Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Valencia CF vs Real Madrid Match Preview

Valencia CF vs Real Madrid Match Preview
Stadium: Mestalla
Date: 20.01.2013; 21:00 CET
Semi Final, 2nd leg, Copa Del Rey
Coaches: Ernesto Valverde and Jose Mourinho

Valencia CF
Last match against Real Madrid was terrible for Valencia CF as the team lost 5-0 at home in the Mestalla. I was personally expecting a victory for Valencia CF and predicted a 2-1 win for Valencia CF, but the team went on to have one of its worst match in recent history and conceded 5 goals. Most goals came within 10 minutes though, but 5 goals are 5 goals and it was a terrible loss.

The match before that, the one in the cup ended with Real Madrid winning 2-0, although Valencia CF were the better team and deserved a win then, at the very least a draw. It wasn't to be though as Real Madrid's fast counter attacks really punished Valencia CF and through Higuain and Guardado's own goal they managed to beat Valencia CF.

Valencia CF also missed a chance to catch up to the champions league spots, as Real Betis and Malaga both stumbled over the weekend and lost points. Even with Valencia's loss though, the team is still pretty close to the champions league spots with only 5 points down to Real Betis, but expecting some difficult matches the next two weeks, with Deportivo La Coruna and then FC Barcelona to be faced.

Valencia CF coach Ernesto Valverde also has trouble in picking the team, with Robero Soldado being injured in the last match and out of the squad, Albelda still not recovering from injury, Parejo out for 3 weeks with injury as well. This could mean that Sergio Canales plays for the first time in a year now, or Valverde decides to play with more wingers, trying to overrun Real Madrid like that.

Valencia CF squad:
Goalkeepers: Diego Alves, Vicent Guaita.
Defenders: Cissokho, Rami, Víctor Ruiz, Ricardo Costa, Pereira, Barragán.
Midfielders: Guardado, Mario Arques, Éver, Tino Costa, Viera, Piatti, Canales, Bernat.
Forwards: Jonas and Valdez.

Technical Details Valencia CF (probable setups):
Formation: 4-3-3
Line-up: Guaita; Joao, Rami, R. Costa, Cissokho; Ruiz, Tino, Banega; Piatti, Valdez, Bernat.
Tactics: Medium defensive line, own half pressure, mixed passing, mixed attacks.

Real Madrid
Real Madrid on the other hand are coming to this match as a reformed team. Coming to the series of matches against Valencia CF they were a defeated team, but two matches in and they have found their stride and form again. Truth be told Real Madrid were outplayed in the first match, but what luck, what referring shenanigans, what silly mistakes by Valencia CF players and they managed to get themselves a nice 2-0 win over Valencia CF.

Last match Real Madrid came in packing though and just destroyed Valencia CF in the first half. Cristiano Ronaldo was able to exploit Ricardo Costa on the right at will and with Gago being a non factor in midfield, simple opportunities became 100% goal scoring chances. Xabi Alonso was also more like his old self in the midfield and was able to really spread the ball nicely, feeding the wingers with passes. 
The second half was different as Valencia CF improved and Real Madrid were content to sit back and defend for most of the match as they had a big 5-0 lead and didn't need to waste too much energy.

With the last 5-0 win over Valencia CF, Real Madrid have climbed the ladder to 40 points, though they are still far off from FC Barcelona, who sit on 55 points, even though they lost their first match of the season this past weekend.

Jose Mourinho is not likely to make much changes to the squad, the biggest change I think we are going to see is probably Adan being on goal, with possibly Khedira getting a rest and Essien starting. Other than that Benzema is also likely to start this time, possibly even Modric over Ozil as well.

Real Madrid squad:
Goalkeepers: Casillas, Adán, and Tomás Mejías.
Defenders: Varane, Coentrão, Carvalho, Arbeloa, Albiol, and Nacho.
Midfielders: Khedira, Özil, Alonso, Essien, Modric, Callejón, and Di María.
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo, Benzema, Higuaín, and Morata.

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

Result Prediction:
Valencia CF 1-1 Real Madrid
Well I'm lowering my expectations after the last two matches. Yes Valencia CF have Joao returning again to the squad and likely Cissokho starting as left back, so the defense will be more solid, but I just can't see the team winning over Real Madrid at this point. As you may remember in the first match preview I wrote that I expected RM to turn their season around in the second half of the season and just hoped it won't be against Valencia CF, but it seems that's exactly against whom they turned their season around.

So I expect Valencia CF to finally score, but also concede one goal from a counter attack. Probably Valdez scoring with a header, from a corner kick.