Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Sevilla vs Valencia match thread

After a relatively easy run of fixtures, we entered our difficult period this week, falling at the first hurdle with a loss against Real Madrid. Despite the result, the performance was encouraging though soured both by the manner of defeat and a growing injury list. Gaya is expected to be out for 3-4 weeks, Thierry about 3 and Soler 2-3 weeks. 

Today's opponents Sevilla are, of course, the main rivals we need to overcome if we have any dreams of top four. They've had a reasonable enough start: a 3-0 home win over Rayo, win at Getafe and draws at Sociedad and Elche. All in all, I'm hoping for a win, but would gladly settle for a draw from this game.


Bordalas, as ever, has gone with continuity in the line up. The major surprise is Jason starting on the right instead of Musah, who had a good game last time. Helder Costa or Racic starting in the middle with Wass on the right were other options. Obviously, given Jason's underwhelming performances previously, this is a bit of a mystifying decision, so we can only hope the coach has got it right.

I think I'll leave you all to comment on this. 15 minutes in and this is one of the worst performances in a while. The first goal was bad enough: awful decision by Wass trying an over-ambitious crossfield ball which got easily intercepted. The midfield and defence were all over the place and Mamardashvili stood there like a statue as it went in. The second was much worse, what on earth was the goalkeeper doing, just standing there as it bounced over his head. As I was typing this, Sevilla scored a third, didn't see it due to writing this. The goal on twitter also looks bad, Mamardashvili getting lobbed like an amateur. His honeymoon and Bordalas' is finished. Over and out from me.

Post-match comments: switched off just before the third goal, so based on quick highlights and match reports: awful from Mamardashvili, Alderete, Lato, Jason (no surprise) and Maxi. Hugo Guillamon also said to be weak. Wass dubious. Well taken goal for the second game in a row by Hugo Duro. Effort at least from Guedes. 

After the positive emotions generated by the decent start, we've come crashing down to reality in the last 2 games. The lesson, as we saw last season, is that while our main XI is good enough, there's a significant drop in quality once we get to replacements, leaving us very vulnerable to injuries. I wouldn't give up on Mamardashvili, who does show promise, but I think a spell gaining experience with the reserves would quicken his adaptation to Spain. Right now he looks like he's been promoted too quickly. It's hard to see how Bordalas can persist with him now after mistakes 3 games in a row and with Cillessen available. Some of the selections also look dubious: Jason? What does Maxi have to do to be benched? Why don't players like Musah, Racic and Vallejo feature more? A reality check this week for sure.

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Valencia CF vs Real Madrid Match Preview

Valencia CF has had a great start to the season with the expectations of the team being very low and basically finishing in the top 10 side of the table though of as success for this season. Now that the team has had a very impressive start to the season the goal has shifted a little bit, with the possibility of playing European football being a real possibility. I think its still highly unlikely for Valencia CF to end up in the top 4 positions to play Champions league football, but top 6 positions seems plausible. 

Tomorrow will be a big test for Valencia CF as they are going to welcome Real Madrid at the Mestalla. The tickets and seats for this match have been increased to I believe 29.000 and the Mestalla will be half full. These past few seasons we've done well against the big clubs like Real Madrid and FC Barcelona, so that doesn't really show anything, because we've struggled against all other clubs, so even if we lose to Real Madrid tomorrow it won't be a big deal, as the key will be winning against the smaller clubs and drawing with our direct rivals like Sevilla, Getafe CF and Villarreal CF. 

Real Madrid had a mid week match against Inter, one which they just barely won, but considering their standard starting eleven played the whole match and only 3 substitutions were made, I'm hoping that they are a little bit tired from that match and we can possibly use that to our advantage, especially with Bordalas as the coach who is very demanding in a physical sense, so hopefully he'll demand extra physicality in this match and for our players to press high and hard. 

I think that is our best chance to win, press high and hard, abuse the fact that they played a match in mid week and force their players to tire sooner, allowing us to dominate more of the play and create chances. Another key would be to not make any mistakes in the back and close down Real Madrid players really quickly before they are able to create any dangerous chances. This is also not the Real Madrid of 3-4 years ago, they are much weaker and do not posses the same level of talent. Some of their key players are also in an advanced age so we are not dealing with prime time Real Madrid, we are dealing with a Madrid side that is on the end years of their success. While Valencia CF also has a lot of shortcomings and we are still questionable in attack, Maxi Gomez is still a big question mark and our midfield can still quite often cede control of the ball for much of the match, we are better prepared physically this season, we have some of the fastest players in the league and our defense this season seems to be performing much better which will be crucial to getting good results.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Valencia versus Real Madrid and Barcelona in La Liga since year 2000

 It's that time again. Valencia, after an impressive start to the season, face Real Madrid, who have had a similarly good start. If history tells us anything it's that these games are filled with drama. A dubious injury time penalty in early 2004 when both Valencia and RM were battling for the title denied us 3 points at the Bernabeu. Another controversial penalty was awarded against Abdennour at home to Barca to steal a morale boosting point at one of our lowest ebbs.

