3-3 or maybe go back to a 4-2-3-1 to load up his midfield to stabilize the game. Keep an eye on the training sessions to see what falls out.