Under new management, Valencia pit themselves against five teams this preseason, playing Alcoyano and then jetting off to England to face Yeovil Town and Barnet. Sabella’s men then travelled back to the Mestalla to face Portuguese giants Sporting Lisbon before traveling thirty minutes down the V-30 to play minnows Ribarroja.
Alcoyano 0-3 Valencia
(4-3-3) – Jero, Devesa, Vich, Óscar López, Navaaro, De Dios, Remón, Javi Rubio, Bello, Alfaro, Ferrón
(4-4-2) – Diego Alves, Pereira, Otamendi, Mustafi, Gayá, Parejo, Fuego, Feghouli, Piatti, Rodrigo, Alcácer
Alcácer beating Jero to give Valencia a well-deserved lead
Valencia’s first official game under Argentine Alejandro Sabella say them play Alcoyano at the El Collao in Alcoy, in front of 4,709 fans. Valencia’s first goal came from a Alcoyano free kick at the other end. Bello played a short free kick to Remón, but his pass to his fellow midfielder De Dios was cut out by Alcácer, who managed to launch a counter attack. However, his efforts came to no avail, with Remón pretty much straight away winning the ball back. Devesa then picked up the loose ball, but his long ball forward was intercepted by Gayá, who sprayed a lovely pass to the opposite flank, where it was met by Feghouli. He then took on Alcoyano’s right back, and pulled a lovely cross from a deep position, which found Alcácer’s head, and subsequently the back of the net to give Valencia the lead.
Rodrigo gave Valencia a 2-0 cushion after putting a powerful strike past the keeper
The second goal came two minutes after the first. Alcoyano’s Alfaro lost the ball at the byline, which again gave Gayá the chance to again launch a counter attack. He quickly gave it to Piatti, after Alfaro was desperate to win back possession. Piatti then stalled and passed it to Javi Fuego, who subsequently played a beautiful long ball over the top and behind the Alcoyano defence, which Rodrigo ran onto with relative ease. He moved out the way of Óscar López’s sliding tackle, of which, if he had bought down Rodrigo, would have resulted in a second yellow and a penalty kick, and powered it past the goalkeeper to give Valencia a two-nil cushion.
Pablo Piatti gives Los Che a 3-0 win
The third and final goal came late on in the second half, with Alcoyano conceding a throw in on the right side of the field. Barragán threw the ball into play, and found André Gomes, who immediately played it back to the substitute right back. He then dribbled to the corner line, and played in an exquisite cross, which found the head of Pablo Piatti on the line, and thundered off the bar and past goalkeeper Zabal to give Valencia a three-nil win.
Paco Alcácer (37)
Pablo Piatti (82)
Óscar López (23)
Dani Parejo (37)
Pablo Piatti (86)
Sofiane Feghouli (Valencia)
Yeovil Town 2-2 Valencia
(4-4-1-1) – Krysiak, Moloney, Sokolik, Nugent, Smith, Gillet, Brooks, Edwards, Foley, Hoskins, Leitch-Smith
(4-4-2) – Diego Alves, Pereira, Otamendi, Mustafi, Gayá, Parejo, Fuego, Feghouli, De Paul, Rodrigo, Alcácer
Rodrigo powers in the rebound to give Valencia the lead
For their second game of the season, Valencia travelled to England to play Yeovil Town, who were recently relegated from the Sky Bet Championship, and now play their trade in League One. Valencia took the lead through Rodrigo. Gayá’s throw-in found Alcácer, who had dropped deep in search of the ball, who then passed it to young Argentine De Paul. He then ran with the ball at Edwards, before playing it down the line to Alcácer, who made a brilliant run. He then played a simple ball into the six yard box to Rodrigo, who took it on first time, but the first shot was smothered by Krysiak, but the rebound nestled into the back of the net to give Los Che the lead.
Feghouli slotted home the rebound after the goalkeeper parried Alcácer’s long range shot
Valencia then doubled their lead at the Huish Park, after a Pereira throw-in found the feet of Fuego, who then laid the ball off to Parejo. Parejo then played a lovely pass to De Paul, who was tackled by Yeovil player Moloney. Moloney then passed the ball to Gillet, but his hopeful long ball forward only found Valencia centre back Mustafi, who headed it straight to De Paul, who was looking to orchestrate another Valencia attack. He used some skill to get past his marker, and then offloaded the ball to Alcácer, who turned and shot from twenty-five yards out. Krysiak saved, but parried the ball, and the rebound straight into the feet of Feghouli, who made no mistake in slotting the ball home.
Edwards pulls one back for Yeovil
However, Yeovil’s manager must have made a very good rallying call during the half time interval, with the side from Summerset looking like a different team after the break. Yeovil pulled one back after Gillet corner found the head of an unmarked Edwards at the near post, and the Englishman made no mistake and put the ball into the top corner, much to the disgust of Valencia’s boss Sabella.
