Showing posts with label preseason coverage. Show all posts
Showing posts with label preseason coverage. Show all posts

Monday, July 21, 2014

Michel out, Tiago Mendes in?

As I said in the previous post, this is the decisive week for squad selection by new coach Nuno. He specified that he wants 5 different central midfielders. So far that is: Javi Fuego, Michel, Parejo, Banega and Andre Gomes.

Michel could be one of those on their way out, especially now with Getafe interested in taking him on loan. This would be the third loan period for Michel in his two spells at Valencia CF. The previous two were to Deportivo (one year) and Hercules (one year), then he was sold to Levante, after which Valencia CF activated the buy-back option. However, Michel hasn't impressed either Djukic or Pizzi. He did get some playing time under Djukic at first but spent long periods on the bench after. He barely showed glimpsed of the form he had while playing for Levante. Although you could argue that the form of the other midfielders kept him out, especially with Seydou Keita and Romeu available this past season as well.

Now we come to the replacement. He is 33 year old Portuguese midfielder Tiago Mendes. His contract for Atletico expired this year and he was all set to move to Chelsea. However, licensing issues have got in the way of the signing and Tiago now has to wait for them to be resolved or renew with Atletico Madrid. His agent gave him a third option by offering him to Valencia CF. Atletico Madrid are offering more wages that Valencia CF (his wages are outrageously high, about 5 million euros per season). Valencia CF have offered less money but a guarantee a two-year contract. Tiago insists that he wants a two year contract (which the would have got under Chelsea) as well as wanting to work as part of the coaching staff when his contact is up. Tiago had 24 appearances for Diego Simeone's La Liga winning side.

Any thoughts on Tiago Mendes? Is he an upgrade or downgrade from Michel? Do you support loaning Michel? If not Tiago, who should replace him?

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Decisive squad selection week

The 3-1 loss to Nurnberg yesterday brings an end to Valencia CF's Germany-based part of the preseason. In the two preseason friendlies we got a chance to see every Valencia CF player with the exception of those on the World Cup squads as well as Mathieu, who is hoping for a move to Barcelona. Some players met expectations, others impressed and a few disappointed. The final word though goes to coach Nuno, who will finalize his squad selection before traveling to Peru. The members of the squad that travels to South America will be the ones that Nuno has plans for, and will rely on this season. Everyone else, will be not be joining on the trip and will be told try their luck elsewhere.

This will also be a crucial week for Mathieu who's future will also be resolved this week. It simply has to be. He cannot stay on the bench like this for every preseason game. The coach needs to know if he can count on him or should a replacement be brought in. Apparently, Nuno has said that the issue will indeed be settled this week so we can look forward to that.

So who has impressed you in these two games? Who disappointed? What's your starting line-up in a 4-4-2 formation?

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Preseason Coverage: Nurnberg 3-1 Valencia CF

The second preseason game ends in a 3-1 loss to Nurnberg, who were recently relegated from the Bundesliga first division. Valencia CF took the lead through Viera and then after six minutes, Nurnberg scored three times in 5 minutes to win the game. The key thing to note from that game is that all three goals were conceded from wing play. The Nurnberg wingers would drive a low cross into the box and the strikers smash it. Anyway, just a preseason friendly and the team has to move on. Andre Gomes did get some time but only for the final 20 minutes. Mathieu did not play at all.


0-1 Jonathan Viera, 50'
1-0 Sylvestr, 56'
2-0 Colak, 60'
3-0 Colak, 61'

Next games for the team will be in South America in the Euro-American Cup (click here for preseason schedule).

Transfer Market:

The signing of Rodrigo is said to imminent now despite interest from both Atletico Madrid and AS Monaco who are both willing to pay around 32 million euros for him. He will reportedly arrive on Wednesday of this week.

Yet again, Mathieu has not participated in this game. Last time he justified it as him not wanting to get injured in the midst of a major move.

Any thoughts on this preseason game? The transfer market and Rodrigo?

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Preseaon Coverage: SpVgg Bayreuth 1-5 Valencia CF

Valencia CF started the pre-season well with a 1-5 win against 4th division German team SpVgg Bayreuth. The game featured all the players currently on the squad with the exception of those that participated in the World Cup as well as Jeremy Mathieu. The team generally played well as evident by the scoreline except for the one goal conceded which was due to horrendous defending. But that's what pre-season is for to find your mistakes and fix them, and to work on new tactics as well as fitness. Better now than during the season.


0-1 Jonathan Viera (21')
0-2 Jonathan Viera (28')
0-3 Piatti (32')
0-4 Javi Fuego (51')
0-5 Michel (55')
1-5 Ulbricht (83')

Before the game, the new kits were presented and they look nice but are still missing the sponsor. Here is the team picture:

Transfer Market:

Valencia CF is now confident enough in the sale of the club by the end of the month that management has decided to go ahead with Lim's transfer plans. That, and the fact that, they simply cannot wait anymore, the player can't miss out on valuable training time with the new coach and new teammates. As such the club is currently prioritizing the signing of Andres Gomes and Rodrigo Moreno from Benfica and the players have been reportedly told to be ready to leave at any time. The reports say that the deals are close to completion and we could see the two new players feature in Saturday's game against Nurnberg.

Mathieu's absence from this game has fueled speculation that he could be on his way out but Valencia CF are remaining firm on the 20 million euro release clause and demand the full amount in cash. It remains to be seen. Apparently, Spurs have also joined as suitors. Although I prefer he goes to Spurs than Barcelona (we shouldn't make the opposition stronger), Mathieu himself dreams of playing for Barcelona and it would be his final chance to do so. Plus, I don't know if he's willing to go to England.

Formation change:

Nuno has suggested that Valencia CF's formation will change from 4-2-3-1 to a 4-4-2 saying he prefers to play two forwards. In addition, he wants take out the role of the defensive midfielder and play two box-to-box midfielder to make the team more dynamic and unpredictable. The idea is to make those two midfielders Enzo Perez and Parejo. Also, while one striker would be a traditional '9', the other one would serve as a striker and a play-maker. It seems that role will be given to Rodrigo de Paul. This could be a very interesting change in formation that could see Valencia CF playing a more attractive and unique style of football.

