Showing posts with label champions league. Show all posts
Showing posts with label champions league. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Valencia CF 2 v 1 Ghent Champions League 20/10/2015

To look at the scoreline would suggest this was a close and fortunate result for Valencia but the truth is we were far the better side.  The manager describes the first half as the best we have played this season and although I would suggest we have played better at times it doesn't take away from a very good performance.

With Negredo sitting in the stands for the second successive game the team had a very young look and it was apparent that Nuno wanted that extra pace in the forward line with Santi Mina coming in for his second consecutive game.  I have to admit I was very disappointed with Mina in the previous game but fair play to the manager he kept faith in him and it proved to be a good decision.

Valencia, playing with Alcacer as a lone striker started well and so many chances were being made that it was inevitable when the first goal was scored.  A great ball in from the right from Cancello was flicked towards goal by Feghouli to open the scoring in the 15th minute.   Unfortunately for the Algerian the goal has since been strangely awarded to the defender as an own goal. However, the important thing is that we are one goal in front.

The first half saw Valencia taking control and making many chances. But, as we know in football things happen and in the 40th minute Ghent were level.
A long ball found the unfortunately named Foket after Mina inexplicably tried an overhead kick to clear and totally missed the ball. Foket then still had lots to do and fired in a long range shot from the right and beat Jaume in the top corner, who had no chance.  I think the scorer is really well known because I heard a number of English speaking people shout out his name when he scored.
This was one game when I envied those sitting at home in the warm watching with a beer in hand as the rain was relentless and we were all soaked to the skin.  Fortunately the conditions didn't seem to affect the players and the football was of a good quality.

The second period became a little more even as the late goal seemed to have given the visitors and their large number of supporters fresh hope of salvaging something from the game.  Fortunately in the 72nd minute justice was done albeit in another slightly fortunate way. Cancello chipped a high ball over to the far post from the right which seemed to be going out it hit the crossbar and dropped to Gaya.  The young defender then cleverly blasted the ball in off  a defenders chest to put us back in front.  Jaume was called upon once more to save us with a great save near the end but the result was justified as we had so many chances that the game could easily have been over by half time.  However Rodrigo had a good opportunity  near the end when put through by Feghouli but fired straight at the keeper from a difficult angle.

LATEST   Feghouli has now been officially credited with the first goal.

Conclusion.  The result is the most important thing at the end of the day and this leaves us in a great position now to go on through to the next round. Not only that but the confidence seems to have been restored in the team and in the fans and the future looks good.

Player Ratings:
Jaume  6.5  Wasn't called upon to do too much but when called upon did what we all now know he is capable of and kept us in the game.
Gaya  6.5  Had a good game again and made the winning goal also put in some nice crosses and defended well.
Santos  7.5   I really like this guy, apart from one little slip when the wet ball skidded off his boot he really looks the part and is going to cause Nuno a headache now when deciding who to leave out, but what a great position to be in having too many quality centre backs.
Mustafi 7.5   Another great game and it is not surprising that top clubs are looking at him. Mr reliable is always there to clear up and start the attacks from the back.
Cancello  7.0  Another solid performance and it's hard to see Barragan getting back into the team while he is playing like this barring injury or Copa Del Rey.
Fuego 6.0  Not one of his better games in my opinion as he game away a few silly passes but not too bad.
Parejo 6.0  Like Fuego  his passing was a bit lazy and wayward at times maybe the conditions didn't help but not to his normal standard
Gomes 8.0   I have given him the higher mark for his nonstop efforts and running right from the start to the end. His vision and skills are amazing at times and to have come back from injury and hit top form again so quickly he deserves the credit.
Fehouli 7.0  Unlucky not to be awarded the goal as he deserved the credit for being there. Had a great game and caused the Ghent defence so many problems.
Mina 6.0  Really impressed with Mina, maybe should have scored when given a good opportunity but really surprised me with his skills and confidence.  He played many balls that less confident players would not have tried and he is only 19yrs a great future for this guy. At fault for their goal when should have headed it away instead of the overhead kick attempt
Alcacer 6.5  Playing as a lone striker he was tightly marked for much of the game but really worked hard to make things happen for himself for a change.  I think he must have been spoken to and told to stop waiting for that perfect pass and go out and make things happen for yourself, which he did.

Piatti   5        for Mina    60 mins
Rodrigo  5    for Parejo  67 mins
Danillo   6    for Alcacer  82 mins

Attendence  37,000

15 mins  1.0  Feghouli
40 mins  1.1  Foket
72 mins  2.1  O.G

Cards  Parejo,  Mina,  Cancello and Gaya

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

FC Lyon 0-1 Valencia CF Match Report

Valencia CF won a tough match against FC Lyon and now sport 3 points from 2 matches in the Champions league. This was a positive surprise, I was expecting a loss in this match and then try and turn it around against Gent with two wins against them and get at least one more win at home, but this is just amazing, a positive result finally.

I predicted a 2-1 loss for Valencia CF, but the team surprised and managed a win against a very tough Lyon side playing on their home terrain. Lyon definitely had their fair share of chances and came close to scoring on several occasions, but what was luck, what was good saves by Jaume, they just couldn't place the ball in the net.

The match started with Lyon more on the offensive, though generally both teams were interchanging in attack and defense, it was one of those games where Lyon would attack for a while, then Valencia CF will get the ball and attack for a while and back and forth like that.

Olympique Lyon had one great opportunity through a free kick, the ball was heading into the net, but a wonderful parade by Jaume saved the goal barely. Lyon had few more chances, mostly through some mistakes by Mustafi who lost several one on one duels when coming a bit forward, but Valencia CF were lucky that Lyon couldn't capitalize.

Valencia CF had few chances as well, with Aymen Abdennour coming close to scoring on two occasions as he headed the ball just wide the first time and then headed the ball into the post, though unfortunately the rebound was ultimately cleared.
Pablo Piatti also had a shot on goal, but he sent the ball directly towards the goalkeeper, makingit easy for Lopes to make a save.

After breaking up a Lyon attack, Valencia CF would get a quick counter attack opportunity with Pablo Piatti moving the ball forward, he sort of moved in centrally, looked at who was available and sent a pass to the oncoming Feghouli who released a powerful long range effort that managed to beat the goalkeeper and end up in the net, giving Valencia CF the lead.

The second half was mostly Lyon attacking relentlessly and Valencia CF defending almost all the time, with the exception of few occasional forward drives, mostly counter attacking tries. In fact Lyon came close to scoring several times, they had several shots barely blocked at the last moment, with Aymen usually barely making that final block. Unfortunately Aymen got injured and had to be replaced by Santos who right off the gate made a crucial mistake as he lost his target and allowed a dangerous chance for Lyon, that thankfully wasn't converted on.

Lyon's most dangerous player was definitely Valbuena, causing all sort of troubles for the Valencia CF defense on both sides of the pitch as he was playing all around the pitch and changing positions often.

There would be a huge scare in the final minutes of the match as Lyon had a header and a shot saved by Jaume one after another, all coming from corner kicks from the left side. Thankfully the danger was cleared on the third corner in a row and Valencia's defense had a slight breathing room.

