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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Levante UD vs Valencia CF Match Preview

Levante UD vs Valencia CF Match Preview
Stadium: Ciutat de València
Date: 23.11.2014; 17:00 CET
12th matchday, La Liga
Coaches: Lucas Alcaraz and Nuno Santos

International matches are over and its time for club football once again. Valencia CF had several members of its team play for their national teams. Paco Alcacer played 90 minutes for Spain, though unfortunately did not score a goal. He has been without scoring a goal for 4 matches now and worse yet he got injured while on international duty and will be out of the starting 11, possibly even out of the team that meets Levante. 

Gomes featured for Portugal, though he didn't have a standout performance, Diego Alves continues to feature for Brazil and he has been impressing with his goalkeeping, Otamendi also featured for Argentina in what was a decent performance. Feghouli played for Algeria and managed to score a goal for his side, while Mustafi was key for Germany in their two matches.

Last match was against Bilbao and Valencia CF split the spoils, but the team will be looking for a win against Levante and to try and stay on top of the table. Daniel Parejo has recovered from injury and could be included in the squad, but its likely that Nuno won't risk him starting against Levante. With Paco out with an injury this gives a chance to Negredo and its a good opportunity for him to show what he is capable of and fight for a place in the starting eleven. 

The coach is likely to start again with the 4-4-2 formation that has been applied in the last 2 matches, with Piatti and Feghouli on the flanks, Moreno and Negredo in attack and Gomes and Fuego as the central duo. The defense is going to be the same, bar any injuries its given that the defense won't be changing anytime soon.

Valencia CF squad:  
Goalkeepers: Alves, Yoel. 
Defenders: Barragán, João Cancelo, Otamendi, Mustafi, Gayà. 
Midfielders: Javi Fuego, Zuculini, Parejo, Gomes, Feghouli, De Paul, Pablo Piatti, Carles Gil. 
Forwards: Rodrigo Moreno and Alvaro Negredo.

Technical Details Valencia CF (probable setups):  
Formation: 4-4-2  
Line-up: Diego; Barragan, Mustafi, Otamendi, Gaya; Fuego, Gomes, Feghouli, Piatti, Negredo, Moreno. 
Tactics: Low defensive line, own half pressure, short passing, offside trap, deep laying defensive midfielder. 

Match Predictions:
Levante UD 0-2 Valencia CF
I'm expecting Valencia CF to win this match. I've been very conservative with my predictions, usually even if I predict a win its only 1 goal difference, but I feel like this is a game where the team can win by 2 goals advantage. Negredo is a very quality player and even though he hasn't had too much play time, I feel like he can get in the groove within 10-15 minutes and can show what he is capable of. I'm betting on him scoring at least one goal and possibly Piatti scoring a second goal. 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Valencia CF vs Atletic Bilbao Match Preview

Valencia CF vs Atletico Bilbao Match Preview
Stadium: Mestalla
Date: 09.11.2014; 19:00 CET
11th matchday, La Liga
Coaches: Nuno Santos and Ernesto Valverde

Valencia CF will play against Atletico Bilbao later today in what is going to be a very important match for both teams, with Valencia CF looking to continue its winning form and jump to 2nd positions once again, while Atletico Bilbao will be looking to get their campaign back in order, having had a bad start to the season.

Valencia CF is still without Daniel Parejo and Lucan Orban, both of whom suffer from hamstring injuries, with Parejo have a bit more serious injury and is going to miss the match next week as well. Other than these two the whole team is fit and ready and the coach has quite a bit of options as to how he will approach the match. He could go against with the 4-4-2 formation from the last match, with Feghouli and Piatti featuring on the wings and Gomes and Fuego in central midfield, or he could opt out for 3 man midfield in a 4-3-3 if he wishes to have more control over the match, since last match Valencia CF lost the midfield battle handily and Atletico Bilbao play even more possession based football than Villarreal.

Of course Atletico Bilbao is coached by former Valencia CF coach Ernesto Valverde who coached the team for only 6 months, before joining Atletico Bilbao for more stability. Since then Valencia CF has found stability with the acquisition of the club by Asian billionaire Peter Lim and is looking to create a competitive team that can challenge for titles in the future. 

