With the international football winding down, it’s time to focus on club football again.
Although if I’m being honest, we probably won’t have to deal with this until the next international break. But he posted a picture and the idea popped into my mind, so here we are.
Yohan Benalouane has been out for some time following an issue with his back, but the Frenchman posted on his Instagram the other day that he is looking to be back in six weeks, and is already working hard to get back into shape for when he comes back.
However, when he does come back, I think Lamouchi is going to be faced with a bit of a problem.
Much in the same way I spoke about bringing back Joao Carvalho into the mix a couple of weeks ago, and the risks that would entail. The risks I spoke of there were more to do with Carvalho’s injury, however these risks are of a different matter, and they concern the tactical side of it.
Where does he fit in to the current Forest format? Whilst he was a more or less ever-present for the side last year (red card suspensions aside), he’s going to find it hard to get back into the starting line-up with the way things are going.
With fans full of praise for the defensive partnership of Joe Worrall and Michael Dawson, I can’t see Sabri Lamouchi being willing to break that up. Whilst in theory he could always change formation to five at the back with three centre-backs to accommodate all of them, he has shown in his managerial history that he is quite rigid with preferring four at the back, so that option can be ruled out.
Is it fair to say that Benalouane will be relegated to a substitutes role when he returns, just waiting for someone like Worrall or Dawson to make a mistake? Even then he will have to contend with someone like Chema, who I have very high thoughts on, in the pecking order. Whilst it’s nice to have backup options, I fear that Benalouane might fall too far down the order for him to get any more minutes at the City Ground.
What about you? Do you think that Benalouane still has a role to play in the Forest side? Or do you think his playing days are pretty much numbered?