Sunday, August 30, 2015

Valencia CF vs Deportivo Match Preview

Valencia CF vs Deportivo Match Preview
Stadium: Mestalla
Date: 30.08.2015 20:30 CET
2nd matchday, La Liga
Coaches: Nuno Santo and Víctor Sánchez

Valencia CF players would be coming into this match feeling really good after securing Champions league qualification against AS Monaco in what was a thriller of a game. The team has had more rest than in the previous match in La Liga, so I'm expecting Valencia CF coach Nuno Santo to start with the core players this time around with maybe one or two changes in order to mix it up.

The first match in La Liga was against Rayo Vallecano which ended in a scoreless draw, but Nono was forced to rest most of the starting players since they just played a match against AS Monaco 3 days ago and were going to play the second leg in few days as well, so he decided to field the complete reserve team with only few players starting from the first team.

Deportivo La Coruna first match was against Real Sociedad at home and that was also finished in a scoreless draw. They will be coming to the Mestalla in the hopes of securing a point.
Deportivo had an eventful summer transfer market with a ton of players arriving and leaving the club. They had Helder Postiga the former Valencia CF attacker leave on a free transfer, Barca's youth player Isaac Cuenca also left their team with a host of other names leaving as well.

They had a ton of new arrivals as well, among them Cani from Villarreal arriving on a free transfer, Fernando Navarro from Sevilla on a free transfer and of course Valencia's own Federico Cartabia on a one year loan deal.

The big problem for Valencia CF so far this season seems to be a sort of second half weakness in which the whole team starts playing worse and the team losses control and the problems start happening. Now whether this is happening due to a tactical decision to really push in the first half and mark up high on the pitch and go all out battling in the first half and then the team losses energy in the second half or whether it is because of lack of fitness, where most of the players are not fully ready for a high energy 90 minutes or something else entirely is up for debate. 

Whatever the problem may be the coach and the players need to work it out and fix it, tomorrow night is crucial that Valencia CF win the match against Deprotivo and secure the three points, since slacking at the start of the campaign is never good and catching up later on is always an uphill battle, plus Deportivo have made tons of changes to their squad, they are still not gelled together, they are realistically a weaker team and Valencia CF is playing at home turf at the Mestalla, so a win is a must.

Valencia CF squad:
Goalkeepers: Ryan, Yoel, Jaume
Defenders: Barragan, Mustafi, Vezo, Orban, Gaya
Midfielders: Javi Fuego, Enzo Perez, Danilo, Parejo, Feghouli, Bakkali, De Paul, Piatti
Forwards: Negredo, Paco, Santi Mina, Moreno

Technical Details Valencia CF (probable setups):
Formation: 4-2-1-3
Line-up: Ryan; Barragan, Mustafi, Vezo, Gaya; Parejo, Enzo; De Paul; Feghouli, Paco, Moreno.
Tactics: High defensive line, all round pressure, mixed passing, counter attacks, attacking square.

Match Result:
Valencia CF 1-0 Deportivo La Coruna
I'm expecting a win tomorrow and anything else would be a big disappointment, but I'm also cautious about the result, we don't really know Deportivo's play and Valencia CF have had a slow start in the league so I'm predicting a modest 1-0 victory for Valencia CF.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Official: Valencia CF sign Aymen Abdennour

Aymen Abdennous joins Valencia CF
Its almost a done deal, AS Monaco central defender Aymen Abdennour joins Valencia CF after the two clubs reached an agreement of 25 million euros for the player. Valencia CF had hoped to acquire the player for cheaper, but a last minute complication in the way of Chelsea FC put a dent in those plans as they bid 20 million euros for the player, with reports from England suggesting that Aymen Abdennour personally preferred Chelsea FC over Valencia CF, but Valencia CF improved their bid to 25 million euros, reaching an agreement with AS Monaco and thus leaving Aymen Abdennour no choice but to join Valencia CF.

Aymen Abdennour knew about Valencia's interest for quite a while and he did initially agree to a move to the Mestalla, but when Chelsea FC went calling in he changed his tune as English clubs can pay players a lot more money and Chelsea FC are last years Premier league winners as well, luckily Valencia CF staff worked quickly and were able to reach an agreement with AS Monaco securing the deal.