What we can expect from this match is battle in the midfield, as I've written above Atletico Bilbao play a possession based football for most of the time, while Valencia CF this season under Nuno play more of a counter attacking football. Valencia CF will need to try and fight for midfield control because Atletico Bilbao are very dangerous when they have the ball at their feet, Valencia can't afford to have measly 40% possession like in the last match and expect a win, the team will have to have some control of the match in order to prevent constant attacking by Bilbao and give the defense some breathing room.

On the other hand Bilbao will need to improve their counters and build-up play if they are to counter Valencia CF, unfortunately for them Aritz Aduriz another former Valencia CF player is injured and likely won't play for them, which means their biggest threat is gone and would need to change their system accordingly. 

Valencia CF squad:  
Goalkeepers: Alves, Yoel. 
Defenders: Barragán, João Cancelo, Vezo, Otamendi, Mustafi, Gayà. 
Midfielders: Javi Fuego, Felipe Augusto, Feghouli, Robert, De Paul, Pablo Piatti, Carles Gil. 
Forwards: Paco Alcácer, Rodrigo Moreno, Alvaro Negredo.

Technical Details Valencia CF (probable setups):  
Formation: 4-4-2  
Line-up: Diego; Barragan, Mustafi, Otamendi, Gaya; Fuego, Gomes, Feghouli, Piatti, Paco, Moreno. 
Tactics: Low defensive line, own half pressure, short passing, offside trap, deep laying defensive midfielder. 

Match Predictions:
Valencia CF 1-1 Atletico Bilbao
Both teams are rater evenly matched even though they play different style of football. Valencia is the counter attacking team this season and Bilbao are historically and currently a possession based team. This is going to be a tough match and I don't expect many goals, with both teams evenly matched I'm thinking a 1-1 draw, although Valencia CF might have a slight edge due to the home terrain.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Jose Gaya the target of several big clubs

Valencia CF left back Jose Gaya is the target of several big clubs, the player is just 19 years of age, but he's been playing phenomenally for Valencia CF this season and is one of the best players in the club already, gaining the attention of several big clubs who are monitoring his situation.

Real Madrid is one of the interested clubs, they are looking for a long term replacement for Marcelo and see Gaya as the perfect long term replacement. Fabio Coentrao hasn't worked out for them since his arrival and has always took a back seat to Marcelo, almost leaving this summer transfer window, but ultimately staying. Now they are looking to offload him in the winter and bring in a long term replacement for Marcelo, a left back in his attacking mold.

Arsenal are also monitoring Gaya and could try to acquire him as they've been having a lot of defensive issues, Arsene Wenger is also a fan of young talented players, always looking for the next big talent and Arsenal sure have the big money to lure him in, with the Premier League players being the most paid in the world and their transfer fees are one of the highest as well, so shelling out 20 million or more won't be a problem for them.

Manchester City are also potentially interested with Pellegrini also a known coach for finding and developing young talents and he knows the Spanish players as the back of his hand. Manchester City also have agreement for 25 million euros and more for the transfer fee of Alvaro Negredo and they would be willing to significantly lower the fee if Gaya was to move the other way.

There are several clubs also interested in Paco Alcacer, among them Chelsea, Arsenal and few more.

The club is currently working on contract extensions for both players, but its unclear how long until we see their contracts extended.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Villarreal 1-3 Valencia CF Match Report

Well there you have it ladies and gentleman, Valencia CF managed to win against a very tough opponent in Villarreal tonight and it was a hard fought victory. At times Villarreal looked like they would score at any moment, but Valencia's defense stood tall and weathered through Villarreal's attacks, while through counter attacks Valencia CF managed to score 2 goals, with one early own goal by Villarreal giving Valencia CF the lead in the first half.

I got to say that Villarreal were the more dangerous opponent in the first half by far, although apart from their consolation goal in the second half they weren't as dangerous and Valencia's better concentration and focus allowed them to score two goals from just about that many chances.

Coach Nuno decided to start with a 2 man central midfield, in a 4-4-2 formation, with Fuego and Gomes forming the midfield duo and Feghouli and Piatti on the wings, with Paco and Moreno are the two strikers. This was a bit of a detour from some of the training sessions before the match. This formation and midfield duo would pretty much ensure that Villarreal had better possession. Even though both sides battled for several minutes for control of the match, Villarreal was able to win out and pretty much go on a constant attack against Valencia CF.

