Thursday, August 29, 2013

Djukic tinkers with lineup

After the horror at Cornella against Espanyol and Djukic blasting the team's performance at the press conference, the club's attention turns on facing Barcelona at the Mestalla. With Banega and Fede doubtful to make the lineup due to injury and after the mess against Espanyol, Djukic is considering, and experimenting with, some changes. While Djukic expressed that he wouldn't alternate keepers, it is likely now that Guaita will feature against Barcelona. In addition, Djukic tested out Guardado as left-back, Canales as playmaker instead of Banega, and Jonas on the left wing. Pabon also had a chance to train with the squad and expressed that he is ready to play against Barca if Djukic deemed it the right choice. Some say that Djukic is considering using him on the right wing instead of Feghouli, a good way to utilize the space left by the Barcelona full-backs when they attack. The lineup experimented with was thus : Guaita, Guardado, Costa, Rami, Pereira, Parejo, Fuego, Canales, Jonas, Feghouli / Pabon, Postiga. However, a lineup alone is not enough to win as we've seen against Espanyol. While it's true to say that everything went wrong in that match, it is more helpful to narrow it down to a few specifics. Here are the main ones in my opinion:

1. We saw a bunch of players out there but we didn't see a team: While this cannot be fixed overnight, we have seen good teamwork in the preseason, it just has to be revived. There were no link-ups, on the wings, the center, or anywhere on the field besides the play that lead to the goal. This selfishness only served in loss of possession to Espanyol. On the other hand, Espanyol kept it together as a team.

2. Simple was made complicated / over-confidence: This is somewhat connected with the above point. Players were taking on more than they could by themselves. We saw players trying to dribble past too many players and fail or attempt to shoot from further than they could see. The team therefore easily lost focus and couldn't defend or attack properly. The simple play worked so well against Inter, Everton and Olympiacos.

3. Plan figured out: The game plan this game consisted of giving the ball to Banega. Although he is an important player, he cannot do anything by himself. The opposing teams have figured this out and shut him down quickly. He needs to have a creative partner to link-up with like Viera/Canales/Jonas.

I think those three are the most important but you could probably have a few others up there, maybe more wing play - wingers  were useless that game. Anyway, hopefully this is just a one time thing and we shouldn't worry about it. However, Barcelona are a huge step up from Espanyol and a drastic improvement is needed. I am actually optimistic about the game. Djukic managed a 1-3 at home and a 2-1 loss away against Barca while he was with Valladolid so hopefully he can do better with Valencia. I am also excited to say Canales and Pabon play.

Feel free to let us know what you think :)