Valencia faces Wednesday’s first leg of the round of 16 of the Champions League, in San Siro against Atalanta, in different circumstances than when the draw was held, since the important casualties, especially in defense, with those facing this meeting, cause a more complicated horizon to solve this tie.
For its part, Atalanta prepares to face the biggest event in its history, when it premiered in the knockout stages of the top continental competition, after achieving an unprecedented feat and qualifying for this round despite losing the first three games of the group C.
Possible alignment of Valencia against Atalanta
The set of Albert Celades is measured to the most scoring team in the Italian league with an unprecedented pair of centrals, since the holders Ezequiel Garay and Gabriel Paulista are low for this tie, the first for a serious injury and the second for a penalty of two games after his expulsion in Amsterdam.
Therefore, the technician must take advantage of the young and irregular Mouctar Diakhaby and an almost unpublished Eliaquim Mangala this season after being signed after suffering a serious injury that kept him a year off.
In addition to the centrals, Valencia will not be able to count on its only reinforcement in the winter market, the Italian side and former captain of Rome, Alessandro Florenzi, sick with a chickenpox, which further weakens the Valencian defense.
The problem of injuries also affects two basic players in the Valencia scheme, such as midfielder Francis Coquelin in the midfield and Rodrigo Moreno in the attack. Finally, neither of them has been able to recover in time from their respective physical problems. In addition, the young South Korean Kang In Lee, best player of the last U-20 World Cup, has fallen at the last minute after injuring himself on Tuesday’s training
The loss of Coquelin will give ownership to the French also Geoffey Kodogbia, who will return to San Siro after his past at Inter Milan, while the Portuguese Gonçalo Guedes will act in the position of the Spanish international striker, as already happened in the last League match against Atlético de Madrid.
The international international goal Jasper Cillessen is new in the call, after several weeks off, as well as the presence of the Guillem Molina subsidiary team defender.
Given this situation, the idea of the whole of Albert Celades is that the tie is decided in the return match in Mestalla but to get ‘alive’ he will have to substantially improve the performances he has had outside his stadium in this 2020.
The defeat in Saudi Arabia against Real Madrid in the final of the Super Cup opened a bad streak that has included three other trips with a mediocre image in Mallorca, in Granada (in the Copa del Rey) and in Getafe. The pyrrhic victory wins against Logroñés and the elimination of the Leonesa Cultural in the penalties in the same tournament does not compensate.
The bad image that he has offered far from his stadium, the losses in the spine of the team, together with the great moment of Atalanta make Valencia no longer look as favorite as when both teams were matched at this crossing in the draw for the Heats
Even so, the great achievements of Valencia in this tournament have come precisely as a visitor because he managed to win Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and sealed his ranking as first in the group stage with a win in the field of Ajax.
Possible alignment of Atalanta against Valencia
There will be more than 40,000 spectators at the San Siro stadium in Milan, the European house of Atalanta waiting for the Gewiss Stadium of Bergamo to get the approval to host European duels, to push a team that lives a brilliant moment of form, after shielding his fourth league position on Saturday with a 2-1 in the direct clash with Roma, fifth.
The men of coach Giampiero Gasperini have been protagonists of a vertical growth and, after two seasons in the Europa League, reached this year the Champions League. An outstanding result achieved based on organization, a great job of sports management and a tactical hair preparation.
No team had ever made it to the eighth after losing the first three games of the group stage. Atalanta fell to Dinamo Zagreb (4-0), Shakhtar Donetsk (2-1) and Manchester City (5-1), but a second round with seven points out of nine, coupled with a series of favorable results from rivals, They allowed to put his name among the 16 best clubs in Europe.
Bergamo’s team will oppose Valencia on 3-4-2-1 with which he did so well in recent seasons. It was the best forward of last year, with 77 goals, and continues to be this year, in which they already have 63 goals, eight more than Lazio, second highest scorer. In this campaign, the “terrible guys” of Gasperini already endorsed Torino 7-0, Udinese 7-1 and two 5-0, Milan and Parma.
To take another step in its growth, Gasperini will bet on his eleven gala on Wednesday: Pierluigi Gollini will occupy the goal, with Argentine José Palomino, Brazilian Rafael Toloi and Albanian Rafael Toloi on the three-line defense.
The Dutch Hans Hateboer and the German Robin Gosens are the two high sides, tireless in defense and always dangerous in offensive zone, with the Dutchman Marten De Roon and the Swiss Remo Freuler who form the double pivot.
The lead is the icing on a system in which the team dominates: the Argentine Alejandro Gómez, the Slovenian Josip Ilicic and the Colombian Duván Zapata mix speed, technique and power and scored goals in this campaign.
All this, with alternatives such as the Colombian Luis Muriel, former player of Granada or Seville, and the Ukrainian Ruslan Malinovski, excellent left-handed, as more dangerous alternatives.
Atalanta: Gollini; Djimsiti, Toloi, Palomino; Hateboer, Freuler, De Roon, Gosens; Gómez, Ilicic and Duván.
Valencia: Doménech, Wass, Diakhaby, Mangala, Gayá; Kondogbia, Parejo, Ferrán, Carlos Soler; Guedes and Maxi Gómez.
Referee: Michael Oliver (ENG).
San Siro Stadium (Milan)
Hours: 21.00 CET (20.00 GMT).
Television: Movistar Champions League or MiTele.