Hoskins’ acrobatic volley flew past Diego Alves to give Yeovil a well-deserved draw
Yeovil’s almighty comeback was complete when Gillet found Edwards, who was in masses of space in the middle of the park. He then played he ball forward to Hayter, who then turned and passed it to Pringle, who again, was in acres of space. Pringle then looked up and played a brilliant ball behind Valencia’s full back. This found Foley, who whipped in a cross from deep, which found the on rushing Hoskins, who met the ball with an acrobatic volley and placed it past Diego Alves to equal the scores.
Sofiane Feghouli (43)
Joe Edwards (56)
Sam Hoskins (62)
Sam Hoskins (Yeovil Town)
Barnet 1-4 Valencia
(4-5-1) – Larkins, Yiadom, Stephens, Savile, Muggleton, Weston, Marsh-Brown, Togwell, Smith, Cook, Alabi
(4-4-2) – Diego Alves, Pereira, Orban, Mustafi, Gayá, Parejo, André Gomes, Feghouli, Gil, Rodrigo, Alcácer
Feghouli putting the ball across the line after a fabulous cross from Charles Gil found him
Valencia then travelled to London to play Barnet at The Hive, in front of an audience of 5,081 people. Valencia, as expected took the lead, through Feghouli. Gayá’s throw found Gil, who had come in for De Paul after a poor performance from the young Argentine. Gil controlled, took a touch, and then ran at the Barnet defender, but made a fabulous cross from deep to Feghouli, who was in acres of space at the far post, and the Algerian put the ball into what was almost an empty net.
Toggle’s header flew past Alves to level the score for lowly Barnet
Barnet then scored, goal came after Parejo’s out swinging corner was cleared by Stephens, having missed its target of Gil. The clearance fell straight to Parejo again, but the ball was won back straight away by Marsh-Brown, and he then played a long ball forward, which found Alabi. At first glance, he looked a little isolated, but that did not worry the Barnet striker. We waited for support, and then laid off the ball to Cook, who was making a dash down the touchline. He then played the ball to Smith, who had got in behind Pereira and Orban. Smith dribbled the ball to the edge of the penalty box, and crossed it to the far post. It found the head of Toggwell, who jumped higher than the Los Che defender, and put a bullet header past Diego Alves.
André Gomes’ low shot restored Valencia’s lead
Valencia’s second goal came from corner, once again taken by Parejo. The corner couldn’t find a man in Valencia’s white jersey, but instead ricochet off Togwell and various other players that turned out for both teams, before finding Feghouli. Feghouli’s effort was blocked, but the subsequent rebound found André Gomes, whose low shot beat the already diving keeper to restore the Spanish sides lead.
Rodrigo’s strike made sure Valencia went in in front at half time
Valencia got their third in the thirty-eighth minute. Joao Pereira’s long throw found Mustafi, who showed excellent control by chesting it down and hitting it on the volley. The shot was saved by Larkins, the Barent goalkeeper, and then cleared by Saville. The clearance was retrieved by Gayá, and he then passed it to Pereira. The Portuguese then passed to his compatriot André Gomes, who then laid it off to Feghouli. He then turned, passed it to Rodrigo, who pulled the trigger and blasted it into the bottom corner.
Feghouli’s fantastic strike insured a win for Valencia
Valencia’s fourth goal came from a long throw, as so many have so far this pre-season. Pereira’s throw found Barnet’s Vilhete, who cleared, but it fell straight to Feghouli, who blasted it in from the edge of the box on the volley, to give the Spanish side a four-one victory in London.
Sofiane Feghouli (14)
Sam Togwell (22)
André Gomes (56)
Sofiane Feghouli (59)
Sofiane Feghouli (Valencia)
Valencia 2-0 Sporting Lisbon
(4-4-2) - Diego Alves, Pereira, Orban, Mustafi, Gayá, Parejo, Gudelj, Feghouli, Gil, Rodrigo, Alcácer
(4-5-1) – Patrício, Cédric, Meria, Maurício, Jefferson, Carrillo, Slavchev, Adrien, João Mário, Nani, Montero
Patrício’s own goal gives Valencia the lead
Valencia then played Sportling Lisbon at the Mestalla in front of 39,903 fans. Even though Valencia took the lead, it wasn’t a Valencia players shot that hit the net. Diego Alves’ goal kick found Gil, who superbly plucked the ball from the air and then turned and ran at the Sporting backline. He couldn’t get past the Sporting right-back, so chose to cross it in from a deep position. This found no one apart from Patrício, who claimed the ball comfortably. He then kicked the ball long, which only found Mustafi, who headed it to Gudelj, who was making his Los Che debut. He decided to play it backward to Pereira, who then, after taking a touch, played it back to him. Gudelj then played it backward again, this time to Orban, who again, plays it straight back. Eventually, it works its way to Parejo, who passes to Mustafi. Mustafi then plays a long ball to Alcácer behind the Sporting defence, he takes a touch, but loses the ball to Slavchev, but Gil claims the free ball, and runs to the byline. He then whips a powerful cross across the face of the goal, which Patrício tries to get a leg on so it does not find a lurking Feghouli, but instead diverts it into his own net.
