The list of issues the Blues have faced since the start of this rally in June, particularly in Nations League matches – four in 11 days – is long. But not surprisingly. The players of the French national team, who almost all play in European top clubs, are ending this season on the kneecaps. A fairly uneven accumulation of matches within the French group itself. But who pulls certain trends.
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Let’s start at the beginning: who has played the most of all the French players, club and squad together? Unsurprisingly, eight of the ten elements with the most appearances this season are part of Didier Deschamps’ list for this rally. And it is William Saliba who ensures that everyone is in agreement about this fiscal year 2021-2022, both in number of games played – 62 including… 52 with OM – and in minutes spent on the green rectangle (5440).
Taking into account the minutes played first, Aurélien Tchouaméni (61 matches, 4875 minutes) and Hugo Lloris (53 matches, 4800 minutes) complete the podium, closely followed by another Marseillais, Matteo Guendouzi (4735 minutes), 60 time. Karim Benzema (55 matches, 4576′), Kylian Mbappé (54 matches, 4522′), Christopher Nkunku (55 matches, 4314′) and Jules Koundé (52 matches, 4324′) are also in this top 10.
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Only 31st in the minutes ranking (3668), Wissam Ben Yedder, often replaced by AS Monaco, is 4th in the ranking by number of appearances (57). Alphonse Areola, who has only played 18 games, is bottom of the players in this meeting in all categories.
On closer inspection, only three absolutely undisputed holders of Didier Deschamps – it is still early to consider Tchouaméni as well – appear in the top 10: Lloris, Benzema and Mbappé. Many other executives have not been able to play as much for various reasons. Not to mention the absence of Paul Pogba, Lucas Hernandez (37 games, 2960 minutes), N’Golo Kanté (45 games, 2940 minutes) and Raphaël Varane (36 games, 2873 minutes) paid for their physical glitches.
“When we see Ben Yedder’s games, we can think of Giroud”
Griezmann dominates everyone in the selection, Kanté is rare
Less confident, Antoine Griezmann played many games – 51 in all – but “only” 3,424 minutes, blamed on Diego Simeone’s premature changes, often making the French one of his first victims. If the left-hander is no longer as indisputable as in the good old days at club, nothing has changed in the roster: “Grizou” is the player who has the most matches with the Blues (12), where Kanté is seen in roster an event (3 performances since September).
Nkunku, Kimpembe, Diaby… who scored the most points?
On arrival, the players least used during the season are the most in trouble at this gathering, with rare exceptions such as Kingsley Coman. Because if we look again at the heights of the standings, the trio Benzema-Nkunku-Mbappé is fueled – when he plays, for the last -, Saliba continues to chain, Tchouaméni to assert himself, Guendouzi to become stronger . †
However, no reason to endlessly pull the rope. Didier Deschamps understood this and turned as much as he could. And Kylian Mbappé proved it and even agreed to play on one and a half legs. Let’s hope the last effort, Monday, won’t be too much.
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