On Monday’s game vs. Deportivo la Coruña, Enzo Perez was given his 5th yellow card of the season. Not wanting to risk going down to 10 men, Prandelli took him off soon after, replacing him with Alvaro Medran.
Medran has not played many minutes under Prandelli, but he showed what he had: Sharp, incisive passing, lots of youthful energy, although also a slightly off sense of positioning, both offensively and defensively. While attacking, sometimes it looked like he didn’t quite know where to be, wanting to be near the ball and affect play, but also wanting to create space. Defensively, he would sometimes run a little too hard and become overextended. resulting in him getting bypassed a little too quickly.
These issues might resolve themselves as he gets more game time. He certainly displayed a lot of potential last season at Getafe, and it might be unfair to try and project from the minutes played in Riazor.
In any event, Enzo Perez will not be able to play this weekend against Celta, so Prandelli has an interesting choice to make with the starting 11. Up until now, Perez has been an integral part of Prandelli’s scheme, making up the double pivot in the 4-2-3-1 alongside Mario Suarez. He has been key in playing the ball out from the back, due to Mario Suarez’s technical limitations. Perez's absence will need to be accounted for tactincally in Prandelli’s game plan.
Prandelli has a few options of how to set up for the next match against Celta.
The easiest option would be to simply put Medran in the double pivot with Suarez and continue the usual 4-2-3-1 with Parejo as the no. 10. On one hand, Medran would be very involved in build up play. Thanks to his dribbling and passing abilities, he would have no issue filling in for Perez on the attacking side of things. However, Medran is not very big, and Prandelli might be worried that he won’t bring the physicality needed for defending. Also, as mentioned before, Medran lacks good defensive positioning, which will not do against a team as fluid as Celta. Discipline will be required, and while Medran could be capable of this, it might be unwise to take that chance.
Another choice without changing the 4-2-3-1 layout would be to pull Parejo back into the double pivot and have Medran play as the no. 10. Parejo has played in a double pivot before, and he would be a more dependable player in both phases of play. Medran would have the freedom in attack to create, and his running could be used to press while defending. However, he's unfamiliar with the role as a pure 10, so Medran might be a little inconsistent as he gets used to the position.
Should Prandelli want to change formations, he could switch to a 4-1-4-1 formation, with Medran and Parejo side by side and Suarez behind them. This way, all three players would be in their preferred positions. However, this might be a departure from what Prandelli has been working on in practice, so he might decide against it so as to not stop the momentum he’s built in instituting his ideas.
The last viable option would be to switch to a 4-4-2, with Parejo in the double pivot and to start Santi Mina or Munir up top alongside Rodrigo, and to keep Medran on the bench. In terms of defensive structure, this would be much more closer to the 4-2-3-1, but it could result in Valencia being a little flat in attack, as they’d be lacking the extra player to help move the ball from the back to the front.
Prandelli definitely has a tough choice ahead of him, and it will be very interesting to see his decisions come Sunday.
Which setup do you think Prandelli should choose? Let us know in the comment section below.