France was beaten 2-0 on Friday against Ukraine in the first leg of the European play offs World Cup qualifiers. ”Les Bleus” now have to score at least three goals on Tuesday in Paris to be in Brazil next summer. To turn it around, Didier Deschamps will have to make changes.
Before Friday’s game in Ukraine, rumors suggested that Deschamps was going to start with a 4-3-3 with Johan Cabaye, Blaise Matuidi and Paul Pogba in midfield, but the French coach chose a 4-2-3-1 instead dropping Cabaye and starting Samir Nasri as a number ten. Unfortunately for France, the Manchester City man had an awful day and his impact on the game was next to nothing.
Starting with a 4-3-3 with Cabaye as a holding midfielder, Matuidi and Pogba as central midfielders would allow France to control possession better than they did Friday in Kiev. France needs to win the midfield battle and there is no better combination than these three men to do so. Cabaye’s presence would also allow Pogba and Matuidi to push forward and support the attacks. Matuidi, a box-to-box midfielder with his club Paris Saint Germain, was asked to play an unusual holding role on Friday and even though he performed well, his best position is further up the pitch where his energy and ability to make runs into the box are needed.
Playing with a 4-3-3 would also take a burden off the wingers’ shoulders. Franck Ribery and Mathieu Valbuena (who will probably be back in the starting XI) will have less defensive duties and will be able to play higher up the pitch. Valbuena is France’s best crosser of the ball and is also very good in tight spaces.
”Les Bleus” are on the verge of a humiliating elimination after their awful display in Kiev on Friday. Deschamps’ 4-2-3-1 on Friday was a disaster and should not be repeated. To get a different result, the France coach needs to do something different.