Sunday, December 17, 2017

SD Eibar 2-1 Valencia CF Match Report

The 16th match day in La Liga for Valencia ends in the second loss of the season. The loss wasn't surprising, to me at least. This game was a clear indication of the current form of the team and a continuation of a pattern that began many games ago. This loss also gave Atletico Madrid to overtake us and claim the second place position. We sit 2 points behind them and 5 points behind Barca who have yet to play their game. Real Madrid also has the chance to level us on points when they play their game in-hand.

With Zaza suspended due to yellow card accumulation, Marcelino started Mina alongside Rodrigo. A Soler injury during training has also given Nacho Gil another chance to start. Parejo and Kondogbia started in midfield with Pereria on the left wing, opposite to Gil. The defense in front of Neto remained unchanged with Vezo and Paulista in the central positions, Gaya on the left, and Montoya on the right.

Eibar took the game to us from the beginning. They didn't park-the-bus and weren't aggressive as was the case in Getafe. They won the ball cleanly off us and composed some good attacking plays. We couldn't form productive counter-attacks amidst misplaced passes and poor decision making. Our best chance in the first half came from a corner which found Rodrigo at the far post in space, but he couldn't even hit the target from the free header, should've done better.

Gaya was injured at half-time and had to be replaced by Lato. This is yet another set back we have to deal with amid all the recent injuries. The extent of the injury will be determined on Monday, but it is confirmed it's a hamstring problem in the left leg.

The second half featured some really bad defending from our side. Eibar struck four minutes into the second half. A cross into the box fell to Montoya instead who tried to clear only for the ball to strike the Eibar player in front of him and give possession back to another player in the box who set up the goal for Inui. Awful clearance from Montoya and Neto just stood frozen and was beaten at his near-post.

Valencia would find their way back into the game with a stroke of fortune. Rodrigo found Pereira out wide on the right wing, the latter sent a low cross into the box and a fortunate deflection from the nearby defender took it over the defender in the box and into the path of Santi Mina who had no trouble finishing from that range.

The game would stay tied for the next 30 minutes - a period where we picked up 4 yellow cards in 10 minutes. Marcelino would also use this chance to bring on Guedes, back from injury, and to give time to youngster Ferran Torres for Nacho Gil and Pereira respectively. The subs didn't have the desired impact and we spent a lot of the time in our half just taking Eibar attacks. Eibar would eventually break our defense with a cross from the left. Paulista failed to cover his man who had time to make good contact with a header that beat Neto.

This comes back to our discussion after the last few games. The many injuries and some suspension, exposes our lack of squad depth. Even without injuries and suspension, we don't really have much on the bench to offer something different. Often changes are like-for-like, similar style players. Our defense which had been our focus in the beginning of the season is looking very shaky now. A lot of blame often goes to the right side of the defense and Montoya/Nacho Vidal have quite rightly been disappointing. But both goals today showed that the entire defense looks vulnerable.

Squad depth can be addressed in the transfer market and it seems there are plans to do so, with the four positions being looked at being a forward, a winger, a central midfielder and a right back. Squad depth won't solve all our problems though. There seems to be a lot of sloppy passing and bad decision making that are recurring these past few games which also need to be addressed.

The next and final game before the transfer window is at Mestalla against Villareal. A month back, I would favor our chances against them. I still think we can manage a win based on our home form but these past few games showed that we can just as easily lose. The period after the transfer window will be a relatively more intense schedule as Copa del Rey games will return.

