Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Preseason Coverage: Unversidad Catolica 1-0 Valencia CF

Valencia CF cap off their South American journey with a loss against the local Chilean team. So far in this competition, the score is European Teams 4-2 South American Teams, with Valencia CF providing both losses for Europe.

The game featured Rodrigo and Alcacer paired up again in attack but neither getting close to goal. They were generally isolated and there was no connection between the two. Nuno Santo chose to start Andre Gomes as a right midfielder again despite it being very ineffective in the previous game against Alianza Lima. Yet again, Piatti was easily the best player on the field when he was on, creating some chances and terrorizing the opposing defense. He had a really high work rate, just like the previous game, he really wants to impress Nuno this preseason. Jaume also put in some great saves but was helpless for the goal which won the game.

Let me get to the point everyone is probably thinking. What is wrong with the right-back position? For both games, it was by far the weakest link on the team. I don't know what Barragan was doing that first half. In attack, his crosses would travel all the way to the opposite touchline. In defense, he makes really stupid challenges. He got yellow carded early in the game and instead of being cautious, was showing no restraint with his challenges, and after two more silly challenges was shown a second yellow and told to leave the field of play. Alcacer was sacraficed at half time to bring on Joao Pereira and secure the defense. Again, his crosses were misplaced and his defense left a lot to be desired. The goal happened right in front of his eyes and he didn't even move.

As for the other defenders, Otamendi improved from last game showing confidence at times and Vezo despite some good challenges is still not ready to start. Most of the defending was panicky, rushed and mistimed. Hopefully with Balanta now on his way the defense will be more secure. Cissokho secured the left side well but did not provide anything going forward.

A few posts ago, one comment suggested that Guardado should be tried in midfield. Surprisingly, that wish was granted and Guardado came on for Parejo, who was missed two good chances at goal and was generally lackluster, in the second half. He did a good job pressuring the opposing players but didn't give much beyond that. Javi Fuego gave his usual solid performance in midfield, held possession well while the rest of his team mates gave it away quite easily at times.

As for wingers, de Paul had some bright moments when he first came on for Piatti but soon faded out out of the game. Roberto Ibanez was explosive on the right wing causing all kinds of problems and didn't seem to stop running. Feghouli did not feature, neither did Viera nor Gil.

Playing a game with ten-men did serve a good purpose in that it made the team play under pressure and kept them on alert. Too bad they couldn't remain on alert all the way to the very end.

The next game is against AS Monaco who is a big step-up from the teams Valencia CF is playing against now. Nuno has to work on the right-back position and on the defense as a whole. As for offense, I think it just needs time till the players get used to the new additions and the new formation. Until then, we have to trust that Nuno knows what he's doing and that the team will improve. Better make the mistakes now that during the season.


1-0 Munoz, 89'

Any thoughts on the game? Best and Worst players? What was good? What needs improvement?