Sunday, November 9, 2014

Valencia CF vs Atletic Bilbao Match Preview

Valencia CF vs Atletico Bilbao Match Preview
Stadium: Mestalla
Date: 09.11.2014; 19:00 CET
11th matchday, La Liga
Coaches: Nuno Santos and Ernesto Valverde

Valencia CF will play against Atletico Bilbao later today in what is going to be a very important match for both teams, with Valencia CF looking to continue its winning form and jump to 2nd positions once again, while Atletico Bilbao will be looking to get their campaign back in order, having had a bad start to the season.

Valencia CF is still without Daniel Parejo and Lucan Orban, both of whom suffer from hamstring injuries, with Parejo have a bit more serious injury and is going to miss the match next week as well. Other than these two the whole team is fit and ready and the coach has quite a bit of options as to how he will approach the match. He could go against with the 4-4-2 formation from the last match, with Feghouli and Piatti featuring on the wings and Gomes and Fuego in central midfield, or he could opt out for 3 man midfield in a 4-3-3 if he wishes to have more control over the match, since last match Valencia CF lost the midfield battle handily and Atletico Bilbao play even more possession based football than Villarreal.

Of course Atletico Bilbao is coached by former Valencia CF coach Ernesto Valverde who coached the team for only 6 months, before joining Atletico Bilbao for more stability. Since then Valencia CF has found stability with the acquisition of the club by Asian billionaire Peter Lim and is looking to create a competitive team that can challenge for titles in the future. 

What we can expect from this match is battle in the midfield, as I've written above Atletico Bilbao play a possession based football for most of the time, while Valencia CF this season under Nuno play more of a counter attacking football. Valencia CF will need to try and fight for midfield control because Atletico Bilbao are very dangerous when they have the ball at their feet, Valencia can't afford to have measly 40% possession like in the last match and expect a win, the team will have to have some control of the match in order to prevent constant attacking by Bilbao and give the defense some breathing room.

On the other hand Bilbao will need to improve their counters and build-up play if they are to counter Valencia CF, unfortunately for them Aritz Aduriz another former Valencia CF player is injured and likely won't play for them, which means their biggest threat is gone and would need to change their system accordingly. 

Valencia CF squad:  
Goalkeepers: Alves, Yoel. 
Defenders: Barragán, João Cancelo, Vezo, Otamendi, Mustafi, Gayà. 
Midfielders: Javi Fuego, Felipe Augusto, Feghouli, Robert, De Paul, Pablo Piatti, Carles Gil. 
Forwards: Paco Alcácer, Rodrigo Moreno, Alvaro Negredo.

Technical Details Valencia CF (probable setups):  
Formation: 4-4-2  
Line-up: Diego; Barragan, Mustafi, Otamendi, Gaya; Fuego, Gomes, Feghouli, Piatti, Paco, Moreno. 
Tactics: Low defensive line, own half pressure, short passing, offside trap, deep laying defensive midfielder. 

Match Predictions:
Valencia CF 1-1 Atletico Bilbao
Both teams are rater evenly matched even though they play different style of football. Valencia is the counter attacking team this season and Bilbao are historically and currently a possession based team. This is going to be a tough match and I don't expect many goals, with both teams evenly matched I'm thinking a 1-1 draw, although Valencia CF might have a slight edge due to the home terrain.