Any comments about the pre-season, the transfer market or the formation change? Share your thoughts below.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Valencia CF Pre-season Schedule

Here we are. The pre-season fixtures are on the way in less than a week. The squad is in Germany to begin their training camp and play some friendlies against SpVgg Bayreuth (who play in the fourth division of the German League), and FC Nurnberg (who were relegated this year to the second division of the German League). Then the squad will travel to South America to compete in the first pre-season cup competition known as the Euro-American Cup 2014. There they will face locals Alianza in Peru and Universidad Catolica in Chile. Finally the club will travel to England to play in the 2014 Emirates Cup hosted by Arsenal. There the squad will play against AS Monaco FC and then against S.L.Benfica. Then, they will travel to Old Trafford to take on Manchester United. To finish off the preseason, Valencia CF will play the Orange Trophy Challenge against AC Milan at the Mestalla. You can see the dates in the schedule below.


15 July 2014 - SpVgg Bayreuth
19 July 2014 - FC Nurnberg
26 July 2014 - Alianza
29 July 2014 - Universidad Catolica
2 August 2014 - AS Monaco FC
3 August 2014 - S.L.Benfica
12 August 2014 - Manchester United FC
17 August 2014 - A.C. Milan

This pre-season should give us a glimpse of what to expect of Nuno and the squad this season. The final three games especially should give us an idea of where we stand. We could also see Valencia CF use Benfica's own players against them when Lim's purchase of the club is complete. Training is going very well so far and the squad is being introduced to Nuno's style of play. In addition, I said earlier that this could be a chance for the new coach to re-evaluate some of the players who Pizzi deemed unnecessary. For example, it seems so far that Banega is doing well (maybe that loan to Newell's gave him motivation) and could very well remain with Valencia CF for this season despite being rumored out of the club but we'll have to wait and see. On another note, remember last year's pre-season which was also in Germany. Djukic struggled against fourth division teams only to manage good performances against AC Milan (despite losing 2-1), Inter Milan (beating them 4-0), Everton (beating them 1-0) and Olympiacos (beating them 2-1). Despite finishing the pre-season on a strong note, Djukic's season was a disaster to say the least. I am really optimistic now about Nuno. I hope he does great.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Pre-season Friendlies: LFP World Challenge Result

As you may or may not have known Valencia CF is in a tour in Hong Kong as part of their Asia Tour and along the way to participate in the LFP World Challenge as part of the pre-season. Valencia has won the competition after victories over locals Hong Kong Rangers and fellow Spanish outfit Villareal CF. The games were each only 45 minutes in length and played consecutively. The game was a chance to present the new partnership with Adidas via the kits and also some of the youth team players who played with the rest of the squad (with the exception of all the players called for the World Cup). The highlight for me was Alcacer's world class goal vs Hong Kong. If interested you can see the highlights below to all the games below:

Hong Kong vs Valencia:

Valencia vs Villareal



Hong Kong Rangers 1-3 Valencia CF
Valencia CF 1-0 Villareal CF
Hong Kong Rangers 1-1 Villareal CF

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Eintracht Frankfurt 4-2 Valencia CF

Valencia CF played its last match of the preseason and lost to Eintracht Frankfurt 4-2. Mauricio Pelegrino started with a weaker side, as he gave all the key players a rest and started with a completely different team than from the match against Tottenham.

With so much changes you can clearly see the results as Frankfurt started controlling the match and pressing Valencia CF in front of goal immediately. One would have hoped it was just starting warm up and Valencia CF would start dominating, but it wasn't going to happen as Frankfurt continued having possession and attacking, probing Valencia CF defense.

Frankfurt would have few chances to score, but the goal would fall after a cross from the left side and Aigner would head the ball into the goal. Just 2 minutes later Frankfurt would score a second goal as Diego Alves came out of goal to punch the ball, but the ball traveled low and Inui would volley the ball, only to fall to Occean who slotted past Diego Alves easily.

Valencia CF would score few minutes later as well, after a great one-two pass with Viera and Piatti, Viera released Piatti in front of goal and this one scored to put Valencia CF back into the game.

First half pretty much ended there, with both sides having no particular effect in attack till the whistle blew. The second half started with Valencia CF improved a little bit, keeping the ball more into possession and having few chances. This would pay off and as early as the 50th minute Pablo would score an equalizer after another great assist by Viera.

Unfortunately while the general play improved a little the defense didn't and in fact Valencia CF would recieve another goal in the 63rd minute after no one was found marking on the right side and Frankfurt players were able to combine and Occean to score again.

Today all of the defense sucked. I mean they could not have played worse, and Rami was miserable as well, you can say the young B team players lacked experience and stuff, but Rami was just as bad, if not worse and Barragan was too much forward, forgetting about his defensive duties and with no one to cover that side.

Little later Rami would be substitured with Quintanilla and 3 minutes of him coming in, Frankfurt would score again, again creating one more man in attack that wasn't marked by anyone and scoring.

I'm going to write player ratings for this match, to get ready for the new season and get in the groove of things, so bare with me this time.

Technical Details:
Eintracht Frankfurt (4): Trapp, Butscher, Demidov (Anderson, min. 46), Oczipka (Hoffer, min. 65), Inuim (Djakpa, min. 65), Occéan (Kittel, min. 65), Meier, Aigner (Kempf, min. 65), Rode (Lanig, min. 46), Jung y Schwegler (Kittel, min. 65).

Valencia CF (2): Alves, Rami (Quintanilla, min. 77), Albelda (Alcácer, min. 77), Piatti, Barragán, Viera (Portu, min. 68), Pablo H., Parejo, Bernat (Feghouli, min. 77), C. Delgado y Salva Ruiz.

Goals: 1-0, 19min Aigner; 2-0, 22min Occéan; 2-1, 26min Piatti; 2-2, 51min Pablo H; 3-2, 62min Occéan; 4-2, 80min Hoffer.

