Valencia CF – Match Report vs Real Sociedad 29/09/20

Valencia came into their fourth game of the season having picked up 4 points from their opening three matches. They travelled to the Reale Arena and lined up in a 4-4-2 formation where they looked to try and beat Sociedad on the counter attack for a lot of the game. They gave up a lot of possession and tried to deny their opponents any space in the final. They had some success on the counter attack which is where their eventual winning goal came from after Maxi Gomez finished a Gaya cross from the left.

From SofaScore’s Attack Momentum chart you can see that Valencia struggled to put together any prolonged periods of pressure but for the most part they coped well with Real Sociedad as they dominated the ball.

Ratings:

  • A1 – Very good, could play higher
  • A2 – Strong potential to play higher
  • B1 – Good, strong player at level
  • B2 – Potential to be a strong player at level
  • C – Average for their level, re-watch
  • D – Below average in this match

Yunus Musah

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: English
  • Age: 17
  • Date of Birth: 29/11/2002
  • Current Club: Valencia CF
  • Career: Arsenal (Y), Valencia CF
  • Position: Right Wing
  • Preferred foot: Right

Musah made his third start and fourth appearance for Valencia in this game. He had a good game before being replaced in the 71st minute when he began to struggle with cramp. He played on the right wing and had a good game on both sides of the ball.

Right from the off it was clear to see that Musah wanted to work hard for his team, he pressed very well and with good intensity. Despite his age he coped very well with the physicality of the game, he used his body well to hold off opponents as well as getting in between man and ball effectively to win fouls or to prevent the opponent from reaching it. He is able to beat defenders with a combination of strength and his impressive pace and acceleration which makes him hard to deal with if he can find space to run into.

As Valencia saw relatively little of the ball, Musah was required to stay in the defensive shape of the team which he did very well. He occupied good defensive positions which prevented Sociedad from playing through the lines at times and he also defended well actively. He was able to step across and make a couple of good interceptions as Sociedad looked to enter the final third and he pressed attackers well in combination with his full back partner to shut down crossing chances. At 5’10” Musah may well have some growth left in him but he is already quite impressive physically and at just 17 has scope to improve that.

In the first half, a few of Valencia’s attacks were built down the right hand side, but play was mainly focussed through the middle. This meant that Musah wasn’t involved on the ball too much but he did demonstrate good ability on the ball at times. He worked well in tight spaces, and had good close control and first touch. He was able to work some into some decent areas from situations where it looked likely he’d lose the ball. He was comfortable carrying the ball forward and did so with good speed. In the second half Musah seemed to take up positions much further up the pitch and was able to make some good runs in behind the defence although he wasn’t always picked out, he demonstrated an ability to drift into more central attacking areas at times to find space as well.

His passing left something to be desired in this game. He struggled to be accurate with a lot of his passes at times as he would often find himself giving passes that were just 1 or 2 wards wide of where he’d want them to be quite regularly. This meant that he was either giving the ball away or if the receiving player was able to control the ball it disrupted the flow and progression of the move. That being said, Musah was picking intelligent passing options but just wasn’t able to execute with enough consistency.

Rating – A2

Thierry Correia

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Portuguese
  • Age: 21
  • Date of Birth: 09/03/1999
  • Current Club: Valencia CF
  • Career: Sporting CP, Valencia CF
  • Position: Right Back
  • Preferred foot: Right

Correia played the full 90 minutes at right back and was one of Valencia’s better players in this game. He was involved on the ball quite a lot for Valencia from right back and was a key starting point for a number of attacks, especially in the first half.

Correia measures in at 5’10” and is very athletic. He possess very good acceleration and speed which was important for making recovery runs and tracking runners that got beyond the defensive line. He showed good strength to hold off attackers and in tackles as he was able to win the majority of his duels. He was also pretty good in the air, he was able to cut out a number of balls over the top with a good jumping reach and his heading was accurate. When the ball came to him in the air he was able to find a teammate well with headed passes rather than just heading back up into the middle of the pitch he showed good awareness of which teammates were where.

Correia defended well overall for Valencia, he and Musah defended in wide areas together well for a lot of the game to prevent Sociedad from working dangerous crossing opportunities and he was on hand to make some important interventions from balls into the box. At times, Correia came in quite narrow when defending which gave the wide players a lot of space to work in, especially if Musah hadn’t tracked back yet, but his pace meant that he could usually get out quickly to close them down.

On the ball, Correia was a threat for Valencia at times, He had a good first touch and was able to receive long balls to wide areas before running with the ball at speed down the line. He would pop up in some very advanced positions on the right side as he looked to be an option when going forward but he wasn’t really able to get on the ball too much in the final third. He showed a decent passing range and was able to play some good switches to get his teammates on the ball into space and he once or twice played some good punchy passes through the lines and into the feet of the attackers. Generally he kept his passing quite short as he looked to pass and move into space or move the ball into the centre midfielders which were Valencia’s most active players on the ball in the game.

Rating – B1

Hugo Guillamon

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Spanish
  • Age: 20
  • Date of Birth: 31/01/2000
  • Current Club: Valencia CF
  • Career: Valencia CF
  • Position: Centre Back
  • Preferred foot: Right

Guillamon played at left centre back alongside Diakhaby for Valencia and completed the full 90 minutes. He managed to put in a solid performance without any thrills and spills. Guillamon comes in at 6’0″ and was strong in the air, winning all of his aerial duels but wasn’t involved in many tackles.

