Sunday, January 22, 2023

Valencia CF vs UD Almeria Match Preview

Valencia CF has been on a downward spiral in the last couple of matches, but they showed signs of life against Real Madrid and Sporting Gijon in the Copa del Rey. Gattuso played with a 4-4-2 formation in those matches, and it seems like it produced good play, though I personally think it was more of the lineup that produced those results, rather than the formation itself. We had Almeida in central midfield in both matches, something we've lacked with Nico playing there instead, we've also had Hugo Guillamon a lot in midfield, and he's been having a really bad patch recently. 
So, with the current batch of midfielders, we seem to be a lot more secure in midfield, with Yunus covering at the back and playing that more defensive role, while Almeida has more leeway to push the ball forward and he does so really well. Justin Kluivert has also been playing great on the wing and has provided a good outpost there for our team, he can solo play on the flank, or he can play with the team and create chances. 

Toni Lato completes the midfield and with him playing on the right flank we have a more secure backline, he is used to tracking back and tackling opponents, so we get better defense with him on the flank, while also offering reasonable attacking prowess. Don't forget we have Correia who can bombard more freely on the flank as well, knowing that Lata will cover for him at the back. So, we get both more offensive and defensive power on that right flank with Lato playing there.

I also like Cenk and Comert at the back, I think Cenk provides more stability at the back, he has that maturity of a much older and more experienced central defender, but he's still very young and can improve even further. Comert has also gelled in a lot better with the team since his arrival here the previous season, and in combination with Cenk they seem to work well for now.

The question now is how long will this last? Is the coach on to something with this setup or is it just a fluke? We often play much better against the big teams like Barcelona and Real Madrid and suffer to reproduce that play against the weaker opposition. So, this match to me is extremely exciting as it will show if this new formation and team composition is actually any good or just another fluke and we go back to being demoralized and searching for new solutions and blaming Meriton and wishing for better transfers and players. 

I'm sick and tired of seeing a weak Valencia CF, not even a mediocre one, I consider Valencia CF playing for that 6th position, the last position that leads into Europe mediocre, maybe we get it, maybe we don't, but that is a mediocre Valencia CF that can barely manage European competition, but for the past several seasons we've been finishing at mid table or worse. To me that is a very weak Valencia CF and each consecutive season we seem to be doing worse, rather than better. 

The rushed and weird transfers the management does don't help at all, the inconsiderate coach changes don't make sense at all, Meriton and its owner don't seem to know when we have good things going for us. There was a period of 2 years when Marcelino was coach when we were doing reasonably good, we also had a really great sporting director at the time, but Marcelino was sacked and soon after the sporting director left but was realistically forced out. 

I just want to watch a Valencia CF match and be excited and happy most of the time. I don't want to watch disappointments over and over again, where we lose matches who are certain wins on paper, we lose or draw in the last moments of matches for no apparent reason, we blunder absurd goals, etc... What does it take to have a solid Valencia CF that is able to fight for that 6th position on the table? 

Gennaro Gattuso is likely going to field the exact same squad from the Real Madrid supercup match in this match and I'm hoping that is indeed the case, because I am really curious if this setup actually has quality and if we actually win matches like this. 

Valencia CF squad: Mamardashvili; Correia, Comert, Cenk, Gaya; Lato, Musah, 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 Yunus falling back as well, serving 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 UD Almeria
I think this is going to be a big win for Valencia CF, I think this setup has potential and the formation also serves these players, making it easier to defend and organize in the center. Defensively I don't think we can just improve instantly, so I still think we are likely to concede a goal, but I think offensively we are going to be much better and be able to score several goals, giving Valencia CF an easy win.