Goals:

1-0, Inui, 49'
1-1, Santi Mina, 57'
2-1, Jordan, 87'

Player Ratings:

Neto 3 - Seems to get caught off-guard, stood frozen for both goals, especially the first one at his near post
Gaya 5 - Covered well before getting injured, not many chances to get forward
Vezo 4 - I don't think he has a good partnership with Paulista, they don't seem to communicate well, I think he would do better with a different partner
Paulista 2 - Some games I think I misjudge him as a poor and he proves me wrong, but this game he was poor, lost his man in the second goal
Montoya 2 - Disappointing, poor clearance resulted in first goal
Kondogbia 5.5 - He's one of the constants in our team, maintains his level even in team's poor performance
Parejo 5 - Another constant today, decent passing, corner routine with Rodrigo almost resulted in goal if not for poor finishing from Rodrigo
Pereria 4 - Selfish at times, but did well to find Santi Mina for the goal even though he got help from a deflection
Nacho Gil 5 - He worked hard out there but unfortunately his hard work didn't pay off for the team
Rodrigo 4 - He also worked hard, involved in the build up to the goal, but wasteful from chances at goal. He is the one forward on our team who I doubt his finishing from clear chances
Santi Mina 5 - Scored an easy goal but failed to hit the target at many other opportunities in the game

Subs:
Lato 4 - I think he could've done more to stop the cross to the box for the second goal, but covered decently well for Gaya otherwise
Guedes N/A - He needs a bit more time to get back to top gear
Ferran Torres N/A - not enough time to show what he's got



Any thoughts on the game? Who impressed and who disappointed? What needs to be fixed?
All your comments and thoughts are appreciated and welcomed as always.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Valencia news in brief

Let's start with the good news. Rodrigo has made the 3-man shortlist for La Liga's player of the month for November. Adnan Januzaj and Iago Aspas are the other nominees. 2 goals and an assist continues his excellent form and his transformation from an expensive flop into a key part of Marcelino's team.


I'd expect Aspas to win it, but this is the third month in a row that a Valencia player has been shortlisted. Zaza won it in September and Guedes lost out in October.

With Zaza still not at 100% fitness, the club is continuing its efforts to strengthen the forward line. With Diego Costa arriving at Atletico Madrid next month, we were interested in perennial targets Vietto and Gameiro. But Atletico have no reason to strengthen a direct rival by doing us a favour, so are not agreeing to any sort of loan. It's either buy or goodbye, and we don't have the funds or desire to make permanent signings like that. As a result, Sandro remains Valencia's top target, with the club looking for a loan till Summer with a buy option. Everton manager Sam Allardyce said today that anyone that didn't want to be there could leave, but he wasn't ready to gift players and it had to be for fair market value, which suggests we'd have to pay at least 10m euros.

If you see stories linking us with Daniel Sturridge of Liverpool, ignore. That rumour originated with Dail Mail, a newspaper notorious for make-up-any-old-rubbish journalism. There is close on zero chance Marcelino will go for an non-Spanish speaking, injury-prone striker without La Liga experience who would cost at least 30m.

Marcelino is also working in training with Ferran Torres and experimenting with using the youngster as a second striker so that he can also cover in case of need.

On possible exits, Maksimovic has been linked with Getafe. Gaya's release clause is 50m, but will fall to 30m next summer. That has alerted Juventus among other clubs. In a brief interview (in Valencian) with Superdeporte, the player said that it was up to the club and he was thinking of the present and was happy here.

Lastly, to finish as I started on a positive note, Guedes returned to light training yesterday. He remains unavailable for the Eibar game, but there's now an outside chance he will be back for the Villarreal game on 23 December.

  


Saturday, December 9, 2017

Valencia 2-1 Celta

After an excellent start to the season, Valencia have looked a little more vulnerable of late. The thrashing of Sevilla was the last time the team really impressed. Since then, it's not like we've played badly, with 10 points from 5 games, but the team laboured to wins over Alaves and Leganes, should have probably lost to Espanyol and Barcelona and did lose to Getafe, despite having an extra man for 65 minutes. A convincing win was crucial to get us back on track, especially with Real Madrid winning to move level with us on points. The team managed it, though with a hard fought and nervy win.



Marcelino, for the first time this season, went for an unchanged line-up. Unfortunately, that's more a reflection of Valencia's lack of squad depth rather than a tough choice made by the manager.

