Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Review of the season, part 2: the players

In the previous post, I looked at some of the issues surrounding the club. In the second part of the mid-season review, here's how I think the players have done.

JAUME. Got his chance with the injuries to Ryan and Alves and has seized it with both hands, even saving 2 penalties from 2, Alves-style. Has been let down at times by poor defending. Breakout player of the season without doubt.

RYAN. Unluckiest member of the squad, losing his place to Jaume due to an injury. Has been fine, though at times, looks shaky in the air. I could see him being loaned out in the summer and eventually departing, especially if Alves returns. He’s too good to sit on the bench.

ORBAN. One of three players ostracized by Nuno and has done little to prove him wrong. Has been a major flop this season. His positioning is usually poor and he’s forced to rely on risky tackles around the box. Not good enough for the side.

GAYA. One of the few solid players. Good in tackling and getting forward, however, his crosses have lacked the incisiveness of the previous season and another weakness is that he often gets caught too far forward, something teams have exploited against us. Injuries are another worry. He’s been out twice this season.

MUSTAFI. Has stepped up to the plate after Ota’s departure, but the lack of a reliable partner has meant that he’s often had to do the job of two defenders, creating gaps for other teams to exploit. Needs to work on avoiding bookings.

ABDENNOUR. Supposed to be the big replacement for Otamendi. Big disappointment. Error prone and unimaginative in playing out from the back, while unable to produce offensively at corners.

SANTOS. Had a shaky start but has improved in recent games. Still has a way to go to cement a regular place, but moving in the right direction. May prove to be a better signing than Abdennour.

VEZO. Had a couple of good games at the start of the season, but looks a back-up player at best.

CANCELO. Jekyll and Hyde. As an attacker, can be lethal going forward and scored great goals against Zenit and Barakaldo. As a defender, his positioning and tackling is suspect and leads to unnecessary cards. Better as winger than a defender and Neville seems to realise this.

BARRAGAN. On a good day, can link up well on the right wing, but there have been few of those good days this season and it’s time for a change of scenery at another club.

FUEGO. Was a solid player last season, but this season has frequently been outpaced, caught out of position and has mistimed tackles trying to make up the ground. The fire has gone out of Fuego and it’s time for him to light up another team.

DANILO. Shaky start, but has looked like a decent potential, needs more experience. Has been better at central than defensive midfield.

ENZO. Has had a couple of quality games, but hasn’t lived up to his price tag. Has serious fitness issues, as he has been subbed off in 12 of the 16 games he’s started this season. Needs to do much better.

GOMEZ. Remains one of the best players on the team, but needs to show it more often as he has had a number of average games. Injuries are a worry.

PAREJO. Needs to shape up or ship out. The game against Celta showed what he could do, but just as often he’s gone missing, with sloppy passes and lack of effort, waltzing around looking like he’s out for a walk.

DEPAUL. Great potential for the future. Unfairly excluded under Nuno and a decent crosser, but needs to be better with through balls and improve his discipline, as he’s picked up stupid bookings.

BAKKALI. One of the better summer acquisitions, but needs a lot more experience before he’s granted a regular place.

PIATTI. Only 5 players have played more games than him, but that doesn’t tell the full story, as most of his appearances have been as a sub and usually haven’t improved things. He’s physically weak and can usually be muscled off the ball too easily. There are better players in the same position. Thanks, but time to move on.

RODRIGO MORENO. Clearly has quality, but only shows it in flashes. Needs to start taking his chances, otherwise his career at Valencia will end with him tagged as an overpriced flop.

SANTI MINA. Good potential, but his only good run was a few games from the Barcelona game on, where he showed intelligent running and good link up play. Otherwise, he’s been too static, loses the ball too easily and has a poor first touch.

FEGHOULI. Out since November, and the team has missed his contributions. Hopefully a new contract can be agreed.

NEGREDO. Ostracised under Nuno, he’s now back in the team but missing easy chances like the one against Real is not the way to prove how hard done by he was. Needs to vastly improve otherwise should be sold in the summer.

PACO. Has continued his development this season, especially in the air and his hold-up play, but has been let down by lack of service. However, he has also missed easy chances himself and needs to be more lethal.

RAFA MIR. Surprisingly called up for the Zenit game, but failed to do enough to cement a regular place. May have potential, but not yet ready for the first team.

ZAHIBO. Had a couple of good games in the cup, looks a reliable back-up player.

DIALLO. Has potential, but not enough quality for the first team as yet.

VILLALBA. A real potential future star. Needs to be carefully nurtured and given game time to continue his development.

TROPI. Only played a few minutes. Might be an idea to loan him and other potentials like Diallo out to see how they manage at a higher level than Valencia B.

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