Thursday, May 24, 2018

News update

It's been a week of good news for Valencia, continuing today.

First of all, the club has confirmed what has been known and reported for a while

Valencia have confirmed that they have exercised the buy out option for Geoffrey Kondogbia. He signs a contract until 2022 with a buy out clause of €80 million. As previously reported Valencia will pay €7 million this summer and €6 million the next three summers. Interestingly, only two players in Valencia's history have cost more: Rodrigo and Negredo. Despite that, I don't think any Valencia fan who has followed this season will complain. The price seems a bargain given the quality he's showed us. The man has been compared favourably to an octopus, he always seems able to win back the ball from impossible positions, can chip in with important goals and has a lovely weighted pass.

That wasn't the only official announcement today.


Left back Alex Centelles has extended his contract by two years till 2021 with a prohibitively high release clause of €100 million. Centelles impressed in friendlies with the first team last summer and with question marks over Lato, many of us who've seen him feel that Centelles could be a great long term option as successor to Gaya.

Speaking of Gaya, he also ended months of speculation this week by signing a new contract until 2023. His clause was due to fall to €30 million this summer. Pitifully low for a player who has enjoyed a good season and that would have put him well in range of teams like Juventus. The new release clause is €100 million and that gives the club plenty of negotiating room.

Mateu Alemany's strategy is clear and that's to prepare a plan B in case the club does get hit by any transfer ban and that's to tie up existing talents with large release clauses so that the club can't lose key players for peanuts.

Lastly, we're entering the summer silly season when the press for want of a better story start inventing links just to fill pages. One of them this week is that Alcacer will return to Valencia, as reported by Football Espana. I would take such stories with a pinch of salt unless more credible sources arrive.

However, in saying that, we do know two things....
1) Barcelona will be looking to offload Alcacer after two unsuccessful seasons and the player himself will be looking to move on
2) Valencia will be in the market for a striker

Given that and the close relationship between the two clubs (too close in my opinion) it's probable, even likely, that Barcelona will offer him to us. The question is how to respond if that happens?

I suspect like a lot of Valencia fans my instinctive reaction to this is to let him rot and stay there. The guy abandoned us - in our hour of need when we were short of striking options - for another club. And not just any other club. An English, Italian or French club where he would have been starter would have been understandable but fourth choice at Tourist FC of Catalonia, a club he knows are a hated rival of ours annoys. I'm sure I'm not the only Valencia fan who has smirked at him flopping there while Rodrigo, a player who has stayed loyal to us, has taken Alcacer's place in the Spain squad.

Weirdly, despite that, when I try and look at it objectively it's a move which could actually work. He knows the city and club, has played with creative players like Rodrigo, Mina, Soler and Parejo before (not to mention Gaya, Vezo and Lato) and improved in his seasons with us. Under Marcelino, as with a lot of players who flopped at other clubs, he could improve and fit the profile of a pacey striker. The issues would be twofold. The price would have to be low.  €10 million would be ok. Maybe 12, but no more. Mostly, the issue would be the reaction from the fans. He'd be the target of boos and whistles in his early time and would have to work hard to regain trust. Polls of fans about his possible return have been overwhelmingly negative, with usually around 80% against.

For the last reason I don't think it will happen, but I wouldn't totally bet against and am surprised to find myself open to the idea. What do you all think?








Sunday, May 20, 2018

Valencia CF 2-1 Deportivo La Coruna

The last official game of the season reminded us why we like to play football in the cooler months. A baking hot day at the Mestalla failed to put off fans as a large crowd turned out to see our heroes for the last time for a while and for some maybe to see them for the last time in our colours.  Valencia surprised us all by wearing the new blue shirts and shorts which will be our second colours next season.






With Jaume in goal, Nacho Vidal on the right of defence and Murillo partnering Garay in the middle, with Gaya on the left.  Good to see Maksimovic in the midfield with Parejo Soler and Guedes. Zaza and Rodrigo led the attack.

Anybody expecting this to be a wind down end of the season bore would be in for a pleasant surprise.
Good to see Bakalli playing for Depor after being given permission by Valencia.  He was certainly getting plenty of the ball and keeping Vidal very busy on the flank. To be fair though Vidal kept him well in check, preventing him from doing us any damage.  There were long spells in the first half when Bakalli was looking a lot better value than Guedes and we would wonder why we would pay all that money when we have Bakalli for free.