Player Ratings:
Diego 6 - Did everything he can, had few good saves, but was totally left down by the defense today.
Barragan 5 - Active in attack and was involved in few actions, but forgot his defensive duties and was no where to be found at the back in several of Frankfurt's attacks.
Rami 3 - Miserable performance. Made several mistakes, two big amateur mistakes and was directly responsible for one goal.
Delgado 3 - Just terrible performance, didn't know how to position and was involved with few mix ups with Salva Ruiz. 
Salva 3 - Like the rest of the defense he did poorly, got outjumped for one of the goal, his marking was off and had few mix ups with Delgado for positioning.
Albelda 4 - Didn't quite see him play a lot, wasn't too good at covering for the defense either, he is old, but should have used his experience better.
Parejo 6 - Decent performance, was largely alone in trying to control the midfield and did what little he could.
Pablo 6 - Mixed performance, he did score a goal and had one good shot at goal, was involved in few other actions as well, but failed to exert his influence and failed to link up with the rest of the team.
Viera 8 - Amazing performance, great first touch, amazing vision and really good short passing. Provided two assists today and was largely involved in all of Valencia CF attacks.
Bernat 4 - Some nice dribbles here and there and showed off some technical skills, but where it matters he lacks  Didn't start, build-up or finish any actions, was too secure and didn't seem like he wanted to take any chances. Was missing for long periods of time.
Piatti 6 - Scored a goal and had good link-up play with Viera, not a striker, but he certainly showed he can play there possibly as an impact sub. Certainly a versatile players and did pretty good today.
None played enough to be rated.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Valencia CF 1-1 FC Porto PG(2-0)

Valencia CF won the self hosted tournament Naranja or Orange, though it took penalties to do so.

It was a fun match for a preseason match, Pellegrinho starting with the strongest squad, while Porto started with a little bit possibly weaker squad than normal. Match started slowly with Valencia CF having more possession and using the speed on the flanks to penetrate Porto. The duo of Parejo and Tino Costa seemed good, with both dropping in and out of defense, so obviously no clear defensive midfield and while it seemed to work against Porto at a preseason match, its yet to be tested against strong competition in a competitive environment.

Guardado was very active on the right flank as expected and we managed to see several of his penetrating runs with good dribbles to go along with it. He did have few good crosses and decent play with Jonas, though nothing to brag about, on the other side Feghuoli was a lot more suppressed and wasn't able to influence the game as much, although he did have some good runs, especially just in the start when he managed to intercept and then steal the ball from Porto's defense. He also had one good opportunity of goal, but poor shooting skills destroyed the opportunity and one amazing cross for Soldado that should have been a goal.

The defense seemed decent, but clearly not played-in and baked so to speak, you need regular defense and players to know each other, so right now even with Pellegrinho as coach the defense seems shaky, although as a defensive unit we do seem somewhat improved.

Jonas wasn't very active and had some poor ball control and some wasted passes, so even though he scored the goal, he wasn't particularly effective. Soldado had received great cross from Feghuoli, putting him alone on goal and he completely missed the goal, that was very poor shoot and overall a very poor performance from him.

The second half exposed some more defensive mistakes, including the one that lead to the Porto goal, though Valencia CF would instantly return the favor and equalize with a good assist from Guardado for Jonas, who headed the ball into the net.

Then Viera, Bernat and Pablo came in, though not much changed and the play stayed the same. After a ton of changes on both sides the play became more chaotic and Bernat had 2 good chances, first a run alone, but failed to deliver the last pass and then a shoot opportunity, but his youth and inexperience showed.

Ultimately the match was decided on penalties in which Porto didn't score even once. Diego Alves had some comedy time though and that was fun to watch.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Armenia Bielefel 1-1 Valencia CF

Valencia CF played its third preseason match against Armenia and only managed to get a 1-1 draw. There was no TV stream or internet stream, so all the information we got is from VCF official website and superdeporte.

According to them Valencia CF played very good and controlled the game, in the 75th minute Armenia scored a goal, but only 4 minutes later Valencia CF equalized through Feghuoli on the assist from Viera.

From what I could read and watch some of the highlights from the matches so far it seems that Viera is really playing superbly and really seems ready for action, but again the real test we'll be against Porto this Saturday at 21:30 O'clock.

DSC Arminia Bielefeld (1): Ortega, Riemer, Hübener, Jerat, Testroet, Hornig, Riese, Langemann, Kullmann, Turhan y Agyemang. También jugaron Appiah, Lorenz, Burmeister, Yesilyurt, Schütz, Klos, Salger, Rahn y Schönfeld.

Valencia CF (1): Alves, Jonas, Soldado, Barragán, Guardado, Víctor Ruiz, Pablo, Ricardo Costa, Parejo, Mathieu y Tino Costa. También jugaron Bernat, Joao Pereira, Gago, Piatti, Albelda, Viera, Alcácer, Feghouli, Quintanilla y Carlos Delgado. 

Goals: 1-0 Min. 74 Burmeister; 1-1 Min. 77 Feghouli

Here is a new Valencia CF song, I'll be adding it to the music player shortly, when I download it and convert it to mp3.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

SV Rödinghausen 0-4 Valencia CF

Valencia CF second pre-season match went well with a 4-0 win over amateur league wanna be's SC Rödinghausen.

Jonas scored the first goal for Valencia CF, Piatti scored the second goal, Carles Gil and FEghuoli scored the 3rd and 4th goal on assist by Viera.

Good play by Viera, but then again it was against a really weak team and the real test will be against Porto.

Technical Details:
SV Rödinghausen (0): Saur, Schiffbanker, Buddecke, Leenemann, Arifi, Schonwalder, Ruter, Plog, Owusu-Ansah, Juarez and Kalkan. They also played Bruggemeyer, Schneck, Buba and seronegative.

Valencia CF (4): Diego Alves, Joao Pereira, Ricardo Costa, C.Delgado, Bernat, Pablo, Parejo, Tino Costa, Piatti, Jonas and Alcácer. They also played Guaita, Barragan, Quintanilla, Victor Ruiz, Mathieu, Gil Carles, Feghouli, Guardado, Viera, Soldado, Brown and Dalmau.

Goals: 25m, 0-1 Jonas; 45m, 0-2 Piatti; 57m, 0-3 Carles Gil; 86m, 0-4 Feghuoli.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Valencia CF 2010/11 season preview

Valencia CF preseason report and new season preview


Valencia CF has been very active in the transfer window this summer, with players going in and out. 

