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Sunday, September 28, 2014

Real Sociedad vs Valencia CF Match Preview

Real Sociedad vs Valencia CF CF Match Preview
Stadium: Anoeta
Date: 28.09.2014; 19:00 CET
6th matchday, La Liga
Coaches: Jagoba Arrasate and Nuno Santos

Its only been 3 days since Valencia's last match and here we are at it again with another match this time against Real Sociedad. Valencia CF has had a great season so far, winning the last 4 matches and scoring 3 goals in all of them. The team will be looking to continue its good streak and beat Real Sociedad who are currently sitting in 14th position on the table with 1 win, 1 draw and 3 losses so far.

Real Soceidad will be looking to take advantage of the home terrain and get at least a point against Valencia CF. They haven't had the best of luck so far, but will be hoping their luck changes and get a positive result our of tonight's match.

Real Sociedad retained their start player, also a former Valencia CF player Sergio Canales after they had a good offer from Aston Villa in the summer of about 10 million euros to purchase the player. This decision hasn't exactly paid off for them as they are currently at 14th position and struggling in their matches. 

Valencia CF has had some good news this week with Alvaro Negredo completing his first full training after suffering a major injury that had him out of action for months, so he is recovering very good, Rodrigo De Paul will also be available for selection for the first time since his miserable debut in which he got a red card and several matches suspension for an aggressive elbow to a player.

In fact Pablo Piatti has been left out of the squad and De Paul has replaced him and most likely will get his first proper start, unless of course it is Feghouli who starts and Moreno gets to start as well on the left wing.

Valencia CF squad: 
Goalkeepers: Alves, Yoel. 
Defenders: Barragán, João Cancelo, Vezo, Otamendi, Mustafi, Gayà, Orban. 
Midfielders: Javi Fuego, Zuculini, Felipe Augusto, André Gomes, Dani Parejo, Roberto Ibáñez, Feghouli, Carles Gil. 
Forwards: Paco Alcácer, Rodrigo Moreno.

Technical Details Valencia CF (probable setups): 
Formation: 4-3-3 
Line-up: Diego; Barragan, Vezo, Otamendi, Gaya; Fuego, Gomes, Parejo; Feghouli, Paco, Moreno.
Tactics: Low defensive line, own half pressure, midfield triangle, short passing, offside trap, deep laying defensive midfielder.

Match Predictions:
Real Sociedad 1-2 Valencia CF
We know the team is really good and right now are in full form, but there is no escaping the fact that the team just played a hard match only 3 days ago and will be feeling a little tired. This I think allows Real Sociedad some breathing room which they could use and possibly score a goal, but overall I think Valencia CF is going to win by scoring two goals. Like one early goal by the 15th minute and one more goal in the second half. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Valencia CF 3-0 Cordoba CF Match Report

Fourth straight win, fourth straight game with 3 goals scored and fourth straight game with a solid defensive showing. Valencia CF have only conceded 2 goals from the last 5 matches and scored a total of 13 goals to put the team as the leader in La Liga ahead of Barcelona on goals difference.

I was safe with my prediction that Valencia CF would win by one goal, I was expecting for Cordoba CF to park the bus and they indeed did park the bus, but it didn't matter because Paco Alcacer scored a stunner of a goal very early on in the 22th minute and from then on Cordoba defense shattered, their tactic was no longer viable and they had to open up and this gave Valencia CF more opportunities on goal and Gaya would utilize one such opportunity and score the second goal for Valencia CF.

Cordoba CF were able to stabilize around the 35th minute and were actually pressing and attacking, this would allow them to create a very dangerous chance which Diego Alves just barely kept out of goal with a last ditch pounce with his left foot.

Overall the game was firmly in Valencia CF control and apart from one long range shot and the one dangerous chance Cordoba CF wasn't really threatening. Valencia CF on the other side were and the fast paced counter attacks and runs towards Cordoba's goal were causing all sorts of problems for their defense.

The second half Valencia CF would come out again in dominating fashion and would have complete control over the match, Cordoba CF had their fair share of runs and attacks, but they weren't really threatening and I don't think Diego Alves had to make a single save in the second half.