In recent games, Valencia have never really taken off until the second half, but that didn't happen here. The team got off to a flying start, with Vezo unlucky not to score in the first minute, hitting the post from a corner. While Celta had a few breaks of their own, our defence proved equal to them and Valencia had the best chances. Zaza showed a great turn of pace near the corner, to force a save at their near post. Soler was put through but from an angle, dragged his shot wide when going for the near post. A superb flick on from Zaza put Gaya in, but the keeper saved. Finally, Valencia got a deserved lead, with Zaza heading in from a corner.

Celta probably should have had a penalty in the 10th minute, Paulista tripping one of their players inside but the ref didn't notice. Their best chance came in the 34th minute. Paulista sliced his clearance and Sisto's return found Aspas, whose diving header was brilliantly saved by Neto.

Any hopes that Valencia would continue the same way in the second half were quickly rubbed out as Celta scored. Errors by numerous players led to the equaliser. First, Montoya lost the ball in attack, then Parejo failed to track well enough to cut out the counter. Vezo mucked up our offside trap by playing them onside. Then him, Gaya and Kondogbia were unable to stop their player cutting the ball back, with Aspas evading Paulista. A silly goal to concede.

The game changed after that, becoming less open and scrappier and with Celta pushing forward more without creating all that much. The referee was also letting too much go and making questionable calls, such as booking Zaza for protesting when we had a reasonable penalty shout. Marcelino made the substitutions, with Soler coming off for Nacho Gil, with Mina replacing Rodrigo soon after.

The game looked to be grinding to a stalemated draw until the 80th minute. Valencia had come back into the game more in the previous five minutes, but had missed a couple. Pereira's cross not connecting with anyone then Montoya's shot from distance being saved. Parejo stepped up to take the penalty and a nervy moment was made worse when it looked like the keeper had saved it, but despite him getting a hand to it, the ball bounced past him into the net. A lucky break that we needed. Celta let frustration get to them after that and were lucky to finish with 11 men. Their defender Mallo cut out one of our attacks with his hand, but the ref ignored that and failed to give him a second yellow.

Still playing short of our best, but I liked how we played for most of the game today and 3 points against a team that drew at Barcelona last game is no mean feat. 2 more games this year and six points must be the target.

PLAYER RATINGS
Neto 7 - always a safe pair of hands and terrific save from Aspas
Gaya 6 - some good defending and link up play
Vezo 4 - average, more on the weak side, never looked that comfortable
Gabriel 4.5 - disappointing game overall, made a couple of errors that could have cost us
Montoya 5.5 - generally acceptable, but had trouble with Sisto and his crosses missed the target
Pereira 5.5 - not great in the first half with poor decisions, but improved and provided more of a threat in the second part
Parejo 7.5 - makes it all look easy, decent game, passing and recovering well
Kondogbia 6.5 - had a solid game, recovering balls and connecting well with other players
Soler 4.5 - really lacking, exemplified by the first half chance he missed. Not sure what's been up with him recently, but he's been poor. Needs to recover his form
Rodrigo 6 - decent effort, with many nice touches, but had few chances to work with
Zaza 7.5 - excellent game, a threat in attack and always tracking back when needed

SUBS
Nacho Gil 6 - good game and if he keeps this up, can push for a starting spot in the first team
Mina 5 - failed to inspire, with poor decisions
Maksimovic N/A - 89th minute sub, don't think he even touched the ball










Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Copa Draw and some Transfer Rumors

First off, the draw for the Copa del Rey Round of 16 drew Valencia CF against UD Las Palmas, with the first leg away and the second leg at the Mestalla.

Now for the transfer news that I've seen these past few days. There is no doubt that some reinforcements are needed this winter to supplement the squad in the face of injuries and to add some depth.