The two biggest losses for Valencia CF are David Villa and David Silva. These two players have been the cornerstone in attack for Valencia for the last couple of seasons with David Villa having five magnificent seasons at Valencia and always scoring above 20 goals. No more though, as he was transferred to Barcelona for a reported fee of 40 million euros and David Silva transferring to Manchester City for a reported fee of 30 million euros.

Other players to be sold or loaned out are Nikola Zigic sold to Birmingham City, Marchena to Villareal, goalkeeper Renan loaned out to Internacional, Del Horno and Nacho Gonzales loaned out to Levante U.D and most recently Alexis sold to Sevilla for a fee of 5 million euros.

But for all the players leaving, there were players coming also. With Valencia in such a financial crisis and a reported 500 million in debt, the selling’s brought Valencia an estimated 90 million euros to its cash account and also allowed us to bring cheaper yet good new players.

The biggest and brightest signing Valencia did this year is Roberto Soldado from Getafe for a reported fee of 10 million euros. He scored 16 goals for Getafe last season and is an experienced La Liga player.
Joining him in attack is Aritz Aduriz from Mallorca for a reported fee of 5 million euros. Between Soldado and Aduriz they scored 28 goals in La Liga last season and will be looking to either achieve the same result or score even more goals.

Coming to the midfield positions are attacking midfielder Ricardo “Tino” Costa from French side Montpellier, defensive midfielder Mehmet Topal from Turkish gianst Galatesaray and Sofiane Feghuoli once considered French brightest star and the next Zinedin zidane. 

In Defense Valencia strengthened the squad by bringing the experienced and Champions Leagie winner Ricardo Costa from German side VFL Wolfsburg, though Ricardo Costa played last season in French team Lille.

Preseason report:

The first preseason match started against Saudi Arabian champions AlHilal. Valencia CF won that game 2-0, but the play wasn’t good, the players lacking in fitness and form and the tactics almost nonexistent. Still, this would be a good game, since it showed Valencia coach Unai Emery where and what to improve.

Unai Emery would than turn the focus on physical exercises to improve the player’s fitness, strength and stamina, as well as busy preseason tours and matches, some only 1 day apart.

Second match was against Slovenian side NK Celje, Valencia lost the match 2-0 and huge holes were shown in Valencia’s play.

Third match was against Hannover 96, Valencia won 2-1 and for the first time showed some good play, although Hannover 96 did have most of the ball control.

Forth match was against French champions Olympic Marseille, Valencia lost 1-0, but this was by far the best match Valencia played in the preseason thus far. By now Unai Emery had played 4 formations from the 4-4-2, 4-4-1-1, 4-3-3 to 4-2-3-1. The most used one was 4-3-3 and even though not really working, there was still no reason for concern.

Valencia than went on a mini tour in England and the fifth preseason match was against English side Aston Villa. The game finished in a 0-0 draw and was the most boring game Valencia has played in the preseason. Even though the game was boring Valencia did show some good defending and tracking of the ball. Only after a day Valencia played against David Silva’s new club Manchester City.

Valencia players were obviously tired from all the traveling, training sessions and the previous game against Aston Villa, so we lost to Manchester City 2-0.

Seventh game was actually a triangle played between Valencia, Palermo and Napoli. Valencia won against Napoli on penalties, after the regular 90 minutes finished 1-1. Against Palermo we lost in what was a game to forget.

Questions and concerns started arising, Valencia was playing bad and with a string on negative results no one knew what Unai Emery thought when he was saying that the team was improving.

Roberto Soldado gave an interview criticizing the team and saying that they have no excuses anymore and that the team must win the remaining preseason matches.

Unai Emery also spoke and said that in the next game against Fiorentina, we would see a new side to Valencia, one with great ball possession, cohesive and attacking minded. 

The first and last preseason game home at the Mestalla was against Fiorentina. Unai Emery decided to go for the better formation in the preseason, 4-2-3-1 and it showed. Valencia won the game after a brilliant performance from the whole team.

Last preseason game was against Italian side Lecce and the only game that wasn’t broadcasted on any channel whatsoever.  Valencia won the game 2-0 and played a good game, though there was one big downside to it; Soldado got injured and will need 2 to 3 weeks to recover.

System and players:

After a lot of deliberation and every sign hitting him straight in the face that the 4-3-3 formation isn’t working for Valencia, Unai Emery finally decided to put it to rest just this last few days, but only temporarily. 

The formation that Valencia is going to use in the new season is 4-2-3-1 with the following starting eleven players:
GK: Cezar
DF: Miguel, Navarro, R. Costa, Mathieu
MF: Albelda, Banega, Joaquin, Pablo
ATT: Soldado, Mata

Now that Soldado is injured though, Aduriz is going to start as the main Striker, at least for the first match of the new season against Malaga.

Let’s start from the back first though. Cezar will keep his number one goalkeeper spot, but this time around he’s got a lot more competition with Moya actually performing considerably better than last season and the returning Guaita also impressing. Guaita was also voted the best goalkeeper last season in the second division, so a good call from Emery to keep him around.

In the defense it’s going to be a battle between Bruno and Miguel for the right back position, with Miguel impressing a little bit more in the preseason, Dealbers, Navarro, Maduro and R. Costa will battle for the center back spots, with R. Costa and Navarro impressing the coach the most.
Dealbert and Maduro will be really fighting for a spot though; Dealbert was good last season even though he has played his whole life in the lower divisions and Maduro played a great game against Fiorentina and was surprisingly consistent and confident.

Jeremy Mathieu is the only natural left back and has been impressive for the whole preseason. He has great attacking skills and always supports the attacking players, but he’s been also improving in defense and excelled in his defensive duties against Fiorentina. Jordi Alba has played as a makeshift left back last season after Mathieu was injured for most of last season, but he is going to be the second choice and will look to get his chance only after injuries arise.

Valencia is the strongest in midfield this season and Unai Emery has tons of players for all the positions. 

We have the all reliable and veteran Albelda who will be covering the defensive midfield slot and new signing Mehmet Topal acclimatizing to the La Liga style of play. But with Topal Valencia has a great young talent that has already played a lot of games for his national team and a player to take over from Albelda. 

