Valencia CF preseason report and new season preview
Valencia CF has been very active in the transfer window this summer, with players going in and out.
Other players to be sold or loaned out are Nikola Zigic sold to Birmingham City, Marchena to Villareal, goalkeeper Renan loaned out to Internacional, Del Horno and Nacho Gonzales loaned out to Levante U.D and most recently Alexis sold to Sevilla for a fee of 5 million euros.
But for all the players leaving, there were players coming also. With Valencia in such a financial crisis and a reported 500 million in debt, the selling’s brought Valencia an estimated 90 million euros to its cash account and also allowed us to bring cheaper yet good new players.
Joining him in attack is Aritz Aduriz from Mallorca for a reported fee of 5 million euros. Between Soldado and Aduriz they scored 28 goals in La Liga last season and will be looking to either achieve the same result or score even more goals.
Coming to the midfield positions are attacking midfielder Ricardo “Tino” Costa from French side Montpellier, defensive midfielder Mehmet Topal from Turkish gianst Galatesaray and Sofiane Feghuoli once considered French brightest star and the next Zinedin zidane.
In Defense Valencia strengthened the squad by bringing the experienced and Champions Leagie winner Ricardo Costa from German side VFL Wolfsburg, though Ricardo Costa played last season in French team Lille.
The first preseason match started against Saudi Arabian champions AlHilal. Valencia CF won that game 2-0, but the play wasn’t good, the players lacking in fitness and form and the tactics almost nonexistent. Still, this would be a good game, since it showed Valencia coach Unai Emery where and what to improve.
Unai Emery would than turn the focus on physical exercises to improve the player’s fitness, strength and stamina, as well as busy preseason tours and matches, some only 1 day apart.
Second match was against Slovenian side NK Celje, Valencia lost the match 2-0 and huge holes were shown in Valencia’s play.
Third match was against Hannover 96, Valencia won 2-1 and for the first time showed some good play, although Hannover 96 did have most of the ball control.
Olympic Marseille, Valencia lost 1-0, but this was by far the best match Valencia played in the preseason thus far. By now Unai Emery had played 4 formations from the 4-4-2, 4-4-1-1, 4-3-3 to 4-2-3-1. The most used one was 4-3-3 and even though not really working, there was still no reason for concern.
Valencia than went on a mini tour in England and the fifth preseason match was against English side Aston Villa. The game finished in a 0-0 draw and was the most boring game Valencia has played in the preseason. Even though the game was boring Valencia did show some good defending and tracking of the ball. Only after a day Valencia played against David Silva’s new club Manchester City.
Valencia players were obviously tired from all the traveling, training sessions and the previous game against Aston Villa, so we lost to Manchester City 2-0.
Seventh game was actually a triangle played between Valencia, Palermo and Napoli. Valencia won against Napoli on penalties, after the regular 90 minutes finished 1-1. Against Palermo we lost in what was a game to forget.
Questions and concerns started arising, Valencia was playing bad and with a string on negative results no one knew what Unai Emery thought when he was saying that the team was improving.
Roberto Soldado gave an interview criticizing the team and saying that they have no excuses anymore and that the team must win the remaining preseason matches.
Unai Emery also spoke and said that in the next game against Fiorentina, we would see a new side to Valencia, one with great ball possession, cohesive and attacking minded.
Fiorentina. Unai Emery decided to go for the better formation in the preseason, 4-2-3-1 and it showed. Valencia won the game after a brilliant performance from the whole team.
Last preseason game was against Italian side Lecce and the only game that wasn’t broadcasted on any channel whatsoever. Valencia won the game 2-0 and played a good game, though there was one big downside to it; Soldado got injured and will need 2 to 3 weeks to recover.
System and players:
After a lot of deliberation and every sign hitting him straight in the face that the 4-3-3 formation isn’t working for Valencia, Unai Emery finally decided to put it to rest just this last few days, but only temporarily.
The formation that Valencia is going to use in the new season is 4-2-3-1 with the following starting eleven players:
DF: Miguel, Navarro, R. Costa, Mathieu
MF: Albelda, Banega, Joaquin, Pablo
ATT: Soldado, Mata
Now that Soldado is injured though, Aduriz is going to start as the main Striker, at least for the first match of the new season against Malaga.
Let’s start from the back first though. Cezar will keep his number one goalkeeper spot, but this time around he’s got a lot more competition with Moya actually performing considerably better than last season and the returning Guaita also impressing. Guaita was also voted the best goalkeeper last season in the second division, so a good call from Emery to keep him around.
Dealbert and Maduro will be really fighting for a spot though; Dealbert was good last season even though he has played his whole life in the lower divisions and Maduro played a great game against Fiorentina and was surprisingly consistent and confident.
Jeremy Mathieu is the only natural left back and has been impressive for the whole preseason. He has great attacking skills and always supports the attacking players, but he’s been also improving in defense and excelled in his defensive duties against Fiorentina. Jordi Alba has played as a makeshift left back last season after Mathieu was injured for most of last season, but he is going to be the second choice and will look to get his chance only after injuries arise.
Valencia is the strongest in midfield this season and Unai Emery has tons of players for all the positions.
We have the all reliable and veteran Albelda who will be covering the defensive midfield slot and new signing Mehmet Topal acclimatizing to the La Liga style of play. But with Topal Valencia has a great young talent that has already played a lot of games for his national team and a player to take over from Albelda.
Valencia kept Pablo and Mata the wingers from last season after an impressive season for Pablo and a good one from Mata. But then we also have Joaquin who on his day is the best player in the world and his skills are immense when he feels like playing. We also have young prodigy in Feghuoli who was considered the next Zidane, though with a serious injury last season the hype surrounding him slowly diminished.
Than we have Chori Dominguez, who has excellent dribbling, shooting, passing and finishing skills, but due to the competition last season and having both the David’s did not make many appearances.
This year will be different for him and he may as well challenge Mata for the position just behind the main striker.
We also have Fernandes and Vicente who have been plagued by injuries, especially Vicente, but are both great players. Vicente especially has once been considered as one of the best players in Europe, if not the world, he has also played for Spain, but he has suffered from injury after injury. Hopefully this will be his season and will show his worth to Valencia and extend his contract with us.
In attack we now have two new strikers; Soldado and Aduriz. They are both experienced and excellent players in their own right and have actually showed that they can contribute to Valencia s they both have scored goals in the preseason. Having two good strikers also means that Emery can actually play a 4-4-2 formation which has shown to be excellent after the two goals against Fiorentina were scored after Emery transformed to a 4-4-2 formation and both Soldado and Aduriz played together. This also means that crosses will work more effectively now, since both players are good headers and have good physique to outjump opposing defensive players.
With Villa and Silva in attack crosses were rarely useful because of their height and the team played mostly with direct and low balls to them.
Overall this is shaping to be an exciting season for all Valencia fans and it’s a beginning to a new chapter in Valencia’s history. With three competitions waiting for us and the return to Champions League competition we have all the reasons to be excited.
With many new motivated and ready to impress players and the old ones being rejuvenated and having more competition everyone wants to impress and get in the first team. We also don’t have any pressure to be champions in La Liga or to reach the Champions League final or any stuff like that the team can be relaxed and fight for as bigger achievement as possible.