After a terrible string of heavy losses in both La Liga and the Europa League in which 12 goals were conceded within the span of 4 games, Valencia finally step up their game. There were still many faults in certain aspects of the game, especially the defense. However, relative to the previous games, there was plenty of energy, passion and a desire to win.
This result can be misleading though. While Sevilla were in theory direct rivals for the Champions/Europa League in recent years, this year they are an almost completely new squad. Having sold most of their players (most notably Negredo and Navas), they came into this game with two points and without a single win in the league so far. Even though, that could have meant a team with extra conviction, it was a team with no confidence. It's great that Valencia managed a win but the team shouldn't get their hopes too high.
The first half featured energy and potency that was lacking against previous opponents. Valencia managed more chances in the opening 10 minutes, than the entire game against Swansea. The team pressed for every ball and suffocated Sevilla in their own half. At times Valencia was overdoing it and making unnecessary challenges. The other big improvement was possession of the ball. Passes were, for the most part, more carefully made and thankfully much more accurate. The exception to that being the defense, more specifically, Ricardo Costa and much less Mathieu. Costa often messed up passes at the back and left Sevilla players get in one-on-one position that were, thankfully, either dealt with by Diego Alves or were not taken advantage of by Sevilla.
This game also featured noticeable wing-play (finally!!). Fede, who was substituted early against Swansea after Rami's red card, was the main protagonist on the wings. He cut-in, crossed, passed, assisted a goal and at was alternating wings and impressing on both wings (everything that Feghouli has failed to do recently).
The forwards proved more dangerous this game, with Postiga having shots on sight and Jonas bagging a brace. The first goal was slotted in from a Fede cross while the other one a long-range effort after a lay off from Pereira.
The final goal came from Ricardo Costa's substitute, Victor Ruiz who impressed in the time he was on. He was more solid at the back than Costa and was much more cautious with his passes.
Sevilla's only goal, which came after Jonas's first, was a result of poor marking. If you leave Gameiro unmarked he's going to finish, so he should obviously be closed down. However, he was left in acres of spaces and had no problem beating Diego Alves from that range.
So overall, huge step-up from previous games but not a reason to celebrate, not yet at least. Still at 9th in the league at 6 points. While it is better than the 16th position which we were in before the game, it's still disappointing. A lot of teams have double the points we do from the same number of games (5 games). A lot of the teams above us are beginning to drop points and this is the chance to climb. Next game is away against Granada, a perfect chance to build up the momentum. It's still a long season however. The question is if it will be one of promise or one of further disappointment.
Valencia (3): Diego Alves; Joao Pereira, R. Costa (Victor Ruiz, m.58), Mathieu, Guardado; Javi Fuego, Banega, Fede; Jonas (Canales, m.78), Dorlan Pabón (Juan Bernat, m.70), Helder Postiga
Sevilla (1): Beto; Coke, Cala, Navarro, Alberto Moreno; M’Bia (Bryan Rabello, m.76), Rakitic, Jairo, Vitolo (Bacca, m.71), Marko Marin, Kevin Gameiro (Cristoforo, m.63)
Goals: 38min, 1-0, Jonas; 52min, 1-1, Gameiro; 73min, 2-1, Jonas; 83min, 3-1, Victor Ruiz;
Diego Alves 6 - Wasn't troubled that often by the Sevilla attack. When he was needed provided two good saves from close range.
Joao 6 - Great runs on the right flank as usual. Good partnership with Fede and was an active part of the forward runs while still maintaining his side of the defense. However, the conceded goal came from his side.
Costa 4 - Lost possession often and was slow to react afterwards. Poor performance overall by the captain. Easily beaten by Sevilla forwards and drawn too easily to the ball.
Mathieu 5.5 - Average display from the Frenchman. Covered for Costa's mistakes but made some of his own. Drawn easily to the ball.
Guardado 5 - Decent coverage at the back. Wasted possession at times with useless crosses when there was barely anyone up front.
Javi Fuego 6 - Was the epitome of the pressing game that Valencia played today. Quick to close down Sevilla attackers.
Banega 6 - Kept possession well for the majority of the game. His cross found Ruiz to clinch the win.
Still a long way from his best form and made a considerable number of careless passes.
Fede 7.5 (MotM)- Great all-round performance by the youngster. Proved his worth over Feghouli and terrorized the Sevilla defenders left, right and center. He was everywhere and even provided Jonas with an assist for the first goal. Should be a regular starter. Great night for him.
Jonas 7 - Stepped up to the plate when needed the most. Was in the right position for the first goal and produced a piece of magic for the second.
Pabón 6 - His pace posed danger to the Sevilla defense but failed to trouble the keeper. He had a really good chance in the first half but other than that he effectively stretched the Sevilla defense.
Postiga 5.5 - Really active in the first half and had many shots but couldn't convert. Pressured well but was almost invisible in the second half.
Ruiz 6 - Solid at the back and marked his man well. If today is anything to go by, he should replace Costa as starter. Great positioning at the back post for the match clincher after a cross from Banega.
Bernat 5.5 - Was really quiet for the most part and was overshadowed by Fede who kept appearing on the left wing. When he did get the ball, he provided a few decent crosses.
Canales N/A - Not enough time.
P.S. Deepest apologies for not maintaining the site in the previous weeks. Had some issues to clear up but hopefully we will be able to post as normal.
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