Fans have been pushing for signing Guedes on a permanent deal for a while now and it looks like negotiations have allegedly placed the transfer few at around 40 million euros (PSG bought him from Benfica for 30 million euros). I think this amount will probably only be affordable if we make the Champions League. This would be even more true if we will (and I think we should) sign Kondogbia as well. I heard that deal is worth about 25 million euros to get him off Inter Milan. Part/all of that was supposed to be covered if they did the same and purchased Cancelo but that doesn't look likely. Also, these deals are normally paid in installments so the 40 and 25 million would not be paid in full right away but over 2-3 years, which helps with Financial Fair Play and general affordability.

In the midst of talks with PSG, rumors arose that Pastore and Moura are two names that are also being looked at to arrive in loan deals. Pastore's agent was quick to shoot down the rumors for his client but Moura still remains a possibility. At the squad, we currently have Perreira, Guedes, Soler and Ibanez who all play similar positions to Moura out on the wings. Bringing him will add another pacy and tricky winger, but will push one of them away. I only see this deal happening if Ibanez gets loaned or Perreira's loan gets cut short (Manchester United seem to want him back but he said he wants to stay).

Finally, with the forward position, it seems the club's efforts are focused on Everton's 22 year old Sandro Ramirez. He does have previous La Liga experience starting out in FC Barcelona and then with Malaga CF. He then was purchased by Everton for 6 million euros - his release clause at the time. He hasn't had many games for Everton but he played pretty well for Malaga and Barcelona for the times that I did watch him. Of course, it would be a loan deal till the end of the season and it seems that a purchase option will be included. It's an interesting player to add and it will increase competition for the forward positions. If he does impress, I think it would be a cheap purchase option since I think Everton would just want to recoup the amount they spent, maybe with a little bonus.

Thoughts on Copa del Rey fixture? Is Guedes worth the 40 million? Is Kondogbia worth the 25 million? Is Moura, a player we need? Is Sandro a good idea? Let us know below. All comments are welcome and appreciated.

The Case of Rafa Mir


For those who don't know, the 20 year old Mestalla B striker's contract expires this summer (June 30) and the club has been in negotiations to renew, however all reports show that the negotiations are at a stumbling block. The club wants to renew but the player is not satisfied. Reports say he feels that the club does not have confidence in him. His points of contention are as follows:
  • He was the last of his peers (Nacho Gil, Nacho Vidal, Sivera and Sito) to be offered a contract
  • He feels the fans are against him since his signing was facilitated by Jorge Mendes. When he came on in the Champions League under coach Nuno, he was the outlet for the fan's anger and it followed him on social media. Insults, criticisms, etc. 
    • In fact, recently when he scored playing for Mestalla B, he celebrated by doing a celebration where he gestured to the crowd to zip their mouths and has been reprimanded for it.
  • Real Madrid's subsidiary is interested in him and he could get a better chance where they do bet on him
We have to remember the player is young and criticism does affect him (we saw Cancelo do something similar). Anyway, it would be a shame to lose him since he is on blazing form (15 goals in 17 games). He is the second top scorer in the Second Division. You might have noticed that he is not training with the first team anymore as well. That's because Marcelino's stance is that the player should solve his contract situation first and then he will let him back in. 

This month would be the crucial month to settle things, as the player is free to negotiate with other clubs on January 1st and would end up leaving for free in the summer. The club is still trying and meetings with his agent are being held this month by Elemany. Hopefully, it will break the deadlock but we'll see.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Getafe CF 1-0 Valencia CF Match Report

Valencia CF's unbeaten streak has finally come to an end in La Liga (13 games) after what was quite a shocking display against Getafe. The talk of surpassing Benitez's record was pushed aside by Marcelino as he made it clear that the focus was results and not equaling record. Well, that clearly wasn't the case as we saw how the game turned out. This was also a key game to win as it was against winnable opposition, we were in good form and most importantly Barcelona had dropped points against Celta Vigo yesterday. A win would've put Valencia 2 points behind Barca and now we find ourselves sitting 5 points behind them. Still an excellent position in the table, but Atletico, Real and Sevilla are hot on our heels now (1, 3 and 3 points behind respectively).

