Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Gijon match thread / News

After yet another disappointing draw, Valencia find themselves fighting to stay in the cup, hoping to overturn a 1-2 loss at Gijon. In usual circumstances, that would be an easy task, but given the team's travails this season, all bets are off. When the draw was made it was expected that Valencia would have won by 1 or 2 goals in the first leg and been able to experiment and rest players. Instead, it's win or bust and therefore a near first team line-up should be expected.

Transfer news is that Uroš Račić has joined Tenerife of the second division on loan. His time with us has been very limited and NickVCF in the comments has rightly asked what the point is. We can bring in these young prospects, but if their time in the first team is limited to a late sub appearance in the cup before they're sold for a miserable profit at best, it seems worthless. We did identify a young talent a few seasons back. His name was Rodrigo De Paul. We sold him for a dismal 3 million and now he's being targeted by several clubs for 30-35 million. Sure, it's not a total disaster for Valencia, since we'll get at least 10% of that but in hindsight, it would have been better to keep him.

Batshuayi's exit looks imminent with Monaco remaining the likely destination, though late interest from Everton and Galatasaray may change that. Not our business really, since he's been a bust. A fourth striker seems almost certain, though with funds very limited the options are underwhelming. Chicarito was being touted as the likely possibility last week but high demands from West Ham have made that less likely. 

The name currently in vogue is Sergio Leon, who has been a back-up for Betis after decent spells elsewhere including Osasuna. Like Gameiro and Chicarito, this is one I think comes at least 3 years too late. Leon was a good player a few seasons back but I have my doubts he'd significantly improve things up front. In hindsight, we should have got 40-50m for Rodrigo last summer and spent that on Maxi Gomez of Celta. I said that last summer in the comments. However, that boat has sailed, Rodrigo's nominal value has dropped to 25-30m at best, while Gomez's has soared and there's close on zero chance that he will join us. Other options are limited. If we had the money, Borja Iglesias, another of our former youth players who we let leave on a free enjoyed good seasons with Celta B at the third level, Zaragoza last year at the second level and has made the step up with Espanyol, averaging nearly a goal every two games. But, at 25 million (release clause) for a player that has only has one good season in the top flight it would be a gamble.

EDIT: So a 3-0 victory over Sporting Gijon to lift up everyone's spirits, it was a dominant performance in the second half, which unfortunately due to work is the only half that I watched and we managed to turn that domination into goals, what a surprise.

This is what we need, this is how we should play all the time and this is how many goals we should score. I mean at one point it seemed like this would end in yet another draw and we would be out of the cup due to losing the first leg, but we scored the first goal and after that it was smooth sailing with two more goals coming along.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Valencia CF need a new striker

Last two matches against Sporting Gijon in the copa and Real Valladolid in the league have shown us just how desperately we need a new striker. In the copa match against Gijon Michy missed an open goal, a sitter and was subsequently subbed at half time and with good reason, with reports suggesting that he is going to leave Valencia CF as VCF are negotiating with Chelsea to end his loan deal. That said in the match against Real Valladolid we had several players miss similar chances. Cheryshev had a great opportunity on goal, Santi Mina also missed an empty open goal as he fumbled with his legs and missed the whole ball, in literally went in between his legs as he missed an open empty goal.

Rodrigo Moreno then had a solid chance as well from open play, he also missed and later on he had opportunity to make it right through a penalty and he shot straight into the goalkeeper. We can't win games when we can't score goals even when we are creating so many chances. There are some games that we don't create many chances, tighter games and that is another issue altogether, but in matches like last one where we create plenty of opportunities, its sad that we barely managed to score one goal. We probably had 5 games like this and I'm being conservative here, we probably drew 5 games that we should have won, and that is 10 more points right now if we'd have won. Again if we'd won 5 matches instead of drawing and we could have won that amount of games if we scored more, we've had the chances and opportunities to score more in at least 5 games, that would have given us 10 more points and we would have had 33 points now and actually be THIRD on the table, sharing the spot with Sevilla.

This is why I think the number one priority of the club is to bring in a good quality striker on loan, and give Marcelino one more month to turn things around. If we can get a solid striker who is in better form and allow Marcelino time to work with that, we can properly assess if the biggest issue is the coach. If he can't make it work even with another good striker that is going to score from these type of good opportunities, then we can think about replacing the coach.