Valencia's performances against the El Clasico two usually seem to defy form and logic. In one of our better periods, when we were constantly finishing third, we lost all 4 games each season. Conversely, in one of the worst seasons this century, 2015-16, Neville's Valencia was a last minute Negredo miss away from beating Real Madrid, while Neville's successor, the otherwise inept Pako Ayestaran, beat Barcelona at the Nou Camp. (Ayestaran's account of how he did it is worth a watch.) So here's the table since the year 2000 in La Liga

From that, it's clear that our best years against the big two were the first half of the 2000s. The 2005-6 season remains the only one where we were unbeaten by both of them, taking 8 points from 12. That along with the title winning seasons were the only ones when we managed to beat both the big two in the same season.

Our worst period was 2009-2013, much of that coinciding with Unai Emery's tenure. In fact Emery's poor record against the big two, despite having a squad which contained peak-level Villa, Silva and Mata, was one of the main reasons why the Mestalla faithful turned against him. 

Our overall record against both is similar: 36 points from a possible 126 against Barcelona and 37 points against Real Madrid, but this is markedly different depending on where we play. Against Barcelona, weirdly we've done as well in the Nou Camp as we do in Mestalla: 4-6-11 is our record in both stadiums. Against La Real however, there's a marked difference. In Mestalla we're 7-4-10 while in Madrid it's been mostly barren ground: 2-6-13. We've also done quite a bit better against Madrid in recent times: our home record is 4-2-1 over the last seven seasons. On the other hand, our last win in the Bernabeu was in 2007-8.

Sunday will continue the journey and the hope is we can continue our recent home streak against them.

Sunday, September 12, 2021

CA Osasuna 1-4 Valencia CF Match Report

Valencia CF continues to perform surprisingly well, I think a lot of us were enthusiastic for the new season based on our preseason performances and some of the purchases towards the end of the transfer window, but performances like this are really surprising and unexpected. All the better as its good to be surprised in a positive way and hopefully the team can continue to perform like this and continue to get results.

This match started favoring Osasuna as they were given an early penalty in the 6th minute, but after the VAR check the penalty was revoked and play continued. The celebration for Valencia CF didn't last long though, as just two minutes later CA Osasuna would take the lead through Jon Moncayola who's effort beat the goalkeeper.

It looked like a lost game from the start for Valencia CF as Osasuna had the initiative and were a goal up at home, but slowly but surely Valencia CF started gaining control of the match and were beginning to attack more and more. Goncalo Guedes would have few decent runs at goal, but nothing concrete.

Then in the 26th minute Valencia CF would equalize the score as Carlos Soler puts in a cross and find Maxi Gomez who controls the ball well and shoots past the goalkeeper. 

The game dropped off a lot after the equalizing goal as both sides were taking it a bit easier and apart from a few tries of both sides there was no killer chance for the rest of the first half. 

Just before the half time whistle though Denis Cheryshev got injured and was replaced by Foulquier, his first outing for VCF. 

Thankfully it didn't take long for Valencia CF to take the lead in the second half as just 5 minutes in as Aridane Hernandez would head the ball into his own net after a cross by Guedes. Just minutes later it would be Goncalo Guedes once again that would make the difference, this time with a goal on his own after an assist by Daniel Wass.

CA Osasuna would manage to score in the 62nd minute after a misunderstanding and confusion between Alderete and Giorgi, which allowed Darko Brasanac to kick the ball out of Giorgi's hands and slot in into the net. VAR was initiated and after checking the goal it was reverse and the goal canceled. Personally I think the goal should have stood as Giorgi was just claiming the ball from the ground, he barely got his hands on the ball when it was taken from him, he did not claim the ball securely into his hands and it was not in an elevated position, but whatever the goal was revoked, I guess compensating for all of the terrible calls we've gotten last season. 

Ultimately Valencia CF would kill off the game in the 72nd minute as Omar Alderete found himself in the perfect position to head on the cross from Soler right into the net. Osasuna's keeper didn't have a chance as it was a powerful header. 

Valencia CF would have few more pokes towards Osasuna's goal, even Musah would come close to scoring towards the end of the match, but the end result ended up being 4-1 for Valencia CF.

Overall after a slow and shaky start to the game Valencia CF grew into the game and came into its own, culminating in four goals scored and few decent opportunities for even more. Great performances from all of the players, but especially Goncalo Guedes and Carlos Soler. 

Friday, September 10, 2021

Mamardashvili with a terrible national debut, Guedes absent from lineup

While the previous rounds of the world cup qualification was overall positive for Valencia CF players, this round it was a more damp experience. 

Goncalo Guedes didn't start for Portugal against Azerbejan even after his previous good showing and only replaced Diego Jota in the 78th minute after the match was decided 3-0 in favor of Portugal.

Uros Racic did not have it better as he was once again an unused sub and his one outing for Serbia was when the match was already won 4-0 by Serbia. 

Daniel Wass on the other hand continued with his great performances for Denmark and after he was rested for one match he was back in the starting eleven and contributing two assist for his side.