French reports even suggest that the player is already in Valencia, about to take the medical exam and officially sign a 5 year contract that would have the player stay till 2020. The release clause is rumored to be about 60 million euros, so even bigger than the Otamendi's release clause and with good reason too, with today's inflated market and absurd financial power of clubs like Chelsea, PSG, Manchester United, Real Madrid, etc... you need absurd release clauses to keep players.

Tell us what you think about this turn of events in the comments section and what do you think about the player, is he on the same level as Otamendi and can he do a proper job replacing him?

Friday, August 28, 2015

Paco Alcacer called up to Spanish national team

Okay, so its not just Paco Alcacer that has been called up to their national teams, Jose Luis Gaya and Santi Mina have been called up to the Spanish U-21 team, obvious Paco receiving a call up to the main Spanish squad, while Rodrigo Moreno who was called up few times to the Spanish team in the past was omitted this time.

Shkodran Mustafi has been called up to the German national team, he's become a regular since the last World Cup, hopefully he can be more consistent for Germany and become a starter.

Andre Gomes has been dropped from the Portugal squad, but he's been injured for over 3 months, so its only natural he's been left out until he starts playing for Valencia CF and recovers his fitness and form.

Official: Aderlan Santos joins Valencia CF

Its official, Brazilian footballer Aderlan Santos is Valencia CF newest addition to the squad. He joins Valencia CF from Braga for about 7 million euros.

He is a central defender, so he joins is as a replacement for Nicolas Otamendi and has signed a 5 years contract with the club.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Champions League Oponents

Olympique Lyonnais ( France )

200/1 odds on winning C.L.

Zenit St Petersburg  ( Russia )

150/1 odds on winning C.L.
Ghent FC  (Belgium )

5000/1 odds on winning C.L.

                                                      Valencia  40/1 odds on winning C.L.

I think we could have had a lot more of a difficult draw than this one and all the teams in this group will fancy their chances of going through to the next round.  Some will feel it makes up for the difficult game we had in the previous round but I am sure the players and coach will not be taking the clubs too lightly.

Aderlan Santos to join Valencia CF?

Aderlan Santos a Brazilian footballer who plays for Braga is very close to joining Valencia CF as he's been spotted already in Valencia CF supposedly completing the medical tests.

Reports suggest that Valencia CF have offered around 7 million euros for the player and Braga have agreed upon the fee. Aderlan Santos moved to Braga B team in 2010 and features several matches for their B team, before being called to play for the first team as well due to his impressive performances.

This is a really 180% degree move by Valencia CF, since no one expected this to be Nicolas Otamendi replacement, I don't really think Aderlan can fill his shoes, in fact I'd much rather count on Vezo to continue playing.

I would have hoped for at least a more experienced defender, at least a bit more proven one, but it is what it is. Tell me what you think about this player and most likely transfer?

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

AS Monaco 2-1(3-4) Valencia CF Match Report

Wow what a nerve racking match that was, thankfully though Valencia CF wins 4-3 on aggregate and will feature in the group stages of the Champions league.

Valencia CF started the match brightly, in fact so much so that Mustafi had an early chance to score through a volley, followed by few more opportunities in the penalty area, but it was Negredo who would score the first goal in the 4th minute. He stole a ball from Monaco, ran forward and towards the penalty area and then masterfully lobbed the goalkeeper to give Valencia CF the lead.

His goal would prove crucial as AS Monaco did score twice in the game, so if not for Negredo's goal Valencia CF would have been the ones packing the bags and heading out of the champions league. Thankfully though the early pressure and attacking spirit worked, giving Valencia CF that important goal to push them through.

As I said it was all Valencia CF for the first 15 minutes, AS Monaco were held back on their side of the field and were barely able to pass their own half, it was all Valencia CF prodding and probing from the wings, from central play and causing all sorts of problems for the Monaco defense.

As soon as AS Monaco took back control of the match and gained possession they managed to score, and it was by a rare mistake by Valencias goalkeeper. He rushed in to punch the ball, but he completely misjudged the flow of the ball so his punch whiffed and Andrea Raggi managed to get the ball, move a bit further up, then turn and propel a shot in the right low corner. Once again Ryan was left watching the ball go in the net. 

Those were the key moments in the first half, I mean Valencia CF did have some other minor chances, as did AS Monaco, but it was mostly a midfield battle with both sides taking turns attacking.

