Tuesday, January 19, 2021

The "where are they now?" of the Lim era part 2: midfielders

Continuing our trip down memory lane of players who had competitive minutes with the first team since Lim took over but have left us. Obviously some of these guys played in more than one position. 

Left wingers

Bakkali a flair player who won over the Mestalla faithful, but his defensive contributions were lacking and as a result he only started 5 of the 40 games he played for us. After a loan at Depor, returned to his native Belgium at Anderlecht in 2018 and played half the games in his first season. Injury sidelined him for most of 2019-20 and since returning, he’s been out of favor, only playing 2 games this season.

Sito. Made his debut in the last game of the 2015-16 season, replacing the injured Piatti in the 38th minute. (That would be Piatti’s last ever Valencia game, more on him in a minute.) Sito played a single minute the following season and that was it for him. Loaned to Lorca and then released on a free to join his current club, Asteras Tripolis of the Greek top division where he’s begun to establish himself.

Piatti. We hotly debated his merits for ages on this blog. Valencia sold him for the usual scandalously low price to Espanyol. Debuted with a goal and 2 assists and had a sensational debut season ending with 10 goals and 11 assists. Saw reduced returns after that, though, and injuries recurred. Another injury February 2019 kept him out for most of that year. In January 2020 he was released and now plays for Toronto in the MLS.

Nacho Gil. Made his debut in February 2017 and then began to see some game time and starts under Marcelino. Doubts crept in and he was part of the controversial experimental line-up which flopped badly away to Las Palmas in January 2018. That would be his last game. Joined Elche on loan the following week before being released in the summer to join second level Ponferradina. After 2 seasons there he joined Cartagena who had been newly promoted to the second level. Has been a regular as they fight relegation. 

Central midfielders

Bruno Zuculini. Joined us on loan from Man City in Nuno’s first season but only played half a game. Loan was cancelled mid-season and a series of loans in Spain, England and Greece followed. Permanently joined Hellas Verona of Greece in 2017 but only lasted a year before returning to his native Argentina with River Plate.

Felipe Augusto. Represented by, you guessed it, Mendes. Nuno brought him with him from Rio Ave. After a few sub appearances, started his only game, a disastrous 3-0 defeat at Depor and was subbed off at half time. (That game also ended the Valencia career of Yoel.) After a couple of sub appearances in December he never played another minute the rest of the season. Returned to Portugal and was loaned out to Braga before a permanent move to Benfica. They in turn loaned him to Turkish top flight side Alanyaspor. He was then sold back to Rio Ave where he was a regular until dropping out of the team last month.

Carles Gil. One of the first to depart under Nuno, joining Aston Villa in January 2015. He had a decent enough spell there but returned to Spain in summer 2016 for two years at Depor. Then moved permanently to the MLS to play for New England Revolution, where he’s a regular.

Fran Villalba. Attracted a lot of buzz after emerging in 2015 but never made it. His last game was the dead rubber Copa 2nd leg vs Barca (incidentally also the last game for 3 others on these lists.) After spending all of 2018-19 on loan at Numancia, he joined Birmingham City permanently, though with Valencia reserving half his rights. After an ok season there he’s been back in Spain since summer 2019 on loan at Almeria , who have a buy option.

Enzo Perez. One of many expensive busts for 25 million. He started well, but there were always questions over his fitness and after 2 years, Valencia cut their losses and transferred him on the cheap to River Plate where he’s a regular.

Danilo Barbosa. Controversial Mendes addition for the 2015-16 season where he was a regular, playing 32 games. Valencia rightly declined the 15 million buy option. Returned to Braga who loaned him out to Benfica and Liege. Surprisingly, Braga did get a decent fee of 10 million for him from Nice in 2018. He was a regular for them in the first season but gradually fell down the pecking order, being used as emergency cover at central defence and has only played 4 games this season with talk of a transfer.

Wilifried Zahibo.

Broke through in the Neville era and got 7 games, starting 6 of them, even managing a goal in the Copa against Granada. But the Copa 2nd leg against Barcelona with Valencia well eliminated already would be his final game. Left after one season and played at the second level with Gimnastic. After 2 seasons there he moved to the MLS with New England Revolution for 2 seasons. Spent last season with Houston Dynamo, but only played 4 games. His contract there expired last month and was not renewed, so he is now a free agent.

