Saturday, November 3, 2012

Valencia CF vs Atletico Madrid Match Preview

Valencia CF vs Atletico Madrid Match Preview
Stadium: Mestalla
Date: 03.11.2012; 22:00 CET
10th matchday, La Liga
Coaches: Mauricio Pellegrino and Diego Simeone

Valencia CF
Valencia CF are coming to this match after a disappointing loss to Real Betis in the league at a time when the team just started winning in the league against Atletic Bilbao and then in the Champions League against Bate Borisov 3-0 at that, but then just like so many matches away this season, Valencia CF lost to Real Betis and it was a similar result to the one in Levante previously away from home, both times we conceded first and were unable to break their defenses.

With such poor results at away matches and not so convincing performances at home either Valencia CF finds itself sitting at 11th place on the table with only 11 points out of 9 matches. Now the season is still early on and there is still plenty of time to run things around, but the team must improve in more ways than one and really show it on the field with dominating performances and good results. 

The time is ticking for Valencia CF coach Mauricio Pellegrino and he is under severe pressure right now, and this match against Atletico Madrid may make or break his career here at Valencia CF and may also make or break the team as well. Valencia CF is going against the in form Atletico Madrid who haven't lost a single match since last season and have shown in all competitions that they are not a team to be underestimated as they trashed Chelsea in the Super Cup and have taken their Europe League group with ease.

For Valencia CF and Mauricio Pellegrino this is a must win match, for Pellegrino this may be his last match if he looses and for Valencia CF this may be the end of any Champions League ambitions for next season. If Valencia is to finish in the top 4 the team needs to make a statement right now and what better way than by beating Atletico Madrid tonight. They may be the most in form team right now and are still challenging even Barcelona, but they are not invincible and Valencia CF have always had good results playing against Atletico Madrid at home and this has always been a really competitive match, so Valencia really has a good chance of beating Atletico Madrid tonight.

Pellegrino rested few players in the Copa Del Rey match and so they are going to be fully fit and prepared for this match. Mathieu's injury returned a week back and he will be missing for at least 2 more weeks, Piatti is fully healed, but will need at least one more week before he is back to full training, Feghuoli is also going to be available for this match and pretty much all the rest of the players are available, so there is quite the squad to choose from.

Recently Pellegrino has been trying out a makeshift 4-3-3 formation, with Tino playing as the advanced midfielder and it worked against Bate Borisov, though not so much against Real Betis obviously, the formation does transform to 4-2-3-1 when attacking though with Tino in that advanced position behind the striker and he has shown promise there, but we might see a more conventional formation against Atletico Madrid, though he is likely to pack the midfield in order to control possession and starve Falcao out of service that way, at least that is what I would be doing if I was the coach.

Valencia CF squad: to be announced...

Technical Details Valencia CF (probable setups):
Formation: 4-2-3-1
Line-up: Guaita; Pereira, Rami, R. Costa, Cissokho; Ever, Gago, Feghuoli, Tino; Guardado; Soldado.
Tactics: Medium defensive line, own half pressure, short passing, mostly crosses.

Atletico Madrid
Atletico Madrid on the other hand have been going from strength to strength and are yet to loose one single match since around summer time last season and I sure do hope tonight is the time they loose. They've had big enough of a streak and good results and so its overdue to stop. I mean universal chances here are against them and Valencia CF could really stop their high. That said they are the most in form team right now in Spain and probably in Europe as well and with Falcao as their leader they are crushing all sides they meet, so sufficive to say they are going to be one difficult opponent tonight and are on paper and realistically favorites to win, though as I've said Valencia CF does historically have great results against Atletico Madrid at home.

Atletico Madrid are right now sharing the 1st position on the table with Barcelona, just loosing out on goal difference, but with same amount of points, 25 each. Is there a point saying who their main goalscorer is? Its Falcao obviously with 10 goals scored so far, though this could be a double edged sword for them as well, as apart from him no one is even close to that amount of goals and their second striker is Raul Garcia with only 3 goals, so get Falcao out of the equation and Atletico Madrid are vulnerable again. No one even has any big assists, so that tells us that chances are mostly created individually by Falcao himself or he gets in many poachers goals by rebounds and dead ball situations.

If I was the coach I'd put a player to directly mark Falcao as its obvious to me he is the biggest threat and the way his goals come from, having someone mark him constantly would put a damp in Atletico's threat. Now other players can be dangerous as well, but with dominance over possession you can really starve Atletico Madrid out of any chances. 

Now Atletico Madrid are also defensively solid and they have great team play so obviously they are tough to crack as well, but as we saw from last season they do have problems when things get chaotic and fast, so while their organization is their strength, having a team that will play to their weaknesses can trump them. What Valencia CF will need to do is play fast football in the final third and just bombard their penalty area with crosses, which is not too tough to do with how bad our players crosses sometimes are, it will lead to chaos and that is our chance. Our strikers will need to be really effective though and we can not waste any chances. So I hope Soldado is Goldado tonight and that others step up their game as well.

Atletico Madrid squad: to be announced...

Technical Details Atletico Madrid (probable setups):
Formation: 4-2-3-1
Line-up: Courtosis; Juanfran, Godin, Miranda, Felipe; Gabi, Mario Suares; Raul Garcia, Belozoglu, Turan; Falcao.
Tactics: Low defensive line, own third pressure, mixed passing, wing attacks mostly.

Result Prediction:
Valencia CF 1-2 Atletico Madrid
I hope Valencia CF can win, but I just don't see it. I think its going to be a competitive match, I think we will most likely even control more of the possession, but I see us conceding some silly goal from a defensive mistake and then I expect Falcao to also score some poachers goal. We are likely going to score as well, possibly Feghuoli, but I think Atletico Madrid will just edge Valencia CF.