In the attacking midfield we have the great Ever Banega who after a lot of problems since arriving at Valencia and even almost leaving, decided to stay at Valencia and work hard and leave his old style of life behind so he can become a good player. Boy did he become good, it’s almost like the stories the story behind Banega becoming such a vital and great player for Valencia after all the problems he has had. To cover for Banega we have Tino Costa who is a confident player and in his prime to help Valencia do great this season.

Valencia kept Pablo and Mata the wingers from last season after an impressive season for Pablo and a good one from Mata. But then we also have Joaquin who on his day is the best player in the world and his skills are immense when he feels like playing. We also have young prodigy in Feghuoli who was considered the next Zidane, though with a serious injury last season the hype surrounding him slowly diminished. 

Than we have Chori Dominguez, who has excellent dribbling, shooting, passing and finishing skills, but due to the competition last season and having both the David’s did not make many appearances.
This year will be different for him and he may as well challenge Mata for the position just behind the main striker.
We also have Fernandes and Vicente who have been plagued by injuries, especially Vicente, but are both great players. Vicente especially has once been considered as one of the best players in Europe, if not the world, he has also played for Spain, but he has suffered from injury after injury. Hopefully this will be his season and will show his worth to Valencia and extend his contract with us.

In attack we now have two new strikers; Soldado and Aduriz. They are both experienced and excellent players in their own right and have actually showed that they can contribute to Valencia s they both have scored goals in the preseason. Having two good strikers also means that Emery can actually play a 4-4-2 formation which has shown to be excellent after the two goals against Fiorentina were scored after Emery transformed to a 4-4-2 formation and both Soldado and Aduriz played together. This also means that crosses will work more effectively now, since both players are good headers and have good physique to outjump opposing defensive players. 

With Villa and Silva in attack crosses were rarely useful because of their height and the team played mostly with direct and low balls to them. 

Overall this is shaping to be an exciting season for all Valencia fans and it’s a beginning to a new chapter in Valencia’s history. With three competitions waiting for us and the return to Champions League competition we have all the reasons to be excited.
With many new motivated and ready to impress players and the old ones being rejuvenated and having more competition everyone wants to impress and get in the first team. We also don’t have any pressure  to be champions in La Liga or to reach the Champions League final or any stuff like that the team can be relaxed and fight for as bigger achievement as possible.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

U.S Lecce 0-2 Valencia CF

Valencia CF won the final preseason game against Italian side Lecce in what was a good encounter for Valencia, but we must not get carried away with this win, it was after all against a far weaker side that has played last season in the Italian second liga or Italia B.

There wasn't any broadcast of this game, so I can't really commentate on how Valencia really played and if it was good or bad.
From some of the live coverage though, it seems as Valencia were the better side for most of the match and Feghouli seems to have made quite an impact.

Anyways here are the technical details:
U.S. Lecce 0: Rosati, Giuliatto, Gustavo, Munari, Corvi, Olivera, Ferrario, Giacomazzi, Piatti, Vives and Grossmüller. They also played Bertolacci, Brivio, Donati, Fabiano and Sini.

Valencia CF 2: Cesar, Bruno, Navarro, Aduriz, Feghouli, Vicente, Dealbert, Topal, Fernandes, Tino Costa and Jordi Alba. Substitutions: Soldado, Ever, Joaquin, Mathieu, Mata, Miguel, Albelda, Alexis, Pablo, Ricardo Costa.

Goals: 0-1, 34min Aduriz, 0-2, 48min Fernandes.

Referee: D. Celi (Italy).

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Brilliant game from Valencia CF against Fiorentina

Brilliant game from Valencia CF against Fiorentina.
This game was a great workout for Valencia, and one stop closer to really getting stronger.
Starting line-up for Valencia: Moya; Miguel, Maduro, R. Costa, Mathieu; Joaquin, Albelda, Banega, Pablo; Mata, Soldado.

The game started with Valencia taking instant possession and keeping the ball in their legs. The passing was great, with Banega and Albelda really linking up well with each other as well as the attacking players. Albelda was the more defensive midfield player, with Banega as a playmaker. Mata was given a free role to roam around the field and Soldado as the main Striker.
Valencia dominated most of the first half, with several chances and shots, Joaquin was particularly active from the right side and made few good crosses and dribbles. Pablo on the opposite side of Joaquin though was more into dribbling and low direct passing towards Soldado or Mata.
There were few small mistakes in the defense, as it wasn't all that perfect, but luckily it didn't lead to a goal for Fiorentina.
The first half ended with Valencia clearly the better and more threatening side.

The second half began much in the same fashion as the first, with Valencia with firm control of the ball and creating a lot more chances. Evidence of this is more than 15 corner kicks for Valencia. R. Costa had 2 good chances from corners, though he just couldn't quite get a hang of the ball.
Anyways with the game coming to the 65th minute Unai Emery made 2 substitutions, Pablo went out for Vicente and Mata went out for Aritz Audriz. Fiorentina made 3 substitutions just two minutes later.
In the 71th minute Vicente got the ball, made a run forward, did a little trick to fool a fiorentina defender and made space for a perfect cross to Soldado who headed the ball past Fiorentina goalkeeper and made it 1-0 for Valencia.
Valencia than substituted Joaquin for Sofiane Feghuoli, Banega for Tino Costa and Topal for Albelda.
The game become more erratic now with Fiorentina also making substitutions. The play opened up a bit, as Valencia were looking for a second goal, after a huge burst of motivation after the first one and Fiorentita were looking to score a goal of their own.
In the 77th minute Vicente got the ball again, run forward with it, leaving one defender behind him and than perfectly crossing the ball to Aduriz who similar as soldado scored a goal with his head.

Valencia had done it, after being the far better side for so long in the match, they now had the goals to show for it and it was an imaginative game.
The last ten minutes were spend mostly with substitutions after substitutions, though Valencia did had couple of chances to score more goals, particularry the cross from Sofiane to Aduriz, though the goalkeeper had the ball this time. The end was nearing now and at 93 minutes of play the referee ended the game.