Tropi. Mestalla player who made his La Liga debut, and his only top flight appearance in the 89th minute at Elche in March 2015. Got a couple of late sub appearances under Neville in Copa and Europa league the following season. Has had a journeyman existence since then. Year-long loans at Alcorcon and Lorca. Signed by Recreativo Huelva but released after the 2018-19 season. Atletico Madrid reserves signed him for 2019-20 before he joined third level UCAM Murcia last autumn, where he is a regular.  

Andre Gomes. The transfer to Barcelona, though it brought in 37 million ultimately, really stung, especially since the 2 guys that follow on this list were not up to the task of replacing him. Had a torrid time at Barcelona before a loan at Everton became permanent. Was a regular at Everton in his first season, even after overcoming a horror injury but has struggled for game time this season being used more as a sub.

Alvaro Medran. Bought in summer 2016 as a very cheap replacement for Andre Gomes. Though he showed some early promise, lacked the consistency to be a regular, making 19 appearances and scoring 3 times. Started in Marcelino’s first game in charge in 17/18 but that would be his final appearance. Went to Alaves on loan where a managerial change proved disastrous for him, leading to him infamously breaking down in tears in a post-match interview. After another loan at Rayo, he joined Chicago Fire on a free, where he’s a regular.

Mario Suarez. As I said in the previous post, if Simeone says you’re past it, you are. Joined on loan from Watford in summer 2016 with a buy option to replace the departed Fuego. Was a regular for the first half of the season without convincing. With Voro taking over and Soler’s emergence he was deemed unnecessary and didn’t even play a single minute after February 2017. Joined Guizhou in China that year before returning to Spain with Rayo in 2019. Was a regular the first season but now struggles for game time, used as a sub mostly.

Javi Fuego. After 3 ok years with us, joined Espanyol. 2 seasons later spent a single season at Villarreal where he featured rarely as he spent most of the season injured. Released by them, he dropped down a level to join Gijon where he’s ever present. Considering he turned 37 earlier this month, that’s not bad going for a midfielder.

Maksimovic. Was a good pick-up on a free from Astana but got frustrated at lack of game time behind the next 3 guys on this list and left to join Getafe where he’s done very well. It’s a shame because with the current state of our midfield, he’d be a useful player to have.

Parejo. His departure for no money and the manner of it: tossed out as if he was no one when he was actually a loyal, long time club servant, still annoys. Has been a regular at Villarreal this season.

Coquelin. Not going so well for him up the coast. Has really struggled for game time, with brief sub appearances the norm since October and for the last 5 games he’s played 4 minutes and hasn’t even been in the match squad the other 4.

Kondogbia. I hope he gets more money at Atletico because he’s certainly losing game time. Hasn’t played more than 27 minutes in a league game since joining them and didn’t even play the last 3 games.

Right wingers

Fede Cartabia, played both wings. Joined us at age 13 and made a decent breakthrough for 2013-14, playing 40 games. But fell out of favor and a couple of seasons of loans followed. Made a surprise return to Valencia in summer 2016 but only lasted the first half of the season. Released on a free and returned to Depor, where he got reasonable game time, but was loaned out to Braga and then last season to Al-Ahli of Dubai in the UAE. Still there but out of favour. Another promising youth player who never quite made it.

Feghouli. After 6 reasonable seasons with us, he fell out with the club at the end and left for a season at West Ham. Moved to Galatasaray in 2017 and is still there, recently passing 120 games for them.

Orellana. Joined in January 2017 and started well, with a winner against Real Madrid but was then frozen out and left to join Eibar. After two and a half reasonable seasons there, moved to Valladolid for this season.

Ferran. Doing well at Man City. Too painful to write any more.

DePaul. Another one that got away. After a brief spell back at his boyhood club Racing he moved to Udinese where he’s highly rated and played 165 games to date.

Andreas Pereira. His loan spell with us ended sourly as it became obvious we weren’t going to buy him and he responded by sulking. Returned to Man United and saw decent game time last season but is now on loan at Lazio.

Rober. Made sporadic sub appearances in Nuno’s first season before heading out on loan for a couple of seasons at Granada and Leganes. Made a brief return and scored his only senior goal in his final appearance in a Copa win over Zaragoza. Joined Getafe in January 2018 but was barely used and moved to Osasuna on loan a year later. Their promotion for 2019-20 triggered a buy clause but he didn’t play much after that. They loaned him out to second tier Leganes for this season.

