quote from soccerage
Valencia coach Rafa Benitez was on the verge of the sack before Christmas but now he leads his side into this clash with Valladolid with the Ches just one point off second place.
Although performances have dramatically improved of late there is still a thought around the Mestella that everything is not quite as it should be. For a start they have yet to find a 20-goal a season man while their three recent wins have been far from convincing. Firstly they beat Espanyol after trailing 2-0 then they defeated mid-table Malaga narrowly at the Mestella and their win over Betis was only after the home side had wasted several good chances. Last week they lost 1-0 at Real Madrid but will consider themselves extremely unfortunate not to have picked up a point after Adrian Ilie's first half effort was wrongly disallowed for offside.
Valladolid are fresh from a 3-0 hammering of those poor travellers Deportivo. This was a superb result and one that surely even coach Jose More wouldn't have thought could be achieved with such comfort. Although the side have missed the goals of on-loan striker Tote owing to his dry patch, they have still managed to find the net with regularity even if their leaky defence lets them down occasionally.
They will be glad not to be playing Deportivo again after three straight matches with the Galicians. They may have beaten them last weekend but Javier Irureta's men got the better of them in the Copa Del Rey and went through 3-2 on aggregate.
Valencia Last Six Matches: LLWWWL
For a team regarded as draw specialists it is surprising to note that the Ches have failed to pick up a solitary point in any of their last six matches. They have lost away at Celtic, Deportivo and Real, all by a a goal to nil but have picked up valuable away wins at Espanyol and Betis.
Valladolid Last Six Matches: WDWLWW
Their only recent defeats have seen them mauled 6-0 by Real Sociedad and beaten 2-0 by Depor in the cup. They have won their last two games (both against Depor) and have also beaten struggling Mallorca 2-1 at the Zorilla.
LATEST TEAM NEWS
Valencia- Curro torres is suspended after picking up his fifth booking of the season against Real Madrid. Miguel Angulo will therefore come into the side. Mista is also likely to make way for the returning Salva. Juan Sanchez, Miroslav Djukic and Jocelyn Angolma all miss out.
PL- 4-4-2- Cañizares, Angulo, Ayala, Pellegrino, Carboni, Rufete, Albelda, Rubén Baraja, Vicente, Ilie, Salva
Valladolid- Jose More is only expected to make one change from the side that lost to Deportivo in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday and that is the return of Ricardo in goal at the expense of Albano Bizzarri.
PL- 5-3-2- Ricardo, Torres Gómez, Peña, Caminero, Mario, Marcos, Sales, Jesús, Fernando, Tote, Luis García
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Ruben Baraja (Valencia)- it is surely no coincidence that since this man's return from injury Valencia's recent form has improved dramatically. He played well in last week's defeat at Real and there is no doubt that his ball winning skills and thrusts from midfield have been missed in the past few months.
Fernando (Valladolid)- Tote isn't the only on-loan Real player flourishing at the Zorilla as midfielder Fernando has also proved a success since his move from the 'White House'. Most importantly he's weighed in with eight goals this season which make him the club's second top-scorer and in last week's win against Depor he bagged a brace.
The Ches' good run to resume with a comfortable win at the Mestella.
Valencia Win 60%
Valladolid Win 15%
Well, I wasn't able to see too much of Valladolid's games this season so I'm not able to add anything significant (about the way they play) to this report.........it still has to be seen are they really on the winning streak after some really impressive victories...................
What is much more interesting for me is our lineup..........what I've seen from Spanish paper(I don't know Spanish but I read them anyway ----I guess that says enough about my reliability as a source) is that Benitez is probably going to use the same squad(prefering Mista to Salva) except Torres who is banned.....
they also said that Benitez didn't reveal yet who's gonna be replacement for Torres(Angulo or Angloma).................
This is interesting cos my question is whether Benitez just wanna reward the same players for excellent performance against Real, or he finally found his best eleven.......I hope it's not the second one cos this lineup is not only too defensive for my taste,it rules out significant players like Kily, Aimar and it may end up with their departure from Valencia..............
Another interesting thing is that if Angulo finds his spot in starting lineup it'll probably be 3-5-2 cos I can't imagine Angulo to play as a wingback....
That could be possible solution for our problem with too many midfielders (and pretty lousy build up too)..............one thing is almost sure...........
our defence,as a best part of the team, should be able to cope with that switch............we'll see..................................