Ukraine vs France: What Arsenal, United and Chelsea have learned

The eastern European side beat Les Bleus 2-0 in Kiev on Friday night – but what will Premier League clubs take from the game?

France’s hopes of reaching next summer’s World Cup took a massive blow on Friday night as Les Bleus were beaten 2-0 by Ukraine in their qualifying play-off first leg.

With a host of Premier League stars and potential targets on show, what will the likes of Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and the rest of the top English teams have learned from the game?

Matuidi would be perfect for Chelsea, United

One of the few players in the France team that had a strong performance was central midfield enforcer Blaise Matuidi. The Paris Saint-Germain man showed strength in the tackle, and forced Ukraine to attack from wide areas as he sniffed out any danger centrally.

With Matuidi out of contract next summer, the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United should be keeping an eye on the physical midfielder, as he could be an excellent, free addition to their squads.

Konoplyanka a real talent

Much has been made of Andriy Yarmalenko as the ‘next Shevchenko’, but is was Yevhen Konoplyanka on the other wing that looked the most promising talent.

The Dnipro attacking midfielder showed real poise on the ball, vision and was certainly Ukraine’s most dangerous player on the night.

With Premier League clubs reported keeping tabs on the 24-year-old, he would not look out of place in the English top flight.

Debuchy better than Sagna?

Mathieu Debuchy got the nod at right-back ahead of Bacary Sagna, and again put in an industrious performance.

With Arsenal potentially in the market for a defender to replace Sagna at the Emirates Stadium, the man getting the nod ahead of him at international level would be an excellent choice.

Giroud needs close support

Olivier Giroud had another quiet game for the second time in a week, but it was not through a lack of effort from the Arsenal striker.

Like against Manchester United last Sunday, the former Montpellier man was largely left isolated as the lone frontman, with Samir Nasri not doing enough to get close to the forward.

For Giroud to prosper, it looks like he needs more support and players around him to give and go.

Loic Remy is a number nine

Newcastle’s in-form attacker Loic Remy started on the right wing, but was largely ineffective and replaced in the second half.

To get the most out of the QPR loanee’s considerable abilities, playing him through the middle is the best option.

Newcastle have found this out and France need to use him as a striker, or put a specialist wide man in their starting XI in his place for the return leg.

image: © korobukkuru

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