The Valencia Tugboat Sunk By The Villareal Yellow Submarine
This was a game I really believed that we would win. Villareal, having played on Thursday against Liverpool must have been feeling a little jaded especially knowing they had the return leg next week However, as the case is so often our 'heroes' let us down yet again this season.
The game started well enough for us and we seemed for a while to be in control. Unfortunately, a throw in from Cancello was totally miscontrolled on the chest of Rodrigo, the ball bounced away to Soldado to cross for Samuel to make a mug of Siqueira and place the ball to the left of Alves. there were there enough defenders to prevent the goal but they seemed all over the place and not at all organised as has been the case too often this season. So, 14 minutes and a goal down, not a great start but plenty of time to get back in the game. Santos had stepped in for Abdennour and Negredo was given an opportunity in place of Alcacer. Fuego being preferred to Perez and Cancello instead of Barragan.
Villareal's Rodrigo had a chance to add to their score but narrowly missed when a long shot scraped the post. In the 33rd minute we were two goals down. The defense had all inexplicably pushed forward leaving Adrian alone on the left wing. A long ball found him and after a long run unopposed through the Valencia half, easily beat the out rushing Alves in the home goal to make it 0-2. The chances now seemed to be falling all the way of Villareal with Valencia finding it difficult to make any impression on the team in yellow.
In the second half Cancello was making plenty of runs and crosses but nobody seemed to be getting on the end of them and we nearly lost another goal when Siqueira deflected to cross onto the post.
Soldado had been causing all sorts of problems for Valencia and what a pity we did not take the risk on buying him from Spurs as he still looks as good as ever and has added to his game after his spell in the Premier Division in England. His deft flicks and lay offs caused us problems every time.
Cheryshev was introduced in place of Mina but unfortunately soon went down holding his leg and it appears that his old injury has been aggravated and it may be the end of his season for us. Maybe we can get him a bit cheaper if he is injured. Perez was on for Fuego and Alcacer for Gomez. None of the changes made much difference because we were outplayed for most of it the game by all round better and a more organised team. It is no surprise they have qualified for the Champions League and they are class team in my opinion.
There were spells in the second half when we played some good football and retained the ball well for long periods. Unfortunately we were lacking penetration and Villareal were content to let us have the ball in our own half and sit back to soak up the pressure what little we had to offer. They packed their defense and even though Cancello was making good runs there was nobody there to finish them off. We had to play ten minutes until the end with only ten men after Cheryshev went off as all the subs had Been used.
When you play Villareal you need all players playing well. Unfortunately, Javi Fuego, Andre Gomes, Negredo, Rodrigo and Santi Mina, were all below what should be expected. Good games for Santos and Parejo and of course Mustafi. There was nothing in the game for us to play for other than local pride and rewarding the fans for an awful season but it was not to be. I was at the game and saw no lack of effort or will to win I think that we were just not good enough on the day.
There will have to be major changes in the playing staff next season, we really need to bring in some new blood to invigorate the team and the fans, we definitely can not continue like this or the stadium will be empty.
Alves 5.5 Not really at fault for the goals as I was left exposed but maybe could have done better and had no other shots to save.
Siqueira 5.5 Made some good attacking runs especially in the first half but maybe could have done more on the second goal
Santos 6.5 Replaced Abdennour and looked a really good player tonight, in my opinion. always strong in the tackle and no errors that I can recall
7.0 Mustafi Won everything in the air and looked as good as ever. worked well with Santos with better understanding.
6.5 Cancello Went missing a few times in defense and was rebuffed by the coach for it but very effective in attack. Surely his place is right midfield and we need to get a more defensive right back to cover . With Feghouli probably going he is the man to replace him.
Parejo 7.0 This is the Parejo I like to see, despite things going wrong around him he was always involved and spreading the ball well. Deserves better players around him.
Gomes 5.0 A great footballer with amazing skills but as I have always been saying, where is the end ball? where is the goal?. They are just not coming and that is what you have to be judged on and he is just not doing it for me.
Fuego 5.0 Another flop of the day. Just when he has had a couple of decent performances recently I believe he is back to his worst self. Giving away too many balls and should have been replaced by Perez earlier.
Rodrigo 5.5 Can never be accused of not running and not trying but missed a good chance to score and did nothing to convince me that he has a future here at the moment. Maybe needs a loan out somewhere to improve his game.
Mina 5.5 I am honestly trying to remember if he did anything to comment on either good or bad but can not remember what I did do, therefoe the low score.
Negredo 5.5 A real enigma, tonight laid off some nice balls at times then fell over on other occasions. To me I still think he looks overweight and lethargic and I can not understand why Alcacer did not start the game. Maybe as decisions will be made soon, it was another opportunity for him to prove himself. Well, I think he failed tonight.
Cheryshev 59 mins for Mina
Perez 70 mins for Fuego
Alcacer 76mins for Gomez
Goals Samuel 14mins - 33mins Adrian
Yellow card Fuego
Attendance 40,000 (39,000 of them disappointed people)