Valencia CF coach Nuno would make two changes in a quick fashion, taking off Piatti and then Gaya and replacing them with Carles Gil and Lucan Orban. Gaya having his deserved rest after a great performance which put him right back in his best form.

The game would finally be put in bed by Sofiane Feghouli who would score the third goal for Valencia CF on an assist by Carles Gil. That was the culmination of a great performance by Feghouli who seems to be back in top form and would be giving Nuno good problems to have of who to choose between Feghouli and Moreno.

Technical Details:
Valencia CF: Diego; Cancelo, Mustafi, Otamendi, Gaya(Orban 53 min); Fuego, Parejo, Gomes; Feghouli(Robert 76 min), Paco, Piatti(Carles Gil 49 min).
Cordoba CF: Juan Carlos; Crespo, Iago, Lopez, Adrian; Rossi, Borja Garcia(Fidel 70 min); Garai(Matos 51 min), Gomez, Fede Vico(Mike 60 min); Nabil

Paco Alcacer 1-0, 22 min.
Jose Gaya 2-0, 27 min.
Sofiane Feghouli 3-0, 74 min.

Player Ratings:
Diego 6.5 - Got his fingers on a long ranged shot to make sure it wasn't headed towards goal and then made a solid save with his left foot as a last ditch effort to keep the ball out of the net. Didn't have anything to do beyond those two saves.
Cancelo 6 - The jury is still out on the young right back, he was solid enough defensively and went forward to a great extent, but the final ball and the right decision making was lacking, often losing or giving the ball away as the end result.
Mustafi 6.5 - Solid showing from the German, this was his first start for Valencia CF and did himself proud, made few decent blocks and tackles and seemed to be in understanding of Otamendi.
Otamendi 6.5 - Continued his solid defensive work and it also goes unsaid how he brings the ball forward from defense and spreads it to the flanks or to the midfield.
Gaya 7 - Another great performance from the young left back who keeps delivering week after week, this time scoring a goal to celebrate his great performances so far. Was a constant danger going forward, his passing, crossing and vision are just superb and was taken off early to give him a deserved rest.
Fuego 6 - I think Fuego is going to have the 6 to 5.5 score for most of the matches and I don't think I even have to watch his play to know. He sits deep in midfield and mops up lose balls, tackles opposition attackers, this allows for the other players to be more adventurous, but he himself could be more involved at times.
Parejo 6.5 - Generally good performance, kept the ball well, good and precise passing, still a bit too easy to go down on occasions and still has a tendency to dribble sometimes when he should pass quickly.
Gomes 6.5 - Probably his best game so far, yes it was against a weaker Cordoba side, but that can't take away from his performance. Was really involved in the attacking play, started many of the chances in the team. EDIT: Seems he didn't provide the assist, so I'm changing the score.
Piatti 5.5 - Should have done more, was outshone on the flank by Gaya, was outshone in the penalty area by Paco and Feghouli on the other side has a brilliant and very impactful game, hopefully will come back stronger next game.
Paco 6.5 - Stunner of a goal, that may be goal of the weak in La Liga. Was active and dangerous throughout and perhaps could have done better on one occasion where he beat his defender but shot straight at the goalkeeper, still overall a great performance.
Feghouli 7.5 - What a great game for Feghouli. Provided a brilliant assist for Paco's first, he got rid of his marker and his cross was utterly precise. Was involved heavily in the attacks all game long and culminated with him scoring the third goal for Valencia CF.
Carles Gil 6.5 - Replaced Piatti and was more or less a similar threat as him, provided a different approach though and was able to hold the ball better than Piatti due to his stronger and bigger physique. Assisted Feghouli's goal.
Orban 6 - Replaced Gaya early on and continued his solid work defensively, great precise passing and always mindful of his position. Didn't venture too much forward, but did support Gil on the flank and was always available for a pass.
Robert N/A - Not enough time and Valencia CF had stepped into lower gear at that time.