The first half was controlled by Valencia with many chances being made.  Maksimovic, with a header, Soler and Rodrigo all had good efforts.  Zaza, however, broke the deadlock though when picking up a loose ball managed to fire into the back of the net to put us in front. A bit lucky really because he seemed to give a little push just before but we got away with it. Zaza also had a good header come off the crossbar and Guedes was unlucky when the keeper threw the ball to him and all of 35 metres out he lobbed the ball to the top corner. Unfortunately the keeper made up for his error making a good save.

In the 77th minute Guedes made up for it by firing in a great goal after being set up brilliantly by Vietto. He deserved something for all his hard work and running but not having much success until then.

Lucas Perez came on for Depor to loud boos and whistles from the home crowd. I can only assume it was because of him turning us down and going back to his home town. A bit harsh I think and maybe he won't want to come here now.  Soon after, he got his revenge by scoring a good goal to put them back in the game.  This is when we relied on Jaume a lot with the visitors making many chances and could have easily scored a couple of goals to spoil our party.  It was not to be though and we won a game we deserved and entertained the large crowd, who by now were just about melting in the sun.








The after match celebrations, as always very emotional with Rodrigo, Guedes and Zaza being told in no uncertain terms that they are wanted here next season.

Player Ratings

Jaume 7   Made some great saves and looked calm and composed. Kept us in the game near the end.  No doubts with him and Neto for next year.

Nacho Vidal. 6.5  He has now given the management something to ponder. A very composed performance today.  I would keep him and Montoya for next season. He is young, strong and tall enough to win balls in the air.

Garay 6.5  Mr. composure.  Not troubled too many times but was there when needed. Why change something that is working.

Murillo 7   Back to his old self.  A great performance today strong and reliable.  I hope they are not looking to replace him.

Gaya  8.5  Man of the match.  In the 90th. minute he got caught with the ball. I mention this because it was the only flaw in a near perfect performance.  Was never beaten and was faultless.

Soler  6  Really disappointing again. Everything he tried to do didn't work. Kept losing the ball and making bad decisions all day.

Maksimovic  7   Really looked the part today. Strong fast and good eye for the pass. Another one who can do a good job for us next season. Just been called up for his national team for the World Cup so that is good for him.

Parejo 7   Had a couple of good chances to score but his shots were a bit wide. Passing was his usual high standard and top performance.  Went off to a standing ovation from a very appreciative audience when replaced late on.

Guedes 7  for the goal and the unlucky chip over the keeper.  Apart from that had a really forgettable first half. Is he worth 40 million ?  I don't know.

Zaza 7   Great goal and much better performance today. There is no doubt that he is the crowd favourite here and it remains to be seen whether the money comes in to tempt him away. Hope he stays and I know that is the opposite to what I said last week.

Rodrigo 6.5   Unlucky on a number of occasions but failed to find a goal that would have made his and our day.

Subs  Vieto for Rodrigo
          Kondogbia for Parejo
          Mina for  Zaza

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Girona 0 - 1 Valencia

I know not everybody will agree with me but I thought it was a pretty good performance today.  It is not easy winning at Girona  as many clubs have discovered this season and with so many changes in the team another loss was not an impossibility. Neither team had anything but pride to play for so I was expecting that we may have had a boring game.  The only problem with the game today is that just when the management have probably got a good idea who will stay and who will go some players have stepped up and sewn some doubts.





With a back line of Montoya, Vezo, Murillo and Lato. Jaume in goal,  Midfield with Soler Maksimovic Torres and Guedes  and forwards with Vietto and Zaza.

Not many chances were made by either side but Girona did hit the post and Soler missed an almost open goal when set up by Zaza.  Even though there were not too many opportunities players such as Maksimovic and Torres showing that they are quite capable of playing at the higher level.

It was good to see Murillo back playing after not seeing too much of him recently and he was having a decent game although caught for speed on one occasion.  Jaume looked comfortable enough in goal and made 2 or 3 good saves but was not troubled too much.

I have a suspicion Guedes was told to play rubbish to keep his price down as again today he just couldn't get anything right. His control was awful and he just seemed to hang on to the ball too much. To be fair he had a couple of decent long shots that were actually on target but did not cause their keeper too much trouble.




With Kondogbia out through injury and Parejo through suspension the midfield seemed to be able to cope well enough. Maffeo the right back for Girona was looking very lively and the talk is that we could be taking him next season from Man City for around 7 million euros as he is on loan at Girona but Man City don't want him back. Might be a good purchase.