Monday, January 18, 2021

The "where are they now?" of the Lim era part 1: goalkeepers and defenders

 Just for something different. I was looking over my spreadsheets of player appearances recently and wondering what had happened to some of those guys post-Valencia and decided to do a couple of nostalgia driven posts on it. This is the full lowdown on every former player who kicked a ball in a competitive game with the first team since Lim took over in 2014. Salva Ruiz and Michel, who were registered but never played, are not counted, nor are the guys currently out on loan (Jimenez, Piccini and Guerrero.) 

GOALKEEPERS

Diego Alves: it almost became a ritual: dubious penalty whistled, Alves played mind games with the taker and, to the roar of Mestalla, saved it half the time. Injured the last game of 2014-15 season and never recovered his previous form. He’s now back home in Brazil playing for Flamengo and still saving half the penalties.

Matt Ryan: signed to cover Diego’s injury, got injured himself early on at Valencia and that effectively killed off his Valencia career as he found himself fighting for the number 1 spot with Jaume and then with Alves when he returned. After just 10 league appearances, joined Brighton where he did well until this season when he fell out of favor and is now transfer listed.

Yoel: signed as backup and never recovered from a disastrous performance at Deportivo followed by letting in 4 in the Copa. Even the injuries to Alves and Matt Ryan failed to give him game time as Jaume was preferred. Loaned out to Rayo and Eibar, being bought by the latter, who also put him out on loan to Valladolid. Now just a back-up at Eibar.

Neto: early questions were asked when he seemed static as goals went in past him, but established himself as a reliable keeper. It all ended weirdly with him getting the huff with Marcelino when Jaume was maintained for the Copa. His time at Barcelona hasn’t convinced and he’s recently been asking to leave to get more game time. Safe to say the Cillessen-Neto swap, which seemed a good idea at the time, hasn’t worked out for anyone.

LEFT BACKS
Lucas Orban: signed from Bordeaux, his Valencia career got off to a dream start when he came on as a late sub and scored an equaliser against Sevilla in Nuno’s first game in charge. His only goal for the club. Though he got a few games in the middle of that season, he struggled to establish himself and left on loan to Levante before moving permanently to Genoa. After struggling for game time there, returned to his native Argentina where he now plays for River Plate.

Siquiera: if Simeone thinks you’re past it, he’s usually right. Signed in Jan 2016 to cover at left back even though Lato was showing promise. Got game time at the end of 15-16 but didn’t convince and ended injured. When he returned he struggled for games with Lato and even Montoya preferred when Gaya was unavailable. Valencia did not take up the buy option and Atletico Madrid released him. After a year without a club, retired in 2018.

Jaume Costa: after his loan year with us, back at Villarreal where he’s still a back-up who rarely plays.

DEFENDERS
Ibrahim Diallo: signed for Mestalla as a promising youth from Eupen in Summer 2015. Played 4 games in the Copa, two of them the full 90 minutes, one the dead rubber second leg against Barca after we had been crushed 7-0. Lacking game time, returned to Eupen and played most of 2016-17, but suffered a horrific knee injury at the start of 2017-18. After 2 and a half years of various treatments proved unsuccessful and he hadn’t played a minute, he retired last summer at the age of 23. Now works as a video analyst for Eupen.

Vezo: Had a lengthy spell of six seasons at the club and I was sorry to see him go for while he was never amazing, he was always a useful backup. He got fed up of that role and joined Levante where he’s been getting the game time he lacked. 

Otamendi
: best defender we have had in the last decade, he of course abandoned us after 1 season to join Man City and was doing fine there until cracks started to appear and fell out of favor. Despite being linked with a Valencia return many times, he’s now back in Portugal at Benfica.

Mustafi: formed a decent partnership with Otamendi before joining Arsenal in a deal which eventually saw Paulista, Coquelin and 14 million come the other way. After a good start at Arsenal, it fell apart and he’s now the butt of jokes among their fans who will be happy to move him on.

Abdennour: signed as Otamendi’s replacement on the strength of a good season at Monaco he quickly alienated the Mestalla faithful with error heavy performances. With Garay and Mangala arriving it was game over and Valencia attempted to recover some money with a loan to Marseilles. After he failed there, he was released and spent a year in Turkey at Kayserispor where he also didn’t convince. They released him on a free to Qatari club Umm Salal where he at least gets some game time though his career is effectively over at top level.

Santos: awful signing that we blew 10 million of the Otamendi money on. After even making Abdennour look like a great signing he was loaned out to Brazilian clubs and then Valencia apparently got some money from Al Ahli for him. After not impressing there, they let him return to Portugal, to Rio Ave, on a free.

