League of Nations – Holder with the Blues, Wissam Ben Yedder did not shine in Croatia (1-1)

Wissam Ben Yedder and the Blues. The Blues and Wissam Ben Yedder. What to do ? Eventually, it will become a catchphrase that could be summed up quite simply by figures: 19 selections, 3 goals. And by a general impression, always the same over the outings: the Monegasque does not find his place within the tricolor collective. And doesn’t weigh much. So yes, on Monday, he delivered a sumptuous assist with the left foot to Adrien Rabiot, who finished the job perfectly with the same foot. Three touches of the ball to get back in the game and a marvel of deep ball for the Turinese. But for the rest, the striker, tenured for the sixth time in his career at the forefront of the blue attack, did not exist.

At the tip, moreover, we hardly saw him. You just have to look back on his match to realize that the meager number of balls he touched during the long hour of play spent on the Split meadow were excessively far from the zone of truth. The only time he came close with the ball, he was off-center on the right, about twenty meters from the goal line, much closer to the corner post than to Livakovic, the Croatian goalkeeper. The rest of the time, the balls negotiated by the Monegasque were between 30 and 40 meters from goal, on discounts, often with their backs to goal. Never in a favorable position.

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Whose fault is it ? An attacker is obviously dependent on the animation and on his partners who, if they cannot find him, also bear some responsibility. Christopher Nkunku and Moussa Diaby put themselves in a favorable position by combining, but could not do the same with Wissam Ben Yedder, whom they know much less. The unprecedented configuration of this eleven to ten new players probably did not facilitate the task of the players. When deciding on his one-night trio, Didier Deschamps admitted without difficulty that “Wissam was more isolated on our offensive phases” while emphasizing that “that didn’t stop him from making an assist”.

I’m quite satisfied

The main interested party regretted the epilogue of the match more than his performance, which he took to the background: “It was played on this penalty, I don’t know if there was offside or not on the action. On arrival it gave us a draw, a good point taken. Everything was going well , even if there was a lack of automatisms between us (in attack), but that is understandable because we have never played together. I am rather satisfied but I am a competitor, I would have liked to win so I am a little frustrated with this scenario and this equalizer at the end of the game.”

The concern is that Wissam Ben Yedder, 19 caps and 3 goals, has not always found himself in a configuration such as that of Split. The man with 25 Ligue 1 goals leads a double life, brilliant at club level, distressing at national level. Of his 6 tenures in blue, he has regularly found himself at the heart of teams that will be described as “mixed”. This was the case in the previous one – a long time ago – against Finland (0-2, November 2020), or against Croatia (4-2, September 2020). But that hasn’t always been the case. The previous year, in particular, in Albania (0-2, November 2019), WBY had been aligned alongside the duo Griezmann – Giroud. A month earlier, with Coman and Griezmann at the Stade de France against Turkey. On arrival, he was released in the 72nd minute, Giroud entered and opened the scoring in stride. Ben Yedder had not existed during this evening.

So yes, the appointments are scattered and do not date from yesterday. But not convincing, every time. And his entry into play, regularly neutral. Is it blocking? And that will not change by the World Cup, given the cast of the tricolor attack. And even if someone were to miss, it is possible that another, Olivier Giroud, will pass him by, as was the case in March when Karim Benzema gave up the rally and the Milanese managed a comeback triumphant and punctuated by two new goals, his 47th and 48th in selection. It’s easier to grow in a team. But it’s the law of the genre and every missed opportunity is a lost opportunity.

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