Huge credit for the game has to go to Getafe: they knew our game plan, came up with a counter measure and remained focused the entire game in it's execution. Right from the get go, our players were closed down, pressured and harassed off the ball. They focused mostly on shutting down our key passers in Parejo and Carlos Soler. It seemed that every time Soler got the ball he was tackled instantly and taken to ground. Getafe took charge of the game and eventually put the ball in the net after a cross/shot deflected off one of their players and beat Neto. Fortunately, the goal was correctly ruled out since the player that caused the deflection was in an offside position.

This is when the problem with Getafe's strategy would catch up to them. Their challenges were really aggressive and without restraint. As such it wasn't surprising that within 25 minutes of the game, Getafe's Mauro Arambarri got booked for a rough tackle on Montoya from behind; and having picked up a booking just 4 minutes prior, he was sent off.

At this point, I thought the space would open up for Valencia and Getafe would retreat to their box to defend. Of course, it's not in our advantage since our specialty is counter attacking and not picking apart tight defenses. Getafe, however, maintained their presence and still managed to press our players off the ball quickly. There was a bit more space but the sloppy Valencia that we've seen at times. The bit of space could not be capitalized on with all the sloppy passes and player's slipping. With all the challenges Getafe was commiting to, we did get several free kicks and Parejo hit them very well but Guaita saved them all just as well. These were honestly our best chances. There was one other chance where Pereira got in a good crossing position on the right and almost picked out Rodrigo (similar to the goal against Barcelona) however the Getafe players threw themselves in front of the cross and stopped it.

I had hopes that we would pick things up in the second half as they have in previous games. With the Getafe players going down at every challenge and trying to get our players booked to even the game, Kondogbia who was already booked was withdrawn with Nacho Gil taking his spot. Getafe continued with the same mentality as the first half and had one really good chance. A through ball cut apart our defense and found Angel Rodriguez in plenty of space with only Neto left to stop him. Fortunately again, he took too many touches and barely missed the far post. Then, what happened in the first half, repeated itself. A shot from outside the box from Bergara deflected, this time off a Valencia player and beat Neto. After the lead, Getafe moved to protect their lead and played off the counter.

A lot of the time it felt like Valencia were the ones playing with a man down. We also started getting impatient and rushing everything. Crosses were put in from really far out when there was room to get closer. A corner routine from Parejo found Soler in plenty of space but the shot went into orbit (difficult shot to take but still good chance). That's when Parejo started doing these overhead passes instead of the patient ground passes. The Getafe defense found these very easy and easily reclaimed possession every time.

Pereira was taken off and Santi Mina brought on for the last 27 minutes, however without much success. The last minutes of the game featured many Valencia efforts, crosses, and shots. All sloppy, rushed or ended with poor execution. It just wasn't our day. We ended up with 65% possession but nothing to show for it. We went against 10 men for 65 minutes but couldn't take advantage and ended up conceding.

Honestly, the passing and shots in the past few games has been getting a little bit sloppy and maybe this is a wakeup call so we don't fall asleep. This game also showed that we don't really have players we can call for off the bench to change the game or offers much difference to what is already there on the field. Sure, we were missing Guedes but that's not really an excuse. Zaza will be unavailable when they decide to go through with his operation. We need a backup plan both in players and tactics. I have no doubt that Marcelino will call them out on everything and get them back up to the level we've seen earlier in the season.

As for ratings, honestly only Parejo and Zaza had any notable significance but even then sometimes were sloppy. The other players played at a considerable lower level than what they are capable of playing. We have 3 games left: Celta Vigo (Home), Eibar (Away) and Villareal (Home) before the winter break and transfer market opens. Are they winnable? Yes for sure. Should we expect a win? Not after today, we shouldn't let our guard down regardless of opposition. You never when they could surprise us. Celta will be on a high especially after taking points off Barca. It should be a good game at home and should be great to watch. Barca could slip up at any time and we need to be getting these points whenever we can. While we're in form, we could cause trouble for any team and every game is winnable. Let's hope this is just a minor slip and look forward to a great result against Celta!