Overall it was a brilliant game from Valencia, they were tactically great, with each player knowing his position and allowed movements, with Mata and Pablo having the most freedom to roam around from side to side and in-side the 16th meters. The defense stood solid, albeit a few small, but dangerous nevertheless mistakes.
The midfield was impecable, with great ball control and passing.
Valencia had more than 60% possession of the ball in the match, more than 10 shots and around 15 corner kicks. Stasistically looking it was a great game, but it was also practically fluent and smart.
Unia Emery though lost the ridiculous 4-3-3 formation and this one looked to me like it was a 4-4-1-1, with Mata playing on Silva's position.
When the substitutions were made and Aduriz came in, the formation transformed into a 4-4-2.

Here are the player ratings:
Moya - 6.5: A little bit nervous at the start, made one error when he missed a crossing ball, but otherwise good enough, though didn't have much to do this night.
Miguel - 7: Good display from Miguel, made 1 critical tackle to deny Fiorentina from scorring and was very helpful going forward.
Maduro - 6.5: Made one mistake, but overall it was a good performance, clearly more confident than usual.
R. Costa - 7: Made few great tackles and challenges and although had one shaky moment when he misjudged the opposing player and allowed him to get away, he was quick to recover and get in the way. Also had 2 chances to score goals, but just couldn't quite make it.
Mathieu - 7.5: Brilliant defending from the French, great pace and speed, good marking and very good tackles. Not as dangerous going forward as he usually is, but provided a good support nevertheless.
Joaquin - 7.5: Inspiring performance from Joaquin, reminded of his glory days with good runs, crosses and dribbles as well as some good passing from him. Worked hard the whole game and often helped in defense also.
Albelda - 7.5: Not the most entertaining player, but a fortress in the midfield. Did his defensive duties brilliantly, broke Fiorentina's play easily and also good going forward, had a great pass to Mata in the first half, but Mata failed to control the ball.
Banega - 8: Was the more forward player than Banega and was acting as a playmaker and did a brilliant job. Spread the ball very well, unleashed a bomb towards Fiorentina's goal and unlucky to get saved by Fiorentina's goalkeeper. Also had a great cross to Soldado I think, but Soldado couldn't score.
Pablo - 7: Tireless performance from Pablo, played as a left wing, but he was to be seen everywhere. Had couple of great dribbles and one dangerous shot, but grew more complacent as the game wore on.
Mata - 6: Strangely ineffective play by Mata. He played in a free role, just behind Soldado and Emery surely hoped he can create few chances for his team mates, but didn't really deliver. He had a few good touches, few runs here and there, but largely ineffective for most of the game.
Soldado - 7.5: Good all round performance by Soldado, coupled with a well taken goal. Had good positioning, but often times lacked the speed to be more dangerous.
Vicente - 10: Perfect performance for Vicente, just shows how big of a talent he is and how much all those injuries had stopped him from becoming a world class player. He showed his value tonight though with 2 perfect crosses. The first cross right on Soldado's head and the second one right on Aduriz head. Didn't have much time, but in the 25 minutes he was in really influenced and changed the game for Valencia with 2 great crosses. Had couple of runs and linked-up well with the attacking duo.
Aduriz - 8: Great showing from the once Mallorca man. Got in great spots and had few tries on goal, one of which got in, after the brilliant Vicente cross. Had good movement and really ticked in with Soldado. Overall a great game for him and will give Unai Emery headaches as to who to play; Mata or Aduriz.

Technical info:
Valencia CF 2: Moyà; Miguel (Bruno, m.80), Maduro, R. Costa (Dealbert, m.80), Mathieu (J. Alba, m.77); Albelda (Topal, m.72), Ever (Tino Costa, m.72); Joaquín (Feghouli, m.72), Mata (Aduriz, m. 62), Pablo (Vicente, m.62); y Soldado (Fernandes, m.77).

Fiorentina 0: Boruc; De Silvestri, Natali, Kloldrup, Pascual; Zanetti, Montolivo; Waigo, D'Agostino, Marchionni; y Gilardino. También jugaronDonadel, Felipe, Gamberini, Comotto, Bolatti, Seferovic, Gulan.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Napoli vs Palermo vs Valencia CF live

Okay so it 33rd minute now, Napoli have most of the ball possession and more initiative towards Valencia goal.
Valencia is still not playing like a team, too many long balls, too many lost balls and too much solo play.
38th minute: Del Horno should have sealed his faith right now. If I was Unai Emery I would immediately terminate his contract. Valencia had the ball, I think that Tino Costa passed the ball towards Del Horno, but Del Horno didn't go towards the ball to get it and allowed a Napoli player to steal it and score a goal.
45th minute: The referee whistles the end of the first half.

Overall it was a poor game by Valencia once again. No real progress has been made towards more ball possession and the passing was terrible by all Valencia players.

Palermo vs Valencia started. Valencia has more ball possession this time around with Manuel Fernandes spreading the ball well in midfield. The flanks also look more dangerous now, with Pablo and Vicente playing on the wings.
Palermo scores a goal though, with another Valencia's defensive mistake, this time Dealbert was out-jumped and its an easy goal for Palermo.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

preseason match report: Manchester City 2-0 Valencia CF

Valencia played Manchester city tonight in a quite interesting match depending for which side you root. Valencia were bad, really bad in the first half, they defended all the time, had almost no chances, no play in midfield and no attack. In one word they sucked.
Manchester City had all the ball possession, control and great chances. David Silva played his first match for City and he played really well, creating few chances for his new team mates. The first goal for Manchester City came from Barry after Boateng beat 3 Valencia defenders and managed to find Barry who positioned better than Miguel and easily scored.
The first half ended with Manchester City leading 1-0.
Unai Emery didn't make any changes at half time, while M. City made 3 changes as well as Silva and Tevez from the first half. The second half was played much in the same fashion, City dominated and Valencia only defended. There were few sporadic chances for Valencia coming mainly from Joaquin and Pablo, but nothing significant or particularly threatening.
Valencia did start to play better towards the 75th minute and Juan Mata was introduced close to the 80th minute mark. The side began to open up and attack more, with more control in midfield and more shots towards Manchester City goal. But it was too little too late I guess, as Valencia attacked they lost the ball and a quick counter attack from City saw Jo make it 2-0 for City.