Ultimately Valencia CF would win the match 1-0, thanks to the goal from Feghouli in the first half. This is a crucial win for Valencia CF and one that gives the team good chances of making it through the group, though for this result to count the team would have to win twice against Gent.

Technical Details:
Olympique Lyon: Lopes, Jallet, Bisevac, Morel (Ghezzal, min 78), Um, Darder (Ferri, min 43), Gonalons, Tolisso, Valbuena, Kalulu, Lacazette (Beauvue, min 74)
Valencia CF: Doménech, Cancelo, Mustafi, Abdennour (Santos, min 59), Orban, Javi Fuego, Enzo Pérez (Danilo, min 84), Parejo, Feghouli, Negredo (Rodrigo, min 71), Piatti

Sofiane Feghouli 0-1, 42 min. Assist Pablo Piatti

Player Ratings:
Jaume 8 - Make one great parade in the first half to keep the ball out of the goal, after a dangerous free kick and then made several saves in the second half, including two saves in stoppage time one after another to give Valencia CF the win.
Cancelo 7 - Improving with every game, was secure and confident when defending and went forward to a great extent in the first half.
Mustafi 5.5 - Was overall okay, but lost few one on one battles when coming out of the penalty area and that created danger for Valencia CF
Aymen 6.5 - Once again great one on one marking and tackling, had much better positioning and crucial with few blocks in defense before leaving injured.
Orban 6 - Was fairly good defensively and had one or two good forward movements.
Fuego 6 - Had a good game and his positioning was spot on all game, covering defensively superbly.
Enzo 6 - Mixed performance, had some good runs forward and some nice passes, tactically sound, but unable to play with Parejo in order to control the midfield.
Parejo 6.5 - Accomplished performance from the captain, led the front line and always tracked back and defended firmly.
Feghouli 6.5 - Scored a nice long range goal and was dangerous on occasions, but his forward drive was a beat weaker than usual as he wanted to slow down the game often.
Negredo 4 - Might as well been playing without him, barely touched the ball few times.
Piatti 6.5 - Good performance overall, made the best he can out of his runs and provided the assist for Feghouli's goal.
Santos 4.5 - Made two giant mistakes both when he covered at the left back position as he lost the man he market twice. Don't know if he wasn't fully warmed up as Aymen had to be quickly replaced, but this wasn't a good performance.
Moreno 5 - Didn't really one up Negredo in any way, though he did track back a lot more and was playing in a more midfieldish role.
Danilo N/A - Not enough time

FC Lyon vs Valencia CF Match Preview

Olympique Lyonnais vs Valencia CF
Stadium: Stade de Gerland
Date: 29.09.2015 20:45 CET
2nd fixture, Champions League group stage
Coaches: Hubert Fournier and Nuno Santo

Valencia CF has a lot of work to do in order to move on to the next round of the Champions league, after an unexpected loss to FC Zenit int he first match. Now Valencia CF is arriving in France at the Gerland stadium to face Olympique Lyon. Technically this is a must win match in order to compensate for the loss against FC Zenit, but this is a tough opponent, playing at home and its going to be a tricky match.

Olympique Lyon once a top team in France and champions numerous times is now in a similar situation to Valencia CF this season, sitting 8th on the table with 12 points and struggling to get better results. They've also had no chance in the past few years as PSG has dominated the French league and winning the title.

Both Lyon and Valencia CF are the top 2 finishers in this group on paper and this would be a telling match for both teams as to where they stand. Theoretically they should be relatively evenly matched, but in practice it could be different and we'll just have to wait and see how this match plays out.

Valencia CF is still without the injured Gaya and Gomes, who were supposed to recover by now, but their injuries turned out bigger than initially thought. Good news is that goalkeeper Mathew Ryan is back with the squad and he's available for selection, but Nuno is likely continue with Jaume and give time for Ryan to find his full form and fitness before returning him to the starting position.

Valencia CF won the last match in the domestic league against Granada by one goal to zero, but it was a hard fought victory and didn't look too convincing, similar to how the team has been all season. The good news is that Ruben Vezo looked good at the defensive position and he's been impressive in all of his showings this season, so it will be interesting if Nuno Santo chooses to select him to start alongside Mustafi or Aymen who has been rested last matches supposedly to start fresh against Lyon.

Aymen hasn't convinced so far, he clearly has potential and seems strong individually in the tackles, but his positioning has been suspect and he is still clearly adjusting tactically how Valencia CF defend, so personally I wouldn't mind seeing Mustafi and Vezo paired as the central defensive duo.

Valencia CF Squad:
Goalkeepers: Doménech, Yoel, Ryan
Defenders: Cancelo, Barragan, Mustafi, Santos, Orban, Vezo, Aymen, Orban
Midfielders: Javi Fuego, Danilo, Enzo Pérez, Parejo, Piatti, De Paul, Feghouli
Forwards: Rodrigo, Negredo, Paco Alcácer, Santi Mina

Technical Details Valencia CF (probable setups):
Formation: 4-3-3
Line-up: Jaume; Barragan, Mustafi, Aymen, Orban; Fuego, Enzo; Parejo; De Paul, Paco, Feghouli.
Tactics: Low defensive line, own half pressure, mixed passing, counter attacks, attacking triangle.

Result Prediction
FC Lyon 2-1 Valencia CF
I think Lyon are going to use their home advantage good and score two times against us, especially since Nuno said that the team are coming to compete and win, so the team will be open for the attacks and Lyon having the home advantage can score two goals. I think Valencia CF are going to score as well, probably make it 1-1 and give us hope, but then concede again and lose the match!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Champions League Opponents Anounced

A.S. MONACO,  It was announced today will be our first opponents in the Champions League.
The first game will be played at the Mestalla on Wednesday 19th August with the return being played at The Stade Louis 11 the following Tuesday 25th August.
This is probably the toughest draw we could have had but this is the big time now and we are in with the big boys so let's not complain about a tough draw.
These promise to be 2 really exciting games and definitely something to look forward to and to test ourselves with the best of the best.
They have won the French League title 7 times in their history and were losing finalists in the 1992 EUFA Cup Winners Cup and Champions League in 2004.  They have already played C.L. games this season beating Young Boys of Bern,  Switzerland 7.1 over two games so are obviously playing well at the moment.

Footnote,   Just a few words of condolences to Phil and Gary Neville after the death of their father in Australia today after a heart attack.  He was there to see his daughter who is the manager of the England netball team. It puts everything else into perspective when something so sad like that happens. I am sure our best wishes are with them and the rest of their family.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Schalke 04 3-1 Valencia CF - Match Report

Here is the match report, its a bit different now from the other reports I've done.

So the match started as good as possible for Valencia with an early goal by R. Costa after a cross by Topal found his head. Valencia also had more possession and thus controlled the match and were actually a lot more dangerous than Schalke in their attacks.

