Friday, August 23, 2019

Pre-match thoughts - Celta - Valencia

Celta Vigo will be a big test for several reasons. One, to bury the disappointment against Real Sociedad last week. Two, to demonstrate that our transfer activity had been better than Celta. Three, a personal test for Marcelino.

Against Real Sociedad, we failed to capitalise on a good opportunity to win three points, regardless of what the statistics showed. The Celta match will reveal whether our team has learned from the Sociedad lesson (as well as the many times we threw away our lead last season). While Parejo and Gaya are back, I will be watching closely our starting player on the right. Wass could potentially play with Piccini behind him. Alternatively, I am betting that Ferran will start with Wass behind him.

I hope Maxi starts this match. Mina and Suarez will be eager to make us regret losing them. Suarez, in particular, was a bright spot against Real Madrid last week. A strong performance from Maxi will provide much assurance that we are heading in the right direction. I have no doubt that he is a good player but he needs a good performance to kick off his career with us. This is the best opportunity for him.

Lastly, but also most importantly, how would Marcelino prepare for this game. We have a good team. It is up to him to make use of what he has. In the last game, Guedes played poorly while Maxi did not play. If he cannot get the best out of his two most expensive players, it will be a big problem this season. In addition, despite the rumours of Rodrigo´s sale, he is still available. Despite qualifying for UCL twice, it is up to Marcelino to prove that he has the level to get the best out of his current squad. Any additions thereafter, be it Rafinha or anyone else, would be extra firepower for us to challenge on four fronts. Right now, our team looks good on paper, including our young players. It will look even better if we add 1 or 2 more strong attackers. However, it is not enough to remain good on paper. While he has achieved much over the past two seasons, I will only rate Marcelino as a top manager if he can get the best out of Guedes, Maxi, Ferran, Kang-in.

I am not sure how this season is going to turn out but I really hope the crisis reaches a proper conclusion asap. It could be a resurgent Marcelino with much improved performances from the current squad, or a rollercoaster ride over the rest of the season with the drama continuing. I hope it is the former.