Friday, August 23, 2013

RCD Espanyol vs Valencia CF Match Preview

RCD Espanyol vs Valencia CF Match Preview
Stadium: Estadi Cornell√†-El Prat
Date: 24.08.2013; 21:00 CET
2nd matchday, La Liga
Coaches: Javier Aguirre and Miroslav Djukic

RCD Espanyol
Espanyol are coming to this match after a 2-2 draw away from home against Celta Vigo in which Espanyol came back after a 2-0 goal deficit to manage a draw and go home with one point from their first match of the season.

They will be looking to secure all three points at home against Valencia CF and move into the top positions of the table, enabling them a positive start to the season and one up their opponents in what would likely be a fight in the middle of the table, similarly to last season.

Their team has gone through several changes, most notably Jordi Amat moving to Swansea and Juan Forlin to Al-Rayyan which brought about 6 million euros to the club. I think its safe to say that the club is at the same strength as last season, when Valencia CF won the first match and then drew 3-3 in the second match, which was a crucial draw that prevented Valencia CF being in a better position to qualify for the Champions League.

Technical Details RCD Espanyol (probable setups):
Formation: 4-2-3-1
Line-up: Kiko; Lopez, Colotto, Moreno, Fuentes; Victor, David Lopez; Stuani, Pizzi, Simao; Sergio.
Tactics: Medium defensive line, own third pressure, high frequency wing attacks, crossing, counter attacks.

Valencia CF
Valencia CF on the other hand are coming to this match after a hard fought minimal victory against Malaga CF in which Ricardo Costa scored the only winning goal, after a mistake from Malaga's goalkeeper. It was a lucky win that could have resulted in a boring goalless draw, but luck was on Valencia's side and the team managed to secure all three points to have a positive start to the new season.

This time the team will want to win more convincingly, especially against a team like Espanyol that hasn't strengthened and you can even argue has weakened compared to last season. Of course all Spanish matches are difficult and hard to predict as there are always surprises, referee mistakes, so its still going to be a hard match, but I expect Valencia to do a lot more and be more effective. 

Miroslav Djukic said that he was pleased with the play somewhat in the last match, but said the team must improve and to become less predictable and have more width, which of course last match it lacked as Viera and Fede were cutting inside often and there was lack of penetration on the wings, but they are that type of players and if he wants more width, someone like Viera and Fede can't really play. 

For the match against Espanyol there are no injured players I believe, no suspensions, so last time I checked everyone was available, so it will be interesting who will start in the match, will it be the same squad from last match against Malaga or will the coach change things up? One thing for sure is that Fede and Paco are not in the squad, while Parejo is in the squad, which actually makes the team a bit too heavy in the central area even more so that last match. We really lack a wide player, with basically only Guardado technically being one.

Valencia CF squad:
Goalkeepers: Diego Alves, Vicente Guaita
Defenders: Joao Pereira, Adil Rami, R.Costa, Jeremy Mathieu, Juan Bernat
Midfielders: Romeu, Javi Fuego, Parejo, Michel, Banega, Feghouli, Guardado, Canales, Viera
Forwards: Jonas, Postiga

Technical Details Valencia CF (probable setups):
Formation: 4-2-3-1
Line-up: Alves; Joao, Rami, R. Costa, Bernat; Fuego, Michel, FEghouli; Banega, Viera; Jonas.
Tactics: High defensive line, own half pressure, medium frequency wing attacks, mixed passing, high pressure

Result Prediction:
RCD Espanyol 0-2 Valencia CF
There is no doubt that at best Espanyol is the same strength as last season and while Valencia CF sold Roberto Soldado and are theoretically weaker in attack, the squad has more depth and we are packed in the midfield, so technically we are stronger than last season, so I expect a solid 2-0 victory for Valencia CF. I think that any other result would be a real disappointment and the team needs to show that it can win comfortably and on its own terms, otherwise it just creates more doubt over the quality of the team and the players need to prove that they are top level and that they can challenge for Champions League football and this is why a good, solid 2-0 win over Espanyol is so important.