Saturday, February 4, 2017

Valencia 0-4 Eibar

I'm disgusted. I'm disgusted with these players, who despite being highly-paid professionals, rarely show the commitment we expect and play as if they're in a training match with their friends. I'm disgusted with the management of this club and its woeful transfer policy, which failed to take the opportunities to get us the defensive midfielder that we need in the January transfer window. I'm disgusted with the owner, who has been totally invisible as things have gone downhill. I'm extremely disgusted with La Liga referees and their sheer incompetence which has cost us numerous points.

Tonight we saw yet again what we saw in the Copa versus Celta. It only takes the absence of a couple of players and Valencia fall apart. The squad is woefully lacking in depth.

Regarding the match itself, the first 30 minutes were dire from Valencia. The team constantly seems to struggle against teams which employ a high press and were constantly pinned back, struggling to put any passing movements together. Often the ball would head back to Alves who would launch it forward ineffectively as we have few players who provide an aerial presence. So, usually the ball would come straight back. The defence also seem to lack confidence on the ball and so it's incredibly rare that we can initiate any type of decent counter-attack.

It was no surprise when Eibar were ahead in the 27th minute. Eibar were seemingly able to pass about in the midfield at will and hit a long diagonal cross field ball to the right wing with our midfielders standing around like headless chickens and from the resultant cross, the defence weren't much better, Montoya letting his man get in front of him. Alves should've done better too.

Up front, Valencia were lacklustre, with the 3 forwards operating almost as independent units. There was no understanding at all between Mina and Zaza and they got in each other's way more than anything. Cancelo didn't seem sure whether he was supposed to be a forward or a defender and did neither. Charging back like a bull to commit a couple of fouls giving away free kicks in dangerous areas. Meanwhile Alves was getting heckled by some sections of our fans and unwisely chose to respond.

Just before half time came a key moment. I wouldn't say turning point because we'd been so poor up until then, but it was a moment that certainly confirmed our defeat. With Valencia defending a corner the players jostled each other as always happens in these situations. An Eibar player put a hand on Soler's face, Soler reacted by pushing him away. Normally, the referee would halt the corner and head in to tell both players to cool it. In this case it's Valencia, who referees seem to have a vendetta against. This ref responded with a straight red card and a penalty. 0-2. Game over. Sure, Valencia had looked dismal up to then, but there's a massive difference between being a goal down at home and being 2 goals down with 10 men. I'm sick of these refs, when is La Liga going to employ refs that can do the job?

There was a slight and relative improvement in the second half, but with ten men and playing to a rapidly emptying stadium full of whistles, another couple of goals sunk us. The third was a wonder goal and the fourth was down to poor defending, Garay and Mangala failing to cut out with Montoya again letting his man in front. Bakkali and Orellana came on and improved things for us, but the end of the game, like the end of this season, couldn't come quickly enough. It's hard to believe that the Villarreal game was 2 weeks ago.

I will be on holiday next weekend, so can someone else cover the Betis game write-up, please?

I'm not going to give the players a rating this time, most of them were equally awful and I'd rather finish this horror story now.

PLAYER COMMENTS

Alves - Made some good stops, but seems to be in decline and arguing with the crowd is never a wise move.
Montoya - Made a couple of decent interceptions on the right but partly at fault on at least two of the goals.
Mangala - at fault with the rest of the defence and often unsure what to do with the ball when he had possession
Garay - lacklustre and failed to offer leadership at the back
Gaya - wasn't too bad in a forward role but struggled in defence
Suarez - was able to halt some dangerous moves, but really poor passing
Soler - had been anonymous, but didn't deserve a yellow, let alone a red
Medran - he made an effort but it was not enough. Makes Parejo look world class.
Mina - far better in a central role, limited impact on the left
Zaza - first start and put in a good effort, but all too often his decision-making was poor, passing when he should've shot and vice versa
Cancelo - rubbish. Clumsy tackles, poor passing and at least twice when he had the ball he decided to try and be Maradona and dribble up, losing the ball in dangerous positions. That 30m that was talked about for him suddenly seems like an act of charity.

SUBS
Bakkali - looked threatening, remains a mystery why he never gets his chance and seems doomed to leave.
Orellana - shame this was his debut, good performance, looking forward to seeing more of him.

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