Jeison Murillo: always a mystery why it didn’t happen for him at the Mestalla as he looked a solid 3rd choice defender. Loaned out to Barcelona, where he played just a single game and then to Sampdoria. Joined the latter permanently, struggled for game time and now plays regularly on loan at Celta.

Roncaglia: after the strange decision not to give Murillo game time, Roncaglia was brought in on loan to cover. Looked error prone and got sent off at Girona so it was no surprise that his time with us ended after half a season.

Garay: probably the best defender of the Lim era after Otamendi. Started to become too injury prone but was ultimately a victim of the internal club politics. Though he’s recovered from last year’s injury, he remains without a club.

RIGHT BACKS
Barragan: despite never being great, had a long 5 seasons with us. Sold to Middlesbrough in summer 2016. After not impressing there, returned to Spain with Betis who released him to join Elche last summer.

Montoya: Barragan’s replacement. Proved no better and not an answer to the club’s long lack of a decent right back. After teaming up with Matt Ryan in Brighton he returned to Spain last year with Betis.

Nacho Vidal: broke through under Marcelino and was even touted as one of the best Spanish young players but a few iffy performances led to him being dropped and he left for Osasuna where he’s been a regular.

Cancelo: big money transfer to Italy followed by another big money transfer to Man City. His career is going well.

Florenzi: should have gone better for him than it did, but injury and the general chaos at the club meant that his loan becoming permanent was never an option. Doing well with PSG now.

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Copa del Rey Round of 32: AD Alcorcón 0 - 2 Valencia CF Match Thread

 PREVIEW

Alcoron played their previous game 11 days ago against Real Zaragoza in the 2nd round of the Copa del Rey. After going down a goal with the first 5 minutes, they managed to respond and score on the other side of the half, 2 minutes before half-time. The deadlock would remain until the 89th minute when Alcoron grabbed the winner to finish the game 2-1.

Valencia's previous game was one week ago in La Liga, away against Real Valladolid; a game that they won 0-1. While Valencia had plenty of chances to win the game, it would take a Carlos Soler long range shot to break the tied game. Valencia almost grabbed a second but Manu Vallejo's goal had been overturned due to an offside in the buildup. He would get another really good chance moment later but he couldn't finish it. After a nervy ending to the half in which Valladolid struck the woodwork in injury time, Valencia managed to survive and got their first win in 2 months in the competition.

FORM (all competitions)

Alcoron: WLWWD

Valencia: WWDLL

SQUAD

Gracia, in the pre-match press conference also provided some updates on injuries. Gaya will miss this game as a precaution measure, after suffering some discomfort. in training. Cillissen is making good progress in his recovery. Gameiro should be rejoining training shortly. Gabriel Paulista is in his final stages of recovery as well. In the best case, Gracia expects everyone but Cillissen to be available for the next La Liga game.


FIRST HALF

2' - Early yellow card shown to Hugo Guillamon for a rash challenge.
12' - Goal for Valencia! 0-1! Valencia with a quick counter-attack following the Alcorcon corner kick. Vallejo carries the ball forward with speed and finds Koba Lein in space, setting up a 1v1 against the keeper who comes out to deal with him. Koba takes the shot early, the keeper gets a touch to it but cannot keep it out of the net.
34' - Yellow card shown to Reko for a rough challenge.
42' - Yellow card shown to Jaunma Bravo for taking down Guedes from behind
45 '- One minute of time added by the referee for stoppages

SECOND HALF

46' - Yellow card shown to Thierry Correia for a rough challenge
47'  - Substitution for Alcorcon. Carlos Bellvis off, Jose Suarez on
54' - Yellow card shown to Sosa for a dangerous challenge on Correia
61' - Triple substitution for Alcorcon. Reko, Alvaro Juan, and Sosa off, Boateng, Ale Lamas and Oscar Arribas on
66' - Double change for Valencia. Diakhaby and Alex Blanco replace Guillamon and Guedes
72' - Great piece of individual skill from Racic. He dispossessed the defender on the flank, beat another and then cut inside into the box before curling a shot to the far post. He shot hit the post and moved away from danger. Really close to a second goal
74' - Another opportunity missed at a second goal. Musah did well to get the ball forward on the right flank under pressure from his marker. He put in a cross to the center where Vallejo was waiting but the defender takes down Vallejo and the ball falls to Alex Blanco instead who has shot saved by the keeper.
76' - Goal for Valencia! 0-2! Manu Vallejo with a great free kick that curls around the wall, and squeezes just inside the post. Keeper was sent the wrong way. Good work from Racic to win the free kick in a dangerous position.
78' - Double substitution for Valencia. Vallejo and Musah are replaced by Kang In Lee and Jason
85' - Final change for Valencia. Gullem Molina replaces Thierry Correia. Final change for Alcorcon, Castro off, Victor Garcia on
90' - Two minutes added by the referee for stoppages.
90+2' - Llamas attempts to catch Rivero, who was off his line, off-guard with a long-range shot from midfield. Rivero gets back in time and tips it over the crossbar.