The first goal Schalke scored was a lucky thing with the referee being way too harsh and awarding a free kick 25 meters away from goal. If you ask me I think there was no foul there, but anyways its just crystal clear that luck was not on Valencia's side. Farfan stepped to take the free kick and it was the perfect free kick, a speedy traveling ball high into the left side of the net, I don't think Guaita had any chance or most of the keepers in the world for that matter.

This goal startled Valencia as it came so unexpected, considering Schalke 04 didn't have even one chance on goal and yet they scored from a set piece and this was so demoralizing. Seeing such a weak team as Schakle 04 and playing badly score from a nonexistent free kick is hard to swallow.

The second half started and Valencia was yet again the better team with more control, initiative and will to win, but it was yet another unlucky circumstance and this time Guaita misjudged his flight and failed to punch the ball hard enough, which resulted falling in the penalty to a schanlke player, the shot was saved, but then Mario found himself in a good position and scored, but it was once again a very lucky goal as it hit the bar twice before going into the net.

We could blame Aduriz for missing a ton of chances, we can blame Guaita for making a mistake for the second goal, but the honest truth is that Schalke 04 had incredible luck, while Valencia had the opposite of luck and even a powerful Joaquin shot that was going to go towards the Schalke net was blocked by the referee, Tino Costa shot with his right foot instead of left when he got a beautiful pass from Soldado, Mathieu had a good chance that he missed, there were 2 penalty situations that the referee could have easily awarded to Valencia, but it just wasn't to be.

My final verdict is that Valencia had some very bad luck, while Schalke 04 had a lot of good luck and that is why they won. Valencia CF was better in every respect and realistically deserved to go through, but maybe it just wasn't meant to be.

Player Ratings:
Guaita 5 4 - Saved the goal several times, but at fault for the second goal as he should have punched far away from goal or stay on his line.
Bruno 5.5 - Good defensively, barely troubled but offers absolutely nothing in attack and here is why Miguel is better than him.
Navarro 6 - Good defensive display and each goal from Schalke had a huge element of luck.
R. Costa 4 - Bad performance from Costa, he scored the goal yes, but it was a lucky goal and was miserable in defense.
Mathieu 6 - Went forward as much as possible and was reasonable good in defense considering, but he had no support from Mata in the second half. Forced to be a winger way too often as Mata sucks.
Banega 6 - Spread the ball well, keeps possession for Valencia CF and once he was subbed Schalke immidiately got more possession.
Topal 6 - Good at breaking up play and his passing was simple and direct, good job for his role.
Joaquin 6.5 - Had several shots, but was not in the best positions to score. Not very effective from the wing and was forced to come often in the middle.
Mata 3 - Crap performance from our "best" player. Gave absolutely nothing, lost the ball every time he got it and never dangerous.
Pablo 6 - The most creative player on the field for Valencia, huge mistake by Emery to substitute him, instead of Mata.
Aduriz 1 - The worst match as if he hadn't had worst matches so far. Absolutely terrible, dreadful, crap, 5 years old kid would have done better than him.
Soldado 5 - No effect what so ever. Apart from two touches with the ball, did not see him.
Tino Costa 5.5 - Had one big chance to score a goal, but instead of shooting with his left foot and scoring goal, he decided to try and shoot with his right leg and screwed the chance. Did nothing that Banega didn't do better.
Jonas N/A - Not enough time to change anything and Valencia had already given up when he arrived.
*After watching the goals again I've reduced Guaita score even though he had few good saves. Its just unacceptable to make such a mistake for the second Schalke goal.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Champions League: Valencia CF 1-1 Schalke 04 - Match Report

The first leg of the champions league match between Valencia CF and Schalke 04 is over and Valencia is left bitter and surely bemoaning the missed chances and opportunities it had.

Unai Emery decided to play with the 4-1-2-1-2 formation which some may know it as 4-3-3, but its essentially different than standard 4-3-3. Anyways the standard line-up for this formation was selected with Topal as the defensive midfielder to cover at the back and get the balls from the back to the midfield and then Banega and Tino costa, with Banega playing as a playmaker and Tino Costa in a more attacking fashion.
Chori Dominguez is a bit forward, just behind the channels and his role is to basically run channels and create an extra men, so that our two strikers can abuse that space and score goals.

The match started with Valencia in possession, the ball circled in the midfield and then usually passed on the left side where Mathieu would act as a winger.
After 17 minuted this play proved very good and beneficial, as Valencia scored a goal after that play. Aritz Aduriz passed the ball to the oncoming Mathieu who ran past the Schalke right back and crossed the ball towards Soldado who managed to score from a pretty difficult position and Valencia was in the lead as early as the 17th minute.

From there on it was basically all Valencia with continuous attacks towards the Schalke goal and there were several good opportunities missed out. Topal and Tino tried long range shots but one was above the goal and the other headed straight into Neuer's hands. Mathieu was playing very good on the left side as a winger and was constantly making crosses in the penalty area and linking up well with Tino Costa as well.

Aduriz had a wonderful chance to make it 2-0 after being released by a smart and precise Tino Costa pass, but Aduriz somehow managed to ruin this chance and seriously I think that you need to try really hard to miss that kind of chance and even then I don't think its possible, but Aduriz did it and failed to put Valencia up by two goals.

Schalke on the other hand had few chances of their own as well, which looked rather dangerous due to Valencia's defense being so shaky. There were two real chances for Schalke early in the match where Guaita was forced to save and one actually went close to going in after Miguel was outjumped and the ball headed towards the far left post in a lob like fashion, but Guaita just barely managed to somehow get to the ball and force it over the bar, save the goal and keep Valencia in the lead.

The first half ended with Valencia leading 1-0 and the play was good with quite a few chances, firm control on the field, fast paced attacks. Valencia was the better team and from what anyone can tell it was headed towards a comfortable victory.

The second half started much in the same fashion as the first with Valencia with firm control over the game and attacking most of the time.

At the beginning there were few scrambles in the Schalke penalty area, Soldado and Aduriz were trying to make something out of some loose crosses, but the danger was always cleared by Schalke defenders.

Then Aduriz had 3 chances in a row to put Valencia 3-4 goals ahead and close the match, but he ended up ruining all of his chances. The first one he shot instead of passing, but the shot was not accurate and flew over the goal, on the second try he touched the ball weird and it was neither a shot, nor a pass and the ball ended wide of the goal once more. He had a decent chance later in the match where he missed a timing window in which he slid to redirect the ball towards goal after a cross from the left side.

In the 64th minute Schalke started a counter attack, Jurado was moving the pass forward with Topal covering him, but managed to get the pass towards Raul and after Navarro failed to get the ball off of Raul in what should have been an easy thing, Raul released a low curved shot and went past Guaita and in the net, Schalke managed to equalize.

Emery did a double change with Joaquin and Vicente for Banega and Chori, but it was pretty clear that reverting to a 4-4-2 formation won't help and we weren't really needing wingers, but rather another striker to take Aduriz place.

