Los Che recently dismissed the popular Marcelino and appointed Albert Celades as his successor as head coach. The new man in charge appears likely to retain his predecessor’s preferred 4-4-2 formation, in which the use of two strikers was crucial. In that shape, support striker Rodrigo acts as the link, withdrawing to assist his midfielders both in possession and on the break. He is particularly effective in transitions, where his supporting movements away from possession create forward passing options and space for the ball-carrier to penetrate into.
When Valencia adopt a more defensive 4-4-1-1 shape (above), Rodrigo’s hold-up play will be vital; in the final third he can shoot powerfully and play off of main striker Kevin Gameiro. The latter makes few passes, but is quick and agile and therefore capable of evading defenders in tighter areas. He instinctively moves into the spaces in behind defences, creating more space for Rodrigo to receive between the lines, and offering a more direct threat on goal.
Fellow striker Maxi Gomez offers a combination of qualities, and is perhaps the best goalscorer of the three. If used alongside Rodrigo, Valencia would have a strong, powerful front two capable of combining amid an opponent’s central defence, and inviting wide deliveries from Gonçalo Guedes and Ferran Torres. If Gomez is partnered with Gameiro, Celades’ team may lack the link between midfield and attack offered by Rodrigo, and thus require more assertive forward runs from central midfield.
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