Saturday, August 31, 2013

Valencia CF vs FC Barcelona Match Preview

Valencia CF vs FC Barcelona Match Preview
Stadium: Mestalla
Date: 01.09.2013; 21:00 CET
3rd matchday, La Liga
Coaches: Miroslav Djukic and Gerardo Martino

Valencia CF
Valencia CF are coming to this match after a miserable 3-1 loss to RCD Espanyol in which the team played terrible and deservedly lost the match by three goals to one, with a forgetful and miserable performance of a low tier relegation fighting team.

The match against FC Barcelona will be the chance for the players to overcome the last match and prove that they are capable of challenging Barcelona and that they are better than was they shown last match, but realistically I personally doubt they can really do much against Barcelona.

Atletico Madrid proved that FC Barcelona are vulnerable and can be beaten, but their organization and defending was impeccable and much of it is how good Atletico Madrid played, rather than Barcelona being weak or anything like that. So for Valencia CF to have a close game all of the players would have to step up their game significantly and team play has to be impeccable. 

Latest news from the Valencia CF camp are that Jonathan Viera our best preseason player has been loaned out to Rayo Vallecano in what is absurdly strange decision. I mean the team is getting weaker and weaker by the minute, we barely have any real wingers, our two matches this season we barely scored 2 goals with just huge luck and our wing play has been virtually nonexistent. So to sell Viera at this point in time and with a squad so low on wingers is really questionable, especially since Viera was one of the best preseason players.

This match will show us a lot though, it will show us the tactics, the team play, the ability, the desire, the work, etc... of whether the overall staff in Valencia CF know what they are doing or they are absolutely clueless. If we lose significantly against Barcelona at home in the Mestalla, then the team will likely have no chance for Champions League football and I would even be surprised if it reaches European League positions.

Valencia CF squad:

Technical Details Valencia CF (probable setups):
Formation: 4-2-3-1
Line-up: Alves; Joao, Rami, R. Costa, Bernat; Fuego, Parejo, Feghouli; Banega, Guardado; Postiga.
Tactics: Medium defensive line, own half pressure, low frequency wing attacks, low short passing, high pressure

FC Barcelona
FC Barcelona are coming to this match after a hard fought victory against Atletico Madrid in which they won the Spanish Super cop, in which they barely secured the win on away goals. No matter the way they won the team will be pleased with their achievement and they are starting the season with a big win and a trophy under their wings. This is most likely going to give them increased confidence and renewed desire for more silverware.

FC Barcelona are kind of low on defenders, especially in the center so they are relying on most of them staying fit and not getting injured, which could be problematic, but this early in the season it won't have any effect on the match against Barcelona, though I'd think what would have an effect is fatigue on some of their midfielders like Xavi who isn't getting any younger and can't play 80+ matches per season. 

As far as Barcelona's attack they are actually quite staked there with Neymar arriving for a 60 million fee and having rather good success in the matches he's played, then they obviously have the old and reliable Pedro, Alexis is there are willing to prove himself, then they have the youthful duo of Tello and Cuenca and of course Lionel Messi. 

For me I'm expecting a close race for first position this season between Real Madrid and Barcelona, but I don't expect either of them to reach the 90+ points mark set by the last couple of seasons and I think overall they are going to have harder time winning, but I'm still expecting towards the end to be a two horse race with Real and Barca close on points and likely to keep overtaking each other.

FC Barcelona squad:

Technical Details FC Barcelona (probable setups):
Formation: 4-3-3
Line-up: Valdes; Alves, Mascherano, Pique, Alba; Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta; Fabregas, Messi, Pedro.
Tactics: High defensive line, all round pressure, keep possession, mostly short circular passing, doubling up on the wings.

Result prediction
Valencia CF 0-3 FC Barcelona
I expect Barcelona to come in with their renewed confidence and morals by the latest cup win and from the first minute start dominating the match and having good number of chances. I expect Valencia CF to defend up to a certain point, but the attacks and pressure would be too much and once a goal goes in I can see Barcelona easily scoring 3 goals.