If I was on Unai Emery's place I would have introduced Pablo for Aduriz, move Chori as an attacker and Pablo in the attacking midfield position because he can actually play well there and is good at finding out players with some dangerous passes. Then after some time see how things go and then remove Banega and put Joaquin. Joaquin would go to the right wing and the formation would essentially become 4-2-2-2 with Tino and Topal furthest back in the middle, then Joaquin and Pablo a bit forward with Pablo in a free role as an attacking midfielder and Joaquin on the right side as his usual position of a winger and then the two strikers.
I really think this would have worked better instead of falling on the 4-4-2 formation and hope it works, which we saw it didn't.

Anyways after Schalke equalizer Valencia went forward even more, the two substitutions brought freshness on the wings but you can see the other players were beginning to slow down, Tino Costa was making bad passes, even worse crosses and losing the ball as soon as a Schalke player came close to him.

Joaquin had few dribbles on the right but he would end up dribbling 3 defenders and loose the ball, and on the other side on the left wing Vicente wasn't any more useful as he was loosing the ball often as well.

There was a decent chance after a low cross went from the left wing but Soldado and Aduriz missed the ball each by only milliseconds.

Just before the end Schmitz was shown a second yellow and automatic red card. What was the reason I have no clue as the linesman came towards the main referee said few things and the red card then came.

Ultimately the match ended 1-1 and it is disappointing for the Valencia fans and I'm sure the players, but not all its lost. The players played really good, had really fast pace and the attacks were quite fluid and dangerous, the only problem was in the conversion of these chance. If Valencia managed to convert only 30% of its chance it could have been 3-0 right now and not a measly 1-1 draw.

Its not a great result, but its not terrible either and Valencia still has a good chance to beat Schalke and continue in the tournament. All Valencia need to do in the second leg is score a goal and things will get back level again and from there on its anybody's game.

Technical Details:
Valencia CF (1): Guaita; Miguel, Ricardo Costa, David Navarro, Mathieu (min. 77, Jordi Alba); Éver (min. 67, Vicente), Tino Costa, Topal, Domínguez (min. 67, Joaquín); Soldado y Aduriz.

Schalke 04 (1): Neuer; Uchida, Howedes, Metzelder, Schmitz; Farfán, Kluge, Matip, Jurado (min. 81, Edu); Raúl y Huntelaar (min. 88, Hao).

Goals: 16th min. 1-0, Soldado; 64th min 1-1, Raúl.

Valencia CF -Schalke 04
Goals scored1
Attempts on target7
Attempts off target9
Fouls committed9

Player Ratings:
Guaita 8 - Made 3 brilliant saves, had a really difficult save to make after a headed lob towards him and then in the second half another dangerous shot that was fired towards him in the final stages of the match.
Miguel 6 - Good defensively, out jumped only once and provided a good support in the middle as he was receiving and passing the ball.
Navarro 3 - Not a confident performance, he was beaten few times and had to use nasty fouls to stop the opposition though went unpunished. At fault for Schalke's equalizer and along with Ricardo Costa were probably the weakest link in the team.
R. Costa 4 - Little better than Navarro, but beaten few times as well, made a mistake when passed the ball towards Guaita, but the ball went close to a Schalke attacker and Guaita was forced to slide out of the penalty area and kick the ball out.
Mathieu 7.5 - Played as a winger all match long, but still managed to return back in time and defend. Won all of his duels with Farfan and easily disposed of any danger from the left and assisted for the goal.
Topal 6 - Partially at fault for Schalke equalizer and he wasn't really committed to stopping the pass towards Raul, he could have denied any chance had he committed more and just put a foot forward, otherwise had a decent match.
Banega 6 - Good in the first half, passed the ball with good fluency and kept possession. Barely visible in the second half. Made several bad passes, lost the ball few times and was obviously substituted.
Tino 7 - Very active in attack, provided several great passes than mainly Aduriz couldn't capitalize on, came back fast and defended with urgency. Got tired later in the second half and his play became sloppy.
Chori 5.5 - Had few decent runs but mainly on the wings, several passes and few nice touches but that was about it.
Aduriz 1 - Worst match in Valencia shirt. He had 3 amazing chances to score, but ruined all and on top of that had few other decent opportunities, but failed to make anything out of them.
Soldado 6 - Hard working and enthusiastic, scored a beautiful goal and the ball seemed to fly to him in the first half. Somewhat less visible in the second half, lost quite a bit of duels in the penalty area and failed to race to the ball after a good cross in the later stages of the match.
Joaquin 5 - Obviously motivated and willing to do something, but ended up dribbling himself on the wing and lost the ball every time. Needs to dribble once and then quickly pass or cross, right now he dribbles, dribbles, dribbles and looses the ball.
Vicente 4.5 - Lacks match form and it was all too obvious in his time on the pitch. Had few bad touches, missed passes and a lack of understanding with Mathieu and then Alba on the wing.
Alba N/A - Not enough time, though did have one good cross.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valencia CF vs Schalke 04 Match Preview, Champions League

Uefa Champions League, round of 16. Valencia CF vs Schalke 04
Valencia's biggest match in few seasons is almost here. Valencia CF has been out of the Champion League competition for quite a while and last time it was in the competition it went out miserably.
Valencia has had few tests this season to find out if they can compete with the big teams in the biggest competition of the world and the results have been good, which means Valencia has what it takes to compete.

But now its different, its real, its here and its played over 2 rounds. Will the Valencia camp get intimidated, anxious, nervous, its the first time after so long that the team is this far in the Champions League and with a real chance of doing well. Will this pressure make or brake Valencia?

One thing is certain though, if Valencia are to beat Schalke 04 then they need a victory in the first match, which is of course player at the Mestalla. Achieving a good result at home is crucial to having a chance to beat Schalke 04. A good game will be if Valencia wins 2-0, or even 1-0, without conceding goals.

The sides' two previous competitive matches at Mestalla both ended in draws. It finished 0-0 in the 2007/08 UEFA Champions League group stage and 1-1 ten years previously in a UEFA Cup quarter-final second leg. On that occasion Schalke's 2-0 home win sent them through, while the 2007 Gelsenkirchen contest ended in a 1-0 victory for Valencia.

SchalkeFC Schalke 0410 3111322812328916443%
ValenciaValencia CF15 48045397458216746%

Valencia CF play their biggest match in the entire season on Tuesday at the Mestalla stadium and only a win can set the path to beat Schalke 04, as you already all know German teams are very strong at home and with the support of their fans and enthusiasm may create problems for Valencia on the return leg.
This is why its very important Valencia to win the first match as comfortable as it can, preferably by not conceding a goal. Best result would be something like 2-0 or of course anything above like 3-0, etc...
But no doubt that a result of 2-0 will be great and will put Valencia in a comfortable position for the second leg of the match.

Valencia are on a good row of 7 wins in 9 matches in the Spanish league and they would hope to carry their good form over to the Champions League match.
Valencia now occupy 3rd place on the table, benefiting from Villarreal's slip-up against Deportivo this week and is on 47 points from 23 games.
Valencia also has a solid record in the Champions League with 15 goals scored and only 4 goals conceded. This makes a difference of 11, which is the second best difference along with Barcelona and Arsenal, with only Real Madrid having a better difference of 13.

