Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Preview - Valencia CF v Xerez CD

Valencia CF

A poor game against Espanyol from a tired David Villa may see Nikola Žigić start ahead of the Spanish striker, as the Serbian was in cracking form with two goals against the Catalans. Elsewhere in the squad Chori Domínguez may be back from a club imposed suspension, but it is unlikely Emery would start the Argentinean after last week’s ‘disagreement’ with trainer Pako Aiestaran.

Another interesting battle for a spot in the starting lineup is out on the left wing. Juan Mata, Vicente Rodríguez (pictured), and Jordi Alba are all fit and ready to play. The chances of Alba starting in midfield are slim, as it seems very likely he will remain the team's emergency left back for the remainder of the season.

Vicente has been back from injury for about the past two months, and is only getting better with each match. His accurate crossing and willingness to take on defenders has really changed the way that the ball is delivered in from the left side of the midfield. Mata has been struggling recently, and with the World Cup just around the corner (and the fact that he has probably played the most minutes out of any player over the last two seasons), Unai Emery seems content with letting Vicente start at the moment.

Valencia are currently sitting in third place with 65 points, six ahead of fourth placed Mallorca. With three games remaining, they need only one point to all but secure a Champions League spot, while four points will guarantee them third spot. Los Che will be looking to find three of those points on Tuesday night at the Mestalla.

Valencia CF squad:

To Be Announced.

Xerez CD

Xerez secured an important win with a 95th minute goal against Almería on Saturday, but still find themselves rock-bottom in 20th place. Six points in the remaining three games would give the Azulinos a chance of survival, but realistically they need nine points if they are to have anything more than a slight chance of staying in the top flight. With fixtures against Real Zaragoza and Osasuna after playing at the Mestalla, a win is vital for Xerez as they look to close out the season strong.

Valencia’s young keeper Renan Brito could be key for the visitors, and has played well for the relegation threatened team all season. Although Xerez have the second worst defensive record in the league, it would be a lot worse if it wasn’t for the Brazilian.

Mario Bermejo (pictured) will also be important, and will be looking to continue his run of form after scoring against both Almería and Barcelona. The experienced striker has netted 12 times this season for the Andalucían side, and is currently the 10th highest La Liga goal-scorer for the 2009/10 season.

A worrying trend for Xerez, however, is their lack of discipline. They have been down to 10 men in both of their last two games. If they fall foul of the referee at the Mestalla, they will most likely be enjoying second division football next season.

Xerez CD squad:

Goalkeepers: Renan Brito, Chema

Defense: David Prieto, Juan Redondo, Jesús Mendoza, Aythami, Leandro Gioda, José Manuel Casado

Midfield: Álex Bergantiños, Victor Sánchez, Abel Gómez, Vicente Moreno,

Strikers: Antoñito, Mario Berjemo, Emiliano Armenteros, Matías Alustiza, Míchel, Fabián Orellana


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