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Well we have a jam packed show for you this week. Starting off with analysis of the Champions League tie between Real Madrid and Barcelona.
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It is hard sometimes to keep up to date with all the previews flying around twitter and the like.
So gibfootballshow is here to help you.
For all your Europa League needs here are a list of some fantastic previews for tonights games.

WILL BE UPDATE AS MORE PREVIEWS APPEAR

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Very interesting news came out on Friday; New French manager Laurent Blanc announced that all 23 members of the 2010 World Cup squad would not be picked for next month’s friendly against Norway. On Thursday the 5th of August Blanc will name the players pick for the match on August 11th, but who will he choose.

As an avid follower of French football this is a really interesting time, will he go for experience and steady the ship, or will he look to the future to set an example to the 23 players expelled that there is a future without them and that they are not automatic picks.

This morning I have had a look round the available players and had a go at picking a 18 man squad that I would pick for the match, a list of about 35 players was narrowed down to 24, and then the final cuts were made till I had the 18 men I could see taking the FFF forward.



 

#1 Mikael Landreau Lille Goalkeeper
#12 Nicola Douchez Rennes Goalkeeper
#15 Rod Fanni Rennes Defender
#2 Mathieu Debuchy Lille Defender
#3 Bruno Tremoulinas Bordeaux Defender
#4 Julian Escude Sevilla Defender
#5 Adel Rami Lille Defender
#6 Laurent Koscienly Arsenal Defender
#14 Rio Mavuba Lille Midfield
#16 Samir Nasri Arsenal Midfield
#17 Yohann Cabaye Lille Midfield
#18 Moussa Sissokho Toulouse Midfield
#7 Hatem Ben Arfa Marseille Midfield
#8 Lassana Diarra Real Madrid Midfield
#10 Kevin Gameiro Lorient Forward
#11 Jimmy Briand Lyon Forward
#13 Loic Remy Nice Forward
#9 Karim Benzema Real Madrid Forward

So let’s explain this squad a little;

In goals I have picked Lille’s Mikael Landreau, did extremely well to recover from a serious knee injury at the start of last season, a great shot stopper, bags of experience and I think it helps a back 4 if you have a Goalkeeper who has been there to talk you through the match, Nicola Douchez has impressed for Rennes so we would be the substitute, Landreau deserves his place between the sticks for his performances for Lille last season.

Rennes - Rod Fanni

My back four would be: Rod Fanni, Bruno Tremoulinas, Adel Rami and new Arsenal man Laurent Koscienly, at Left Back Tremoulinas adds instant width and an ability to deliver a fantastic cross that new Arsenal man Marouane Chamakh benefited from last season, Bruno can also defend, but I’ve picked him more for his attacking prowess. To balance the attacking instincts of the left back I’ve gone with Rod Fanni of Rennes at Right Back, he also loves to get forward, maybe doesn’t quite have the quality in his deliver but he’s big and strong and can defend well.

In the middle I have gone with a young pairing of Rami and Koscienly, Laurent who was signed for Arsenal has had a meteoric rise in the last 2 years from Tours to the Emirates, I would not bet against him pulling on the national jersey and excelling at this level too, beside him is a young player that’s impressed me loads in the past few years, Rami has been a rock in Lille’s defence for the last few years, constantly linked with moves to various clubs, mostly Lyon, he is great in the air, fast over the ground, and not afraid to get a boot in.

A strong back four, with youthful exuberance, power and pace, with the wise head of Landreau behind to keep them right.

The midfield will play with 2 sitting players and 3 attacking, my sitting players have been 2 of the best midfielders in France recently the tenacious Rio Mavuba and one of the best young midfielders in Europe Moussa Sissokho, Rio has been superb for Lille ever since his loan move from Villarreal, he’s added a needed composure on the ball, most Lille moves go through him, the brains behind Rudi Garcia’s successful team, Sissokho is a very talented very sought after man, often compared to Mamadou Diarra and Patrick Vieria, Moussa can play anywhere in midfield, I want him to provide the energy in defence as well as attack.

Jimmy Briand shows his pace

My attacking players bring not only a balance to the team but also a touch of mystique and creativity, Hatem Ben Arfa, Lassana Diarra and Jimmy Briand, Hatem and Lass don’t come with the best reputation for their attitudes but no one can deny their ability on the field, Lass provides an attacking option however he can also swap with Sissokho when the big man breaks forward, great distributor of the ball, great feet, would be an excellent spearhead to the attack, to the left of him would be Ben Arfa, undoubted skill, great confidence, maybe not as consistent as the top managers would like, however on his day he is up there with the best, to the right of Lass would be Lyon’s new signing Jimmy Briand “The new Henry” loves to play wide and cut inside, explosive pace, scores goals, a wonderful young talent, a handful for any defence, accustomed to playing wide at Rennes, we would be perfect in this role for Les Bleus.