The starting teams were:
 City: Hart (Given), Richards, Boateng (Kolo Toure), Kompany (Ibrahim), Kolarov (Cunningham); De Jong (Vieira), Barry (Weiss), Yaya Toure (Lescott), Silva (Wright-Phillips), Tevez (Johnson) and Adebayor (Jo).

Valencia: Moya; Miguel(Ivan Rubio), Navarro, Dealbert, Del Horno (Bruno); Tino Costa (Mata), Topal, Ever Banega; Joaquin, Pablo, Soldado (Isco).

Players Ratings:
Moya - 7: Very secure at the goal, made a couple of good saves and showed he can be reliable.
Miguel - 4: Defended poorly, was caught out of position on more than one occasion and didn't bring anything in attack.
Navarro - 4: A poor performance, caught out of position and scrambling to catch up several times.
Dealbert - 4: Similar to Navarro he was caught out of position, though did make a few decent tackles.
Del Horno - 4 : The cross for the first goal came from his side, he was beaten a lot of times and didn't support the attack a bit.
Tino Costa - 5: Practically defended all the time, he didn't link up well with Pablo, didn't make any significant passes, though defended decently.
Topal - 5.5: Was moving around the field quite a bit, good in defensive duties, but he as all his team mates couldn't bring anything to attack or control the ball in the midfield.
Ever Banega - 6: Tried hard to do something and to spread the ball to his fellow players, but just couldn't really do it. Had almost no support from his midfield teammate.
Joaquin - 5.5: Lost way too many balls in the first half and wasted way too many balls. He improved in the second half and even created one or two chances but nothing really noteworthy.
Pablo - 5.5: Run like hell all night long, crossed the ball decently, linked up well with the midfield and even had a shot on goal, but without much support it wasn't really meaningful.
Soldado - 5: Mostly anonymous, had few decent balls forwarded to him, but failed to make them into goals.

preseason match report: Aston Villa 0-0 Valencia CF

Valencia played Aston Villa on Friday at Villa Park which ended in a 0-0 draw.

Valencia started with a 4-2-3-1 formation and the starting players were the following: Cezar; Alexis Ruano, Hedwiges Maduro,  Ricardo Costa, Jeremy Mathieu; David Albelda, Manuel Fernandes; Sofiane Feghouli, Isco Alacron, Artiz Aduriz.

The game started slow, with a lot of cross balls, back and forth moving and mostly unimaginative play from both sides. Feghuoli had the best chance when he did a 360 rotation to leave 2 Villa defenders standing behind, than made a great pass towards Aduriz who unfortunately did not collect the ball as he should have had and lost all chance of scoring, even though he did fire a shot at Aston Villa's goal, but it was too little too late.

Aston Villa also had one or two half chances, so did Valencia CF, but the first half ended in a draw.
Second half did not start any better, both sides going back and forth, but never coming close to scoring chances. Mathieu as always has been a great influence going forward and provide a good option in attack, but the back-line didn't cover for him too well. Maybe Albelda needed to drop down deep in defense and cover Mathieu position when he was forward. Anyways there were very few chances on both sides, the most dangerous one coming from a corner kick from Villa in the 90th minute when the free kick taker hit the bar, but the danger stopped right there and the match ended in a 0-0 draw.

I was once again impressed with Cezar Snachez who did a great job saving the goal and its clear he is returning to top form. Positioned well and was quick to respond to any danger, his one on one skills and instincts are top class.
Jeremu Mathieu was great going forward once again, he provides huge support for the attacking trio and is a pretty good crosser. Again his defense needs to improve, but otherwise he is very good.
Ricardo Costa had a great showing, but its clear he will need more time to adopt to the teamplay. Never the less he good and hopefully he can impress when the season starts.
Pablo was once again great when he came in, great determination and constant running from him.
The rest were average, nothing special, but no big mistakes either, Manuel Fernandes was a little bit more than average with some good passes and few shots going forward.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Olympic Marseille 1 - 0 Valencia CF preseason match

Valencia lost their latest preseason match against French champions Olympic Marseille 1-0. This was somewhat to be expected since Valencia CF played the game with Hannover 96 only one day apart.
Valencia CF fielded these first eleven players: Cezar; Ivan Rubio, Maduro, Del Horno, Mathieu; Ever Banega, Albelda, Tino Costa; Pablo, Feghuoli, Aduriz.

The game started in Marseille favor, they took control of the game and were dictating the pace and possession. Valencia had a good chance around the 20th minute but couldn't score. The match continued with Marseille the team in control and Valencia was forced to defend for long periods of time.
The first half ended in a draw. In the second half Valencia coach Unai Emery choose to stick with the same players. After several substitutions later on Marseille finally managed to score a goal.
Valencia's players were clearly tired from the rough preseason and could not muster enough forces to push for a goal. The game ended 1-0 for Marseille.

What is promising is that the team defended very well and was moving around the pitch precisely and unified as a team. Pablo was once again great on the wing, with good dribbling and pace.
The midfield trio performed admirably in defensive duties and looked very determined.
Goalkeeper Cezar Sanchez performed extremely well in this match, even though he was pretty bad in one of the previous preseason matches.

Jeremy Mathieu is doing better and better each time he plays and with his attacking abilities as well as height can be one of the staples in defense.

There is just the problem of fleshing out which formation is Unai Emery going to choose. He has played a 4-4-2, 4-2-3-1, 4-3-3 and 4-4-1-1.
He has almost tried every formation there is, but this needs to go faster. The team needs to gel together under a strong formation and tactics, while we also have the depth to easily transform formation mid game with versatile players.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Hannover 96 1 - 2 Valencia CF preseason match

Valencia CF played their 3rd preseason game on the 31.07 against German Hannover 96.
Valencia fielded the following starting players:
Moya; Alexis, Navarro, Dealbert, Jordi Alba; Joaquin, Fernandes, Topal, Vicente; Isco, Soldado

Valencia started the game in shy and scary fashion, allowing Hannover 96 to control most of the ball and letting it play and dictate the game. Valencia grew more confident as the match went on and a good corner kick saw Soldado head a goal in the opposition net in the 21st minute.
Hannover continued to control the game for most of the time, but a lucky semi-counter attack and a good one-two passing between Joaquin and Soldado made the score 2-0 for Valencia, as Joaquin chipped the ball past the goalkeeper and into the net.