Valencia's last six home games against German visitors have produced five draws and a defeat. Their most recent victory came in October 1996 with a 3-0 success against FC Bayern München in a UEFA Cup first round tie. They have won just three of their ten home matches against German sides; their overall record is W4 D9 L8.

Schalke 04 on the other hand are currently sitting in 10th position in the German bundesliga and have generally been struggling this season, even though they boost some great talent in their ranks like Klass-Jan Huntelar, Raul and their international goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.
However the situation with Schalke 04 in the bundesliga they are still a dangerous team and even managed to play a draw with current bundelsiga leaders Dortmund just two weeks ago and won their last match against Freiburg. They are also very strong in the Champions League so far and have one of the best defensive records with Real Madrid and Manchester United the only clubs with better defensive records.

Schalke's record in eight competitive games away to other Spanish opponents includes two wins and a draw. In a total of 19 games their record is W6 D5 L8.

Interviews and conferences: 
Raúl González, Schalke 04 player
Valencia is a team Raúl knows all too well, having scored 12 goals (five at Mestalla) in 24 Liga games against them, plus one in Madrid's 3-0 UEFA Champions League final victory in May 2000. "It certainly won't be easy but, personally, I've got good memories from playing there," he said, sentiments no doubt shared by Spanish club-mates Sergio Escudero and José Manuel Jurado. "I played many games there at club level and with the national team.Valencia are a great team but this is going to be a very even tie. It's always a pleasure returning to Spain. It's a really great incentive for me especially playing against such a strong rival and in a stadium that generates a great atmosphere; it's an extraordinary setting to play a Champions League game
Christoph Metzelder, Schalke 04 player
Valencia and Schalke are a bit similar. We have had big changes as well. Valencia lost their key players in the summer.
I think both teams are saying: It will be hard, but it's feasible. Maybe it's a small advantage for us that the return leg will be here in Gelsenkirchen. I was involved in some great games at Valencia. There were always passionate matches when they played Madrid.
Unai Emery, Valencia CF coach
It's such a beautiful, attractive and exciting game to play in that we are not thinking about a result right now. The favourites for the Champions League are Real Madrid and Barcelona – after that there isn't much difference and Schalke 04 and Valencia are dead level. We believe in our qualities but respect our opponents' too – Schalke are very competitive.
There are several ex-Madrid players at Schalke and it shows you their quality; those players make the difference. This should be something that motivates us. The key point of this round is intelligence over 180 minutes, and being able to overcome individual and collective problems. It is a very important game. I came to this club to take them to where they want to be and there is a great opportunity for growth.
Felix Magath, Schalke coach
We're facing a very strong team who are third in the Spanish league and have done a great job in the Champions League, scoring a lot of goals. Valencia as a team are similar to Lyon but stronger in attack. We are hoping to get a goal to give ourselves a better chance in the second leg. The team are improving because they're getting to know each other and the way we work. In the Champions League we've been doing better because we've had many new, experienced players who needed time to get used to the Bundesliga.

I was expecting a reception like this because of the sense of expectation Raúl brings. Now I just hope he can score tomorrow. Raúl is a great player in football terms and in human terms is an example to follow both on and off the field.

Valencia CF official squad:  
Goalkeepers: Cézar, Guaita.
Defense: Bruno, Miguel, R. Costa, Dealbert, Navarro, Mathieu, Jordi Alba.
Midfield: Maduro, Topal, Ever, Tino Costa, Joaquín, Pablo, Mata, VIcente, Domínguez.
Attack: Jonas, Aduriz, Soldado.
David Albelda and Moya are still recovering from their long term injuries. Mata has been injured for 2 weeks, but its possible to be ready for this match. Jeremy Mathieu was having sickness on Saturday and has been rested and should be available for this match.
Stankevicious is out since he can't play for Valencia CF in the Champions League, but Valencia can select new signing Jonas and has all other defenders fit and ready.

Schalke 04 official squad:
Goalkeepers: Manuel Neuer, Mathias Schober
Defense: Benedikt Höwedes, Christoph Metzelder, Lukas Schmitz, Atsuto Uchida, Sergio Escudero, Hans Sarpei
Midfield: Peer Kluge, Jefferson Farfan, Jurado, Julian Draxler, Hao Junmin, Joel Matip, Ali Karimi
Attack: Raul, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Mario Gavranovic, Edu

Valencia CF Technical:
Formation: 4-1-2-1-2
Line up: Guaita; Miguel, Navarro, R. Costa, Mathieu; Topal, Banega, Tino, Chori; Soldado, Aduriz
Tactics: High attacking frequency by the full backs, medium defensive line and opposing field pressure, deep zone defensive midfielder, middle field attacks, mostly short passing with mixed crossing.
With Mata a doubt for this match and Banega and Chori rested, I can't see any other formation that Emery is going to play. Maybe a 4-4-2 would make sense, but that would make our defense vulnerable and with these defensive players we just can't take many risks.
The best answer for attack and defense is to have high ball possession and this is the formation and players that can do that.

Result prediction:
Valencia CF 2-1 Schalke 04
I know Emery is one of those safe tacticians and would be instructing the players to be careful and playing slow and I know that Schalke is going to be defending for most of the match and will be hoping for a draw, but there should be goals. I can see Valencia scoring two goals against Schalke, but I'm not too confident in our defense so I'm guessing we are going to concede a goal too.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Match report - Valencia CF 3-0 Rangers FC

Gers suffer first defeat Rangers suffered their first defeat in the Champions League this season as Roberto Soldado grabbed a double to hand Valencia a 3-0 victory at the Mestalla.
He netted on both sides of the interval, before Tino Costa sealed the win late on, as the Spaniards leapfrogged Rangers into second place in Group C, with Manchester United strengthening their grasp on top spot with a win over Bursaspor.

Steven Naismith hit the woodwork twice on a frustrating night for Walter Smith's men as they failed to produce the fightback to maintain their unbeaten run in the competition.
Rangers were boosted by the news that Maurice Edu - who netted for both teams as the last meeting between these clubs ended in a 1-1 draw a couple of weeks ago - was passed fit for the match.
The American was doubtful for the clash with a calf injury but was able to start, while fellow injury doubt Vladimir Weiss failed to make the squad.

The inclusion of Edu allowed boss Smith to name the same starting XI who claimed a point against Manchester United at Old Trafford in their opening game.

Juan Mata tried to test Allan McGregor in the opening couple of minutes as Valencia tried to make an early impression but his shot from distance was weak and comfortably dealt with by the Rangers goalkeeper.
The midfielder then had another go, this time collecting from David Albelda, before trying to chip past McGregor but he was able to tip just wide of his right-hand post.

But it was Rangers who could have taken the lead when Naismith embarked on a surging run down the left flank before cutting inside past Albelda and rifling a shot at goal that crashed off the post, with Edu's rebound falling harmlessly off target.

At the other end, Aritz Aduriz's cut-back found Mata in plenty of space six yards out and his rasping effort looked netbound until McGregor pulled off another impressive block to parry the shot wide.
It had been an open game so far and Valencia were threatening again when Aduriz threw himself in front of Mata's free-kick only to see his header flash inches past the post.
But McGregor was picking the ball out of the back of the net when the Spaniards surged into the lead after 33 minutes, finally sparking their fans into life.

