Benzema absence gives Man Utd and Arsenal men chance to shine

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The French Football Federation has revealed that Karim Benzema will definitely not be selected to represent his nation at Euro 2016.

This news is unsurprising giving the ongoing investigation into Benzema’s alleged role in blackmailing team-mate Mathieu Valbuena.

While this news is of course unfortunate for the Real Madrid man, it gives two Premier League players a chance to step up.

Anthony Martial, who is still yet to score for the Euro 2016 hosts, and Olivier Giroud, who has only scored in one top-flight game this calendar year, are the leading candidates to replace Benzema.

Giroud scored twice in his last start for Les Bleus, but his form with Arsenal shows that he shouldn’t be given the chance to lead the line.

Martial has found the net three times in his last seven outings for Manchester United, but has mainly be used a left winger.

However, he has also proved himself capable when playing as a central striker, his more traditional role, and has scored three times and provided two assists for the Red Devils when played in that position.

Clearly, the 20-year-old has the ability to do the job for France and Didier Deschamps doesn’t have many more options to call upon.

Andre-Pierre Gignac was called up for the last squad, but the 30-year-old is currently playing in the Mexican league and that is hardly the standard needed for Euro 2016.

Other options include the Ligue 1 trio of Alexandre Lacazette, Paul Georges-Georges-Ntep and Nabil Fekir.

Lacazette is the most likely of those to get the nod over Martial over those three, with the Lyon man’s 17 goals in the French top-flight only bettered by Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

However, in his ten appearances for France he has only scored once and it looks like he’s wasted his chances to impress Deschamps.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Dan Ross

After a brief stint as a commentator, Dan took his passion for football into writing and went on to gain an NCTJ in sports journalism. A lifelong Walsall fan, he's followed the Saddlers through the highs, getting to Wembley for the first time ever last season, and the lows, namely relegation to League Two in 2006.