Second half the same players were still on the field, first substitutions were Pablo and Feghuoli for Joaquin and Vicente respectively.
Between 73 and 75 minute Unai Emery changed the whole team. Valencia started playing better, especially in the midfield, but once again I didn't like the 2nd half central defenders.
Del Horno played horribly in center defense, Maduro as usual is very unreliable and the right back position is not covered at all. Between youth players and Alexis as a makeshift right back its the weakest point in Valencia team.

Youth team player Isco is showing signs of being a good player, but a lot more testing needs to be done and he needs to prove himself not only in these preseason matches, but under pressure in the official league, if he is being given a chance.

So far in the preseason matches I feel Topal has played great. Very good presence in midfield, excellent in defensive duties, keeps things simple and has been a good passer of the ball.
Jeremy Mathieu has been good, but not so much in the back, but rather when supporting the attack, he has contributed a lot to attack and is always an option to pass the ball to, but what he brings to offense he lacks in defense. I think he needs to work more on defensive skills and he is going to be great.
Soldado is also gaining good ground and he seems to be really incorporating well into the team.
Moya has actually surprised me in the 3 games so far, as he was really bad last season and very unreliable, but so far so good. He might actually be first choice for the next season and if he is reliable may as well stay first choice.
Pablo also seems very lively, his dribbling skills are really great and it seems as he is very motivated to play a huge role in the team. He has been very hard working so far, great dribbling skills and decent passing.

Anyways Hannover managed to get a reconsilation goal in the very last seconds to make the final score Hannover 1 - 2 Valencia.

Next game is against Olympic de Marseille on 01.08.2010. Yes, very strange, since it only gives the players less than 12 hours of rest, but we'll see, it may actually be postponed for a day.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

NK Celje vs Valencia CF 2nd preseason match

Valencia played their second preseason match yesterday against NK Celje. After a succesful first preseason match against Al Hilal won 2-0 by Valencia CF they took on Slovenian side NK Celje.

Starting for Valencia were: Cezar; Alexis, Maduro, Dealbert, Jordi Alba; Pablo, Tino Costa, Fernandes, Aaron; Feghuoli, Paco
Unai Emery put 2 youth players in the starting eleven and did try Feghouli in a more advanced position, similar to what Silva role was in Valencia.

The game started pretty slow, both sides contempt to just controlling the ball and defending low in the field. Than on 36 minute Mocic scored for NK Celje. Valencia tried to get things in control, but was semi-successful, as new players Tino Costa and Feghuoli couldn't find that team play and 2 youth players didn't help either.

Just as the first half was about to finish Brezic scored for NK Celje with Valencian defence ready to go to half-time even before the whistle has been whistled. It was now NK Celje 2, Valencia 0.

Unai Emery did 11 changes to the team, first time starters Joaquin and Aduriz were introduced.
Valencia did start to play better after all the changes, it was more solid in defence, had more control in midfield and was at times quite threatening in attack. Vicente did an awesome job on the left wing and Ever Banega along with Topal really controlled the midfield and spread the ball good.
All the changes paid off in the 65th minute when Vicente netted a goal for Valencia. The players were motivated and pushed on to produce a comeback, but the game started slowing down soon and Valencia did not have enough good chances to score another goal and at least finish in a draw.

Overall it was a mixed display from the players and the team overall. Its quite reasonable to say that the second half team was a lot better than the first half and that Alexis can't play in the right back position. Maduro was too slow in defence and Tino Costa seems to have a slow process of adaptation and Jordi Alba sucked at defence. He is probably solely responsible for the two goals conceded.

This is it for now, next game is against German side Hannover 96.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Al Hilal vs Valencia CF first preseason match

Valencias first preseason match against Al Hilal has finished.
Valencia had this starting line-up:
GK: Moya; Def: Ivan Rubio, Navarro, Dealbert, Jeremy Mathieu; Mid: Pablo, Fernandes, Costa, Vicente; Att: Isco, Paco.

As you can see coach Unai Emery opted to include 3 youth team players in the starting line up.
The game started and Valencia immediately started pushing and it almost immediately paid off, as Jeremy Mathieu scored an early goal in the 4th minute of the match. After the goal the game calmed down a bit and continued with sporadic attacks and chances for both teams.
At half time coach Unai Emery made 11 substitutions
46′Substitution Jérémy Mathieu Asier Del Horno
46′Substitution Pablo Hernández Aarón Ñíguez
46′Substitution Paco Alcácer Soldado
46′Substitution Manuel Fernandes Mehmet Topal
46′Substitution Isco Alejandro Domínguez
46′Substitution Vicente Sofiane Feghouli
46′Substitution Alberto Costa Ever Banega
46′Substitution David Navarro Jordi Alba
46′Substitution Dealbert Alexis
46′Substitution Iván Rubio Hedwiges Maduro
46′Substitution Miguel Ángel Moyá César
Most new players were included with the exception of Aritz Adrius of Mallorca. Few players are still not with Valencia as they've participated in the Fifa world cup and are on vacation.

The second half was played normal also, few chances here and there and mostly half baked counter attacks. The game spiced up towards the final minutes when Ever Banega landed one of his leg in the face of an opposition player and players sprung into argument, physical contact was narrowly avoided and Ever Banega was not given a red card. 
In the duying moments of the game Valencia had a chance, I think Dominguez shot the ball towards the goal, but the goalkeeper deflected the shot and it came right to the legs of Roberto Soldado who calmly slotted the ball in the net. It was 2-0 for Valencia and they won their first preseason game.

It was not an impressive play by any means, but they did the job by winning. There are still some way to go, before the team starts functioning properly, but Valencia has a lot of games left to prepare.

David Albelda surprisingly did not play today and that could be a hint that he is there only as a replacement for injured players. With so many options in the midfield though it would be hard to put the aging Albelda, but he can still contribute with his massive experience to the newer players.