Laurent Blanc leads his France side to Montpellier to take on an exciting Chile side, that reached the quarterfinals of the Copa America, in a friendly on Wednesday night. Under his guidance Blanc has tried to mix the experienced internationals with some of Ligue 1’s most talented players including Marvin Martin and Yann M’Vila. Lille’s new winger Dimitri Payet would also possibly have been given a place in the starting line-up.
During the recent friendlies and European Championship qualifiers, Blanc has flirted with using a 4-1-3-2 and the more commonly used 4-2-3-1 formation. Although not a starter for his club: Karim Benzema has been first choice striker flanked by Franck Ribery and Florent Malouda; a great trio on paper but it has never quite clicked on the field for Les Bleus.
Looking back at last season, these are the best French players to fit Blanc’s current 4-2-3-1 formation sorted by WhoScored.com performance based ratings:
Defensively this unit is quite inexperienced. Goalkeeper Alexis Thebaux was Caen’s number 1 as the club managed to survive relegation on the last day while Ludovic Sané is also an interesting choice. The young defender showed some great positioning and versatility playing both at full back and centre back in a Bordeaux side that were poor at times last season.
Upfront there are no arguments with the choice of Kevin Gameiro, the top French scorer in Ligue 1 last season and one of PSG’s summer signings. Behind Gameiro you have the very creative talents of Marvin Martin, Franck Ribery and Dimitri Payet, a very explosive and frightening trio.
Possible France Starting XI vs Chile
In contrast to the WhoScored.com XI there will be at least seven new players that will face Chile. Hugo Lloris is the undoubted first choice keeper as, despite questions being raised against his size and command of the area, he is still regarded as the best goalkeeper in France. Premier League duo Bacary Sagna and Younes Kaboul are more than likely to start. Sagna has been a regular in the side and Kaboul impressed in the friendlies against Poland and the Ukraine and deserves his place in the side.
The midfield is probably one of France’s strongest areas. On the bench for Wednesday’s game will be Yohan Cabaye, Malouda, and Blaise Matuidi and the likes of Bruno Grougi, Gael Danic and Julian Feret, who all just missed out on a place in the WhoScored.com XI. All very talented midfielders that show the strength and depth that Laurent Blanc has at his disposal.
Alou Diarra has been chosen as Blanc’s captain so it would be a surprise not to see him. Alongside the Marseille midfielder the very exciting talent of Yann M’Vila is likely to feature after his performance against England at Wembley saw his absence in the Belarus qualifier come as somewhat of a shock.
Recently the performances of Franck Ribery have left a lot to be desired, he has yet to carry his form at club level with Bayern Munich from a few seasons ago into his international performances. It would seem that Marvin Martin and Jeremy Menez are more suited to the international game and with the goal scoring exploits of Gameiro upfront, Les Bleus need the creative juices of Martin, Nasri and Menez. On paper it is a very dangerous line-up but we all know football isn’t played on paper and doesn’t work on stats alone.