Man of the Match: Sofiane Feghouli
Flop of the Match: Pablo Piatti
Best offense: Andre Gomes
Worst offense: Pablo Piatti
Best defense: Nicolas Otamendi
Worst defense: None
Best possession: Andre Gomes
Worst possession: Joao Cancelo

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Valencia CF vs Cordoba CF Match Preview

Valencia CF vs Cordoba CF Match Preview
Stadium: Mestalla
Date: 25.09.2014; 22:00 CET
5th matchday, La Liga
Coaches: Nuno Santos and Albert Ferrer

Valencia CF will be hosting Cordoba CF at the Mestalla  tonight and will look to continue with its winning form that spans for 3 matches so far. All three of the last three matches Valencia CF has won with 3 goals scored and tonight the team will be looking to repeat the feat.

This matchday is played in mid week, so the coach will be looking to rest some of the player and in the press conference yesterday he said that he will be making some changes, though didn't specify who or how many. Ruben Vezo has not been called up for this match, so he's been given a rest, this means Mustafi will most likely make his first debut for Valencia CF and this will be his chance to shine and possibly win a place in the starting eleven.

I think the team will mostly be the same, I've understood Nuno to be one who wants and prefers consistency and stability, so while we will see some changes tonight, its likely to be 2 or 3 changes and not more. I think Gaya might be given rest and Orban starting in his place, possibly Parejo being given rest as well. Possibly change goalkeepers as well and give Yoel a try.

Cordoba CF have been quite terrible so far in the season, the biggest threat for them has been Valencia CF loaned player Fede Cartabia who has scored two goals for them and has been one of the most threatening players. He would not be able to play against Valencia CF though due to a clause in the loan deal, so Valencia CF won't have to worry about that and is going to have an easier time on the right flank at the back.

I'm expecting a tight match even though Cordoba CF have been very weak so far, but they would be looking to find their break tonight and are likely to defend with full force and try and get at least one point from this match. I hope Valencia players are fully concentrated though and don't take Cordoba CF lightly.

Valencia CF squad:
Goalkeepers: Alves, Yoel.
Defenders: Barragán, João Cancelo, Otamendi, Mustafi, Gayà, Orban.
Midfielders: Javi Fuego, Zuculini, André Gomes, Dani Parejo, Roberto Ibáñez, Feghouli, Filipe Augusto, Carles Gil.
Forwards: Piatti, Paco Alcácer.

Technical Details Valencia CF (probable setups):
Formation: 4-3-3
Line-up: Yoel; Barragan, Mustafi, Otamendi, Orban; Fuego, Gomes, Zuculini; Feghouli, Paco, Piatti.
Tactics: Low defensive line, own half pressure, midfield triangle, short passing, offside trap, deep laying defensive midfielder.

Match Predictions:
Valencia CF 1-0 Cordoba CF
Valencia CF players have consistently scored goals this season in every case so its expected this to be the case tinight as well, but since the team will be somewhat tired from the previous match just few days ago and Cordoba CF are likely to park the bus in front of goal I'm expecting only one goal.

The defense will be changed with Mustafi and very likely Orban in for Vezo and Gaya, but I expect the threat to be small from Cordoba and for Valencia CF to keep a clean sheet.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Getafe CF 0-3 Valencia CF Match Report

Valencia CF achieved its 3rd win of the season in 4 matches, drawing only against Sevilla in the opening match of the season, but winning all of the rest with big goal-scoring differences. Even though the play hasn't always been impeccable, the goals and results have been there and that is ultimately what matters.

Maybe I've been too critical in the past of the midfield, maybe I expect too much, regardless I want the team to play. I think right now the play might still not be top of the line, but there is no denying that we have a top level attack and so far very stable and secure backline and through which we are getting very good results.

This match was no different as Paco Alcacer shone again and scored the first goal for Valencia CF just in the 7th minute, assisted by Rodrigo Moreno. This was the jumping board for the team and instantly the better play began, Valencia CF mostly controlling the match and pace of the game and it all paid off in the 20th minute when Andre Gomes scored after a lovely one two pass with Paco Alcacer who's been in superb form this season.

This was also one of Andre Gomes better matches, though he still has a lot to improve on and especially learn how to retain the pass better, though he seems to me he functions better in a more advanced and attacking position.

