Saturday, February 18, 2012

FC Barcelona vs Valencia CF - Match Preview

FC Barcelona vs Valencia CF
Stadium: Camp Nou
18th, February, 2012; 21:30CET
24th matchday, La Liga
Expected Attendance: 90.000
  Coaches: Josep Guardiola and Unai Emery

Its that time again in the new season where we face the title defenders and not so favorites for winning it again right now, as Real Madrid is leading the table by a big margin. The matches between Valencia CF and FC Barcelona have always been very entertaining and have attracted huge crowds and a lot of viewership not only in Spain, but all over the world. No doubt that is going to be the case this time around as well, with millions of people all over the world watching this match.

No doubt this is going to be an interesting clash once again and an entertaining game and in a lot of ways its a measurement for Spanish clubs in recent years to assess their strengths against the untouchable Barcelona. This time no different and FC Barcelona are the huge favorites, especially after winning over Valencia CF just a week ago in the Copa Del Rey. And while the games have mostly been fairly equal result wise with 2 draws and one not so big loss, Barcelona has always looked the one more likely to win and has been the better side overall.

Valencia CF gets 40 million TV rights money, Barcelona gets 140 million TV rights money. Valencia champions league qualification is considered a success, while for Barca winning only La Liga is somewhat of a disappointment.
The contrast between these two clubs is huge, especially in recent years, but when these two sides meet on the grass what matters is only the performance on the pitch and nothing else.

Head to Head
Sep 21, 2011 Valencia CF 2 : 2 FC Barcelona Primera Division
Mar 02, 2011 Valencia CF 0 : 1 FC Barcelona Primera Division
Oct 16, 2010 FC Barcelona 2 : 1 Valencia CF Primera Division
Mar 14, 2010 FC Barcelona 3 : 0 Valencia CF Primera Division
Oct 17, 2009 Valencia CF 0 : 0 FC Barcelona Primera Division
Apr 25, 2009 Valencia CF 2 : 2 FC Barcelona Primera Division
Dec 06, 2008 FC Barcelona 4 : 0 Valencia CF Primera Division 

FC Barcelona has been in a somewhat of a semi-crisis with a loss to Osasuna just last weekend when they really needed a win to catch up to Real Madrid and two games before that only managed a draw with Villarreal who were still in a bad form and just changed coaches just two weeks prior.
Even though they've been in a rather 'poor' form in La Liga, they've been in great form in other competitions like the Copa Del Rey where they beat Valencia CF and they just beat Bayer Leverkusen away from home 3-1 in the Champions League.

Last year the most trouble that Barcelona had was against Valencia CF in both the matches and Valencia CF was the best and only team to take the game to Barcelona and have as much as 49% possession. Valencia CF also scored first in the second match and had several more opportunities to increase their lead, but just didn't have enough luck. In the second half though Barcelona pressed and managed to get more of the possession and were the more dangerous team and ultimately scored two goals and won.
This season its been a similar case with the first match being rather equal in the first half with Valencia CF even more dangerous towards goal, in which Soldado missed a sitter of a chance to give us basically the win. Then in the second half Barcelona came back and almost won, but Valencia CF barely held to the 2-2 draw. Possession was 44%-56% with Barcelona just slightly in the lead there.

Iniesta has returned from injury and Xavi for the most part has been rested in easier games and will be fully fresh for this match. Of course the most dangerous man for FC Barcelona is Lionel Messi, who is especially dangerous against Valencia and has been responsible for Barcelona having better results against Valencia singlehandedly. Alexis Sancehz has also been accustomed to life and play at Barcelona and has excelled in recent time, scoring important goals for Barcelona.

Barcelona squad: to be announced...

Valencia CF is coming to this match after a big victory against Sporting Gijon in La Liga and a good result over Stoke City at an away match in the Europa League. Valencia CF is also currently in 3rd place, only 8 points behind 2nd placed Barcelona.

The biggest surprise comes from the obvious absence of Ever Banega for this match. Superdeporte reports that he has some sort of knee problem, but they are getting their info from official channels on this one and we know this can be a lie, although at this point I don't think it is and don't see it as a problem between Banega and Emery.

With Albelda getting a contract extension for one more season and Topal having a good games after quite a while, we have things to be optimistic about going into this game. Its likely to be a very tough game, especially at Camp Nou which has always been a tough venue for Valencia CF.

Valencia CF squad:
  • Goalkeepers: Diego Alves, Guaita.
  • Defenders: Miguel, Bruno, Ruiz, Dealbert, Ricardo Costa, Rami, Alba, Mathieu.
  • Midfielders: Topal, Albelda, Feghouli, T. Costa, D. Parejo, Pablo, Piatti, Bernat.
  • Attackers: Jonas, Aduriz, Soldado.
Technical Details FC Barcelona (probable setups):
Formation: 4-3-3
Line-up: Valdes; Puyol, Mascherano, Pique, Abidal; Xavi, Busquets, Cesc; Thiago, Messi, Alexis.
Tactics: High defensive line, interchangeable right wing, bore VCF to death with endless circle passes that pose no danger and when all fell asleep score a goal.

Technical Details Valencia CF (probable setups):
Formation: 4-2-3-1
Line-up: Alves; Miguel, Rami, Ruiz, Mathieu; Albelda, Tino; Feghuoli Jonas, Piatti; Soldado.
Tactics: Low defensive line, own half pressure, double left side cover, high frequency wing attacks, counter attacks, mostly long passing.

Result Prediction:
Barcelona 2-0 Valencia CF
Barcelona already beat Valencia 2-1 at home in the Copa Del Rey match and this time its going to be the same, with the only difference that Valencia is not going to score.