Monday, October 1, 2012

Valencia CF vs Lille OSC Match Preview

Valencia CF vs Lille OSC Match Preview
Stadium: Mestalla
Date: 02.10.2012; 20:45 CET
2nd matchday, Champions League
                              Coaches: Mauricio Pellegrino and Rudi Garcia

Valencia CF
Valencia CF is coming to this matches after a much needed 2-0 win over Real Zaragoza in the Spanish league and kick-started their challenge for Champions League positions next season. Valencia CF was in a bit of a crisis, performance crisis and injury crisis and to a large extent it still is in a rather big injury crisis with only Fernando Gago having returned to the team and even played last match, possibly the biggest reason why we won, but players like Mathieu, Piatti, Albelda, Banega are still some ways off until they can recuperate fully and recently Ricardo Costa got injured, possibly even Joao Pereira in the last match, though the coach said it was just a precaution and that he is likely to be able to play against Lille.

For Valencia CF playing and doing well in the Champions League is paramount and I know its important for all teams, but for Valencia CF more so because the team is in massive debts and playing in the Champions League helps repay some of the debts, as well as earn back some prestige, which we've lost since 2003/4. It helps boost shirts sales, increases fans and gives Valencia CF big media exposure which sponsors obviously really like.

With Gago now in the team I'm more optimistic as we now have a midfield and its quite good at that, with Tino Costa being able to operate more attacking and adding another dimension to our attacks, rather than just sit back and defend most of the time. So Valencia really has a chance of beating Lille tomorrow night, but doing so would be really tough and Lille should not be underestimated, even though they lost their first match at home against BATE Borisov. They are still a good team and can surely give us troubles, especially since Valencia CF has not been in full form and playing great either. History is on our side though as Valencia CF have won all seven previous home games against visitors from France.

I feel the coach is going to start with pretty much the same squad against Zaragoza, except Rami who due to a red card in the previous match against Bayern, so Valencia are going to have to rely on B team player Carlos Delgado and this is our biggest problem. If Delgado steps up to the occasion and has an amazing match its going to be great, but if not well then qualification in the next round of the Champions League would really be in question.

Valencia CF squad:
Goalkeepers: Diego Alves, Guaita.
Defense: Barragán, Joao Pereira, Víctor Ruiz, Carlos Delgado, Cissokho, Gayá.
Midfield: Gago, Tino Costa, Portu, Parejo, Guardado, Viera, Bernat, Feghouli.
Attack: Jonas, Valdez, Soldado.

Technical Details Valencia CF (probable setups):
Formation: 4-4-2
Line-up: Guaita; Pereira, Delgado, Ruiz, Cissokho; Feghuoli, Tino, Gago, Viera; Jonas, Soldado.
Tactics: High defensive line, all round pressure, mixed passing, wing attacks mostly.

Lille OSC
Lille OSC are coming to this match after a 2-0 loss to Rennes in the French league and their start to the season hasn't been going that well either. They have lost two games, and draw 4 games and won only 1 game, putting them at the bottom of the table with only 7 points from 7 matches and also a loss at home in the first Champions League game against BATE Borisov. Sufficive to say Lille are in big trouble with a real bad start to the season and not so unexpectedly if I may say. In the past 2 seasons they've sold few of their top players and at the same time they haven't brought in any good reinforcements and we starting to see the consequences this season and the worst is likely yet to come.

Valencia CF have won all seven previous home games against visitors from France and Lille will be looking to break this tradition and bounce up from their last two losses domestically and in the Champions League. Last time the clubs met was in the 2009/10 UEFA Europa League group stage, with Valencia winning 3-1 at home. The first game in France had ended 1-1 with a late goal from Mata to equalize and make sure Valencia CF go through.

Lille OSC finished third in Ligue 1 last season and overcame FC København in the play-offs to reach the group stage of the Champions League. For those that don't know France 3rd place needs qualifying as they are a lower rated league than the Spanish league for example and this third place teams need to qualify for the group stages.

Lille OSC squad: Mickaël Landreau, Steeve Elana, Mouko Barel, Debuchy Mathieu, Digne Lucas, Florent Balmont, Idrissa Gueye, Dimitri Payet, Tulio De Melo, Mendes Ryan, David Rozehnal, Djibril Sidibé, Benoît Pedretti, Franck Beria, Gianni Bruno, Rodelin Ronny, Laurent Bonnart, Aurélien Chedjou, Marko Basa, Nolan Roux, Klonaridis Dorian,

Technical Details Lille OSC (probable setups):
Formation: 4-3-3
Line-up: Vercoutre; Mathieu, Basa, Chedjou, Digne; Mavuaba, Gueye, Pedretti; Bruno, Roux, Payet.
Tactics: Low defensive line, own half pressure, counter attacks, mixed passing, trying to suffocate VCF midfield.

Result Prediction
Valencia CF 2-0 Lille OSC
With Valencia CF returning to winning ways and Lille OSC still struggling I can't see any way for Valencia CF to looses this. The slight chance Lille has is that our B team defender Delgado plays really poorly and Lille are allowed to easily score. I think Delgado is going to play decent between Pereira, Ruiz and Cissokho he'd step up and be comfortable.