Valencia has not had, by many teams' standards, a great season. The club hired and fired two managers, settling for a man who has never coached a team in a professional league for more than 3 or 4 games. Not to take away from what Voro has managed during his short tenure, but to find themselves with him as their best option shows Valencia’s board is a little desperate.
And they should be. Valencia was forced to sell some of its best players--Paco Alcacer, Andre Gomes, and Mustafi--over the summer to make ends meet. To replace them, the board brought in players for whom it would be kind to call gambles, such as Medran, Mangala, and Mario Suarez. Some of the gambles payed off, like Montoya and Mangala. Others look less comfortable on the pitch, like Mario Suarez. Regardless, from the start, Valencia looked to be on tenuous ground.
The season started with a wild 2-4 loss against Las Palmas in Mestalla. Though Santi Mina scored the first goal, the lead couldn’t be kept, as Livaja scored his first goal in LStiga only ten minutes after. Then, we had a harsh penalty called against us, letting Las Palmas take the lead. They soon scored again, another debutante in La Liga, Kevin Prince, and though Santi Mina scored again, the game was out of reach.
That game is fairly symbolic of the season. The team plays well, scores, and then collapses as the opponent exploits its various instabilities. Two weeks later, after tying a two-goal lead against Real Betis with 10 men--a Herculean feat--a minute 92 goal cost us the point, and the moral boost.
Against Barcelona, after taking the lead in minute 56 and later being tied up until minute 93, a harsh penalty robbed Valencia's fan of the chance to savour that feeling of holding back a great team.
Against Celta, another lead was given up. A minute 93 goal conceded against Malaga cost us another 2 points. Against Eibar, after playing a strong first half, in the 45th minute, an incredibly severe penalty and red card was given to Soler for a typical scruff in the box.
Luck is an integral part of football. It's a crazy, messy game with many variables and moving parts. A goal can be scored or conceded in a matter of seconds. Real Madrid is a team with extremely good luck (some saying suspiciously good luck) being able to pull "remontadas" against very difficult odds. Many times, a team can play well but still be unlucky. It’s part of what makes this sport so fun to watch.
Recently, Valencia has had terrible luck. They had terrible luck with referees, with their transfers, with their fans, and more. The last-minute goals, the unfair penalties, the untimely injuries. It weighs a team down.
This is not to say that Valencia is solely held back by bad luck. The team has played very poorly for stretches of the season, and deserved the correspondingly poor results.To truly fix Valencia’s issues with form, solutions need to come tactically and systematically from management.
Still, on a team level and on an individual player level, it has often seemed as though Valencia was labouring under a curse.
Can we hope that curse may be lifting? Against Espanyol, Valencia was able to keep their lead and get all three points. Against Real Madrid, Zaza and Orellana put in the two best chances the team had in the first 12 minutes, and then the team was able to hold off one of the best offenses in the world, no small accomplishment. Against Athletic, there were two fortunate goals and a returning from injury Aduriz that let Valencia through unscathed.
Don't wash that lucky jersey yet. The trials aren't over, the deep issues still remain, and anything can happen in football. Nevertheless, going into the rest of the season, there is reason to hope that Valencia might have better luck,and that it will create a certain stability that will let them deal with their problems.
What do you think? Has luck affected us more than other teams? Will we get better? Let us know in the comments section below.