The front man in my attack is not a well known player outside France and is actually still to decide if he wants to play for Blanc and the French but Kevin Gameiro’s 17 league goals last year was the best strike rate in France, also eligible to play for Portugal but he has come up through the French ranks, made his name at Strasbourg he was bought by Lorient to replace Andre-Pierre Gignac and his 28 goals in 2 seasons has certainly done the job, not the tallest player however he uses his body well and has that sixth sense some strikers have to find space, and he is deadly around the box.

What about Nasri and Benzema I hear you cry, very good questions, Benzema basically purely on form, he’s not made the jump to Madrid very smoothly and I feel the other players are ahead of him on that reason and with Nasri, if we were 5/6 weeks into the new season then maybe I would play him instead Diarra or Ben Arfa however a few preseason goals mean nothing to me.

I will be very interested to see Blanc’s squad on the 5th of August, even more interested to see how many I got right, and how close his team is to mine; I would leave to hear your thoughts on this, so please feel free to reply.

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Going to start a series of posts today all mapping out my thoughts on the finales to most of the big european leagues around, Starting with La Liga.

Most people unless they have been living under a rock will know that this years title race is between the “El Super Classico” teams of Real Madrid and Barcelona, Manuel Pellegrini trying to save Madrid blushes and win a league title before he gets sacked, however Pep Guardiola is trying for the “Double Double” can he win the league and Champions League 2 years running in only his 2nd year in management.

Saturday saw Barcelona roll into the Bernabeu armed with the Greatest Players playing today in Leo Messi and walked away with all 3 points, this seasons sensationl players Messi and Pedro with the goals, and put Barca in the driving seat, still 7 games left and a lot of time for both teams to gain more points, with a 3 point lead this is there run in.

14th Apr – Deportivo (H)
17th Apr – Espanyol (A)
25th April – Xerez (H)
 2nd May – Villarreal (A)
 5th May – Tenerife (H)
9th May – Sevilla (A)
16th May – Valladolid (H)

A very interesting few games left, at home I would put a substantial amount of money on Barca winning all 4 games without complication, it’s the away games that make things interesting, a Catalan Derby, trips to El Madrigal and the Sanchez Pizjuan could easily turn into 3 defeats, especially with Sevilla and Villarreal in the tussle for European places. Real Madrids run in on paper looks the easier of the two, only Valencia and Mallorca at the top half to play, however Malaga away on the last day could be a match to decide the title and relegation battles. If Barcelona slip up, Madrid have a run of games where they should pick up points, Valencia’s away record has been very poor, Almeria, Zaragoza an Osasuna could have nothing to play for.

15th April – Almeria (A)
18th April – Valencia (H)
25th April – Zaragoza (A)
2nd May – Osasuna (H)
5th May – Mallorca (A)
9th May – Athletic Bilbao (H)
16th May – Malaga (A)

You also need to factor in that Barcelona have 2 more Champions League games to play and will be tough games against Mourinho’s Inter Milan, Barcelona have always been “my team” when choosing between them or Madrid, but I can see Real sneaking in to take the title, however with Lionel Messi playing the way he is, it would be hard to bet against him scoring the goals to lift Barcelona to that 20th Spanish League title.

The third automatic Champions League place see’s Valencia in the drivers seat 5 points ahead of Sevilla and Mallorca all 3 teams still have to face one of the Big Two, they don’t have to face each other again however they do come up against teams also fighting for the Europa League places, Valencia have Athletic Bilbao at Home and Villarreal Away, Sevilla have to travel to Getafe and Mallorca will go to the San Mames in Bilbao tough games against Bilbao for those team but also tough for Bilbao in their chase for a Europa League spot, with 5th and 6th place going into the Europa League Getafe and Villarreal find themselves 2 and 4 points respectively off that 6th spot.

Villarreal have the toughes run in, big game against Getafe then home stands against Barcelona and Valencia, Getafe have Sevilla visiting them, nearly impossible to predict, I will have a try.

Looking at the remaining fixtures and trying to work out how each game will go (if I could predict this I’d be rich) this is how I think the table will finish, and unfortunately for Villarreal and Getafe it’s how you are for the 6 teams involved

3. Valencia 38 games 69 points – Champions League
4.Sevilla 38 games 64 points – Champions League Qual.
5.Mallorca 38 games 62 points – Europa League Playoff
6. Athletic Bilbao 38 games 59 points – Europa League 3rd round
———————————————-
7.Villarreal 38 games 58 points
8.Getafe 38 games 58 points

So If (Big if) I’m correct Villarreal and Getafe will be close but no cigar, Valencia and Sevilla will be in the Champions League, and I might put a cheeky bet on Real Madrid winning the title.

Next…………Serie A

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