Feghouli powers a shot into the top corner from an extremely tight angle
The second goal the game came in the fortieth minute, with Feghouli receiving the ball and then taking on the Lisbon defender and getting goal side. He then plays it back to Pereira, who made a good overlapping run. Pereira takes a touch, and then crosses it in towards the penalty spot. Maurício tries to clear the danger, but is tackled by Rodrigo. Rodrigo then passes it to Feghouli, who, from a very tight angle, powers it into the back of the net.
Rui Patrício (22)
Sofiane Feghouli (41)
Dani Parejo (18)
Shkodran Mustafi (68)
Ryan Guald (71)
Islam Slimani (87)
Lucas Orban (Valencia)
Ribarroja 0-4 Valencia
(4-3-3) – Valdés, Ortiz, Sanz, Miguel Ángel, Arrillaga, Vilaplana, Pérez, Reyes, Sáez, Jiménez, González
(4-4-2) – Diego Alves, Pereira, Orban, Mustafi, Gayá, Parejo, Gudelj, Feghouli, Gil, Rodrigo, Alcácer
Alcácer’s short range strike gave Los Che the lead
For the final game of pre-season, Valencia took a thirty minute drive down south to play Ribarroja at the Municipal de Ribarroja, that was full of 305 people. Valencia took the lead just four minutes in. Dani Parejo intercepted a pass, and gave it straight to Gil, who passed it to Gudelj. A quick one-two between Gudelj and Parejo happened, and then Gudelj passed it backwards to Lucas Orban. He then played it forward to Rodrigo, who turned and ran at the Ribarroja defence. He played it to Gayá, who pulled back his leg and crossed a fantastic ball toward Alcácer, who put it into the back of the net.
Alcácer bags a brace and a 2-0 lead for Valencia
Valencia added a second shortly afterwards, as Sanz ball to González was intercepted by Gayá, and then played to Gudelj. Gudelj then turned an passed the ball to a running Feghouli, who shook off two defenders before passing it to the overlapping Pereira. Pereira played the ball in first time, and found the foot of Alcácer, who volleyed it home to bag his brace and a second goal for Valencia.
Fuego’s long shot beat the keeper almost too easily, but that will take nothing away from a very good strike
Los Che then went on to score another before half time. Ribarroja’s Arrillaga took a throw in, which found Jiménez. He then laid the ball off to Reyes in the middle of the park. After a period of good build up play by Ribarroja, a clipped ball forward did not come off, and Valencia were able to regain possession. Pereira passed it back to Diego Alves, who immediately looked to launch an attack. After forcing his team up the pitch, he booted it to Gil, who once again, plucked it out of the air fantastically. Using a bit of skill, he managed to shake off three players, before offloading the ball to Orban, who was just over the half way line. He passed to Gudelj, who turned and gave it to Gil, who was still floating in the middle of the pitch. He found Rodrigo, who then found Feghouli, who had escaped the attention of the Ribarroja centre back and right back, and found a gap in the middle. However, Sanz spotted the danger, and a very good sliding tackle managed to give his side some breathing space. However, Rodrigo was first to the ball, and played it to the advancing Pereira. Pereira took a touch and whipped it in, but it was cleared by Sáez. The clearance only found Fuego, who chose to shoot from a long distance. He caught the ball perfectly, with his shot rocketing into the back of the net.
Feghouli’s strike insured that he had scored in every preseason game under Sabella, apart from the game against Alcoyano.
The fourth and final goal came after half time. Fuego retrieved the ball and passed it Gudelj, who lost his marker easily, and then sprayed a wonderful ball to Pereira. Pereira whipped it in first time to the near post, where Rodrigo was lurking. Rodrigo then back heeled it to Feghouli very intelligently. Feghouli then pulled the trigger, and blasted one into the roof of the net.
Paco Alcácer (4)
Paco Alcácer (7)
Javi Fuego (40)
Sofiane Feghouli (51)
Dani Parejo (29)
Paco Alcácer (Valencia)
Pre-season was very good. We played very well for the majority of it. We looked threatening in attack and solid in our defence. The only disappointment was the game against Yeovil, we let our foot off the gas a little, allowing them into the game, and then letting them come back. This is something we need to stamp out, as we would never win a game if that happened during the actual season, but overall, we were very good. My tactic looks solid, and doesn’t need any major changes right now, I am very happy with how we have started.
Coming Up: August
Valencia play two games this August, playing against Elche to start the season, who miraculously managed to avoid the drop last season. This is a late kick-off and also will be televised. The game will be played at the Martínez Valero, the home of Elche. The next game will see Los Che face off against Málaga at the Mestalla. This game will also be televised, and will be an early kick-off.