The match leveled off soon after and both teams were fighting for possession, neither team winning in that department and Getafe having more shots and attacks overall, but very weak ones and all of their shots I believe coming outside of the penalty area and not being threatening at all.

The second half started and for most of it it was the same play, mostly battle in the midfield, Valencia CF creating few more dangerous chances and Getafe having shots from far ranges towards goal.

Ultimately Feghouli came in for Paco and was soon after brought down in the penalty area, with the referee pointing to the penalty spot. Rodrigo Moreno took it and scored the third goal to put this match to rest and get Valencia CF into cruise control to finish off the match. Things won't be so simple though as Rodrigo did a clumsy challenge, but hardly for a yellow card, but the referee deemed it horrible enough for a yellow, which was his second of the match and that meant automatic red card.

Anyways Valencia CF managed to sway off Getafe's attacks and in truth Getafe never really came close to scoring, most of their chances were really poor and non threatening.

Technical Details:
Getafe: Guaita; Valera (Arroyo, min. 75), Alexis, Naldo, Escudero; Sammir (Baba, min. 57), Juan Rodríguez; Hinestroza, Sarabia (Ivi, min. 60) Diego Castro; Lafita.
Valencia: Diego Alves; Barragán, Rubén Vezo, Otamendi, Gayá; Javi Fuego; Piatti (Orban, min. 85) Parejo (Augusto, min. 80), Andre Gomes; Rodrigo; Paco Alcácer (Feghouli, min. 60).

Paco Alcacer 1-0, 7 min.
Andre Gomes 2-0, 20 min.
Rodrigo Moreno 3-0, 72 min.

Player Ratings:
Diego 6.5 - Had two or three saves from long range shots, other than that he wasn't tested.
Barragan 6 - Average performance from the right back, went forward to a great extent, but unfortunately it didn't relate to much and was otherwise good in defense.
Vezo 6 - Good performance, came forward often to make a block or mark someone and was largely successful.
Otamendi 6.5 - Dealt easily with Getafe attacks, covered nicely few times for Gaya when he was forward and was generally solid overall.
Gaya 6.5 - Didn't have the kind of impact as in some of the previous matches, but was overall solid and was very involved in the play from defense, midfield to attack. Went forward to a great extent and helped Piatti a ton.
Fuego 5.5 - We've come to expect this type of standard performance from Fuego, as he pretty much sat deep at the back and defended, very rarely getting involved in midfield play.
Parejo 6 - Was better than the last few games and didn't lose the ball nearly as much, providing good outlet in the middle of the park.
Gomes 6.5 - Similar performance to Parejo's with the difference than Gomes generally operated more forward. Scored the second goal after a beautiful one two with Paco.
Moreno 7.5 - Would have been man of the match if it wasn't for his red card, even if it was very harsh. Great performance overall, assisting the first goal and then scoring the third from a penalty.
Paco 7.5 (MOTM) - Scored a great poachers goal to open the scoring for Valencia CF and then showed his vision and quick thinking by doing a lovely one-two with Gomes, assisting Gomes goal. Was a dangerous throughout the match and had a very action performance.
Piatti 6 - Wasn't a threat directly, but his pace and running always leads to being surrounded by players, which in turn makes space for the other players. Was involved in several attacks and combined well with Gaya.
Feghouli 6 - Responsible for gaining the penalty, even though some would argue it wasn't really a penalty. Overall had few runs on the right flank and was generally active and useful in his time on the pitch.
Felipe N/A - Not enough time, but slotted well for Parejo and didn't make any mistakes.
Orban N/A - Not enough time

Man of the Match: Paco Alcacer
Flop of the Match: None
Best offense: Rodrigo Moreno
Worst offense: Antonio Barragan
Best defense: Nicolas Otamendi
Worst defense: None
Best possession: Rodrigo Moreno
Worst possession: Javi Fuego

Monday, September 22, 2014

Getafe CF vs Valencia CF Match Preview

Getafe FC vs Valencia CF Match Preview
Stadium: Alfonso Perez
Date: 22.09.2014; 20:45 CET
4th matchday, La Liga
Coaches: Cosmin Contra and Nuno Santos

Valencia CF is meeting Getafe FC tonight at the Alfonso Perez stadium in Getafe, looking to secure its third win this season and continue the good start to the season. So far Valencia CF drew against Sevilla in the first match of the season, but went on to win the following matches.