The second half was completely different though, and it was AS Monaco this time who were the attackers, they instantly took control of the match and were looking for goals with their Champions league life on the line. 

With Valencia's control slipping more and more as the match progressed Nuno decided to make a change and brought on Paco for Negredo. Kind of a strange substitute, considering Negredo's physicality was helping Valencia win a lot of fights in the air and he was kind of the man to win a foul in good spots for Valencia CF. So as suspected from the start this substitution would backfire as Valencia CF lost even more control and Paco was left on the periphery of the action.

Another change was Piatti for Moreno, clearly a more defensive move to try and freshen up the left side and better protect it in defense, but again this just led to less control for Valencia CF, as Moreno and Negredo were great in moving the ball forward, they both had great game.

Anyways Monaco's constant pressure would pay off as they would score a second goal after a free kick was given to them, some 25 meters from the goal. It was from the left side, but once again on the fault of the goalkeeper he only requested two man wall, even though it was a dangerous and close position and to make matters worse they weren't position good, so the following cross made a complete chaos in the penalty area with someone from Monaco managing to get to beat Feghouli to the ball and score the second goal.

After that it was basically the Monaco show, with Valencia CF barely even touching the ball and defending for dear life. Thankfully Nuno saw that Enzo Perez was tired and unable to continue the game, so he brought in Danilo for him and this gave Valencia CF some breathing room. He was able to use his freshness to cover greater distances and keep the ball for longer periods which was crucial.

It got completely nerve racking when the referee decided on 6 minute stoppage time, I think record stoppage time in recent years in the Champions league, something very, very rarely given, I do think it was way too much, but it was as it was and it was extremely scary 6 minutes with Valencia CF holding on for dear life.

Thankfully the team was able to withstand the constant barrage of attacks and end victorious!

Technical Details:
AS Monaco: Subašić, Fabinho, Raggi, Carvalho, Kurzawa (Elderson, m. 62), Toulalan, Pašalić (Lemar, m. 52), Dirar, Bernardo Silva, Cavaleiro (Carrillo, m. 64), Martial.
Valencia CF: Ryan, Barragán, Mustafi, Vezo, Gayà, Javi Fuego, Dani Parejo, Enzo Pérez (Danilo, m. 77), De Paul, Feghouli, Rodrigo (Piatti, m. 65), Negredo (Alcácer, m. 60).

Alvaro Negredo 0-1, 4 min.
Andrea Raggi 1-1, 17 min.
Elderson 2-1, 75 min.

Player Ratings:
Ryan 4.5 - At fault for the first goal and then didn't position enough people for the wall for the second. I think the pressure of a big match got to him, in what has otherwise been 2 great games previosly.
Barragan 6.5 - Defended superbly and always aware of his surroundings, enabling him to control the ball with confidence and make the right decision. Went forward to a good extent as well, especially in the first half.
Mustafi 6 - Can't fault him for the goals, it was just chaos for the first goal and chaos for the second goal.
Vezo 6 - Again not at fault directly for the goal, kept good positioning, but did have some troubles when run at directly.
Gaya 5 - Poor defensive display as he was too light in the tackle and too focused on positioning instead of marking. Clearly an area where he could improve.
Fuego 6.5 - Tireless performance at the back, shielding the back four time and time again and just covering Monaco players constantly.
Enzo 5.5 - Was quite involved early in the first half, but grew more and more distant as the game went on. Whether he was tired in the second half or maybe he received some knock he was clearly unable to play at a satisfactory level.
Parejo 6 - Involved early on in the attacks and always ran forward and tried to provide help in attack. Pushed back to defend in the second half and did fairly well, marking quite good.
Feghouli 7.5 - A work horse in attack and at the back. He was constantly running forward and causing all sorts of problems for the Monaco defense, while always tracking back as well and being involved defensively, key performance.
Negredo 6.5 - Superbly taken goal and his physicality help Valencia CF to get fouls in good positions. Was able to threaten several times.
Moreno 6.5 - Good movement, good dribbling finally from him and really seemed at home on that left flank. Involved in most of Valencia CF attacks.
Paco 5 - The game largely passed by him, though he did help out more than Negredo in the middle and somewhat defensively.
Piatti 5 - Just couldn't do anything and was mostly forced to defend as Monaco were all out attacking.
Danilo N/A - Did provide added energy and was invaluable in gaining minor midfield control and helping out defending.