Monday, January 14, 2013

Real Madrid vs Valencia CF Match Preview

Real Madrid vs Valencia CF Match Preview
Stadium: Santiago Bernabeu
Date: 15.01.2013; 21:00 CET
Semi Final, 1st leg, Copa Del Rey
Coaches: Jose Mourinho and Ernesto Valverde

Real Madrid
Real Madrid is coming to this match after a disappointing game in the week against CA Osasuna where they only managed to draw and were lucky to escape with a point as well. I watched the whole match is order to asses them and from start to finish Real Madrid were second par to Osasuna, managing only on rare counter attacks to threaten and even that was mostly done by one person, in this case Callejon. 

Real Madrid have been having troubles with injuries and to add to their problems is Sergio Ramos who got himself a red card the week before and went on to insult the referee, insuring he got a 5 match ban. Cristiano Ronaldo didn't play as well, serving a one match suspension due to accumulating 5 yellow cards. Already weakened, Jose Mourinho decided to rest Ozil and Benzema in order to have them fresh for the match against Valencia CF and fielded Higuain who just recently came back from injury and Modric in the attacking midfield spot.

Real Madrid instantly started the match on the back foot as CA Osasuna surprisingly started exerting influence on the match and I guess caught the Real Madrid players off guard who seemed rattled that a relegation zone team is challenging them. What from the initial shock, what from fatigue, the Madrid midfield failed to control the ball and were constantly on the back foot, unable to mount any strings of passes. Even though Real Madrid were on the defensive most of the time, they did have the first chance and then a few more dangerous chances to score, including one goal that was deemed offside, accurately so.

Osasuna had their own chances and numerous times they were with more numbers in attack, but failed to either provide that final pass or have an accurate shot at goal. Later in the second half Real Madrid would be left with 10 players as Kaka got himself a red card, although the decision was way too harsh. That pretty much sealed the deal as Osasuna attack was toothless and Real Madrid playing with only 10 men, meant they would defend at all time and that's what it happened.

Apart from their last match Real Madrid have been very inconsistent this season and not even surprisingly. I was able to asses their situation judging by their preseason and I wrote an article explaining why so. So I'm on record writing this would happen and as is always the case I was right 100% yet again. Not to boast, but when someone is right all the time, you'd want to take it seriously. Of course when I tried to present this to Real Madrid fans of several of their favorite fan-sites, I was ridiculed and laughed at, similarly as the season before than, when I predicted or rather knew Barcelona would fail and wrote that Real Madrid would take the title and I was of course right. 

So to me, to find Real Madrid in the situation they are in was expected, though if you read in the article I also predicted that their season would also start off in the second half of the season, although that it would probably be too late. Hopefully Valencia CF manages to beat them 3 times, or at least 2 times, before Real Madrid turn their season around. Who knows, maybe even a big victory over Real Madrid may end their season, though I highly doubt it.

For the match against Valencia CF, Real Madrid are coming without Pepe and Ramos, though they have Ronaldo returning so that is a worry, but their midfield is tired, Alonso has pretty much played almost all of the matches and Khedira is in a similar situation, though he has been rested a few times. Mostly though Khedira has not played when injured.

So I expect them to settle up and come fighting, especially since they are at home terrain in the first leg of this fixture, while Valencia CF has rested some of its players. The biggest problem for Valencia CF is the loss of David Albelda though who's been rock solid at the back, shielding the defense superbly and Gago is still recovering from his injury so he is not going to be fit enough to face Real Madrid.

Real Madrid squad: to be announced...

Technical Details Real Madrid (probable setups):
Formation: 4-2-3-1
Line-up: Casillas; Arbeloa, Varane, Albiol, Coentrao; Xabi, Khedira; Di Maria, Ozil, Ronaldo; Benzema.
Tactics: High defensive line, own half pressure, mostly wide wing attacks, long balls from the middle.

Valencia CF
Valencia CF on the other hand is coming to this match after a secure 2-0 win over Sevilla FC in the league and has the team in great form, as Valencia CF has won 7 out of the last 8 matches. Valencia CF has slowly been improving with Valverde at the helm and the team is in great form and great spirits. Heck even Parejo claimed he was very happy at a press conference recently.

The win against Sevilla FC was very important and a step forward to achieving a top 4 place this season in order to qualify for the Champions League next season. Right now Valencia CF in in 7th position with 30 points, but only 4 points from 4th position, which is occupied by Real Betis right now. Not to play down Betis, they have been playing great and beat Levante 2-0 on the weekend, but their squad lacks depth and I'm expecting them to loose steam at a certain point.

Knowing Valencia's form and play currently and Real Madrid form and play, I'd say Valencia CF has real chances of beating Real Madrid over the 2 legs in the Copa Del Rey, but also in the league, as Valencia CF will meet them just few days later at the Mestalla and then again at home for the 2nd leg for the cup.

Valencia CF biggest problems ahead of the match against Real Madrid is the injury of David Albelda and then the accumulation of yellow cards for Joao Pereira in La Liga. Apart from that Fernando Gago still isn't fully fit to start and we lack a proper defensive midfielder. This gives me worries as Tino Costa can play as defensive midfielder, but is not very secure and Valencia CF is playing against a top side here, not some smaller team.

Valencia CF squad:
Goalkeepers: Diego Alves, Guaita.
Defenders: Joao, Barragán, Víctor Ruiz, Ricardo Costa, Rami, Cissokho.
Midfielders: Tino Costa, Gago, Éver, Dani Parejo, Guardado, Viera, Piatti, Bernat.
Forwards: Jonas, Valdez, Soldado.

Technical Details Valencia CF (probable setups):
Formation: 4-2-3-1
Line-up: Diego; Pereira, Rami, R. Costa, Guardado; Albelda Tino, Banega; Piatti, Jonas, Parejo, Soldado.
Tactics: Medium defensive line, own half pressure, mixed passing, mixed attacks.
Sorry for the inaccurate info I had for the line-ups, copy/paste from the previous match.

Result Prediction
Real Madrid 2-1 Valencia CF
Real Madrid are playing at their home terrain and its the first match of the fixture, so I expect them to win, although knowing Valverde Valencia CF is going to come out attacking as much as possible and due to Real Madrid's weaker defense at the moment I can see Valencia CF scoring one goal.