Second match in the Spanish league and second draw for Valencia CF, this time at home in the Mestalla. Once again Nuno Santo decided to start with pretty much the reserve team, obviously with few first team choices put in as well to mix it up.
The match started well off for Valencia CF, the team did have more of the possession and was trying to push forward and attack, but the whole team dynamic seemed weak, the players didn't seem practiced enough with each other and I think part of the reason is that Nuno has been changing the team completely from match to match. I understand wanting to rest some of the players when it was qualification on the table and you rest them for that match, but you absolutely need to play them when they've had at least 5 days rest and is in the league.
So even though the team had a good start, it wasn't really anything to brag home about and our attack was severely lacking, most of the balls were lost at around the 25th meter mark and there were barely any crosses or passes into dangerous positions.
In fact Santi Mina looked completely out of his depths, Moreno looked like a shadow of himself from the previous match and Rodrigo De Paul lost too many balls either through needles dribbling or just erroneous passes. As pacey and energetic as he is, he is no David Silva or Juan Mata to really link up with the attack, so most of his initiations and actions failed.
Anyways RC Deportivo would actually go on to score the first goal, Lucas Perez got the ball on the left side in quite a dangerous position, ran forward and scored.
Valencia CF didn't look like scoring based on the performance so far, but thankfully Alvaro Negredo would score from pretty much an accident. Santi Mina rose the tallest to the free kick and headed the ball on the right far side where Negredo was positioned and he easily slotted the ball into the net.
The second half was pretty much devoid of anything in the first 15 minutes, it was mostly midfield battle and really terrible attacks from Valencia CF, Nuno then introduced Parejo and Feghouli together and the match changed. Parejo was far more attacking and was able to really distribute the ball around efficiently and Feghouli instantly had a huge impact on the game as he caused all sorts of problems for the Deportivo defense on that right side of the field.
Finally Deportivo's goalkeeper actually had to react on few occasions and their defense was stretched thin, unfortunately some of the attacks lacked that final pass, some lacked the accuracy, some of it bad luck and there were quite a few offsides as well.
One particularly good chance was when De Paul received a cross in a great position and he was left unmarked by any Deportivo player, but unfortunately he was marked by Moreno who literally stood directly in front of him and prevented him from shooting, forcing De Paul to move left and by the time he shot one of the defenders blocked his shot.
So yeah, Moreno was nowhere to be seen in the penalty area for basically 60+ minutes and he decided to be there when he was better off being elsewhere. So yeah, call it terrible positioning, call it bad luck, call it stupidity, but Valencia CF just couldn't seem to be able to score.
Towards the end Barragan got a second yellow card and was given an automatic red card and that pretty much killed any small chance the team had of scoring. After that Deportivo started attacking and controlling the midfield and Valencia's chances came to a premium. There was one last chance for Paco, a good lob-cross by Feghouli to him, he would find himself alone against the goalkeeper, but his shot was pathetic and went straight to the goalkeeper who had to trouble easily stopping it.
Two easy matches at the start of the season and two draws that are sure to cost us in the long term, you can't get easier opponents than this at the start and if we can't win against these teams, what teams can we win against?
Hopefully this teaches Nuno a lesson as well, he can't rely on reserve team players with barely any experience and lack of accomplishments, Santi Mina might be talented, but when you put him in a team that is all about talent, but no practical skills then he can't even learn and get better. It was clear as night and day the difference between Santi Mina and Sofiane Feghouli and this is why some of the transfers this summer perplexed me, instead of strengthening the squad and getting players who can instantly make a difference, who can instantly contribute, we bought another bunch of young, inexperienced, needing developments youngsters and are forced to rely mostly on the old established team.
Danilo seemed okay, but he is a defensive midfielder, he can play alongside Parejo, alongside Enzo, he is not a play maker, this is a coaching error, relying on a defensive midfield to be a creator, I mean he did well, but again limited by his skillset.
Valencia CF: Ryan, Barragán, Mustafi, Vezo, Gayà, Javi Fuego, Danilo (Parejo, m. 62), De Paul, Santi Mina (Feghouli, m. 62), Rodrigo, Negredo (Alcácer, m. 75).
Deportivo: Lux, Laure, Arribas, Sidnei, Navarro, Mosquera, Borges, Juanfran (Jonathan, m. 70), Fayçal, Luis Alberto (Luisinho, m. 29), Lucas.
Lucas Pérez 0-1, 38 min.
Alvaro Negredo 1-1, 45 min. Assist Stanti Mina
Ryan 6 - Didn't actually have much to deal with, made some casual saves, he is also improving his handing out of the ball and he passed the ball to the back line more, rather than kick it.
Barragan 4 -Wasn't particularly good on the night, failed time and time in attack and always comited fouls when defending, I guess he was still tired from last match, Improved a bit offensively when Feghouli came in and combined well few times, but then got himself sent off with one of his terrible fouls.
Mustafi 6 - Dealt with most that came his way, but did have few fails and could have been more proficient in marking and blocking.
Vezo 6.5 - Had a good game, was caught out of position for the first goal, but hardly his mistake as the team completely failed for that one.
Gaya 6 - Had a decent match, better defensively than recently and went forward to a good extent as well, didn't have any kind of understanding with Moreno though.
Fuego 6 - He did okay defensively and passed the ball from the back to midfield, kept it simple and mostly stayed out of the attacking play.
Danilo 5.5 - He is a more defensive player, that is just his style, his skillset, so it was surprising to see him put as a playmaker. Completely failed in that department and even though he did have some nice passing, he couldn't really control the game.
De Paul 5.5 - I like some of his contribution and hate the other, he positions well and pops up all over the place, is active and energetic, but his final ball, his pass accuracy is severely lacking.
Santi Mina 4 - Just completely ineffective, was unable to penetrate on the wing, was disposed easily off of the ball pretty much every time and failed to combine with Barragan.
Negredo 7 - I liked his play, he seemed really active, was positioning good and his good positioning paid off in the 45th minute when he was able to score a goal. Unlucky to be subbed instead of Moreno.
Moreno 4.5 - Shadow of his former self, looked half the player from the previous match and was unable to do anything, except block De Paul from shooting and possibly scoring.
Parejo 6.5 - Instantly changed the game, was way more offensive, spread the ball way more efficently than Danilo and was able to create play.
Feghouli 7 - Great contribution, made countless passes and crosses into the penalty area and caused Deportivo's defense all sorts of problems.
Paco 5 - Had one great shot just after he came on that forced Dario Lux into action, but later on he whiffed a good opportunity to give Valencia CF the lead and likely victory. Needs to improve a lot if he wants to start any games anytime soon.