Please let us know what you thought of the game? Credit for Getafe or bad play by Valencia? Or both? What went wrong? What to fix? Any players did well or poorly? Your comments are always welcome and appreciated! Thanks!

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Guedes, Kondogbia and the Copa del Rey

A few rumours swirling around regarding possible future transfers, as usual treat these with healthy scepticism until anything is confirmed.

Peter Lim was in Valencia for the Barcelona game and is in Paris this week to try to prolong Guedes' stay. Superdeporte claim that Lim is aiming to sign Guedes permanently rather than on loan. This looks hugely unlikely, but his good relations with the PSG owner and their Financial Fair Play issues turn it from an impossibility into a very low chance.

Less positively, El Gol Digital claims that Valencia will buy Kondogbia then give him to PSG in part-exchange for Guedes. While that story is almost certainly journalistic creativity at best, it wouldn't be a good move. Guedes is a great player, but Kondogbia is the backbone of the Valencia team and he must be the priority. So, rather more likely, Plazadeportiva, usually a more reliable source, weighs in with better news. It claims that Alemany had wanted to pay 18m for Kondogbia. Inter wanted at least 30m. So a compromise was struck for 25m with Inter getting 20% of any sell-on. Crucially, Alemany negotiated a convenient payment structure: Valencia will pay 7m next July and 6m in July of the three years after that. That would be a very nice deal. 25m next summer would affect our ability to bring in other reinforcements, especially since we will have to pay the final instalment of 8m for Zaza. 7m is doable.

Related to all this is the situation of Cancelo, who isn't playing much at Inter, who have a 32m buy option on him. (Presumably this would also be paid to us over 4 years.) COPE claim that Valencia are considering bringing the player back in January, so that he won't lose value, as Inter are unlikely to buy him given that he's only played a minor role for them so far. This is possible, but dubious, as it's hard to see where he'd fit in. He was never that great as a right back and, even though Marcelino seems to have doubts about Montoya and Nacho Vidal, Cancelo wouldn't represent a massive improvement (Montoya did better in that position last season.)
_____________
Valencia played Zaragoza in the second leg of the Copa Del Rey. Despite being 2-0 up from the first leg, which Zaragoza hadn't taken seriously either, Marcelino played it fairly safe, maybe noticing that Bilbao and Sociedad had both screwed up through complacency and had been eliminated by third level opposition the previous night.



Nacho Gil, Vezo and Maksimovich all got their first starts since the Copa first leg game. Playing both Paulista and Vezo, despite the increasing lack of central defenders and Zaza, despite his knee issues, seemed a bit of a risk, but the team came through it without problems.

Valencia dominated the game, but it took until the 29th minute to make the breakthrough. Mina blocked an attempted clearance and got the bounce in his favour and passed to Zaza, who returned it well for Mina to find the bottom corner.

In the second half, Zaza came close in the 52nd minute, intercepting after a Zaragoza defender was daydreaming, rounding the keeper but unable to finish from a narrow angle. 6 minutes later, he was involved, taking the ball on the right and, when his shot was saved, Mina followed up for his second of the game.

Valencia brought on Soler and Robert for Parejo and Pereira. Robert appeared for the first time in three years and marked it with a goal. Zaza was involved as usual, putting a nice short pass through. Robert still had a bit to do, but managed to shake off two defenders to cut inside and score.

Ferran Torres made his Valencia debut in the 70th minute and marked his debut with an assist, his corner resulting in a rare Ruben Vezo goal. The only negative came a minute later, Nacho Vidal losing his man, who got between him and Paulista to score a consolation. An easy win to take us through 6-1 on aggregate.