Right now I just don't see anyone that can make a better difference. The best option would be Voro, but that is just so depressing to have him come in as a caretaker so much and so often. And the only person who can turn things around in such a short period is him, every other coach would need more time to figure out the squad and put his stamp on.

So yeah, Valencia CF should be looking to bring in a new quality striker on loan, one who can immediately make a difference, the winter transfer window is always tough to get the best and/or the ones you want, but we can't do worse than what we have now, that is for sure. Then lets give Marcelino a proper month with the new striker to turn things around, only then should he fail to improve things, should we be looking at replacing him. 

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Valencia CF 1-1 Real Valladolid Match Thread

Another match, another draw. I just don't get it how we aren't winning these matches, it's absurd to draw so many games. We have periods where we dominate, but don't do anything with it and periods where we are full on defensive mode. Against Real Valladolid we had quite a few good opportunities to score goals, but all of the players kept missing.

Every single player kept missing. Soler had a chance, Cheryshev, Mina, Rodrigo missed from a good chance from open play and then missed a penalty, etc... We could have easily won 3-0 or more, but because of very poor finishing we barely scraped with a 1-1 draw.

Rodrigo Moreno sucks at scoring goals, mina does, Cheryshev does, every single player of ours can't seem to score goals, even if we have the chances, which we did today. Real Valladolid basically had just one or two chances and out of those two scored one goal. It was a masterpiece of a free kick, it passed the wall and went furthest wide into the angle, Neto had no chance to stop it. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Gijon - Valencia Copa del Rey match thread

I'm writing this at half time. If you've missed it, well, you know the story: Valencia have dominated possession but created little and gifted the other team an easy goal. Remember this is Gijon, a midtable side in the second division who have struggled themselves this season, scoring only 19 goals in 20 games. Can't blame Jaume, the defence has been shaky and the goal was a poor one to give away. Wass was caught out of position on the counter, Vezo went across to cover but got sold and when the cross came in, Diakhaby was poor, failing to mark properly. I've rated him so far, but it's not his week. Also we have looked really weak and suspect from corners.

The midfield has been decent, especially Parejo. Kang-in has also had a good game, but his lack of playing time has translated into a lack of understanding with Gaya. Soler and Ferran subdued so far. Up front, Gameiro has at least worked hard and done a lot of running, but it's been mostly for nothing. On a couple of occasions, I've seen him make intelligent runs, but the pass hasn't come. Batshauyi has continued to be poor, doesn't get into any good positions, has a heavy touch and usually holds the ball too long. He had the first Valencia chance when they messed up a back pass, but instead of trying to nutmeg the keeper, he hit a really heavy touch to the side and the chance went. Kang-in had a shot at the keeper in the 11th minute and then there was a double chance in the 24th minute, first Gaya bursting through to be saved and then Soler hitting a curling shot which the keeper saved. Valencia equalised just before half time, Parejo's shot came down off the bar and bounced out then Gameiro headed in the rebound only to be flagged offside. VAR was consulted (for the first time ever in the Copa) and the goal was given and I'm still unclear who scored. Looking at the VAR replay, it's hard to say if the ball was completely over the line, but Gameiro was definitely onside.

It's late here so this is it for me. Win tonight, even unconvincingly, and Marcelino has more time, draw and the vultures are still circling. Lose and there's a very good chance that Voro will be back at the helm. I've backed him so far, but increasingly that's from past negative experience and because I'm sceptical that a replacement would do better. But these Gijon games and Valladolid at the weekend will determine it.

So we ended up losing and at this point Marcelino has to be on thin ice. Again, if we do not get good results in our next few matches I can't see him staying as a coach. The excuses are running thin and ultimately as a coach he is responsible for the results. Remember this is a mid-table second tier club and we made them look good in this match.

The second half we were terrible, so many lost balls, so little ball control, rushed passes that led to nothing, etc.... We couldn't string together more than 2-3 passes before losing the ball, I haven't seen play this bad in a long time. It's one thing to play this bad against a strong Barcelona side or a Real Madrid in their form, but this is absurd to play so badly against such a weak opponent.

I think Marcelino is close to losing his job if he can't get a string of a few wins over the next couple of matches. 

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Alaves 2-1 Valencia CF Match Thread

I don't know what to say lads and gents, this was a must win match for Valencia CF, one coming after a good two week break for Valencia CF and one where we should have come in strong, having rested a bit and come into it swinging. This is second half of the season, there is no more room for mistakes and Marcelino better figure it out.