The highlight of the game came in minute 60 when Vietto, who was having a good game, picked up the ball just outside his own area and ran the length of the field. Players either side drew off defenders allowing him to pick his spot with a great shot just inside the post. A great goal with a great performance of today.  There was no way back now for the home team and Valencia held on to be worthy winners without being worried too much.

After a run of 5 games without a win it was a very welcome 3 points and good for the moral of the team and supporters.

PLAYER RATINGS

Jaume 7   Not troubled too much but made some good saves when called upon. Always looks confident and will be an asset next season again for backup or number 1.

Montoya 6.0  Rarely seemed to be troubled and given an unusual away game. Had a decent run which almost created a chance

Vezo  7  Did not put a foot wrong today his defending was good and his ball out of defence was faultless. He has to stay and I would not be surprised if he went to the World Cup.

Murillo 6.5  Good to see him back. Good strong player although a little short of pace sometimes his experience is welcome.

Lato 6.0  Still looks a bit raw at times but a tough little player. Got needlesly booked but looked ok.

Ferran 6.5  Looking better each game which is to be expected. Helped out well in defence also at times.

Soler  6.0   Had a decent game but loses marks for missing the sitter when trying too much to place it when perhaps a blast would have been better.

Maksimovic 7  He has to stay.  Worked hard in the middle and compensated well for the missing Kondogbia. I like his strength and ability to win balls in the air also. Looks calm and confident.

Guedes 5  Surely he cannot be this bad without trying. Not a shadow of the player we saw before Christmas and at 40 million PSG must be laughing if we pay that on this performance.

Vietto 7   Great performance even without the goal I was thinking how well he was playing before he actually scored.  Somebody has to decide now about him. Such a shame he was whistled off a few weeks ago. He looked so happy when he scored I really felt for him.

Zaza  5.0  Described by some West Ham supporters as crap when he played there.  What has happened to him.  He looks moody and uninterested.  He has gone from my hero to a player I would like to see the back of after his recent performances. Today he was awful.

Subs Rodrigo for Zaza
         Vidal for Lato
         Gaya for Torres

LATEST NEWS.

Inter have stated that they will not be taking up the option of purchasing Cancelo whether or not they attain Champions League status. In that case he will return to Valencia next week and his future will be decided in due course.  Could be good news for us with either he stays or perhaps better still he goes for nearer 50 million euros.

Also,  Andreas Pereira  has returned to Man United.  He was injured in that farcical encounter in Saudi and will not be fit for a couple of weeks.  It is not expected that he will return to Valencia, which perhaps is also a bit of good news.


Sunday, May 6, 2018

Villareal 1-0 Valencia CF

Today the result wasn't important because Betis losing at Athletic Bilbao put us straight into the Champions League for next season


Valencia again started with a couple of changes from last week with Vezo back at right of the defence in place of Montoya, no place for Murillo or Zaza.
The first half began well enough for us with a couple of good chances firstly when Mina was sent away down the right to make a smart cross for Rodrigo on the back post to his the goal but unfortunately the keeper got a foot to it.
Mina was also sent through on his own and with only the keeper to beat was unable to finish with the keeper making a decent save to his low shot. The ref had waved play on when he looked suspiciously offside.
Villareal were using Cheryshev a lot down their left wing but Vezo managed to keep him in check for most of the time. 




Neto was having a good game and was called upon a number of times to keep out shots from Bacca and others and was looking like the hero of the day. Bookings for Parejo and Gaya will keep them out of next weeks visit to Girona but changes were planned anyway so not so bad,

The second period was a case of Valencia sitting back seemingly content with the draw and Villareal looking like they were not so bothered and were happy with a point to take them into the Europa League.  The half is probably one best forgotten except that the home team spoiled the day by scoring a headed goal near the end to grab the points.

A disappointing end to the day for Valencia but let's not forget we will go to Champions League and them to Europa and for that we can be happy.   

Player Ratings

Neto 7.5  Saved the day by making some very difficult stops proving he is a top keeper.

Vezo 6.0  Did well against Sherychev and shows he can play right or centre without problem. Will he be picked for Portugal world Cup ?

Garay 6.0  Good solid performance again made no big errors.

Gabriel 7.0  Called upon many times to clear the lines and played well, looks like a top purchase for us.

Gaya 6.5  Another good performance but a silly yellow card to keep him out next week 

Soler 7.0  Causing them all sorts of problems with his strong running and cost them 2 yellow cards.

