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Primera División

  • October 30, 2010
  • • 17:00
  • • Estadio de Mestalla, Valencia
  • Referee: Carlos Delgado Ferreiro
  • • Attendance: 35000
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La Liga Preview: Valencia – Zaragoza

La Liga Preview: Valencia – Zaragoza

Los Che have fallen off the pace at the top of the table but will back themselves to earn maximum points against los Manos...

Gaining Confidence

Five wins in their opening six Primera Division matches had Valencia being talked about as potential title rivals to Barcelona and Real Madrid. A 2-1 reverse against la Blaugrana at Camp Nou rather dampened spirits at the Mestalla, especially when that was followed up by a similar result at home to Mallorca. Now facing Real Zaragoza, it’s time for los Che to get their league campaign back on track.

Sandwiched between Liga losses was a draw against Rangers in the Champions League, which even coach Unai Emery conceded was somewhat fortunate. With the Gers to come in a crucial clash next Tuesday, Valencia are trying desperately to gather some positive momentum.

The beginnings of that occurred on Wednesday evening, when a fairly strong squad met Logrones in the Copa del Rey. Goalless at half-time, los Che showed their class thereafter, with goals arriving from Aritz Aduriz, who grabbed two, and Vicente.

“The players showed good ambition, and the result will allow us to gain confidence ahead of our upcoming matches,” the coach told the media after the game. “They were able to counteract the intensity that Logrones had shown, and the victory has a special value because now we can focus on the next two games.”

Los Manos, sitting bottom of the league without a win all season, should on paper provide easy pickings but it’s unlikely to be so simple in practise.

Slumping Badly


After finishing last season well away from the relegation zone, there were genuine hopes that Zaragoza could enjoy a relatively comfortable season towards the middle of the Primera Division table this time around. Having lost primary goal scorer Humberto Suazo, they’ve also lost their momentum and already find themselves at the bottom of the pile after eight fixtures.

Jose Aurelio Gay’s side are one of two teams not to have picked up a win yet this term, and they’ve only once managed to avoid defeat on the road in the early weeks of this league campaign, drawing 0-0 with Deportivo La Coruna – the other side yet to taste victory this season – on the opening day of action.

Wednesday night brought something of a boost for the ailing Aragon side. Pitted against a Real Betis outfit going superbly well in the Segunda Division, they earned a 1-0 victory in Sevilla, though they did require their goal to come by way of a Gabi penalty just after the hour mark.

Having gone winless since defeating Espanyol in early May – a run of 10 competitive matches – a great pressure will have been lifted from their shoulders thanks to the midweek success, but there is a massive gulf between los Beticos and Valencia, who will expect to overcome Zaragoza on Saturday.


TEAM NEWS

Valencia


Cesar Sanchez has started training with his team-mates once again, but his participation at the weekend still has a big question mark hanging over it. Sofiane Feghouli, on the other hand, is certainly out as he continues to battle with a hamstring problem.

Zaragoza

Against Barcelona, Zaragoza switched away from their regular 4-2-3-1 formation to play 3-5-2, and it’s not clear whether they will maintain that system for Saturday’s encounter.

Florent Sinama Pongolle has a slight muscular problem that kept him out of the starting XI against Barcelona last weekend. Leo Franco, Victor Laguardia and Ikechukwu Uche still have injury issues, though the goalkeeper is soon expected to return.

Leonardo Ponzio is banned.

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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
1Miguel MoyàGoalkeeper
23Miguel BritoDefender
3David NavarroDefender
20Ricardo CostaDefender
24Jérémy MathieuDefender
-Pablo HernándezMidfielder
-Ever BanegaMidfielder
-Mehmet TopalMidfielder
14Vicente Rodríguez GuillénMidfielder
8Juan MataStriker
20Aritz Aduriz ZubeldiaStriker
30GuaitaGoalkeeper
33Marius StankeviciusDefender
-AlbeldaMidfielder
25Alejandro DomínguezStriker
17JoaquínMidfielder
9Roberto SoldadoStriker
-Manuel FernandesMidfielder
1Toni DoblasGoalkeeper
6Maurizio LanzaroDefender
4Matteo ContiniDefender
20Jiri JarosikMidfielder
2C. DiogoDefender
14GabiMidfielder
-Jorge LópezMidfielder
22A. PintérMidfielder
23Leonardo PonzioMidfielder
17LafitaMidfielder
-BraulioStriker
-Leo FrancoGoalkeeper
24Ivan ObradovicDefender
20Said BoutaharMidfielder
-M. PérezStriker
21Ander HerreraMidfielder
-EdmilsonMidfielder
8Nicolás BertoloMidfielder
Players to Watch
Roberto Soldado
Roberto Soldado
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 9
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
After being rested on the bench in midweek, Roberto Soldado is likely to be the man charged with leading the Valencia line at the weekend. The former Getafe striker has made a positive impression in his opening weeks with los Che, finding the net from the penalty spot last weekend to draw los Che back into the game after they had gone 2-0 down to Mallorca. He only has three goals for his new club, and he will be eager to improve his strike-rate quickly.
Matteo Contini
Matteo Contini
Position: Defender
Squad Number: 4
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
Despite a training ground dispute with coach Jose Aurelio Gay, Matteo Contini was included in the starting XI to face Barcelona last weekend, going some way to indicating his importance to the side. A rugged defender, he won’t allow himself to be boss around easily by the Valencia forwards, but he must also keep himself in check as he is a player who wears his heart on his sleeve.

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