Saturday, March 26, 2016

Les Bleus take down Oranje...but some concerns remain

Les Bleus come back from Holland with a 3-2 victory over the Dutch. A game that started out well for France took a bad dip in the start of the second half, but the captain for the day, Matuidi, came through at the dying moments of the game to secure a win. Was there much to learn from this game? Sort of...

The Good:
  • A win is a win....After the past few seasons, getting a win versus a decent national side in their home stadium is still a positive. Les Bleus played a typical friendly game, some good moments, some moments of sleep walking no one expected the intensity of a World Cup or Euro game. France will go into their final match against Russia looking to build on this momentum. 
  • Griezmann - The Atletico Madrid striker continues to grow in stature for France. Partnering with Giroud and Payet (more on him later) appeared to be clicking from the get go. Giroud playing the role he does with Arsenal - a pivot point for the attack - played well with Griezmann running off that fulcrum. His free kick was a thing of beauty as well. Coupled with Payet taking some sumptuous set pieces himself this part of the game offers much hope for fans of Les Bleus. The one possible issue is that Griezmann prefers coming in from the left, a spot that Martial is also more comfortable playing from. If Deschamps decides to lean on Giroud as his main central striker, he will have to leave Martial on his bench. Not a bad option coming in off the bench, but might also be underutilized that talent.
  • Payet - I have never been a huge fan of the former Nantes prospect, but he has been slowly winning me over. His move to West Ham has done him a world of good. Getting out of OM and Ligue 1 has allowed him to take the next step in his career. He is playing with a high level of skill and confidence. Lining up on the right, but really roaming the pitch as a #10 worked well with this formation. His set pieces were dangerous and his shoot from distance are all extremely positive. Could he be the Valbuena at the Euros? Seems that way.
  • Pogba - The Juventus #10 is an absolute beast. He is growing into a true "box to box" midfielder. He was making strong tackles, launching attacks, taking defenders on and bringing offensive options to the side. France will lean heavily on their Juventus midfielder. He needs to continue to mature but the future is bright for the former Manchester United player.
 The Bad
  • Still many questions on defense - The back 4 still has some shaky moments. I am not confident with our outside backs. Evra is old. Digne and Jallet can be shaky at times, allowing their man to get past them too quickly. Varane and Kos are sold in the middle of the park, but at times are asked to do too much to cover for the outside backs. Deschamps will have some work to do with regards to figuring out who he leans on from a fullback role. It feels that he will go with the veterans such as Evra and Sagna...ugh.
 The Ugly:
  • Can Les Bleus defend set pieces?? Two goals on set pieces. Granted the first goal should have been called back due to a hand ball. But Kos was hanging on to De Jong like he was a 5 year old on the deep end of the pool and De Jong was his life preserver. On the second goal...ouch...Afellay was WIDE open. Not good man marking on that corner kick...once again things that France struggle with. These will burn Les Bleus if not solved.
Decent game for Les Bleus. Let's see what happens next week versus Russia. As France have only another 90 minutes of football before the final roster of players is set for the Euros, it will be interesting to see who DD wants to see. Clearly the core list is probably in mind. I think the midfield will be the one place where there is some competition for spots. We shall see what falls out after next tuesday.

Allez Les Bleus!

Honoring the great Cruyff


pierrot said...

Similar result today v Russia. Still some shambolic defending -- why has Laporte not been called up? I think he and Corchia deserve a run out, given the problems all already the back line.

In attack though -- wow. Would say Payet's punched his ticket to Euros with that free kick today (wowee wow), and a great through ball for Coman. Griezmann, Martial and Coman -- what a frontline!! With Giroud, Gignac, as options, and looking forward to 18, Ntep and Fekir back from injuries, Lacazette back to form ... Benzema??

For me, the first person on the team sheet right now is Matuidi, though -- what an engine, and just in brilliant form right now, box to box. Give him the captain's armband!

Philip said...

I agree. Been a long time since ive been on here. Hope to see some posts on the upcoming games. If the defense didnt scare us before it will now with Varane out. Interesting to see if Rami will get a start. As I remember he was not bad and better than his partner Mexes. Don't know why he was left behind all this time.