Mata's corner was punched clear by the Rangers goalkeeper and, following a scramble in the box, the ball fell for Soldado who was able to fire home. Sasa Papac may have been able to block on the line but McGregor got just enough of a touch to take the ball past the full-back.

Joaquin Terrorizing Rangers defense
Valencia looked dangerous after the restart as they attempted to add to their lead and McGregor was called into action again to prevent Rangers from falling further behind.

Mata was the provider with a lovely cross for Aduriz who produced a firm header that would have found the back of the net had the Rangers goalkeeper not come to the rescue with yet another fine save.
The Scots could have hauled themselves back into the match when Naismith went on another surging run before picking out Kenny Miller this time. The striker shifted onto his left-foot and unleashed a shot that lacked purchase and was too easily dealt with by Cesar Sanchez.

Hopes of a Rangers comeback were dealt a blow when Soldado claimed his second of the night after 70 minutes to put Valencia firmly in the driving seat.
McGregor managed to get a touch but was unable to keep the striker's powerful, low right-footed shot from hitting the target.

Miller then went to ground in the box but there appeared to be little in the incident and German referee Felix Brych waved play on, before Naismith's header hit the post.
It was Valencia who found the back of the net again with a minute to go when substitute Costa rattled a ferocious shot in off the post, before nestling in the bottom corner.
The only good news on a disappointing night for Rangers was Manchester United's win over Bursaspor, leaving the Turks rooted to the bottom of the group without a single point and with Smith's men on course to at least claim third spot and a Europa League berth.


Player ratings:
Cezar 6 - Not his brightest performance, but when he plays the defense is a bit more stable.
Miguel 6 - Went forward and overall did well defensively, but had 2 big defensive lapses
Navarro 4 - Not an encouraging performance, poor decision making and very slow to react.
R. Costa 5.5 - The CB's are worrisome this season, not a poor performance, but a lot more is required.
Mathieu 7 - Constant forward arrays and really done well with his runs, not neglecting his defensive duties at the same time.
Joaquin 7 - Constantly troubled Rangers defense, made 3 amazing runs towards the end, but he lacked the decision making and made the wrong decision 3 times.
Albelda 7 - Great display from Albelda, put ashame some of his younger Rangers counterparts, even put some dangerous balls forward.
Banega 7- Not at his best, though coming close to it rapidly, had good visions and spread out the ball well.
Mata 9 - This is the kind of performance we've been missing from Mata. He was full of running, combining with other players, showing up all over Rangers back line and making Rangers frustrated with him.
Soldado 8 - Great performance from Soldado, scored 2 great goals and contributed a lot in attack.
Aduriz 7 - Did not score but had several tried with his head, ultimately denied every time, but helped out the time and positioned himself in good spots.
Tino Costa 7 - Went in, continued what Banega was doing pretty well and also scored a goal.
Fernandes 5 - Had few long shot tries, that were was bad as it could get and ultimately didn't play good enough it the time given.
Pablo N/A - not enough time.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Match Preview - Valencia CF vs Glasgow Rangers FC Uefa Champions League

 Valencia CF vs Rangers FC
Stadium: Mestalla
Champions League matchday 4
Tuesday 02.11.2010; 20:45pm

Tomorrow is the biggest match in the entire season and I know I said this is one of the most important matches many times, but this really is THE most important match of the entire season period.
A loss or a draw and our chances of going through the Champions League group stage would almost be lost, we would have theoretical chances of going through, but I wouldn't count on it. On the other had a win and we would be almost sure to qualify. Qualification doesn't mean just sporting success, it also means financial success, this year Uefa is giving out the biggest money prizes in the history of the Champions League, each win, each match and each additional round brings a lot of money to the clubs. Considering Valencia's dire financial situation we need every last drop of cash if we are to be a stable and powerful club, like all of us desperately want.

Group C

Goals scored0225
Goals against6012
Yellow cards5263
Red cards0000
Attempts on target5101314
Attempts wide15191323
Fouls committed48402842
Possession (time)8511073105
Possession (%)46%55%40%57%

Group C

1Manchester United FC Man. United37
2Rangers FC Rangers35
3Valencia CF Valencia34
4Bursaspor Bursaspor30

          Valencia CF vs Rangers FC

Valencia play their most important match in the entire season tomorrow at the Mestalla and only a win will be success as it will open up the path for continuing after the Uefa Champions League group stage.
Valencia are on a series of bad results, the latest match a draw at home against top bottom Zaragoza, previously a loss to Mallorca at home and ultimately only 4 goals scored in 7 matches. If the opposing teams did not score own goals, we would have probably lost the games against Rangers and Mallorca.
With such high importance matches and of course such important competition we simply need to win and to qualify at least in second place in the Champions League.

Rangers on the other side are also coming from a 1-1 draw at home against Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC. Rangers are first in their domestic competition though with 28 points, 1 point above Celtic and huge 12 points lead over third placed Motherwell.
Rangers defensive line is their strongest unit, with only 9 goals received in their domestic competition and only 2 in the champions league.
Overall they are a very solid side, who play compact football and as a team, with a great coach.

Interviews and conferences:

Unai Emery, Valencia coach
We are ready for a similar game to two weeks ago [the 1-1 draw at Rangers] but are also prepared for a different kind of game. They usually play 4-4-2 in the league and 5-4-1 in the Champions League, yet we are prepared for both, especially in terms of tactics and their changes of personnel for the Champions League.

It is a very important game for both teams. We are at home and our job is to play well and win. We want to play good football and we want our fans to enjoy it and leave the stadium happy. We have to make them feel part of the victory. I am hoping for the best-case scenario – a victory in a big Champions League game.

Walter Smith, Rangers manager
It is a very important game and both teams are aiming for second place. Valencia are at home and have a slight advantage. Looking at Valencia's latest results they may be missing players like David Villa, but is a matter of time before they make up for that.

We are under some pressure because we have not experienced this sort of situation before, but we hope this pressure will not stop us getting through and going as far as possible in this competition.

Joaquin Sanchez, Valencia player
In a official press conference Joaquin stated that the group C is quite equal and competitive, but stressed that Valencia is solely responsible for its results and must look at its own play.
"There are many possibilities how the group will turn out, its an open playing field, but we depend on our selves and we know three points are a must in tomorrow's match against Rangers."
About the outcome of the match Joaquin said that he doesn't want to predict the result, but he said the team thinks positively and that the players and coach are calm and optimistic before the match.
He also called the fans to show up at the Mestalla and create a burning atmosphere in order to help the team win in this important match.
Valencia CF official squad list:
Goalkeepers: César and Moyà.
Defenders: Miguel, Bruno, Ricardo Costa, Navarro, Mathieu and Jordi Alba.
Midfielders: Topal, Albelda, Éver, Tino Costa, Fernandes, Joaquín, Pablo and Vicente.
Forwards: Mata, Aduriz and Soldado.