The lucky break for Valencia CF was in the 6th minute when Trigueros managed to score an own goal, the second own goal in the 6th minute Valencia CF has managed to force, with Miranda scoring an own goal in the Atletico Madrid match in the 6th minute.

The second half Villarreal came out in full force and they looked determined to find an equalizer, but Valencia's defense was solid and stood its ground. Even though Villarreal were the ones constantly attacking, they didn't actually have any clear cut chances. There was one mess in the Valencia CF penalty box and two shots that Diego luckily saved and of course they did score a goal in the closing stages of the match, but apart from those 2-3 good chances, all that attacking play didn't pay off at all.

Valencia CF on the other hand ventured forward sparsely and when they did Villarreal won the ball pretty quickly, but on two occasions Valencia CF managed to score. The first goal was created by Piatti, he played on the right wing with Feghouli, it was a short one two, Piatti crossed the ball in the penalty area and Mustafi found the space and headed the ball into the net to make it 2-0.

Several minutes later Feghouli was jumping in the penalty area and managed to heal the ball into the center of the penalty area where Mustafi happened to stand and his shot ended up in the net, making it 3-0 for Valencia CF.

The match tempo slowed down at this point, though Villarreal did manage to score a goal in the 88th minute as Valencia's concentration began to fall as the game was pretty much won by that point, though its something for coach Nuno to work with the players and ensure maximum concentration even when winning by 3 goals until the final whistle is blown.

Technical Details:
Villarreal: Asenjo, Mario, Gabriel, Dorado, Jaume Costa, Moi Gómez (Jonathan dos Santos, m.61), Trigueros, Bruno, Cheryshev, Giovani (Vietto, m.65) Uche (Gerard Moreno, m.70).
Valencia CF:  Diego Alves, Barragán, Otamendi, Mustafi, Gayá, Javi Fuego, Feghouli (Carles Gil, m.77), André Gomes, Rodrigo (De Paul, m.86), Piatti, Alcácer (Negredo, m.78).

Manuel Trigueros (o.g) 0-1, 6 min.
Shkodran Mustafi 0-2, 64 min.
Shkodran Mustafi 0-3, 73 min.
Manuel Trigueros 1-3, 88 min.

Player Ratings:
Digeo 6.5 - Was alert at all times and did well to block a powerful shot in the second half to keep Valencia CF in the lead.
Barragan 6.5 - Did well defensively, blocking few crosses and always marking the opposition.
Mustafi 8 - He did well defensively, but it was his offensive contribution in this match that sets him apart. Scored two goals that even top strikers could be jealous of.
Otamendi 6 - Not as secure in the previous matches, he had one blunder in the second half and then was out of position for the Villarreal goal, marking the wrong person.
Gaya 6.5 - Coped well defensively, anticipated and intercepted a lot of passes and was generally secure enough against the numerous Villarreal attacks.
Feghouli 6.5 - Was rather invisible for most of the match, but played an important role in the buildup of both of the goals and got himself a rather lucky assist, but assist non the less.
Fuego 7 - Played an important part in the defense and had few crucial blocks and interceptions.
Gomes 6.5 - Couldn't control the midfield and together with Fuego lost the midfield battle, but was still very dangerous on the counter attacks and his passing was crisp and precise.
Piatti 7 - Wasn't really effective from the left wing, but went to the right wing and after a quick one two with Feghouli managed to cross the ball to Mustafi who headed the ball into the net.
Moreno 6.5 - Very threatning when he had the ball at his feet and always caused Villarreal problems, even though Valencia CF barely had the ball.
Paco 5.5 - Wasn't very effective and missed two great passes as he wasn't fast enough in both cases and missed good opportunities for goal. Could have easily had two, or at least one goal if he reacted faster.
Carles Gil N/A - Not enough time
Negredo N/A - Not enough time
De Paul N/A - Not enough time

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Villarreal vs Valencia CF Match Preview

Villarreal vs Valencia CF Match Preview
Stadium: El Madrigal
Date: 02.11.2014; 17:00 CET
10th matchday, La Liga
Coaches: Marcelino García Toral and Nuno Santos

Valencia CF hit a bump in the road two weeks ago when the team lost 3-0 to a well organized Deportivo side, but the team bounced back against Elche last week winning the match 3-1. Since then Peter Lim has officially taken over as Valencia CF owner and the atmosphere in the team is superb.