Parejo 6.5  Steady game without being too brilliant. Another yellow card makes him La Liga top scorer for yellow cards

Kondogbia 7.0  Another strong performance if not quite as good as the last few weeks but still one of the best on the pitch

Guedes 6.5  I am not convinced this player is worth 40 million euros. we could do better with that sort of money I think.

Mina 6.0  Good cross for Rodrigo and unlucky when put through but that's about it.

Rodrigo 6.0  Not a game for him to remember, one chance but that was it.


                                              # # # # # # # # # # # # # # 


So guys, talking points !

Why was Zaza left out and then he brought on Vietto, strange or what ?

Why was Murillo overlooked again ?

Did you know we have a game in Saudi Arabia on this Wednesday v Al Nassr FC. good idea ?

Is Guedes worth 40 Million euros ?

How much is Rodrigo worth, do we sell at the right price ?

Would you mind seeing Cancello playing for Real Madrid if we get 40 million plus ?

Do we sell or loan Maksimovic next season, or keep him ?

Do we make some changes for next week e.g. play Centelles Villalba, Jimenez ?

Monday, April 30, 2018

Valencia CF 0-0 SD Eibar

We were discussing before the game what the score would be 3-1 maybe 3-2 maybe 2-1 but nobody around me said it would be only our second 0-0 of the season, the first being against Athletico Madrid the beginning of September last year.

The wind was always going to be a big factor today as it was swirling round the Mestalla causing all sorts of problems with high balls. A win was all that was needed and that would take us to the Champions League. A point should be enough but we shall see.





Valencia started of brightly with a lineup with Vezo perhaps surprisingly preferred to Murilllo partnering Gabriel in the centre of defence. Apart from that the lineup was as expected with Mina also preferred to Zaza. Motoya was preferred at right back and justified his inclusion with a solid display.

It was to be another frustrating afternoon for Valencia with chance after chance being created but not being taken. I would have to see the game again and make notes of the missed chances as there were so many. Roodrigo, Guedes, Soler, all had good opportunities but with lack of finesse or lack of luck or good goalkeeping from ex Valencia keeper Yoel keeping them out. 







Peter Lim was there and is yet to his his team win this season, so Peter stay away please you are bringing bad luck.
Soler looked to have a good shout for a penalty but on seeing the reply the ref got it right. Zaza  had what looked like a good goal ruled out for offside but his hand was offside. ridiculous rule really. When are strikers going to learn not to reach forward with their arms on theses marginal decisions.

Ian Marquez  the Eibar captain was forced to retire ten minutes from the end leaving them with a player short but it just made them defend deeper and we could not take advantage.






All in all a disappointing end to the game. It would have been nice to have secured C.L. at home but it may be secured tonight if Malaga can take a point at Betis. Betis need to win all their last 4 games to have an outside chance of taking 4th place.


Player Ratings.

Neto 6   Made a great save from Pedro Leon on his near post from nearly 30 metres injuring his knee on the post.

Montoya 6.5   Good solid display and made some great last ditch tackles to save the day. Will he go, will he stay. I hope he stays.

Vezo 6.5    Justified his selection over Murillo with a good display. Made one bad pass out to Kondogbia but apart from that looked cool.

Gabriel 6.5  Again good solid display not really troubled too much worked well with Vezo.

Gaya 7   Hard working as usual in defence and going forward. Beginning to improve understanding with Guedes.

Parejo 7  Good to see him back, picked up a silly yellow for arguing with ref but worked well.

Soler  6..5   He needs to improve in front of goal. Had a couple of chances where he tried to get the ball on to his stronger foot instead of just burying it.

Guedes 7  Hard to rate him but always gives his all with his runs but often takes the wrong decisions. Sometimes looks worth 40 mil then looks more like 4 mil. He has time to improve as I am sure he will.

Kondogbia 8  Easy to score him each week as he is the powerhouse of the midfield. Defending and attacking all over the pitch

Rodrigo 7  unlucky not to have had a goal or two. Maybe could have held the ball up a number of times but if he had we would all be saying he should have had a shot.

Mina 5.5  Best be forgotten display again. He needs a goal to justify his place and it didn't happen again today.

Zaza 6.5  Not on for long but got a goal that was unluckily disallowed.  The team seem to spark more when he came on for Santi Mina.