The biggest name on the list is defensively Cezar who returns after an injury, he has recovered quite a while back, but has been working on his fitness. The biggest exclusion is probably Chori Dominguez who seems to be falling out with the coach, after not performing to the required standard. Feghuoli is injured, Stankevicious

Rangers FC Official squad list:
None available
Vladímir Weiss (heel) and Maurice Edu (calf) are injury doubts for Valencia match and may not feature in the starting line-up.

Valencia CF Technical:
Formation: 4-2-3-1
Line up: Cezar; Miguel, Navarro, R. Costa, Alba; Joaquin, Albelda, Tino, Vicente, Mata; Aduriz
Tactics: High frequency crosses from the wings, positional changes from the 3 attacking midfielders, high defensive line and opposing field pressure, deep zone defensive midfielder, long shots.
I don't think much will change tactically from all of the rest matches, its still going to be mostly crosses from the wings, though Emery will probably ask the wingers to try to penetrate to the opposition penalty box when given the chance.
As far as the line-up I have absolutely no idea which players Emery will field, I think the mentioned above are the most likely, but I really am curious as to what players Emery is going to choose.

Result prediction:
Valencia CF 2-1 Rangers FC
Rangers proved that they can hurt us and penetrate our defense on more that one occasion when we played against them at the Ibrox, and our defense has recently been very shaky, so I expect Rangers to score a goal. I hope we are going to win and that's why the 2-1 scoreline, we haven't been scoring many goals lately and have been were uncreative and weak in front of the opposition final third. Hopefully Emery has some hidden powerful tactics and effective trainings methods to turn in around in few days and get Valencia players able to create chances and score. Really whats going to be important is scoring a very fast goal, it will allow us to play better and calmer and wait for our opportunities.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Rangers 1-1 Valencia CF match report

The match between Rangers and Valencia ended up being very exciting and thrilling encounter with both sides having many opportunities to win, with Rangers having the clearer cut chances. Fortunately for Valencia Rangers couldn’t convert their chances and their hero and top player of the match Maurice Edu was also the flop and tragic one as he scored both goals, one in Valencia’s net and one in his own net. The game ended 1-1 and both clubs will ruin their missed chances.

The match started as expected with Valencia in possession and dictating play, while Rangers were contempt to sit back, defend and try on the counter attack to score. The biggest battle though happened in the midfield though with Valencia unable to close down to Rangers penalty field and they were reduced to long crosses that were inaccurate and not dangerous at all.
Valencia had two dangerous early chances and looked like that was just the tip of the iceberg of what was to come, but after those chances faded away for all the possession and pretty play, Valencia were not creating anything dangerous to threaten the Rangers goal.
When Rangers came attacking the Valencia defense was extremely nervous and looked very shaky, it was clear from the first Rangers attack that we are going to have troubles coping with their attacks. Soon enough Rangers had a really great chance on goal after a bit of confusion and lack of positional sense from Valencia defenders. As if the attack gave Rangers a renewed confidence and motivation they really started pushing and were extremely dangerous on the attack with several chances.
Their good attacking play will pay off, after a corner kick Valencia goalkeeper Cezar came out and tried to punch the ball away, but he was out jumped by Edu and Rangers were all of a sudden winning.
The goal brought urgency in the Valencia players and they really started pushing, with Pablo Hernandez really having a great day and being all over the field, passing, linking play, crossing, making himself available, tracking the ball back and forth, with Tino Costa following suit closely. Unfortunately Chori and Aduriz weren’t very active and really presented no option or a threat to Rangers goal.
The push lasted for 15 minutes with countless crosses and passes, but nothing decisive and the first 45 minutes ended with Rangers leading 1-0 against Valencia.
Second half started and in less than a minute Edu scores a second goal, though this time in his own net, previously he was a hero and now a tragic.

This goal would be welcomed by Valencia as it relieved so much pressure and put the game back on level playing terms. Valencia continued to dominate possession and play in the second half also, but apart from Pablo and occasionally Mata there was no player that could create danger towards Rangers goal, not even Soldado who was brought in in the second half for Chori Dominguez had a particularly good game.
Game continued on with Valencia having most possession, but Rangers actually being closer to scoring on several occasions, luckily Cezar was in top form and managed to save at least 3 sure goals.
Anyways there were several substitutions made as Fernandes came in for Tino Costa and Vicente came in for Mata, but nothing changed and while Vicente had few dangerous runs towards the very end it wasn’t to be.
Final result Rangers 1-1 Valencia and both teams take a point from this encounter, with Valencia now having no option but a win, when they take on Rangers at the Mestalla.

Technical details:
Rangers FC 1: McGregor, Weir, Papac, Edu, Davis, Miller, Foster, Naismith, Whittaker, Weiss (Lafferty, min. 87) и Bougherra.

Valencia CF 1: César, Bruno, Navarro, Topal, Domínguez (Soldado, min. 46), Mata (Vicente, min. 84), Aduriz, Pablo, Ricardo Costa, Mathieu и Tino Costa (Fernandes, min. 75).

1-0 Edu (min. 33),
1-1 Edu (o.g.) (min. 46) 

Referee: Nicola Rizzoli (Italy).

Yellow Cards:
Bougherra, Edu и Weir, (Ran),
Aduriz, (Val). 

Stadium: Ibrox Stadium (40.000 viewers).

Player ratings:
Cezar 7- At fault for the first goal, may have been actually fouled by Edu, but should have done better, othervoise several saves to keep Valencia in the game.
Bruno 5- Went a lot forward, but didn't make anything out of it as he lacked the killer pass, and cought a lot of times out of position, struggled all match to cover his side.
Navarro 5- Really bad game for Navarro, caught out of position and beaten several times, would be lucky Valencia didn't receive more than one goal.
R. Costa 5- Same as his defensive partner, very bad game, made a huge error early in the game that may as well have cost us the game and had several other blunders thought the match.
Mathieu 5.5- Did decent going forward and didn't really have much support from Mata, but was not too good defensively, similar to our while defense.
Pablo 7.5- The best player for Valencia, run wild and all over the field, created the only chances for Valencia and always positioned in dangerous places, full of running and came back every time to help defend, if Valencia had one more player like him on the night it might have won the game.
Topal 6- Good is taking the ball from defense to offense and battled hard in the middle, but somewhat rusty in his defensive duties.
Tino Costa 6-  Good set pieces delivery and passed the ball well, but not very influential in attack where he should have been.
Mata 4- Failed to do anything, had only 3 bright moments in the whole game and that was it, he needs to be more direct when attacking and not just pass the ball like headless chicken.
Chori 4- Did absolutely nothing, he provided himself to receive the ball and had few dribbles but other than that he did nothing.Rightfully subbed at half time.
Aduriz 4.5- Same as the other attacking players(except Pablo) did nothing in this game, truth be told he had to come wide or out of the penalty to recieve the ball, but should have run into more dangerous positions.
Soldado 5- Brought in some dynamism in attack and linked well with couple of players, but like the rest attacking players nothing to really threaten Rangers goal.
Fernandes 5.5- He was brought in for Tino to bring in more attacking play, but he failed to deliver. Too many times lost or gave the ball away.
Vicente NA- Not enough time