FULL-TIME

Full-time stats. 10-14 shots, 5-4 shots on target, 48-52% possession, 78-79% pass accuracy.

Valencia qualify to the round of 16 of the Copa del Rey with a solid display against Alcorcon. They scored 2 great goals, one from open play and the other from a set piece and managed to keep a clean sheet. This was all done away from home, where Valencia hasn't had the best time this season, and while resting many first team players.

Valencia's next game is on Thursday the 21st at Mestalla against Osasuna.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

La Liga Matchday #18: Real Valladolid 0 - 1 Valencia CF Match Thread

NEWS

Valencia were drawn against Alcoron for the Round of 16 of the Copa del Rey. The game will be played on January 16.

PREVIEW

Real Valladolid were forced into extra time in their midweek Copa del Rey fixture away from home against Marbella, thanks to a late equalizer in injury time to make the scoreline 2-2. Valladolid did snatch the win in the second half of extra time and exerted a lot of effort in doing so. Despite the vast majority of chances in the game, the game still finished 2-3.

Valencia played against Yeclano midweek and produced a convincing 1-4 win away from home. Four Valencia Mestalla players made their first team debut in this game. Valencia started the game with a lot of intensity and took a 0-3 lead into half-time, The second half performance took a dip and Yeclano were given more room to get into the game. They grabbed one consolation goal in the second half, before Valencia re-established the 3 goal margin. Yeclano did get several other chances but did not capitalize on them.

Real Valladolid are 15th in La Liga with 18 points from 17 games. Valencia are 17th with 16 points from 17 games. This match is a very good chance for Valencia to climb up in the table.

FORM (***all competitions)

Real Valladolid: WWDLD

Valencia: WDLLD

SQUAD

Goncalo Guedes will miss the game through suspension due to receiving a red card in the previous La Liga game against Granada. Jason returns having served his suspension.

Gameiro will also not participate due to the injury picked up in the Cadiz game. He joins Cillissen and Paulista who are both still recovering from their injuries earlier in the season.


FIRST HALF

15' - Wass finds the overlapping run of Correia who puts in a cross to the center of the box. Cheryshev controls it, takes a touch and gets a shot but it's hit directly at the keeper. Easy save.
22' - Yellow card shown to Bruno Gonzalez for a late challenge on Cheryshev
30' - Maxi Gomez's shot from outside the box is deflected and falls to Gaya who strikes the ball from the wide position and hits the far-side post. The ball is still in play and falls to Soler who hits it first time from the opposite flank to the far-post. The keeper stretches and gets his hand to the ball, denying the effort.
44' - Gaya gains possession following a mistake from the opposing defender. He picks out Cheryshev who then attempts to lob the ball over the keeper. The effort falls just above the crossbar but it seems like  the keeper had it covered regardless.

HALF-TIME

Half-time stats. 4-11 shots, 2-4 shots on target, 39-61% possession, 76-81% pass accuracy

Valencia will be disappointed not to have taken the lead in that first half. The team took initiative and went forward and creating many opportunities. They dominated possession and had the majority of the game's chances, but the final product was lacking. Certain dangerous plays were squandered due to players taking the chances on their own instead of looking up and finding a player in a better position.

Having Correia as right-back and Wass playing ahead of him has worked well thus far. Wass's presence helps cover the space and defensive vulnerability created by Correia going forward. Being familiar with the position himself, Wass has provided some much needed stability to right-side of the formation. Kang In has also done well to drop back from his attacking position to help create chances for his teammates going forward.

