Brilliant game from Valencia CF against Fiorentina.
This game was a great workout for Valencia, and one stop closer to really getting stronger.
Starting line-up for Valencia: Moya; Miguel, Maduro, R. Costa, Mathieu; Joaquin, Albelda, Banega, Pablo; Mata, Soldado.
The game started with Valencia taking instant possession and keeping the ball in their legs. The passing was great, with Banega and Albelda really linking up well with each other as well as the attacking players. Albelda was the more defensive midfield player, with Banega as a playmaker. Mata was given a free role to roam around the field and Soldado as the main Striker.
Valencia dominated most of the first half, with several chances and shots, Joaquin was particularly active from the right side and made few good crosses and dribbles. Pablo on the opposite side of Joaquin though was more into dribbling and low direct passing towards Soldado or Mata.
There were few small mistakes in the defense, as it wasn't all that perfect, but luckily it didn't lead to a goal for Fiorentina.
The first half ended with Valencia clearly the better and more threatening side.
The second half began much in the same fashion as the first, with Valencia with firm control of the ball and creating a lot more chances. Evidence of this is more than 15 corner kicks for Valencia. R. Costa had 2 good chances from corners, though he just couldn't quite get a hang of the ball.
Anyways with the game coming to the 65th minute Unai Emery made 2 substitutions, Pablo went out for Vicente and Mata went out for Aritz Audriz. Fiorentina made 3 substitutions just two minutes later.
In the 71th minute Vicente got the ball, made a run forward, did a little trick to fool a fiorentina defender and made space for a perfect cross to Soldado who headed the ball past Fiorentina goalkeeper and made it 1-0 for Valencia.
Valencia than substituted Joaquin for Sofiane Feghuoli, Banega for Tino Costa and Topal for Albelda.
The game become more erratic now with Fiorentina also making substitutions. The play opened up a bit, as Valencia were looking for a second goal, after a huge burst of motivation after the first one and Fiorentita were looking to score a goal of their own.
In the 77th minute Vicente got the ball again, run forward with it, leaving one defender behind him and than perfectly crossing the ball to Aduriz who similar as soldado scored a goal with his head.
Valencia had done it, after being the far better side for so long in the match, they now had the goals to show for it and it was an imaginative game.
The last ten minutes were spend mostly with substitutions after substitutions, though Valencia did had couple of chances to score more goals, particularry the cross from Sofiane to Aduriz, though the goalkeeper had the ball this time. The end was nearing now and at 93 minutes of play the referee ended the game.
Overall it was a brilliant game from Valencia, they were tactically great, with each player knowing his position and allowed movements, with Mata and Pablo having the most freedom to roam around from side to side and in-side the 16th meters. The defense stood solid, albeit a few small, but dangerous nevertheless mistakes.
The midfield was impecable, with great ball control and passing.
Valencia had more than 60% possession of the ball in the match, more than 10 shots and around 15 corner kicks. Stasistically looking it was a great game, but it was also practically fluent and smart.
Unia Emery though lost the ridiculous 4-3-3 formation and this one looked to me like it was a 4-4-1-1, with Mata playing on Silva's position.
When the substitutions were made and Aduriz came in, the formation transformed into a 4-4-2.
Here are the player ratings:
Moya - 6.5: A little bit nervous at the start, made one error when he missed a crossing ball, but otherwise good enough, though didn't have much to do this night.
Miguel - 7: Good display from Miguel, made 1 critical tackle to deny Fiorentina from scorring and was very helpful going forward.
Maduro - 6.5: Made one mistake, but overall it was a good performance, clearly more confident than usual.
R. Costa - 7: Made few great tackles and challenges and although had one shaky moment when he misjudged the opposing player and allowed him to get away, he was quick to recover and get in the way. Also had 2 chances to score goals, but just couldn't quite make it.
Mathieu - 7.5: Brilliant defending from the French, great pace and speed, good marking and very good tackles. Not as dangerous going forward as he usually is, but provided a good support nevertheless.
Joaquin - 7.5: Inspiring performance from Joaquin, reminded of his glory days with good runs, crosses and dribbles as well as some good passing from him. Worked hard the whole game and often helped in defense also.
Albelda - 7.5: Not the most entertaining player, but a fortress in the midfield. Did his defensive duties brilliantly, broke Fiorentina's play easily and also good going forward, had a great pass to Mata in the first half, but Mata failed to control the ball.
Banega - 8: Was the more forward player than Banega and was acting as a playmaker and did a brilliant job. Spread the ball very well, unleashed a bomb towards Fiorentina's goal and unlucky to get saved by Fiorentina's goalkeeper. Also had a great cross to Soldado I think, but Soldado couldn't score.
Pablo - 7: Tireless performance from Pablo, played as a left wing, but he was to be seen everywhere. Had couple of great dribbles and one dangerous shot, but grew more complacent as the game wore on.
Mata - 6: Strangely ineffective play by Mata. He played in a free role, just behind Soldado and Emery surely hoped he can create few chances for his team mates, but didn't really deliver. He had a few good touches, few runs here and there, but largely ineffective for most of the game.
Soldado - 7.5: Good all round performance by Soldado, coupled with a well taken goal. Had good positioning, but often times lacked the speed to be more dangerous.
Vicente - 10: Perfect performance for Vicente, just shows how big of a talent he is and how much all those injuries had stopped him from becoming a world class player. He showed his value tonight though with 2 perfect crosses. The first cross right on Soldado's head and the second one right on Aduriz head. Didn't have much time, but in the 25 minutes he was in really influenced and changed the game for Valencia with 2 great crosses. Had couple of runs and linked-up well with the attacking duo.
Aduriz - 8: Great showing from the once Mallorca man. Got in great spots and had few tries on goal, one of which got in, after the brilliant Vicente cross. Had good movement and really ticked in with Soldado. Overall a great game for him and will give Unai Emery headaches as to who to play; Mata or Aduriz.
Valencia CF 2: Moyà; Miguel (Bruno, m.80), Maduro, R. Costa (Dealbert, m.80), Mathieu (J. Alba, m.77); Albelda (Topal, m.72), Ever (Tino Costa, m.72); Joaquín (Feghouli, m.72), Mata (Aduriz, m. 62), Pablo (Vicente, m.62); y Soldado (Fernandes, m.77).
Fiorentina 0: Boruc; De Silvestri, Natali, Kloldrup, Pascual; Zanetti, Montolivo; Waigo, D'Agostino, Marchionni; y Gilardino. También jugaronDonadel, Felipe, Gamberini, Comotto, Bolatti, Seferovic, Gulan.