Thursday, September 8, 2011

Valencia CF vs Atletico Madrid - Match Preview

Valencia CF vs Atletico Madrid
Stadium: Mestalla, Valencia
September 10th, 2011, 22:00pm GMT+1
3rd matchday, La Liga
Expected attendance: 44.000
Coaches: Unai Emery and Gregorio Manzano

Valencia CF meet old rivals Atletico Madrid in the third matchday in La Liga, sooner than the usual meetings in recent history. Since the Spanish championship started just two week ago, with the first matchdays being postponed due to the players strike that went on then, there isn't much to go on about both clubs performances.
Valencia CF is currently third in the table having won its first match against Racing Santander 4-3, behind Real Madrid and Barcelona due to goal difference, while Atletico Madrid is in the middle of the table with 1 points after they only managed to draw 0-0 against Osasuna at their home soil.

After the first matches Valencia CF has some defensive problems to deal with, while Atletico Madrid has some scoring problems to deal with, although their new expensive signing Radamel Falcao may help in that department, having been on the sidelines for their first match due to paper work that wasn't finished.

Valencia CF are coming to this match after a decent start, even though they won't be thrilled about the defensive showing against Racing. Coming from a win is still beneficial especially if you managed to get it in a really hard fashion after fighting a two goal deficit and managing to overcome it in the end.
Knowing that fighting spirits should be really high in the dressing room and knowing that they have enough quality to overturn any negative result. 

Valencia CF coach Unai Emery is not going to be as assured as the players and surely worries about the defense conceding cheap goals even from such a young side as Racing. He said in his press conference that he is going to work on the defense with the players and improve, so as to not suffer so much in order to win. And he should work on the defense and hope to improve and improve very much really fast, because a lot of matches will be decided if Valencia CF concede a goal or not that would mean either a win or a draw.

Some good news for coach Unai Emery, Valencia CF fans and the club is that Victor Ruiz has been signed from Napoli and is certainly going to help strengthen the defense. He is likely to compliment Adil Rami very well and its even possible that Ruiz starts against Atletico Madrid. The arrival of Gonur Gokhan did not happen, but Braulio Vasquez has moves quickly and signed Antonio Barragan from Valladolid for the right back spot after Miguel Brito was close to terminating his contract with Valencia.

Last week Valencia CF also played a triangle charity match for the earthquake victims of Lorca and we played against Villarreal and Malaga. Valencia CF won the tournament without conceding a goal and at the hearth of the defense were Barragan, Dealbert, Ruiz and Mathieu so its a good start for the new comers, but the whole team played great and deserved the victory.

Valencia won against Malaga two goals to zero, courtesy of Jonas and Feghuoli and then drew with Villarreal, but the win against Malaga was enough to make it the winners.

This week Unai Emery has put an emphasis on the defense and has worked with them quite a bit, trying to iron out the mistakes that we saw against Racing. Even though Adil Rami wasn't present at these trainings because he was on international duty with the French squad, the rest of the defenders all trained hard.
Will this new focus on defensive training pay dividends or not we'll have to wait and see and certainly Atletico Madrid is going to be just the right opponent to test our defensive strength.

Valencia CF squad:
Goalkeepers: Vicente Guaita, Diego Alves
Defenders: Miguel Brito, Adil Rami, Ricardo Costa, Víctor Ruiz, Jordi Alba, Jérémy Mathieu
Midfielders: David Albelda, Mehmet Topal, Tino Costa, Éver Banega, Pablo Piatti, Pablo Hernández, Sergio Canales
Forwards: Roberto Soldado, Jonas Gonçalves, Aritz Aduriz
Atletico Madrid are coming to this match after a little bit disappointing start for them as they only managed to draw against Osasuna at home, but what is going in their favor is that their new top signing Radamel Falcao didn't play because there was unfinished paper work.

Atletico Madrid have had somewhat of a weird summer with a lot of internal club restructuring, bringing in new sporting director Jose Luis Caminero and few new people bellow him. They have also had mixed results in the transfer window with their best player Kun Aguero joining Manchester City and more recently Diego Forlan transferring to Inter Milan and Fran Merida joining Sporting Braga on a load deal, while Pizzi coming the other way also on a loan deal.

Another good signing for Atletico Madrid has been Turkish player Arda Turan coming from Galatasaray for 12 million euros. He can play as an attacker or a left wing and will add some much needed depth to their squad. They have also let go David De Gea for 20 million to Manchester United, but just to make sure they don't have a great transfer window the club has signed too many non European players and were forced to have 1 player not play in La Liga and that player is Elias. So because they had too many non European players Atletico Madrid were forced to sell Elias on the last day of the transfer windows, since they did not put him on LFP players list.

Atletico Madrid also played a friendly match last week, but against quite a weaker side Fuenlabrada for the inaugural match of their Fernando Torres Stadium, named after the Premier League superstar who grew up in the Madrid suburb. Atlético beat Fuenlabrada by three goals, but the biggest news of the night was the return of Sergio Asenjo and the debut of Portuguese signing Pizzi.

Atletico Madrid squad:
Goalkeepers: Joel, Courtois
Defenders: Antonio López, Filipe Luís, Sìlvio, Álvaro Domínguez, Perea, Miranda
Midfielders: Mario Suárez, Tiago, Reyes, Arda Turan, Assunçao, Gabi, Juanfran, Diego
Forwards: Adrián, Falcao

Technical Details Valencia CF; updated 10.09.11(probable setups):
Formation: 4-2-3-1
Line-up: Diego; Miguel, Rami, Ruiz, Mathieu; Albelda, Banega; Pablo, Jonas, Piatti, Soldado.
Tactics: Medium defensive line, positional changes from the wingers, 3 way attacks, mixed passing. 

Technical Details Atletico Madrid; updated 10.09.11(probable setups):
Formation: 4-4-2
Line-up: Asenjo; Antonio López, Pulido, Miranda, Filipe Luís; Assunção, Mario Suárez, Tiago, Reyes; Adrián, Falcao.
Tactics: Low defensive line, interchangeable midfield, wing attacks, mixed passing and frequent counter attacks.

Result Prediction:
Valencia CF 2-1 Atletico Madrid
Its going to be a tough match for Valencia CF, especially since Atletico Madrid have strengthen so well this summer, but its highly unlikely that all their new purchases will play, although Falcao is fully ready and has been with the team for a while so he has a pretty good chance of starting. Having said that if Valencia defense holds, just as I've said and warned for the last match our defense needs to be great and in that case we would win this. If the defense leaks again then we will end up loosing.

I'm hoping more emphasis and training defensively would have improved our defense till now and we win this match 2-1