Torres 6.5   Only on for a short time but got in a good cross and this will do his confidence good. Hopefully see more of him this season.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Valencia CF Transfer News

There has been a lot of development and lots of rumors in the transfers department, so lets tart with the confirmed one, which is that Intel want to keep Joao Cancelo in their team. Reports suggest that Inter wanted to extend the loan deal with a mandatory purchase option at the end of the loan deal, but Valencia CF refused and suggested that they buy the player this summer if they are interested in him.

Joao Cancelo purchase option is at 35 million euros, which is 10 million euros more than Geoffrey Kondogbia, so Inter would have to dish out 10 million euros if they choose to buy Joao Cancelo. This is great news for Valencia CF, as not only are we getting an amazing player already in Kondogbia, but we are removing a high paid player that we have no use for anymore and getting 10 million euros in profit out of it.
This is all but confirmed and unless there is major change within a month, this deal is as good as over.

Valencia CF has also not had to pay for any of the Arsenal transfers as they owed Valencia CF a lot of money from the Shkodran Mustafi deal, so essentially we got Gabriel Paulista and Coquelin for free in a sense.

Some other reports suggest that Valencia CF will indeed purchase Goncalo Guedes for a sum of around 40 million euros, right now this is money we don't have and we still have to sell few players to drop them from our squad list and salary list, but with the fact that we are virtually secure in playing Champions League next season, which in itself would bring in over 15 million euros, this means Valencia CF can spare money on purchase, though how it will reach 40 million euros is still unknown. Reports have it that Peter Lim is negotiating with PSG owners and that a potential purchase would be paid off over 4 years, so each year the club will have to pay 'only' 10 million euros.

What is certain is that Luciano Vietto will most definitely return to Atletico Madrid, the player had an explosive first game for Valencia CF and we all thought we have found another gem that is going to lift up Valencia CF, but the player turned out to be a dud. His performances have not been overall terrible, but he certainly hasn't celebrated himself and is most certainly not even near worth 16 million euros. On the form he's been for us, at best he is wroth 3 million euros. 

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Celta de Vigo 1-1 Valencia CF Match Report

More points dropped for Valencia. We should be able to still maintain 4th place at the end of the season. But I think this makes it a lot harder to finish any higher than 4th. We had a lot of good chances to win this game too, but we couldn't take them.


LINEUP


The attack was lead by Rodrigo and Santi Mina, as it has been the case so often in the season. Rodrigo starting is a given. As for Santi Mina, it could have something to do with recent poor performances by Zaza and Vietto.

Kondogbia regained his spot in the midfield after serving his suspension, however he partnered with Soler in midfield as Parejo was suspended for a silly challenge against Getafe. This was predictable as Soler has played in the center before and to good effect. Guedes started again on the left as his performances have been exceptional. Pereira was a surprise to see in the lineup again after being booed off last game. I had thought Ferran would start for sure but after Marcelino defended Vietto and Pereira in the last press conference, this could've been a vote of confidence in Pereira or an act of stubbornness. Lato replaced Gaya who is out for suspension, Vezo took Montoya's place in right-back as we have seen many times before; and the center pairing was Paulista and Garay. Neto replaced Jaume who didn't really impress last game.

MATCH

The game was even for long periods of play. Both sides played a counter-attacking tactic and the game had a lot of back and forth. However, the first 15-20 minutes was a period of dominance from Celta in terms of possession. The period after Valencia came out and dominated the chances.

The first half had 2 good chances for us. One from Pereira at about the 28th minute following a pass from Guedes, and the other from Guedes himself in the 31st minute following an error by Sisto that lost his team possession.

The first half also had 2 penalty appeals. The first was for Celta after Lato and Wass grappled in the penalty box and the latter was knocked down. The referee dismissed it as both players had their arms around one another, much to the dislike of the Celta players and fans. The other was in our favor after a handball claim against a Celta player who had outstretched hands in the penalty box. The replay shows it was indeed a handball. However, the referee dismissed that claim too. I don't know if it was to even it up after not giving the earlier Celta claim or if he genuinely didn't think it was a hand-ball.

Both goals came in the second half but only after some good chances from both sides. Guedes was played in by Rodrigo in the 51st minute but couldn't convert, while on the other end Cabral had a header saved by Neto.

The deadlock would be broken by Santi Mina, who didn't celebrate against his former club. Soler responded the fastest to a defensive error by Sisto, and played in Guedes, who then played a fantastic lob through ball over the defense to find Santi Mina in space. He took the shot on the half-volley to beat Alvarez in the far post. Brilliant finish! Good to see this version of Santi Mina is still there after his injury.