Carlos Soler continued in the starting eleven, that is three matches in a row in his debut for Spain, he was also instrumental in Spain's previous performances, but on this occasion he wasn't as effective and while he did have some few great touches and an amazing short pass to Morata who then found Pablo who scored for Spain, but overall he looked tired and was replaced early in the second half.

Jose Luis Gaya was injured in the previous match and after testing him to determine the seriousness of his injury he was sent back to Valencia as a precaution. Turns out the injury isn't that bad, but he will need about a week to recover. 

Denis Cheryshev was an unused sub for Russia and seems like he is losing the coaches trust. He started well for Valencia CF, but has been unable to reproduce that at the national team.

Omar Alderete was an unused sub as well, probably rested after his previous match, his team won without him.

Maxi Gomez came in for Alvarez in the 72nd minute for Uruguay, but was unable to have an impact on the match.

Mamardashvili had his debut for Georgia, but it was bitter sweet for him as his side conceded four goals and lost the match. He would have preferred a different debut.

Monday, September 6, 2021

Gaya and Soler brilliant for Spain

So the second round of world cup qualifications is in the final stages, with tomorrow as the last day and Valencia CF players had a predominantly good showing. 

Uros Racic did not feature unfortunately in the second match for Serbia as he was an unused sub, but even his first outing was not productive for him as Serbia had already won by 4 goals by then and in the second match against Luxemburg they also won by scoring 4 goals.

Daniel Wass was not even in the squad for Denmark in their minimal 1-0 win over Faroe Islands, I do not know if he got injured or what the issue is, but unlike the previous match in which he started and scored a goal, this time he wasn't even in the squad.

Jasper Cillessen was not called to the Holland national team, since he was dropped in the summer from the Euro 2020/21 due to Covid19 he has not been recalled to the squad.

Our Spanish guys on the other hand continue to shine on the international scene and this time both Jose Luis Gaya and Carlos Soler did fantastic for Spain with Jose Luis Gaya scoring the first goal for Spain after a blunder by Vladimer Mamuchashvili. Gaya would score another goal for Spain in the 33rd minute, but the goal was revoked by VAR after finding it to be offside. 

Carlos Soler would score the second goal for Spain in the 25th minute after a good assist by Marcos Llorente to find Soler in the penalty area. 

The big blow came in the 74th minute as Gaya was replaced due to an injury. Lets hope its nothing serious and that he will be ready for Valencia's next match.

As predicted Maxi Gomez did not feature in the second round of matches as he was an unused substitute for his team. 

Omar Alderete did feature for Uruguay though and he started and played the full match which was a 1-1 draw against Colombia. He did not feature in the previous match due to accumulated yellow cards. 

Tomorrow we only have Goncalo Guedes left and after his solid performance in the previous match it would be strange to not see him start this time for Portugal. 

Friday, September 3, 2021

Soler debuts with a goal, Maxi still struggling

The initial round of world cup qualification matches is over and we have some good news thanks to Carlos Soler who managed to score on his debut match for Spain, but that goal was short lives as just a minute later Sweden would go on to equalize the score and ultimately win the match 2-1. Carlos Soler started in a midfield of three with him playing on the right side of it. He will be pleased with his debut, but with Spain losing the match its a bitter sweet debut. 

Jose Luis Gaya on the other hand did not start the match, nor did he get any minutes as later on Spain was chasing the score and were trying to equalize the match with the substitutes all being attack minded. 

Maxi Gomez started the match for Uruguay and he was on the field for 66 minutes, but was completely isolated from play and was ineffective throughout the match. This is I believe his second start back to back and he's failed to impress, which bodes bad for his future in the Uruguayan national team. 

So overall a successful round of qualifying matches for Valencia CF players in an individual manner as they played well for their national teams. Guedes, Wass, Soler all had great matches scoring goals and providing assists. Racic also featured in the 4-0 stomp for Serbia and Cheryshev was a starter for Russia. 

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Guedes and Wass shine in world cup qualifiers

Goncalo Guedes and Daniel Wass shined in their world cup qualifying matches with Guedes coming on for Joao Cancelo in the 82nd minute and providing an assist for Cristiano Ronaldo in the 89th minute to equalize the score and send Portugal into extra time in which they won the match.

Daniel Wass on the other hand started the match and was substituted late in the 85th minute, he scored the first goal for his side in the 14th minute. Pierre-Emile Hoejbjerg from Denmark put in a great cross that found Daniel Wass and he headed the ball into the net to give Denmark an early lead. 

Denis Cheryshev also featured for Russia, he came on in the 70th minute as a substitute for Arsen Zakharyan on the left wing, though he couldn't help his team beat Croatia. 

Uros Racic also came on as a substitute for Maksimovic in the 63rd minute in what was a stomp over Qatar.

Today Carlos Soler and Jose Luis Gaya have a chance to play for Spain, hopefully they both start and lets hope they have a great showing for Spain

Giorgi Mamardashvili is also with the Georgian national team and there is a slight possibility he will feature today too.