Even though the wins were big, the play wasn't as stellar as the results showed, the team often struggling in midfield and frequently loosing the ball and allowing the opposition quick and dangerous counter attacks.

While the defense has been solid so far, its only a matter of time one of those midfield mistakes be taken advantage of and converted into goals. So coming into tonight's match the team had better ironed out the mistakes and improved in the midfield if Valencia CF is to have a win against Getafe CF.

Valencia CF coach Nuno said that he is going to start the same team he's been starting all season and he won't make any changes, which I like, I like to see continuity when the team is obviously getting results, though he also should be afraid to make small changes to fit more against the opponents. I get it that Valencia CF needs to play its own football and not think too much about the opposition, but sometimes tactical decisions are very important in order to win especially against stubborn teams.

Getafe FC on the other side only have 3 points so far, but since its so early in the season it doesn't mean much and they can turn out to be really good and end up in the top 6, we just don't know this early in the season, but Valencia CF can use Getafe's current poor form to their advantage and achieve a victory. 

Getafe CF acquired Vicente Guaita and Michel Herrero this summer from Valencia CF, so its possible that they will be fielding two former Valencia CF players tonight. Alexis also a former Valencia CF player is also still playing for Getafe CF. 

They sold Miguel Angel Moya this summer to Atletico Madrid, who was also a former Valencia CF player, though at the time he was second position to goalkeeper Cesar Sanchez.

Valencia CF squad:
Goalkeepers: Alves, Yoel.
Defenders: Barragán, João Cancelo, Vezo, Otamendi, Mustafi, Gayà, Orban.
Midfielders: Javi Fuego, André Gomes, Dani Parejo, Feghouli, Filipe Augusto, Carles Gil.
Forwards: Piatti, Rodrigo, Alcácer.

Technical Details Valencia CF (probable setups):
Formation: 4-3-3
Line-up: Alves; Barragan, Vezo, Otamendi, Gaya; Fuego, Gomes, Parejo; Feghouli, Paco, Piatti.
Tactics: Low defensive line, own half pressure, midfield triangle, short passing, offside trap, deep laying defensive midfielder

Match Predictions:
Getafe CF 1-2 Valencia CF
Getafe CF is in a bit of a slump right now, while Valencia CF is on a high and mostly in great form, so I expect Valencia CF to take advantage of Getafe's poor form and be able able to secure a victory. I still think the midfield is going to have mistakes and its likely for Getafe to take advantage of some poor pass or something and score a goal. I'm thinking Valencia CF will win, but Getafe CF are going to score a goal.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Champions League fantasy football

I have set up a league in UEFA Fantasy, come and join me! - 1133448-608287

The more people we get the better, as there are no more public leagues.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Valencia CF 3-1 RCD Espanyol Match Report

Valencia CF continued with the good start to this season with another rather big win, but the result is a bit misleading, similar to last game. While Valencia CF won 3-1 over Espanyol, it was a rather lucky win as the linesman ruled a perfectly legitimate goal offside and damaged Espanyol. At the time the results was only 1-0 for Valencia CF, so if the goal stood it could have been a different match.

I think that offside call saved Valencia CF, just as Espanyol were becoming more dangerous and overallValencia CF has to improve rather drastically. Valencia's midfield is just terrible, they all play like individuals, rather than a team and no one is really available to receive a pass. Misplaced passes, lost possession, complete lack of understanding, etc... are just some of the midfield problems.

We are winning these games based on luck and individual strength of the players, rather than good team play or things of that nature and sooner or later the luck will leave and players won't always be in great form, the team play will have to improve if the team is to finish top 4.

I hope Nuno understands that the midfield is terrible and works specifically in that area to try and improve it. Its clear that the team is very good defensively, we also have the talent up front with Paco and Rodrigo able to score goals, Negredo is also a proven goalscorer so we have the canons up front as well, but its the midfield that is holding back our game. Its a major weak spot right now and Nuno needs to change something, before this weakness is exploited by better teams.