Guillamon had a good defensive game, he showed impressive positioning as he was on hand to cut out a number of moves as they progressed into the box and he was able to cut out a lot of balls into the box with relative ease. He showed decent pace and acceleration at the back as he was able to track runners in behind quite well. He reacted well to passes that Sociedad tried to play down the side of him and he was able to cut them out, helped by some good agility as he was able to shift and change direction to meet the ball well. He made 10 clearances in the game a number of which were important interventions or headers from set pieces. Once in the first half he was caught out diving in and gave away a naïve foul on the edge of the area but Sociedad failed to make the most of it.

In the first half Guillamon played much deeper than Diakhaby in possession as the latter pushed on into midfield with the ball at times. This meant that he saw comparatively little of the ball in the first half compared to the second where he got on the ball a bit more. He showed good passing ability, he was composed on the ball and was able to play the ball out of defence even when under pressure from forwards. He played some good vertical passes into midfield to beat the press as well. His longer passes were a little less assured, he was able to find diagonal switches at times but he seemed to hit them with a bit too much loft which made them easier to defend as the defender had time to get under the high ball. He also played his flighted longer passes a bit too far in front or behind this target at times.

Rating – B1

Kang-In Lee

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: South Korean
  • Age: 19
  • Date of Birth: 10/02/2001
  • Current Club: Valencia CF
  • Career: Valencia CF
  • Position: Attacking Midfield
  • Secondary Position: Striker and Left or Right Wing
  • Preferred foot: Left

Lee started this game alongside Maxi Gomez as Valencia’s front two before he was replaced in the 70th minute. Lee had a solid game but struggled to exert much of an influence on the game from up front as Valencia had a lot less possession than their opponents.

For his entire time on the pitch, Lee worked hard from the front. He pressed well and denied opposition players time to get comfortable on the ball and he forced them to make decisions. Sometimes he was pressing alone which made it difficult for him to win the ball back and he may have been better served holding his position at times. Lee is quite lightweight at 5’8″ but he was able to be competitive in both aerial and ground duels and he showed decent strength to hold the ball up well at times.

To try and influence the game, Lee found himself dropping into deeper positions in midfield and wide areas to get the ball. He had some success with this, he was able to receive the ball and drive Valencia forward. He demonstrated his good technical ability with some good dribbling and close control, as he was able to dribble away from defenders well and draw fouls to give his team a chance to get the ball forward. He was very attack minded and looked to play forward passes whenever he got the chance, he was able to play some good forward balls to get his team attacking in situations where others may have chosen an easier, risk free, backwards pass. He was helped in his desire to move the ball forward by good agility which meant he could turn quickly and get a pass away before a defender could react.

Lee had one decent chance which came from a late run into the box, which saw his shot after a cut buck blocked by a defender. He had another, much more difficult chance which he was able to create himself before his shit from 20 yards or so was saved relatively easily. Lee struck the ball well, making good contact on his strikes which gave them a chance of going in. He wasn’t averse to taking on a shot from range.

Lee was accurate with most of his passing which tended to be short stuff into feet, but he sometimes held onto the ball for too long, either trying to do a bit too much with the ball himself or just taking too long to play his pass which missed the chance to play some more dangerous passes and was dispossessed. Lee was also responsible for taking corners and some free kicks which he was able to deliver into some good areas but they weren’t met by teammates usually.

Rating – B2

Alex Blanco

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Spanish
  • Age: 21
  • Date of Birth: 16/12/1998
  • Current Club: Valencia CF
  • Career: Valenica CF (Y), Barcelona (Y), Valencia CF, Alaves (L), Real Zaragoza (L)
  • Position: Left Wing
  • Secondary Position: Right Wing
  • Preferred foot: Left

Blanco started this game at Left Midfield had had a largely ineffective game until he was replaced in the 71st minute. He didn’t see much of the ball with only 22 touches and struggled to make much of an impact for Valencia.

Blanco showed he had good pace and acceleration as he worked hard for his team up and down the left side. He pressed the Sociedad players with good intensity and made it difficult for them to play at times along with the rest of the midfield. He was perhaps a victim of Valencia’s lack of possession as he really struggled to make an impact in possession, he lost possession a number of times and wasn’t able to produce much threat from wide areas be it through crosses or dribbling. He was able to hold the ball up well once or twice and used his body well to win a throw in or a set piece higher up the pitch but that was about the extent of his exploits in possession. His passing accuracy was 69% but his misplaced passes tended to be simple short passes rather than him attempting any low percentage progressive passes.

Blanco did work hard for Valencia defensively, he tracked runners down the wing well and made it difficult for the player he was marking to be picked out by the player on the ball. But as an actual defender he didn’t offer much help, he was often too easily bypassed by a pass or two or by a player running past him. He was unable to win many of his duels and when he had to actively defend he failed to slow the attack down more often than not. He was more of an extra body on the defensive side of the ball than anything else, by marking and tracking runners he deterred the opposition from making some passes.

Rating – D

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