Thursday, April 19, 2018

Valencia CF 1-2 Getafe CF Match Report

Rodrigo's Player of the Month Award was presented to him at the beginning of today's game but the occasion would be overshadowed with a defeat. Getafe completed the double over us today, beating us home and away. Both games went in a similar manner and resulted in a red card. There were many factors that could be pointed out for the loss. We remain within distance of 3rd place with only a 3 point difference separating us from Real Madrid who dropped points as well after a draw against Bilbao.

LINEUP


The lineup featured many changes from last week's game against Barcelona. Both Rodrigo and Santi Mina were benched to give a start to Zaza and an out-of-favor Vietto. The suspension of Kondogbia would've normally saw the inclusion of Coquelin but as he is injured, Maksimovic was given the role. Andreas Pereira was given a chance to start as well; whether this was due to a less than ideal performance from Soler last time, or just simply to give him a final evaluation, it is unclear. With Paulista also suspended, the defense saw Murillo partner Garay in the heart of defense. Gaya remains untouched in left-back while Montoya returned after some experimentation with Vezo in that role last game. A rare appearance from Jaume in goal completed the lineup, as he was chosen to start over Neto. I was comfortable with that majority of the lineup when I first saw it but I had a concern over two positions: Vietto and Maksimovic. The former rarely paid off for us this season, while the latter had extremely big shoes to fill despite showing promise in other positions earlier in the season.

MATCH

The game plan for Getafe was clear from the opening minutes. They would employ a tactic that has often caused us trouble this season: aggressive pressing with emphasis on our key players that transition to quick breaks. It was executed well and paid off, as it has done before. This strategy was helped by having a referee that favored a free flowing game with no interruptions. The play was often allowed to proceed despite harsh challenges. 

Within 16 minutes, the aggressive pressing from Flamini won the ball back from Guedes and the ball found Damian Suarez who caught the defense off-guard with a through-ball to find Loic Remy who took one touch to control and another to slot it to the left of Jaume from the inside edge of the box. Garay had stepped up and was caught by surprise that Remy was onside and complaining to the linesman but there was no question it was onside. The challenge on Guedes to win the ball back was questionable for me, no matter how many times I watch it I can't see it as a fair challenge. I will accept the bias and say it was 50/50 at best and we were on the losing end of the coin toss.

We would have a bunch of half-chances with a header from Maksimovic following a corner, as well as another closer header from Zaza from a free-kick that both failed to hit the target. A poor first-half overall.

The second half would start in an unfortunate manner as Getafe extended their lead. Gaya went forward to press in the opposing half and was caught out of position as the ball was played forward. Murillo went wide to cover for him but Molina would get by him with ease and carry the ball to the edge of the box drawing the attention of the defenders and Maksimovic who also tracked back. This left Remy on the edge of the box with space and he was spotted by Molina who picked him out and Remy would beat Jaume again from range. 

Getafe would have the chance to extend their lead to 3 within a few minutes. A long diagonal ball from Getafe was headed down by Gaya to Pereira who was slower to react than Damian Suarez. The Getafe player then played a through ball for Molina who dummied Murillo and had the net at his mercy but skied the shot.

Marcelino got fed up and resorted to his substitutions, using all 3 at once. Vietto, Pereira and Maksimovic were replaced by Rodrigo, Ferran Torres and Soler respectively. It was interesting to see the fans' jeering and booing at the players who were substituted as their performance was deemed poor. 

The effect of the change would be instantaneous with Valencia playing significantly better. Rodrigo, especially outdid himself, linking up with players all over. He was mobile and created a lot of space. It would take him only 7 minutes to find a goal. Montoya played a one-two with Parejo on the right and the former then found Rodrigo at edge of the box who took a shot as he was turning and beat Guaita with a spectacular finish. Credit to Rodrigo not only for the great finish but by making himself available for the pass and getting into position. A great example for mobile play. 

Valencia would get another good chance with Ferran Torres crossing from the ball from the right, which was met by Zaza who mistimed his jump and missed a great chance. A few minutes later, a run into space from Guedes would be picked out by Parejo. Guedes had tons of space to make it through to the box but was tactically taken down by the Getafe right-back, Djene. He made no contact with the ball, had his studs up and took a player who was just about through onto goal out and yet the referee deemed it only worthy of a yellow card. I don't understand why Guedes does not get the same protection from the referee as other players. He was absolutely battered this game and could've very well have been seriously injured but it often went ignored, especially in that instance. I have no doubt it should've been red. 

