I am preparing for a lose or draw v Valladolid already. WTF happened to us? We have the same team as the beginning of the year, so what changed? I don't think God/Allah exists, but if I did believe, I would be praying right now. I think I will anyway. Can't hurt...
La Liga Preview: Valencia - Valladolid
Los Che welcome the Pucela to the Mestalla in another round of Liga action...
28 Feb 2009 12:19:18
Kick-Off: Sunday March 01, 17:00 CET, Mestalla, Valencia
What has happened to Los Che? Beginning the season playing with a dynamic style and mercurial counter attacking football under new coach Unai Emery, Valencia looked to be on their way to regaining their stature as one of Spain’s most dominant sides.
In the first two months of 2009, however, Los Che have only picked up 6 points out of a possible 24 in La Liga—hardly the numbers of a resurgent side hungry to re-establish itself as a European contender. To add insult to injury, the club is in the financial doldrums, embroiled in a crisis in which the club has failed to pay its players and is in danger of losing its new stadium. And finally the cherry on top: a disappointing crashing out of the UEFA Cup at the hands of Dynamo Kiev—at La Mestalla no less.
Luckily though, Los Che are still in fifth place and in an effort to get back on track, Juan Mata has used the early cup exit as a segue for refocusing on La Liga and vying for a Champions League berth. Unai Emery seems to agree, as Friday’s training was dominated by an hour-long conversation with the team in anticipation of the match against Valladolid on Sunday. It will remain to be seen which Valencia comes to play on Sunday though; should they not play better than the side that has played in 2009 thus far, La Mestalla could be even more volatile than an away match. It is worth mentioning that during training on Thursday, much to the chagrin of club officials, a secluded group of fans waved a banner that read, “You want to be paid for playing like this?”
Although they have lost their past two matches in La Liga, Valladolid have performed admirably in 2009, beating Atletico Madrid in the Calderon and a lion-hearted Athletic Bilbao at home. For this Sunday’s match at La Mestalla, Valladolid coach Jose Luis Mendilibar has implored his team to refocus on their objectives and reduce their errors in matches. “We pay dearly for our mistakes, which always seem to cost us points in matches,” emphasized the Basque trainer in his weekly press conference. In the match against Valencia, the Valladolid manager is especially concerned about Los Che’s counter attacking football adding, “It is key to know where it is simply prohibitive to lose the ball.”
26/02/2009 UEFA Valencia-Dynamo Kiev 2-2
22/02/2009 Liga Deportivo-Valencia 1-1
18/02/2009 UEFA Dynamo Kiev-Valencia 1-1
14/02/2009 Liga Valencia-Málaga 1-1
8/02/2009 Liga Osasuna-Valencia 1-0
22/02/2009 Liga Valladolid-Málaga 1-3
15/02/2009 Liga Almería-Valladolid 3-2
8/02/2009 Liga Valladolid-Athletic 2-1
1/02/2009 Liga Atlético-Valladolid 1-2
25/01/2009 Liga Valladolid-Espanyol 1-1
Valencia have appealed David Villa’s two yellow cards that saw him sent off at Deportivo La Coruna and pending the decision, Unai Emery will hope he is not without his star striker. The Basque trainer is without defender Raul Albiol and defensive midfielder David Albelda, both of whom are suspended after an accumulation of yellow cards. In goal, Cesar suffered a sprained knee in the midweek match against Dynamo Kiev and while the keeper remains a doubt, he expects to be ready for Sunday’s match.
Cannobio has recovered from injury and will be able to play against his former team this Sunday, but Calvo remains a doubt and will be a match-time decision. Oscar Sanchez and Sergio Asenjo remain out with long term injures.
Probable Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Villar; P. Lopez, Prieto, Bea, Nano; Rubio, Borja; P. Leon, Victor, Sesma; Goitom.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
With the likely absence of David Villa, the onus of attacking play will fall on Juan Mata, Joaquin and especially David Silva. The latter will need to lead his squad up front with his patented mazy runs, quick changes of pace, and inventive passing. Should Valladolid venture too far forward, the three players will run Valencia’s counter attack with lethal efficacy and precision.
The attacking force of Pedro Leon, Victor, Sesma and Goitom make for Valladolid’s own arsenal of offensive fire power and with a Valencia defence that is missing Raul Albiol, the forwards will look to attack the space he has vacated.
Potentially without David Villa and most certainly without Albelda in midfield and Albiol at the back, Valencia have more than just their bad string of results to worry about. La Mestalla is getting ever more impatient with their squad and if Los Che do not start out strong, Valladolid may have their hosts on their heels early. A draw is a safe bet, but with Valencia’s recent UEFA Cup disappointment and club drama, this match is a must-win. A late goal to win would be a paramount tonic to a tumultuous 2009 for Valencia.
Unai Emery Convinced That Valencia Will Finish Top Four
With just the league to focus on, Emery believes they can finish top four...
28 Feb 2009 16:43:38
Valencia coach, Unai Emery, has assured today that his side will finish in the top four, as they no longer have other competitions to focus on.
Los Che were knocked out of the UEFA Cup by Dynamo Kiev on Thursday and currently sit 5th in the league behind Villarreal.
Emery told Marca that he believes they will be back in the Champions League next year though.
"I am convinced that this team will finish [within the] top four and I have full confidence in that," he declared.
"For sure, to be knocked out of the Copa Del Rey and the UEFA Cup is bad, but now the league will be our main focus and we can put in a big effort until the end of the season. The players are working hard to do that."
Next up for Valencia is a home game against Valladolid and the coach knows that the fans are not exactly delighted with the team at the moment.
They have seen them slip out of the top four for the first time this season recently and are also concerned about financial troubles at the club.
The coach believes that his side will put in a good performance against decent opponents on Sunday though.
"Each player will play with pride and we need unity to go forward and recover our confidence," he explained.
"Valladolid are a team who are capable of the best and the worst things. With [Jose Luis] Mendilibar, who is a great coach, they have achieved some consistency."
If we do play fantastically well today in defense i will be pleased. We may not necessarily put our chances away with no Villa , but I am so desperate for the side to keep a clean sheet. Cesar is more than capable of doing that, the defense have to step up.
But to be honest we are shit without Villa. No need to hide away from the truth. His work rate is immense. His presence is felt. The Valladolid players will probably look at us and think, let's go for the win.