I liked what I saw from the defense, its very solid and generally secure, with Otamendi impressive with his blocks and tackles, but then having a blunder later in the game where he kept the ball too long and was fought off of it, that could have easily cost us the game as well, Valencia CF was very lucky.

Vezo was error free though, he didn't make any mistake, Barragan was very solid defensively providing good blocks and interventions and Gaya was very good as well, though this was his weaker performance this season, hopefully he has amazing performance in the next games like before.

I don't think the defense will change anytime soon based on the performances so far and in fact its likely to get even stronger as the understanding between Vezo and Otamendi grows. I know people want to see Mustafi play, so do I, but we shouldn't tinker with a winning formula and Vezo and Otamendi should start as long as we are conceding minimal goals. If that changes, then give Mustafi a chance.

I've already written about the midfield, this is the reason I wanted Enzo Perez or someone of his quality to join in midfield so we could have a more stable game, more organized game. Hopefully our midfield improves though, if not we can bring in some reinforcements in the winter, though I'd like to give the young players we brought in midfield few chances before we make any purchase.

I think the biggest issue is that Parejo and Gomes are too similar, if I was to describe it, its like playing with two Iniesta's at Barcelona. You need a Xavi type player and we don't really have him, we we are playing two players who are the same in play style and they are crowding each other and doing the same thing.

Technical Details:
Valencia: Diego Alves, Barragán, Vezo, Otamendi, Gayá, Javi Fuego, André Gomes, Parejo, Piatti (Carles Gil, m.82), Rodrigo (Feghouli, m.67) and Paco Alcácer (Robert, m.87).
Espanyol: Kiko Casilla, Javi López, Colotto, Álvaro, Arbilla, Víctor Sánchez (Cañas, m.78), Abraham (Lucas, m.46), Salva Sevilla, Stuani (Caicedo, m.65), Montañés and Sergio García.

Pablo Piatti 1-0, 7 min.
Daniel Parejo 2-0, 63 min.
Paco Alcacer 3-0, 73 min.
Sergio Garcia 3-1, 90 min.

Player Ratings:
Diego 6 - Had nothing to do most of the game, but was forced to make few saves and did well. Couldn't save a late game penalty though.
Baragan 6 - Good match for Baragan, defensively solid, making few good tackles and blocks. Didn't provide much going forward though.
Vezo 6.5 - Error free performance and good understanding with Otamendi.
Otamendi 6.5 - Had several crucial interceptions and blocks, though had one huge mistake that could have resulted in a goal had Espanyol finishing been better.
Gaya 6.5 - His "weakest" performance this season, but this was still very good. Solid defensively, went forward as much as possible and provided few crosses, but wasn't very effective in attacking sense.
Fuego 6 - Gave away a last minute penalty with a very nave foul in the penalty area. Provided good defensive cover though, but as always he was invisible in the middle of the park and serves more as a fifth defender than a midfielder.
Parejo 5 - If the linesman wasn't blind his mistake could have costed VCF the game as Espanyol would have equalized to 1-1. Wasn't his only big mistake either. Scored the second goal, but apart from that it was a very poor performance.
Gomes 4 - I swear him and Parejo compete who would be the worst player. Lost the ball so many times I can't even count that much. Apart from the one action he started that lead to the first Valencia goal it was a very poor performance.
Moreno 7 (MOTM) - Lively performance as he provided the assist for Piati's goal and was generally a threat throughout the match.
Paco 6.5 - Scored the third goal to secure the match and was generally good, finding himself in few dangerous positions.
Piatti 6 - Scored the first goal for Valencia CF, but apart from that he was rather invisible on the pitch. Had few runs, but lost the ball all the time.
Feghouli 6.5 - Instant thereat down the right side and provided the assist for Paco's goal. Combined well with Parejo and Barragan in his short time on the field and is close to his best form judging by this performance.
Gil N/A - Not enough time
Robert N/A - Not enough time

Man of the Match: Moreno
Flop of the Match: Gomes
Best offense: Moreno
Worst offense: Gomes
Best defense: Vezo
Worst defense: None
Best possession: Feghouli
Worst possession: Parejo and Gomes