Monday, November 7, 2016

Celta 2-1 Valencia

It's another day of frustration for Valencia. This had always looked a tough game on paper, but it's all the more frustrating because Valencia were the better side, but came away with nothing. Before the game odds had given Celta a 43% chance of winning, with a 30% chance for Valencia. By the start of the second half that had shifted to 25% for Celta and 35% for Valencia. Ultimately, it doesn't matter. Football is not about playing better, it's about putting the ball in the net.

Prandelli, as predicted, learned from his mistake of starting Abdennour in the previous game and switched Montoya to left back with Cancelo dropping back. Fede starting rather than Munir or Mina was the only real surprise.

Valencia started well, constantly pressing and pressurising Celta and giving them no opportunity at all to get the ball into dangerous positions. When Celta had the ball, they came up against two walls of four and the first half hour mostly was a midfield slugfest, with Valencia also unable to create any real chances. The only real one came in the tenth minute when a cross found Nani, who headed straight at the keeper.

In the 32nd minute, VCF were deservedly ahead. Rodrigo was hauled back in the area and Parejo slotted the penalty home well. It wouldn't last. The goal galvanised Celta who started to play better. 10 minutes later Celta had the ball in our box and 3 (!) of our players were unable to close down one guy, who had enough time and space to turn and shoot, with Suarez just watching the ball sail past him.

Valencia would be on top for most of the second half too. In the 49th minute Nani crossed well for Medran, who headed over. Rodrigo shot wide 5 minutes later from an angle but with only the goalkeeper to beat and Parejo and Nani also joined the "party" with misses of their own. After the 70th minute Valencia again started to get sloppy, concentration went and more and more passes found their way to opposition players. In the 75th minute we gave the ball away in midfield resulting in a good chance for them which Alves saved well. However, from the resultant corner, Celta scored. They'd had 3 chances the whole game and had scored twice. We'd had countless ones but had been useless in attack.

Prandelli belatedly brought on Mina and Munir but they did very little to change the dynamic of the game, which ended in a frustrating loss. If there's any criticism of Prandelli from this, it's that the subs should have come on 10 minutes earlier, when legs were starting to tire.

Valencia now has 10 points from 11 games. If we keep this points average, we'll end with 34 points. In all of the last 10 seasons, that would be enough to be relegated. The team that has finished 18th has had 35-43 points, with 39 being the average. Forget the Europa league, Valencia need to improve and fast, unless we want to play Murcia, Mirandes, Lugo and Huesca next season. The hard fact is that in the past, we could've complained about the manager or the defence. It's now obvious to most of us that the manager knows what he's doing but the players simply aren't good enough and only major reinforcements will improve things.

PLAYER RATINGS

Alves 7 - Didn't have a lot to do but mostly did his job well. Couldn't do much about the first goal in particular.
Montoya 4.5 - Average performance. Mostly held his ground well, but the first goal came from his side.
Garay 5.5 - Not living up to his 20m price tag so far. Should have closed the space down better for the first goal.
Mangala 6 - Reasonable enough game, was solid in the first half, but got a bit sloppy towards the end.
Cancelo 6 - No real mistakes to complain about, but he's far better off in an advanced position.
Suarez 5 - Was ok in the first half, but offers little going forward.
Medran 6 - Had a quiet game and was less effective with his passing than before.
Parejo 6.5 - There's a pattern emerging with him. Good in the first part of the game, but flags later and seems to lose concentration, with poor passing the result.
Nani 5 - Created a few chances, but missed a couple as well. All too often he can be a bit greedy and fails to track back
Rodrigo 5.5 - Same again. Tireless running, good closing down and this season, he's been getting himself in better positions, but can't finish to save his life.
Fede 5.5 - First start in two and a half years. His passing and decision making could be better, but he did track back well to help the defence.

SUBS
Munir 4 - highly rated by Barca fans, but it's hard to see why. Offered little after coming on.
Mina 3.5 - hard to know what's gone wrong, but the fact that Fede and Munir are now preferred ahead of him is a sign of how out of form he is. Might as well have stayed on the bench.






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