SECOND HALF

57' - Yellow card shown to Soler for tugging on the shirt of Jota.
63' - Missed chance from Maxi Gomez. The corner from Soler was well hit and Guillamon did well to head it on to Maxi Gomez who managed to stay onside. Maxi controls it with his chest and takes a shot, but only managed to hit the outside of the post. Needs to do better there.
70' - Double substitution for Real Valladolid. Oscar Plano and Pablo Hervias on, Toni Villa and Kike Perez off
72' - Substitution for Valencia. Manu Vallejo replaces Kang In Lee
76' - Goal for Valencia! 0-1! Racic played a great diagonal ball to find Gaya in advanced position. Gaya cuts inside and instead of going for the cross, plays a short pass to Soler. Soler takes a touch of his own and looks as if he is about to cross as well, but instead strikes it straight at goal from outside the box, catching the keeper by surprise and putting his team in front
81' - Triple change from Real Valladolid, Lucas Perez, Jota and Roque Mesa are replaced by Fabian Orellana, Ruben Alcaraz and Guardiola
82' - Yellow card shown to Diakhaby for a foul on Guardiola
86' - Yellow card shown to Orellana for dissent against the referee
87' - Goal for Valencia! 0-2! Soler's free kick from the middle of the field was headed away by the defender in the box. Soler reacts the quickest to claim the ball, plays a short pass to Vallejo just outside the area who does well to pick out Wass in a wide position. Wass puts in the cross, Maxi gets a touch but it goes through to Vallejo who has no trouble finishing from close range.
89' - Goal overturned. Back to 0-1. Vallejo was deemed to have interfered with the play from an offside position.
90' - Six minutes add by the referee for stoppages.
90+1' - Double substitution for Valencia. Musah and Lato replace Cheryshev and Wass
90+4' - Musah does well to drive the ball forward from the back and beats two Valladolid players for pace, playing the ball into space and running onto it. He is calm enough to look up and find the cross to Vallejo who is unmarked in the center. Support is coming to Vallejo's left through Lato but he ignores and attempts to take the shot himself. It is saved by the keeper.
90+5'- Yellow card shown to Correia for a foul at the left edge of the area.
90+6' - Close chance for Valladolid. Guardiola hits the post with a glancing header from the free kick delivery. Valencia can clear.

FULL-TIME

Full-time stats. 11-17 shots, 4-6 shots on target. 42-58% possession, 74-77% pass accuracy

A win for Valencia in La Liga for the first time in 2 months and an away from home to boot. Last time the team won in La Liga was the 4-1 win against Real Madrid. This win however, was to close for comfort.

After a dominant first half performance, the team settled back in the second and allowed Valladolid to get more into the game. With Valencia looking less likely to score than in the first half, and Maxi Gomez getting frustrated from the lack of service to him, Soler took the responsibility on himself to score. He broke his usual pattern of playing the cross and instead opted for the shot from distance and caught the keeper off-guard.

Valencia would extend their lead thanks to Soler fighting for the ball, being first to react and setting up the chance that Vallejo would finish. Unfortunately, the otherwise great goal was ruled off for offside.

With six minutes of time added for stoppages, and Valencia having had their goal overturned, Valladolid came forward with intent and almost snatched the win in the final minute of injury time, with the header from Guardiola striking the post following the free kick delivery.

A much needed 3 points for Valencia. Confidence gained that will hopefully be carried forward into future games. Valencia climb to 13th position with 19 points.

Next game for Valencia will be on Sunday January 17, away to Alcoron for the Round of 16 of the Copa del Rey

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Copa del Rey Second Round: Yeclano Deportivo 1 - 4 Valencia CF Match Thread

 NEWS

With regards to the transfer window, there were rumors that Lim approved two transfers in this window. Both will be loan deals without obligation of purchase. The positions to be reinforced are likely a central defender and a midfielder. Whether or not these two transfers include reclaiming Piccini from Atalanta is still uncertain. It also seems like Ruben Sobrino will be the first player out of Valencia in this window, with Celta and Cadiz both interested in his services.

There was also a report saying that Gracia is only being retained as coach of the club due to financials. If the club fires him, they would have to pay him compensation and they simply cannot afford to do so at this time.

Finally, there was one outlet that reported about Jorge Mendes advising Lim on club affairs, telling him that he should get rid of Anil Murthy and bring on someone with more sporting know-how like Mateu Alemany. Whether Lim takes that advice would be interesting.

PREVIEW

Yeclano's previous game was actually in the first round of the Copa del Rey where they narrowly beat Rayo Majadahonda with a 2-1 scoreline away from home. They took the lead a few minutes into the second half but the home team was quick with the response to equalise four minutes later. A red card late in the second half would set up a nervy extra-time period, eventually ending in Yeclano grabbing the winning goal in injury time of the second half.

