Sunday, October 7, 2012

UD Levante 1-0 Valencia CF Match Report

 Valencia CF just lost 1-0 to Levante the city rival. It wasn't like Levante were any good, they barely had few shots at goal, mostly long range from counter attacks. Thing is one mistake in the defense and Valencia CF was down 1-0.
Andres Guardado and Roberto Soldado
For those that didn't watch the match the goal for Levante came after their goalkeeper basically shot the ball over the midfield and Valencia's defense was so high up, some returning from attack that Martins found himself at the path of the ball with Tino Costa behind him, but Martins vs Tino Costa in running wasn't going to be a race, so basically Martins had a clear path to goal, he shot and it went it, Guaita had no chance.

I blame mostly Tino Costa, he was close to Martins, should have fouled him, he had no chance by chasing him. The wide players should have also been closer to the middle and cut the path to the goal, but they were way too wide and way too high as well.

Before and after Levante's goal Valencia CF dominated and were constantly attacking, Roberto Soldado has a huge chance just before Levante's goal in the 19th minute, but his first touch failed him and gave the ball away to Levante goalkeepers. Same minute after Soldado's chance Barkero had a chance from a quick counter attack, but his shot went wide.

Jonas and Soldado would have few good one-two's but the final pass was always missing, or simply the players making one too many passes. Jonas found himself in few shooting opportunities, but his shots were inaccurate.

Jonathas Viera was very active from the right wing in the first half, constantly probing and being involved in the actions, but unlike in previous matches the final pass was missing, although he did set up few decent chances that in a way got missed.

Tino Costa Valencia CF
In the second half Viera was largely anonymous, but Andres Guardado woke up and became really threatening down the right wing. In fact it was like a different player came out in the second half, pretty much being involved in most of the attacks and created most of the chances.

The big problem was that both Viera and Guardado only played one half, one in the first and one in the second and as such weren't nearly as threatening as they could have been if both were on top of their game in both halves.

Another player with a disappointing performance was Jonas, he pretty much ruined all the chances and attacks once the ball reached him. He was too slow, too clumsy and many all the wrong choices in this match.

Anyways Martins would have a good chance in the second half at the 47th minute, but Guaita saved, Levante also had two more big chances, both in the end when I believe Ruiz made a mistake and gave Levante a counter attack, luckily Levante sucked more than Valencia CF in attack and screwed up that chance. Then in the 85th minute Guaita made a terrific stop to a shot, after another mistake in defense.

Even though this is a terrible result and we have only eight points from seven match so far, its not the time to panic. Valencia CF suffered due to some critical mistakes in the back, I'm talking about the mistake for the goal and then few mistakes in towards the end in the second half, allowing Levante big counter attacking chances.

Now my analysis is that this is because of the high line tactic used in this match and some of the players being too adventurous and not falling back soon enough. We also clearly lack a proper defensive midfielder like Banega to stop such counter attacks from forming, clearly a job that neither Gago, not Tino Costa can do properly.

I saw both Gago and Tino changing their positions, so there wasn't a dedicated DM, one that would sit deeper all the time and I believe this is big part of the problem, because in a lot of cases both Tino and Gago and way too forward and there is no one to close down counter attacks. This puts a lot more pressure on the wing backs, forcing them to run more back and forth, limiting our attacking power.

So we need a small change in tactics when we play without a proper DM like Albelda. We either need Gago or Tino to sit deeper all the time and not go too much forward or we need a lower defensive line with one wing back sitting deep all the time, forming a 3 man defense when we attack.

Levante UD (1): Munúa; Pedro López, Ballesteros, D.Navarro, Juanfran; El Zhar (Ríos, min.71), Diop, Iborra (Michel, min.69), Juanlu (Rubén, min.71); Barkero y Martins.
Valencia CF  (0): Guaita; Pereira (Barragán, min.75), Rami, Víctor Ruiz, Cissokho; Viera, Gago, Tino Costa (Dani Parejo, min.62), Guardado; Jonas (Valdez, min.67) y Soldado.
Goals: 1-0 Min 21, Martins.

Player Ratings:
Guaita 6.5 - Wasn't tested too much, but he did make two wonderful saves that saved Valencia CF from a bigger loss. Didn't have any chance for the first goal.
Pereira 6 - Wasn't troubled defensively at all, but for the lack of defensive duties didn't offer much going forward.
Rami 6 - The better defender of the two today. Made few interceptions and generally comfortable performance.
Ruiz 4 - The weaker of the defenders, had few interceptions in the first half, though he made few mistakes in the second half as well.
Cissokho 7 - Blocked several shots and was solid defensively, went forward to a great extent, but his crosses were poor and few of them actually went out of play.
Gago 6 - Not a particularly effective display, kept possession, but unable to spread the ball effectively or build up play.
Tino 5 - Few too many times chose to shoot from a very long distance instead of make a logical pass, did actually better than Gago going forward, but was allowed Martins to score. He should have from the start go in to foul him and prevent the run that led to the goal in the first place.
Guardado 7 - A livewire in the second half, most of the actions started from him and was constantly active, running back and forth and stealing few balls in the process as well, but lacked some deeper more dangerous run.
Jonas 5.5 - Had few good one-two's with Soldado but he just wasted the opportunities and made the wrong decisions. Largely invisible and ineffective when active. Valencia clearly missed a creative and powerful attacking midfielder in this match.
Viera 7 - Amazing performance in the first half, constantly probing and dribbling, provided few quality passes as well before becoming mostly invisible in the second half
Soldado 6 - Good performance by Soldado, was very active and lively, releasing Jonas on two or three occasions, but he also missed a sitter himself in the 19th minute when he could have easily scored had his first touch not failed him.
Parejo 5.5 - Didn't bring more than Tino offered before that. Was involved in few of the actions immediately after coming on, but soon after faded off and Valencia CF lost the possession it had previously.
Valdez 5 - Didn't bring anything different or more than Jonas. Run a lot and positioned well, but nothing really of substance.
Barragan 5.5 - Was missed from the start. Levante barely threatened in this match and he would have been really amazing with his powerful forward runs and good crosses. Provided several good crosses after coming on, but it was too little too late.