All is not great though as Valencia's goals all came from set pieces last match, meaning the team hasn't scored a single goal from open play for 180 minutes. Paco Alcacer has also not scored in the last 3 matches and Daniel Parejo got injured earlier in the week and will out for 2 to 3 weeks. 

Villarreal are one of the rivals this season for champions league position and they've had a good start to the season, accumulating 14 points from 9 matches and are going to be much stronger opponent than Elche. Playing at Villarreal is Valencia's Victor Ruiz, though he is a doubt for the match with minor injury.

Valencia CF has drawn against Sevilla and won against Atletico Madrid, with the team yet to play against Barcelona or Real Madrid. So this is going to be the third real test of the season as to how strong this squad is and for the first time the team is playing without Parejo, who's featured in all matches so far. So it will be interesting to see how the team performs without him.

Good news is that Negredo is slowly but surely coming to full fitness and while I don't expect him to start against Villarreal, I expect him to get some minutes regardless if the team is winning or losing.

Nuno practiced with Felipe Augusto taking Parejo's place in training and I expect to see him start tomorrow against Villarreal. Apart from that I suspect its going to be the same lineup as always.

Valencia CF squad:  
Goalkeepers: Alves, Yoel. 
Defenders: Barragán, João Cancelo, Vezo, Otamendi, Mustafi, Gayà. 
Midfielders: Javi Fuego, Felipe Augusto, Feghouli, Robert, De Paul, Pablo Piatti, Carles Gil. 
Forwards: Paco Alcácer, Rodrigo Moreno, Alvaro Negredo.

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

Match Predictions:
Villarreal 1-1 Valencia CF
I expect a close match tomorrow afternoon. Both sides have been playing some good football with Villarreal being really sturdy and tough in the midfield. I think we are going to see mostly back and forth match with both teams battling for control in the midfield. It will be interesting to see how Mustafi copes with better opposition though and if he is good enough to start or not. 

Even though the match is likely to be close and very competitive, I expect both sides to score and the final score to be 1-1.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Valencia CF interested in Arturo Vidal

Now that Peter Lim is officially the new owner of Valencia CF, the club is looking to bring in two new midfielders in the winter transfer window.

Bruno Zucculini is not pleased with what little playing time he's received and his parent club Manchester City would like to see him get more minutes as well, so its likely that he'll be ending his loan deal with Valencia CF in the winter transfer window, leaving Valencia CF with just 4 midfielders left, 3 of which are constantly playing in the team.

Now that Parejo is injured for 2 to 3 weeks, its made things clear at just how thin the midfield is and Peter Lim wants reinforcements so that the team can double down on the good performances and secure a Champions league spot.

The positions being looked at are another playmaking type midfielder in the mold of Parejo and another defensive midfielder to compete with Javi Fuego.

On Valencia's radar is Enzo Perez, a player Peter Lim has been chasing since the summer and Arturo Vidal from Juventus. Reports in Italy suggest that Vidal relationship with the new coach are very poor and he is looking to leave in the winter with Valencia CF being in pole position to acquire his services as Peter Lim is ready to spend at least another 50 million euros in the winter transfer market for reinforcements and its said that Juventus would be willing to depart from Vidal for a sum of 25-30 million euros.

Forum and blog news

Today I'm pleased to announce a forum to go along with this blog. If you guys/gals can go check it out and tell me your impressions there.

Its supposed to be open to guests, but I haven't tested it out, so I need feedback on it. Also the forum might not properly display for some time, its still propagating the nameservers to a new host, so just try later if you can't reach the blog or if its giving you error message. 

Also I'm looking for someone interested to manage my clubvalenciacf facebook page, I'm too strangled with updating the blog and just keeping up with the statistics is a big task, so I'll need one or maybe even two facebook page managers. Also check out the statistics page if you haven't, it has all the major stats there, updated quite regularly and all matches are updated in now.

Right now I'm using a free host for the blog, of course if it actually gets off and has good traffic and I have problems of downtime with the free host or other issue, I will get paid hosting.