Valencia start off the new year with a new coach and a win in the derby. The win gives Valencia three points most importantly, but also the confidence to start the year with the new coach. This win hardly proves anything though as Levante have been struggling this year and have been riddled with problems including scandals and the like. Surely the match against Levante is miles away from the level of Tuesday's Cup match against Atletico Madrid.
The most notable change new coach Pizzi has managed to do in the short time he's been here, is increase the level of intensity dramatically. The sluggish play that was so common during the time Djukic was in charge wasn't seen at all. I've watched some videos of the training sessions and apparently the new coaching staff is working the team to the extreme as should be done. Even the players commented that Djukic didn't push them at all compared to this. Other notable things were more accuracy in passing and more decisive tackling and defending. The major problem that remains is the firepower. With the amount of chances in the game, not much was taken despite the clear dominance of Valencia. Neither Postiga or Jonas managed to make the most of their chances and both goals came from either winger, Piatti and Feghouli. The coach has asked the management to look for a new striker as well which could mean the departure of one or more of the forwards. Pabon has not lived up to what was expected so far but that could be due to the way Djukic used him and how he told him to play. Alcacer is mostly given cup matches against weaker opponents and has the highest goal-to-game ratio out of all the strikers but is invisible against larger opposition.
Anyhow, it was an exciting game to watch, very fast pace on the part of Valencia at least. However, Atletico won't be this easy, especially having already beaten Valencia 3-0. Let's hope that doesn't repeat. I'm expecting a good game.
1-0 (Piatti, 42')
2-0 (Feghouli, 73')
Valencia CF (2): Alves, Barragan, Costa, Mathieu, Bernat, Romeu, Parejo (Banega, 80'), Jonas, Piatti (Guardado, 75'), Feghouli, Postiga (Fede, 83')
Levante (0):Navas, Pedro Lopez, Vyntra, El Adoua, Karabelas, Simao (Camarasa, 72'), Diop, Pedro Rios (Jordi Xumetra, 54'), Garcia, Ivanchitz, Barral
Alves (7.0) - Wasn't troubled too much most of the game. Made an excellent one-on-one save from Barral.
Barragan (5.5) - Got into excellent positions on the wing as Joao Pereira would but the cross was always disappointing.
Mathieu (6.0) - Much more active on the field, tracked back well, but let Barral get into a dangerous postition
Costa (6.0) - C overed decently, still has difficulty tracking back. We need someone faster in this position.
Bernat (7.5) - Full of energy. Exploited the Levante wing and controlled the left wing completely. Despite coming forward a lot, was much faster at tracking back than any of the two center-backs. Very Jordi Alba -like performance.
Romeu (6.5) - Linked well with Parejo and Jonas. Good passing and defensive cover.
Parejo (7.0) - Very accurate passing. Created lots of chances and controlled the midfield.
Jonas (5.5) - Could not capitalize on his chances. Had some really good chances that should not be wasted.
Piatti (6.5) - Got the first goal of the game after capitalizing on a failure to clear by the Levante defense. Showing signs of improvement but was overshadowed by Bernat
Feghouli (7.0) - Very active and explosive on the wing and through the middle. Great goal: dribbled past multiple Levante defenders skilfully and chipped it into the top corner.
Postiga (5.0) - Really lacking performance. No energy on the field. Pabon or Alcacer would do much better.
Guardado (5.5) - Not the same impact as Piatti and was overshadowed by Bernat
Banega - Not enough time
Fede - Not enough time
Feel free let us know how you feel :)