Valencia played out yet another draw in their most recent game against Cadiz at Mestalla. Cadiz took the lead around 15 minutes into the second half with an overhead kick. Maxi Gomez would equalize around 10 minutes from full-time with great header following Gaya's cross

In the previous round of the Copa del Rey, Valencia struggled against Terrassa, going down 2-0 early but managed to level it up before full-time. In extra-time, they scored 2 more goals to finish the game with a 2-4 scoreline.

FORM (all competitions)

Yeclano: WLLLD

Valencia: DLLDW

SQUAD


FIRST HALF

7' - Goal for Valencia! 0-1! An initial attempt from Guedes on the right was blocked. Correia picked up the pieces and ran into the box. He pulls it back for Vallejo who scuffs the shot but it slips through for Kang In who makes no mistake in his shot
9' - Goal for Valencia! 0-2! Racic with a tame shot from range that the keeper made an absolute mess of and let it go through into the net.
16' - Really good chance squandered by Sobrino. Guedes threaded through a well-weighted ball behind the defender for Lato to run onto. Lato cuts inside, taking out his marker and draws another defender to him. He squares the ball to Sobrino who is unmarked since the penalty area but his resulting shot is skied. Should have been 0-3.
27' - Yeclano came close to a goal with a shot that struck the crossbar. A cross from a wide position found the forward who sets up Oca for a strike on goal just outside the box, resulting in the shot.
35' - Goal for Valencia! 0-3! Sobrino and Vallejo with great teamwork, exchanging passes between them several times before passing the ball into the net.

HALF-TIME

Dominant performance from Valencia. The team had a lot of success with stringing together quick passes along the ground to expose the defense of Yeclano. There was a lot of intent going forward, with Gracia clearly intent on putting this game to bed early and leaving no room for doubt as was the case with Terrassa in the previous round. There could have been 2 or 3 more goals had it not been for Sobrino's miss and a few efforts from Manu Vallejo that have been ruled offside.

Half-time stats. 4-9 shots. 0-5 shots on target. 29-71% possession, 65-86% pass accuracy

SECOND HALF

46' - Double substitution for Yeclano, Luis Castillo and Victor Sanchez replace David Martinez and Antonia Tormos
47' - Goal for Yeclano. 1-3. A defensive error by Correia gave the chance for Oca to score
52' - Yellow card shown by the referee to Manuel Ortega
53' - Goal for Valencia. 1-4! Thierry Correia plays a pass to Guedes and continues his run forward. Guedes plays an ambitious through ball for him to chase. Correia manages gets there ahead of the defender despite starting further back and picks his spot and the far post.
57' - Yeclano hit the woodwork yet again. Guedes was dispossessed in his own half to set up the shot from distance. It took a deflection on its way and hit the post.
60' - Double change for Valencia. Esquerdo and Jason replace Racic and Kang In Lee
61' - Double change for Yeclano. Carlos Martinez and Iker Larranaga on, Christian Moya and Alejando LaFuente off.
65' - Cristian Rivero with a fantastic save to deny a second goal for Yeclano. The corner from Yeclano was headed away by Thierry and then takes a deflection off Vallejo to find Pedro at the edge of the penalty area. He strikes the ball with a lot of power but Rivero is equal to it, punching it over the crossbar.
71' - Yellow card shown to Oca.
75' - Substitution for Valencia. Gaya on, Lato off. Substitution for Yeclano. Oca is replaced by Luis Romero
81' - Substitution for Valencia. Koba Lein appears to have picked up an injury. He is replaced by Carlos Soler.
86' - Yellow card shown to Theirry Correia for taking down Pedro after he got past him
90' - One minute of time added by the referee for stoppages

FULL-TIME

Valencia advance to the round of 16 of the Copa del Rey in convincing fashion. After a strong first half, the team regressed in the second and didn't build much on their lead. Yeclano got more into the game and created dangerous opportunities yet still Valencia finished the game with a good margin due to the first half performance. 

Full-time stats. 12-12 shots, 5-6 shots on target, 32-68% possession, 68-84% possession.

Valencia's next game is away from home against Real Valladolid on Sunday January 10th.

Sunday, January 3, 2021

La Liga Matchday #17: Valencia CF 1 - 1 Cadiz CF Match Thread

NEWS

The transfer window opens tomorrow (January 4th) and the speculations continue as to which players will leave and arrive at the club.