I've been with him 100%, but this is getting ridiculous, yeah the Spanish media and fans are a lot more brutal and surely his had a lot of pressure to deal with till now, but its just going to get worse from now one with these kind of results. We need to get all the points from the next 4-5 matches, otherwise even 6th place would be a pipe dream.

I know that we've had issues in the start with Coquelin injured, Guedes arriving late and out of shape, Cheryshev getting injured early on in the season, Mina getting injured few games in, a lot of new players arriving, but it's been six months now and sure we haven't had the best of luck with injuries overall, with Guedes, Kondogbia, Coquelin, Garay, etc... all injured often and for quite long period of time as well, but we've also had periods where everyone was fully fit and ready and we still haven't been getting results.

So I'm willing to excuse some matches from winning them, but there has been way too many draws and now even losses. It used to be draws, but we are also losing now. I hope Marcelino finds a way to turn things around, I'm a big supporter of his, I appreciate what he achieved last season, I don't blame him completely for the poor results, injuries, bad luck, new players, etc... all has taken a toll of course, but he is ultimately responsible for the results.

I'm willing to wait and see what happens through January, but we need to start winning. If we were in a better position a few draws would be too bad, but we are in a bad position, so we need to be winning. I expect to see at least 4 wins out of the next 5 matches, otherwise we'd be in a terrible position on the table and it would be over even for Europa league place.

I know we played with a few players missing today, but we should have been able to get a result against Alaves. I don't see any sort of spark, any sort of fighting spirit in the player when they play. We had that last season, don't know why that was, but we had it and this season for some reason we don't. Players are playing like robots, just doing the automated thing, the most basic of things. They aren't challenging themselves and aren't fighting as hard.

We have the same players like last season, minus Zaza, who yeah we obviously do miss a lot in more ways than one, but its the same players overall, so why are we doing so poorly? The only reason I can think of is some sort of mental issue. Some mental inadequacy that is preventing our players from playing to their best.

They need to be reminded that they need to run as hell, to fight for every ball, to try and better themselves when they are out there playing and always do better. What do you guys think about our predicament here and what is the solution?

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Valencia 2-1 Huesca post-match

Valencia end 2018 with a win. So, all good, right? As anyone who watched it will tell you, far from it. It was more of the same turgid rubbish with the team achieving the miracle before Christmas of a win due to a goal with the last kick of the game in the 93rd minute. Remember this is at Mestalla, against Huesca, the bottom team and relegation favourites, who haven't won since 19 August and who have 4 points from their last 14 games. Valencia did their best to give them a Christmas gift and it looked like Huesca could seriously win it towards the end.

There had been some good Valencia moves and the team hasn't lost the knack of transitioning to fast counter-attacks, but this season, the final product is always lacking. The opening goal for us may even have been a mistake. It looked to me like Parejo was aiming for the other side, where a defender or the keeper probably would have blocked it, but instead he scuffed his shot and it looped over the keeper into the other side.

With our attacks showing the usual incompetence, you could almost have written the script for what came next. Soler was the culprit this time, giving away yet another soft penalty. The end was nervous stuff, Huesca had a breakaway that another team would have scored and a penalty shout but it was Piccini at the death who stole the points.

Weirdly, that win ensures that Valencia will finish the year in at least 9th place (could be 8th if Levante don't get a point in Vallecas later) and that's the first time this season that we've been in the top half, just 3 points away from the Europa league spots (but still only 5 ahead of relegation.) It feels undeserved and the mood of dissatisfaction and questions about the manager will persist into the New Year, though these 3 points have almost certainly saved him till January.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Europa league draw / Jeison Murillo joins Barcelona

Valencia got Celtic in Monday's Europa league draw, with the first leg in Glasgow on 14 February and the second at Mestalla 7 days later. There are no easy teams at these stages, but that's a winnable tie.

The loan of Jeison Murillo to Barcelona was confirmed today. He joins for €2 million with a buy option of €25 million. Murillo has only played three times this season: at home to Juventus and Celta and away to Ebro. While I disagree with the many fans who seem to view him as "our best defender" I don't really understand that transfer. With Garay's constant injuries and recent injuries to Gabriel and Diakhaby, why leave ourselves short in the defensive department?