The lead would be short-lived as Celta would equalize four minutes after. Ruben Vezo pulls down Sisto resulting in a free-kick and a booking. The set-piece was taken by Wass who found Gomez under no pressure from Garay and Mina who were around him. Gomez headed the ball, Neto was positioned to far on the opposite side, got a touch but couldn't stop the ball. I would put most of the blame for this one on the defense. There weren't many Celta players in the box and we had more than enough to mark them but we let Gomez get a free header.

Valencia would get several chances to take the lead in the final ten minutes of the game, shortly after Guedes was replaced by Ferran Torres. A corner from Pereira, found Vezo who had his header saved. Only a minute later, Kondogbia had an effort cleared off the line. Marcelino then brought in Vietto for Mina in the last 5 minutes. Vietto would instantly pick out Ferran Torres in a great position in the box, but the youngster couldn't beat Alvarez who smothered the effort.

GOALS

0-1 Santi Mina (59')
1-1 Maximiliano Gomez (63')

PLAYER RATINGS

Neto 4 - claimed the easy efforts, as any keeper should but his positioning for the goal was partially to blame, mostly a fault in set-piece defending though.
Vezo 6 - was decent going forward, beating a few defenders and creating space. Work just as hard in defense.
Garay 3.5 - poor marking to leave Gomez in space to score the goal. Didn't do much to pressure him, he just ran alongside him.
Paulista 6 - provided good defensive cover, intercepted a few dangerous balls
Lato 3.5 - was not an impressive performance. Looked vulnerable in defense and didn't offer much going forward.
Kondogbia 6.5 - good to have him back to dominate the midfield. Had one good chance on target that was cleared off the line.
Soler 7 - If the midfield wasn't already set, I want to see him again this sort of position. Started the play for the goal by capitalizing on an error
Pereira 4.5 - better than last game, but still invisible for huge periods of the game. Had a decent chance in the first half and almost assisted Vezo with a well-placed corner.
Guedes 6.5 - wonderful technique and vision to set up Santi Mina's goal. Had a few chances himself but failed to convert. If he improves his finishing and decision-making in the final third, he will be one of the best in his position.
Santi Mina 6.5 - great technique for the half-volley goal. Was quiet for a lot of the game but stepped up when needed. His first touch was bad at times this game.
Rodrigo 5.5 - mobile and active as always but didn't make as much of an impression this game.

Subs:

Ferran Torres 6 - his crosses are among the most reliable in the team.  Had a good chance to score but couldn't convert.Made a difference in the little time he came. He should've started.
Vietto N/A - not enough time, almost assisted Ferran for a goal but the latter couldn't convert.


FINAL COMMENTS

More points dropped but still in good position to qualify. We did gain a point but had more than enough chances to claim more with plenty of chances. It was interesting that Marcelino defied fan pressure to play both Pereira and Vietto again. This is either to re-affirm his confidence in them or an act of stubbornness. I hope it's the former. These players do certainly have talent but some players can excel only in certain environments and not in others, as well as certain times but not others. The decision is his whether to play them or not, as well as whether they continue or not. I honestly prefer that we seal the spot and then we can give all the players we want a final trial, a final evaluation, before a final judgement is made.

They were missing Aspas and we were missing Parejo, two key players. The extent of impact of their absence is guesswork but I think we had the advantage. It was an entertaining game from what I saw (my stream lagged a lot, so, sorry if I missed anything important).

We had 3 games within a week which is a taste of what it would be like with Champions League football next season. Squad depth and fitness will make a huge difference and it should influence the training sessions and our activity in the transfer market.

Next week, we are back at home against Eibar. We have home advantage but Eibar is a tough team and shouldn't be taken lightly. They did beat us in the reverse fixture. If Betis lose to Atletico tomorrow and we take points against Eibar we guarantee qualification in front of the home crowd so it should be a great treat.

As usual, please let us know your thoughts of the game in the comments below. 


  • Is Marcelino's inclusion of Pereira and Vietto an act of confidence or pure stubbornness?
  • How did Soler do in a central role and would you like to see more of it? 
  • Does Guedes justify his price tag (35-40 million)?
  • Who impressed? Who disappointed?

