Saturday, August 28, 2010

Preview - Málaga CF v Valencia CF

Málaga CF

After spending 12 weeks in the relegation zone early last season, Málaga fans would have been pleased to find themselves sitting comfortably mid table with 10 games to play. However, a disastrous run during the home stretch of the season left the side sitting 18th in the penultimate round, staring relegation in the face.

A 1-1 draw with Real Madrid on the final day of the season may have secured Málaga another year of top flight football, but it may all be in vain unless new manager Jesualdo Ferreira can dramatically improve the side.

Another season in a relegation battle may not please their new owner however, after the Spanish side were brought by Qatari billionaire Abdullah Al-Thani. The new money has certainly helped in the transfer market, with the arrival of Uruguayan international Sebastián Fernández and 26 year old Brazilian midfielder Sandro Silva, strengthening the squad significantly.

Despite a dismal previous season, Málaga is strong at the back, and had the 7th best defense in La Liga last term. While this may have been nullified by their inability to score, they only found the net 42 times, the side does still have the potential to cause Valencia problems. Málaga won't be relying on their home form though in their first encounter of the 2010/2011 season, as they had the 4th worst record at home stadium last season.

Key for Málaga against Valencia, and indeed throughout their season, will be defender Jesús Gámez (pictured). The 25 year old Spaniard started 32 games for the club last season and was a key reason for their defensively solid performances. If the right sided defender can keep Juan Mata quiet this weekend, Valencia could be in for a tough night at La Rosaleda.

Málaga CF squad:

Goalkeepers: Francesc Arnau, Rodrigo Galatto

Defense: Jesús Gámez, Welington, Manu Torres, Iván González, Patrick Mtiliga

Midfield: Fernando, Apoño, Eliseu, Sandro Silva, Juanito

Strikers: Albert Luque, Edinho, Sebastián Fernández, Quincy Owusu-Abeyie, Juanmi, José Rondón

Valencia CF

A turbulent summer in the transfer window will see a vastly different Valencia side taking the pitch on Saturday night. While a full season preview can be found by clicking here, the biggest piece of news regarding the new look Valencia is that striker Roberto Soldado will miss 2-3 weeks with an injured hamstring. Fellow new signing Aritz Aduriz (pictured) is sure to get the start for this match, when also taking into account the fact that Chori Domínguez has failed to recover from his lingering knee problem.

Another interesting thing to look for v Málaga is to see which formation Unai Emery decides to go with, 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1. Spanish newspaper Super Deporte reported during the week that Emery has decided against employing a 4-3-3 formation, and will instead be sticking to last season’s 4-2-3-1.

With the squad for this weekend's match being released on Friday, Emery raised some eyebrows by deciding to leave Portuguese midfielder Manuel Fernandes at home. Fernandes had a pretty solid preseason for VCF, and this will surely just increase his desire to leave the club, as he has wanted to do since last January. Another interesting player left out of the squad is Vicente Guiata. The young goalkeeper had a far superior preseason to Miguel Ángel Moyà, but it seems that, for now, Emery is sticking with the player he signed last season for €5 million from Mallorca.

Sofiane Feghouli and Ángel Dealbert have also been left out of the squad, while Chori and Soldado will miss the match due to injury.

Valencia CF squad:

Goalkeepers: César Sánchez, Miguel Ángel Moyà

Defense: Bruno Saltor, Miguel Brito, David Navarro, Hedwiges Maduro, Ricardo Costa, Jérémy Mathieu, Jordi Alba

Midfield: David Albelda, Mehmet Topal, Éver Banega, Tino Costa, Joaquín Sánchez, Pablo Hernández, Juan Mata, Vicente Rodríguez

Strikers: Aritz Aduriz

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