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Rangers FC vs Valencia CF Uefa Champions League preview

Glagsow Rangers vs Valencia CF
Stadium: Ibrox Stadium
Champions League Matchday 3
Wednesday 20.10.2010; 20:45pm 

Group CHomeAwayTotal

1Manchester United FC Manchester United FC20101001101014
2Rangers FC Rangers FC21000101101014
3Valencia CF Valencia CF20011001014133
4Bursaspor Bursaspor200100100205-50

Group C

Goals scored0114
Goals against5001
Yellow cards3131
Red cards0000
Attempts on target4577
Attempts wide1313713
Fouls committed37292329
Possession (time)58694967
Possession (%)50%53%40%54%

       Rangers FC vs Valencia CF

The second day of the Uefa Champions League third matchday is upon us and brings many excitements. The most important match for us of course is between Rangers and Valencia.
Rangers may be sitting above Valencia on the table with one more point, but the positions can't be anymore different. Valencia is the clear favorite in this match, even though they are playing away from home. Walter Smith, Rangers manager is aware of the "size of the challenge" when they face Valencia, while Valencia coach Unai Emery is expecting strong performance from his side and a special atmosphere in Glasgow.

Rangers are coming in this match after a huge 4-1 win in the Scotish Premier League over Motherwell FC and a 1-0 win in their last Champions League game against Bursaspor, so they will be very confident ahead of this match.

Valencia on the other side are coming off from 2-1 loss to Barcelona in the Spanish League and their last Champions Leauge match which they played at home ended in a 1-0 loss to Manchester United. Valencia also lost their leader position in Spain due to the Barcelona loss, but they will still be confident and will look to bounce back and secure a convincing win tonight against Rangers.

Unai Emery has said in his interviews that Valencia only aim is to win and not draw. The team has been preparing well and its going to start the game furiously, looking for a fast goal that will ease up the pressure a little bit and allow them to play a more confident and calm game.
Even though Rangers are playing at home they will be mostly defending in this match, their possession so far has been only 40%, the lowest of all the teams in group C and this game is not going to be any different. Valencia will have most of the ball possession and initiative and will try to break rangers on the flanks, with frequent crosses and occasional through balls. Rangers defense has been the best so far in the entire competition, having received no goals at all. Its highly unlikely they will let many goals, so I expect a tight game in terms of goals, but potentially quite a lot of chances.

Squad news:

Maduro and Topal are the two returning players from injury for Valencia, while out with injuries will be Joaquin, Miguel and Sofiane Feghuoli. Marius Stankevicius does not have a permit to play in the Champions League for Valencia.

Lee McCulloch (groin) misses out, with James Beattie (thigh) and John Fleck (hamstring) also expected to be absent. Kirk Broadfoot missed the weekend match against Motherwell FC with a foot injury but could feature, having received a positive result from a scan on his injured ankle.

Valencia CF official squad list:
Goalkeepers: César Moya and Guaita.
Defenders: Bruno, Ricardo Costa, Maduro, Navarro, Dealbert, Mathieu and Jordi Alba.
Midfielders: Albelda, Topal, Fernandes, Tino Costa, Ever, Pablo and Vincente.
Attackers: Mata, Dominguez, Aduriz and Soldado.

Valencia CF technical:
Formation: 4-2-3-1
Line up: Cezar; Bruno, Navarro, R. Costa, Mathieu; Pablo, Topal, Fernandes, Mata, Ever; Aduriz
Tactics: High frequency crosses from the wings, positional changes from the 3 attacking midfielders, high defensive line and opposing field pressure, deep zone defensive midfielders.

Result prediction:
Rangers FC 0-2 Valencia CF
Rangers have a solid defense for now, but they have only been up against the under performing Mancheter United so far and European and Turkey minnows Bursaspor so they haven't really been stressed defensively, they are also not very dangerous in attack with only 1 goal so far, Valencia on the other side have scored 4 goals and received only one and while coming off from a loss the confidence and motivation is still there.
I predict quite a tough and tight match, but ultimately Valencia will win by two goals.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Valencia CF 0-1 Manchester United FC match report

The worst game we've played so far. Lots of possession for nothing and in the end 10 players forward and 1 back, how can you expect not to take a goal on the counter attack.

It was Manchester United who stole the victory from Valencia at the Mestalla. The hopes were high and players confidence beaming, but I think the strategy failed us and its probably Unai Emery's fault.
We went all-in attack from the 60th minute when Emery introduced Aduriz for Chori Dominguez, that attacking mentality fortified with the introduction of Fernandes for Tino Costa. It was mostly 9 man in attack and just 2 defending and we were made to pay for it.
We were surprisingly bad at attack, while we had most of the possession and initiative we could not muster up good chances and the few we had, Soldado missed them.
Maybe Aduriz should have played from the start as he has been very energetic and deadly finisher for most of the time.
Anyways it was 2 Manchester subs that combined to score the wining goal in the 86th minute.
Perhaps this is a lesson for the team and Emery not to go all in attack, especially in a Champions League match. A point is always better than no point.

Valencia missed Ever Banega so much in this match, its obvious. Tino Costa can perform against lesser opposition, but in the 2 big games we had against Atletico Madrid and Manchester United he was nowhere to be found. Valencia need a leader in those cases on the pitch, someone who can take the initiative and dictate play. Pablo Hernandez tried to be that man, but he is a winger and although he tried to be everywhere on the pitch due to lack of Tino Costa, he couldn't do it as he is not a central midfielder and works best as a winger.
Fernandes was way more active than Tino and Valencia got even more dangerous, but it was too late and opened up lots of holes in the back.

Player Ratings:
Cezar 8: Did excellently to deny Berbatov and made all saves he could made.
Miguel 7: Excellent in defense and in attack, linked up magnificently in attack with Pablo.
Navarro 5.5: Made two blunders that could have been goals.
Maduro 6: Better than Navarro and in the end almost defended alone.
Mathieu 5: Pretty good in defense but offered nothing going forward, until the very end and it was too late.
Pablo 7.5: The most lively member of the squad, made numerous runs and passed, though he lacked that one killer pass.
Albelda 8: Great performance from the veteran, broke up Manchester play and also organized the midfield and attack.
Tino Costa 4: Virtual spectator for the whole time he was in, rightfully substituted and its clear he doesn't have what Banega has.
Mata 2: Did nothing, he had few runs and could have done way better with them, but always gave away the ball to the opposition or when he gets the ball he immediately returns it back. He can't get a pay rise with these kind of performances, he is an attacking player and needs to attack and not return every ball back. Guess he idolizes Giggs way too much and lost focus from the game.
Chori 2: Same as Mata, run around, passed a few balls, but nothing concrete or dangerous.
Soldado 5: Had several chances but could not convert them, all of them except one though not very good.
Aduriz 6: Really spiced up the attack, was positioning himself well and had an excellent cross for Soldado.
Fernandes 6: With him in Valencia did attack a lot more and seemed more threatening in attack, but the game opened way too much and with just 1 or 2 defenders at the back we received a goal.
Topal NA: Not enough time.