All comments, thoughts and opinions are welcome. Amunt!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Valencia CF 1-2 Getafe CF Match Report

Rodrigo's Player of the Month Award was presented to him at the beginning of today's game but the occasion would be overshadowed with a defeat. Getafe completed the double over us today, beating us home and away. Both games went in a similar manner and resulted in a red card. There were many factors that could be pointed out for the loss. We remain within distance of 3rd place with only a 3 point difference separating us from Real Madrid who dropped points as well after a draw against Bilbao.

LINEUP


The lineup featured many changes from last week's game against Barcelona. Both Rodrigo and Santi Mina were benched to give a start to Zaza and an out-of-favor Vietto. The suspension of Kondogbia would've normally saw the inclusion of Coquelin but as he is injured, Maksimovic was given the role. Andreas Pereira was given a chance to start as well; whether this was due to a less than ideal performance from Soler last time, or just simply to give him a final evaluation, it is unclear. With Paulista also suspended, the defense saw Murillo partner Garay in the heart of defense. Gaya remains untouched in left-back while Montoya returned after some experimentation with Vezo in that role last game. A rare appearance from Jaume in goal completed the lineup, as he was chosen to start over Neto. I was comfortable with that majority of the lineup when I first saw it but I had a concern over two positions: Vietto and Maksimovic. The former rarely paid off for us this season, while the latter had extremely big shoes to fill despite showing promise in other positions earlier in the season.

MATCH

The game plan for Getafe was clear from the opening minutes. They would employ a tactic that has often caused us trouble this season: aggressive pressing with emphasis on our key players that transition to quick breaks. It was executed well and paid off, as it has done before. This strategy was helped by having a referee that favored a free flowing game with no interruptions. The play was often allowed to proceed despite harsh challenges. 

Within 16 minutes, the aggressive pressing from Flamini won the ball back from Guedes and the ball found Damian Suarez who caught the defense off-guard with a through-ball to find Loic Remy who took one touch to control and another to slot it to the left of Jaume from the inside edge of the box. Garay had stepped up and was caught by surprise that Remy was onside and complaining to the linesman but there was no question it was onside. The challenge on Guedes to win the ball back was questionable for me, no matter how many times I watch it I can't see it as a fair challenge. I will accept the bias and say it was 50/50 at best and we were on the losing end of the coin toss.

We would have a bunch of half-chances with a header from Maksimovic following a corner, as well as another closer header from Zaza from a free-kick that both failed to hit the target. A poor first-half overall.

The second half would start in an unfortunate manner as Getafe extended their lead. Gaya went forward to press in the opposing half and was caught out of position as the ball was played forward. Murillo went wide to cover for him but Molina would get by him with ease and carry the ball to the edge of the box drawing the attention of the defenders and Maksimovic who also tracked back. This left Remy on the edge of the box with space and he was spotted by Molina who picked him out and Remy would beat Jaume again from range. 

Getafe would have the chance to extend their lead to 3 within a few minutes. A long diagonal ball from Getafe was headed down by Gaya to Pereira who was slower to react than Damian Suarez. The Getafe player then played a through ball for Molina who dummied Murillo and had the net at his mercy but skied the shot.

Marcelino got fed up and resorted to his substitutions, using all 3 at once. Vietto, Pereira and Maksimovic were replaced by Rodrigo, Ferran Torres and Soler respectively. It was interesting to see the fans' jeering and booing at the players who were substituted as their performance was deemed poor. 

The effect of the change would be instantaneous with Valencia playing significantly better. Rodrigo, especially outdid himself, linking up with players all over. He was mobile and created a lot of space. It would take him only 7 minutes to find a goal. Montoya played a one-two with Parejo on the right and the former then found Rodrigo at edge of the box who took a shot as he was turning and beat Guaita with a spectacular finish. Credit to Rodrigo not only for the great finish but by making himself available for the pass and getting into position. A great example for mobile play. 

Valencia would get another good chance with Ferran Torres crossing from the ball from the right, which was met by Zaza who mistimed his jump and missed a great chance. A few minutes later, a run into space from Guedes would be picked out by Parejo. Guedes had tons of space to make it through to the box but was tactically taken down by the Getafe right-back, Djene. He made no contact with the ball, had his studs up and took a player who was just about through onto goal out and yet the referee deemed it only worthy of a yellow card. I don't understand why Guedes does not get the same protection from the referee as other players. He was absolutely battered this game and could've very well have been seriously injured but it often went ignored, especially in that instance. I have no doubt it should've been red. 

