Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Valencia CF vs Athletic Bilbao Match Preview

Valencia CF just can't seem to get any result in La Liga, even when things seemed to be picking up and we had a moment of optimism it all comes crashing down as Valencia CF drew at the Mestalla against UD Almeria. I was really excited for the match and full of optimism that finally we are going to record a win and start turning things around, we played really well against Real Madrid with that formation and lineup, Gattuso stuck with the same things in the Spanish cup against Sporting Gijon and Valencia CF won easily, so I was expecting a solid victory against UD Almeria, one of the weakest teams currently in La Liga. Well, it seems like Valencia CF is competing for the weakest team in La Liga as well, and they are just three points away from relegation. 

Valencia CF vs Athletic Bilbao Copa del Rey Match Preview

Valencia CF is facing Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey though and as such there might be chances for a win, though Valencia CF has hardly faced stiff opposition in the cup and Athletic Bilbao is the first real tough opponent. A win here would place Valencia CF in the semifinal and give fans some cause for celebration. 

Valencia's record in all competitions coming into this match is 3 losses, 2 wins and 1 draw on the opposite side Athletic have 2 wins, 2 loses and 2 draws. Valencia's La Liga stats are 25 goals scored and 20 goals conceded and Athletic have very similar stats with 25 scored and 19 goals conceded. The biggest difference between these clubs is the possession with Valencia CF on top of the charts with 59% possession rate and nothing to show for it, while Athletic Bilbao have 51% possession rate, but appear to be using the most of that possession and creating enough chances. 

Valencia CF are also better in the passing accuracy department as well as aerial duels won, with the only stat being worse than Athletico's being shots conceded per game, but only by just a tad. Valencia CF are also one of the most fouled team in the league, with little protection from the referees, in fact part of our issues might be refereeing related as they just don't seem to award enough cards and penalties for Valencia CF. Our team gets fouled constantly and our actions and flow stopped, but the opposing teams always seem to get away with it, with barely any punishment. Valencia CF should definitely ask for more protection from the referees based on actual statistical data and facts that we are one of the most fouled team in the league! 

All of Valencia's stats actually seem really good, but why we don't have any results is beyond all reason! Obviously, our team is extremely error prone and individual mistakes do cost us often, but even that doesn't fully explain the bad results. 

At this point I feel like we need an experienced and great central defender to organize the defense. Paulista used to do that to a certain degree in the past, but now he's out of form and was out of the squad for a long period with injury, so we need someone like Nicolas Otamendi to sort out our defense. He is currently playing at Benfica and his contract is expiring this summer, so Valencia CF should move swiftly and sign the player. He is not going to cost anything more than 1 million euros and I'm sure he'll love to finish out his career at Valencia CF the club which made him a household name. 

I think we are going to see mostly the same lineup from our last match, with few chances just to give some players rest and have them fit for the next game in La Liga. 

Valencia starting lineup: Mamardashvili; Correia, Comert, Diakhaby, Gaya; Musah, Guillamon, Almeida; Kluivert, Cavani, Lino

Valencia CF formation: 4-4-2

Valencia CF tactics: High defensive line when attacking with two defenders covering at the back and Hugo Guilamon falling back to serve as a defensive cover. Lato and Correia interchanging position as both can attack and defend. Mostly long crosses from the wings with generally shorter passes through the center of the field. Cavani positioned aggressively in the front, serving mostly as a static threat, while Lino running channels more and shifting position.

Match prediction: Valencia CF 3-1 Athletic Bilbao

I'm going to persist with my optimism and big wins prediction as we have all of the tools at our disposal to do exactly that. If you look at all of the stats Valencia CF is doing really good, in fact in the top 6 good in almost every department. All the team needs to do is stay concentrated for 90 minutes + stoppage time and don't do anything stupid defensively. Seems simple enough, right? 

Gattuso needs to figure out how to secure our backline and we should be good. I'm hoping he figures something out and implements it in this match, because I really want to believe and I'm hoping for good results with that issue figured out and solved.