Unfortunately, towards the final minutes of the game with continued dominance from Valencia, Parejo decided to foul a player off the ball after the referee seemingly ignored a challenge on him. This was also in the midst of a great move by Soler to get the ball forward, however the referee stopped play, red carded Parejo (straight red, not second yellow). The referee also booked the Getafe player for his previous challenge, (guessing he played advantage). Totally bad decision from Parejo, who had played very well today only for it to fall apart at the end. The challenge on it's own was worthy of yellow but accompanied by the fact that it was off the ball and with the intent of retaliation, the referee deemed it a red-card offense. With 10 men and 5 minutes remaining, it would be tough to equalize against a well-organized Getafe team and Valencia would concede the loss.

GOALS

0-1 Loic Remy (16')
0-2 Loic Remy (48')
1-2 Rodrigo (69')

PLAYER RATINGS

Jaume 3.5 - despite Remy being given space in both goals, they were both from distance and maybe he could've done a bit better.
Gaya 4 - decent going forward and linking up with Guedes, caught too far forward for the second goal.
Murillo 3 - beaten too easily for the second goal and again for a would-be third goal if it wasn't a miss
Garay 4 - lost track of Remy for the first goal, other than that looked solid
Montoya 5 - good link-up with Parejo for the build-up to Rodrigo's goal. Not much trouble from his end in defense. 
Maksimovic 2.5 - again he had big shoes to fill and I don't think he could make anywhere near the impression that Kondogbia or Coquelin would have in this role. He's more suited in creative roles.
Parejo 5.5 (6.5 without the red card) - He was having a great game, with reliable passing and retained possession well. Very unprofessional as captain to get sent-off at such an important time for an off-the-ball challenge.
Pereira 2.5 - he seems very lethargic and lackluster. He doesn't look like he has the motivation and hunger we saw at the beginning of the season. Also looks frustrated, don't know if it is out of self-reflection or entitlement.
Guedes 7 - great game and was a constant source of trouble. He always gets dealt with using aggression and understandably so as he is difficult to stop. My only problem is that he seems to hold on to the ball a little too long before playing a pass or shooting. 
Vietto 2 - really not showing any of the abilities I know he has. Needs to be more mobile and active but seems to have lost confidence and know he's on his way out.
Zaza 4 - made a mess out of a great chance by mistiming his jump after a great cross from Ferran. I didn't see much of the pressing game and work ethic that I admire him for this game.

Subs:

Soler 6 - looked great in a central role. Great job to win the ball back and start a dangerous run, however, we won't know how it ends since Parejo's challenge stopped the play. 
Ferran Torres 6 - definitely talent to be cultivated here. Got into dangerous positions and delivered some useful crosses.
Rodrigo 7.5 - amazing skill for the goal, not only the great shot but to move off-the-ball into space. He seems to gain new skills every game and was definitely a game-changer today. Mobile, quick, and great work ethic.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Getafe played better for the majority of the game. They deserved their 2 goal advantage for the way they were playing and could've had a third. The aggressive style of play is, as we discussed many times previously, one of the ways to deal with a counter-attacking team. I always appreciate a referee that likes to maintain the flow of the game and doesn't stop the game as it gets frustrating for viewers. However, at times, it was too much. The leniency on the challenge on Guedes was the incorrect decision in my opinion but we don't know the degree that such a decision would influence the game. It would give us a better chance for sure, even if the Parejo suspension would follow. However, it remains undeniable that we weren't at the level of a third or fourth place team in La Liga should be at today. 

Another take-away is the importance of Kondogbia and Coquelin's position in midfield. We are blessed to have two high quality players in that position and this is an unfortunate instance where they were both out, for suspension and injury respectively. I think at this time of the season now, we and the coaching staff should have a better understanding of which players we want to keep and which players are better off to be loaned, replaced or having their loan spell be the end of their time here. We have 5 games left to play and, assuming Betis win tomorrow, we need to win 2 of the 5 games to guarantee qualification. With the games at hand, we have no excuse. 

Next week's game is away at Celta and we have to play without Parejo as he will certainly face suspension. Will be great to have Kondogbia back though. It will certainly be a tough game as they have troubled many of the top teams and Aspas is on blazing form. 

As usual let us know your thoughts about the game in the comments below. 
  • Was the challenge on Guedes red-card worthy? 
  • Do we need more protection on our players?
  • How should we lineup next week without Parejo?
  • Which players are irredeemable and should be sold/let go?
  • Who impressed?
  • Who disappointed?
All comments, thoughts and opinions are welcome!

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