Unfortunately, towards the final minutes of the game with continued dominance from Valencia, Parejo decided to foul a player off the ball after the referee seemingly ignored a challenge on him. This was also in the midst of a great move by Soler to get the ball forward, however the referee stopped play, red carded Parejo (straight red, not second yellow). The referee also booked the Getafe player for his previous challenge, (guessing he played advantage). Totally bad decision from Parejo, who had played very well today only for it to fall apart at the end. The challenge on it's own was worthy of yellow but accompanied by the fact that it was off the ball and with the intent of retaliation, the referee deemed it a red-card offense. With 10 men and 5 minutes remaining, it would be tough to equalize against a well-organized Getafe team and Valencia would concede the loss.

GOALS

0-1 Loic Remy (16')
0-2 Loic Remy (48')
1-2 Rodrigo (69')

PLAYER RATINGS

Jaume 3.5 - despite Remy being given space in both goals, they were both from distance and maybe he could've done a bit better.
Gaya 4 - decent going forward and linking up with Guedes, caught too far forward for the second goal.
Murillo 3 - beaten too easily for the second goal and again for a would-be third goal if it wasn't a miss
Garay 4 - lost track of Remy for the first goal, other than that looked solid
Montoya 5 - good link-up with Parejo for the build-up to Rodrigo's goal. Not much trouble from his end in defense. 
Maksimovic 2.5 - again he had big shoes to fill and I don't think he could make anywhere near the impression that Kondogbia or Coquelin would have in this role. He's more suited in creative roles.
Parejo 5.5 (6.5 without the red card) - He was having a great game, with reliable passing and retained possession well. Very unprofessional as captain to get sent-off at such an important time for an off-the-ball challenge.
Pereira 2.5 - he seems very lethargic and lackluster. He doesn't look like he has the motivation and hunger we saw at the beginning of the season. Also looks frustrated, don't know if it is out of self-reflection or entitlement.
Guedes 7 - great game and was a constant source of trouble. He always gets dealt with using aggression and understandably so as he is difficult to stop. My only problem is that he seems to hold on to the ball a little too long before playing a pass or shooting. 
Vietto 2 - really not showing any of the abilities I know he has. Needs to be more mobile and active but seems to have lost confidence and know he's on his way out.
Zaza 4 - made a mess out of a great chance by mistiming his jump after a great cross from Ferran. I didn't see much of the pressing game and work ethic that I admire him for this game.

Subs:

Soler 6 - looked great in a central role. Great job to win the ball back and start a dangerous run, however, we won't know how it ends since Parejo's challenge stopped the play. 
Ferran Torres 6 - definitely talent to be cultivated here. Got into dangerous positions and delivered some useful crosses.
Rodrigo 7.5 - amazing skill for the goal, not only the great shot but to move off-the-ball into space. He seems to gain new skills every game and was definitely a game-changer today. Mobile, quick, and great work ethic.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Getafe played better for the majority of the game. They deserved their 2 goal advantage for the way they were playing and could've had a third. The aggressive style of play is, as we discussed many times previously, one of the ways to deal with a counter-attacking team. I always appreciate a referee that likes to maintain the flow of the game and doesn't stop the game as it gets frustrating for viewers. However, at times, it was too much. The leniency on the challenge on Guedes was the incorrect decision in my opinion but we don't know the degree that such a decision would influence the game. It would give us a better chance for sure, even if the Parejo suspension would follow. However, it remains undeniable that we weren't at the level of a third or fourth place team in La Liga should be at today. 

Another take-away is the importance of Kondogbia and Coquelin's position in midfield. We are blessed to have two high quality players in that position and this is an unfortunate instance where they were both out, for suspension and injury respectively. I think at this time of the season now, we and the coaching staff should have a better understanding of which players we want to keep and which players are better off to be loaned, replaced or having their loan spell be the end of their time here. We have 5 games left to play and, assuming Betis win tomorrow, we need to win 2 of the 5 games to guarantee qualification. With the games at hand, we have no excuse. 

Next week's game is away at Celta and we have to play without Parejo as he will certainly face suspension. Will be great to have Kondogbia back though. It will certainly be a tough game as they have troubled many of the top teams and Aspas is on blazing form. 

As usual let us know your thoughts about the game in the comments below. 
  • Was the challenge on Guedes red-card worthy? 
  • Do we need more protection on our players?
  • How should we lineup next week without Parejo?
  • Which players are irredeemable and should be sold/let go?
  • Who impressed?
  • Who disappointed?
All comments, thoughts and opinions are welcome!