In terms of players, Jaume and the defence had little to do. Nacho Vidal didn't help his cause, as he should have done more to prevent their goal.

In midfield, Parejo was Parejo, decent passes but also some lapses. Maksimovich continues to look like a handy back-up player. Pereira has ability but needs to tame his greediness. Nacho Gil could have done better. Robert did well and the few touches from Ferran Torres were good but not enough to form an opinion.

Zaza would be man of the match and, happily, no trouble from the knee was obvious. Mina would be a close second, taking his goals well and continuing to enjoy a good season.

Not sure what it is with us doing much better in the second half but if it produces results, fine.

With Betis joining the list of top flight sides who slipped up, there will be two Segunda clubs and two Segunda B clubs in the last 16 draw, which will take place on Tuesday 5 December. The games will be played on 3 and 10 January.

If you've read this, comments would be appreciated. I'm happy to post news articles, but it's a bit demotivating if no one comments!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Referees, news and transfers

In the post-match period after Barcelona, the talk, disappointingly, has been focused on the refereeing decision. It's a shame this has overshadowed what was actually a decent second half performance from Valencia. We turned the tables on them in the second half, surprised them and nearly won. The crying about the referee from their fans is actually pretty grating, given the previous two league games at Mestalla. Last year, Messi scored while Suarez was clearly offside and interfering. He even jumped over the ball to let it go under him. Barca won 3-2 due to a last minute penalty.

2015, a similar story. Suarez was offside when he scored their only goal in a 1-1 result.

Suarez' reaction to the ghost goal the other night was apparently to call the linesman "a shit" and "a fucking midget." Two wrongs don't make a right and Rodrigo was sent off for less a couple of seasons ago.

I don't remember the same outcry those times from a media which all too often loves to fawn over Barcelona. People will argue forever about whether the Spanish or English top flights are better, but the standard of refereeing in England is unquestionably superior and is something that La Liga desperately needs to improve.

Now that the game is out of the way, the focus has shifted to strengthening the squad, which is beginning to show its first signs of wear and tear. Guedes suffered a broken toe *before* the Barcelona game and is out for 4 weeks. He might be back for the Villarreal game, but that's 50/50 and he'd probably only be a sub. Zaza will likely need a knee operation sooner rather than later and that will result in 5-6 weeks out. Murillo is out until late January and Garay will miss at least the next game at Getafe. With Jimenez also out to a long term injury, defence, which looked the best covered position now has to make do with Vezo and Paulista with a Mestalla player as a cover. Ivan Marquez is one possibility, with Zotko another and this week's Copa game will allow the coach to assess alternatives.

Peter Lim has been in Valencia discussing future transfer options (he will also go to Paris to try to prolong Guedes' loan.) The two main positions that the club are looking to fill is a forward, with Sandro the favourite and a cover for Kondogbia. Third priority was a right back, as Marcelino hasn't been totally convinced by either Montoya or Nacho Vidal, which I think is a shame, since any signing will hamper Vidal's progress. The possibility of a central defender has now entered the agenda, while the club remains open to adding a winger.

The club today announced the winter departure of Fabian Orellana. Eibar will pay 400,000 to take him on loan until Summer and will then have to pay another 1.8m to compulsorily buy him if they avoid relegation. Orellana got off to a great start at Valencia, but after the first 3 games it all went downhill and despite a good preseason, Marcelino remained unconvinced.

Lastly, the club is negotiating a contract extension with Dani Parejo. His contract expires in June 2020 and the club is looking to extend that to June 2021, with the club having the option of adding a further year as Parejo would be 32 when that expires. I can't see the point in this, really. He's having a decent season, but what's the rush? Wouldn't it be best to wait until the end of next year and then start talking?

The club has a relatively easy schedule in December. Getafe away, Celta home, Eibar away then the toughest game, Villarreal at home. However, progress in the Copa would require the team to play every midweek in January and that will need a deeper squad.