It was recently revealed that Maxi Gomez did not participate in the last game due to an attitude problem. To incentivize better performances from the team's main striker, Javi Gracia put him on the bench for the game. Maxi Gomez has taken to social media to say that he will work hard. 

Javi Gracia reassured fans in the pre-match press conference that he has no problems with Maxi Gomez. He also reaffirmed that he is absolutely committed to this project with his maximum capacity.

It was also announced today that Marcelino will take over at Athletic Bilbao until 2022 after their current coach was sacked.

PREVIEW

In the last round, Valencia suffered a 2-1 loss away to Granada. While Valencia did well to take the lead via a first half goal from Gameiro, he would later score an own goal at the end of the first half to level the game. The second half saw three red cards, 2 for Valencia (Guedes and Jason) and 1 for Granada (Duarte). With Valencia outnumbered they managed to hold on till the 88th minute before Molina headed in the winning goal.

Cadiz played out a 0-0 draw at home against Real Valladolid in their previous game. Although the away team had the bigger share of possession, the game was otherwise even in chances.

Valencia are currently in the relegation spots at 18th with 15 points from 16 games. Cadiz are 12th with 19 points from 16 games.

FORM (all competitions)

Valencia: LLDWD

Cadiz: DLLLW

SQUAD

Toni Lato has been recovered and has finally tested negative from COVID-19. Guillamon overcame his muscular injury. They are both available for selection. While Racic has somewhat recovered from his vertigo and participated in some training but will not be ready for this game.

Guedes has been handed a 2 game suspension following his comments to the referee last game, and Jason gets just the one game for his red card. Paulista and Cillissen are still dealing with their injuries.


FIRST HALF

15' - Yellow card shown to Cheryshev for a challenge on Iza
18' - Yellow card shown to Guillamon for a heavy foul on Negredo
23' - Good cross into the box from Correia is headed by Maxi Gomez on target but Ledesma taps it over the crossbar.
25' - Gameiro picks up an injury and is forced off the field. Look of frustration on his face having just returned from an injury.
26' - First substitution for Valencia, Kang In Lee replaces the injured Gameiro
35' - Yellow card shown to Lozano for a late challenge on Guillamon
38' - Soler picks out Wass with a forward pass. Wass finds Cheryshev nearby, he controls the pass with one touch and shoots with his left foot to the far post, narrowly missing
45' - One minute added by the referee for stoppages

HALF-TIME

Very tame half from both teams, no one really threatening or testing the opposing keeper. The introduction of Kang In for Valencia energized the team and sparked some improvement in play. Yet, the final pass is always lacking, preventing Valencia from taking the lead.

Half-time stats. 4-4 shots, 1-0 shots on target, 72-28% possession, 88-66% pass accuracy

SECOND HALF

46' - Substitution for Cadiz. Akapo replaces Isquierdo.
58' - Goal for Cadiz. 0-1. Espino beats Correia with a quick change in direction, cuts inside and puts in a cross, which is hit by Iza into the air and setting up an overhead kick by Lozano. Jaume gets a touch but cannot keep it out
64' - Double substitution for Valencia. Cheryshev and Musah are replaced by Vallejo and Blanco
67' - Soler takes a shot from distance and manages to test the keeper, who spills the save. No Valencia players are nearby to capitalize
69' - Yellow card shown to Negredo for an elbow to the face of Guillamon
72' - Corner for Cadiz is headed by Lozano and it strikes the post and deflects away from goal. Almost a second for the away team
74' - Double substitution for Cadiz. Alvaro Gimenez and Malbasic on, Lozano and Negredo off
76' - Final substitution for Valencia. Sobrino comes on for Wass
78' - Goal for Valencia! 1-1! Espino makes a mess of the clearing header and gives possession to Gaya on the left channel. Gaya looks up, takes a touch and picks out Maxi Gomez at the far post who heads it past the keeper.
89' - Final change for Cadiz. Perea off, Alex Fernandez on
90' - Four minutes added by the referee for stoppages

FULL-TIME

Another draw to maintain the point per game average for Valencia. Cadiz took the lead and Valencia equalized but there were many chances on the counter attack in the final few minutes of the game that would've given all three points to Cadiz. They failed to take those chances due to poor final passes, fortunately for Valencia.

Full-time stats. 11-9 shots, 4-2 shots on target, 72-28% possession, 86-67% pass accuracy

Next game for Valencia is on Thursday January 7th away to Yeclano for the second round of the Copa del Rey.

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Happy New Year!

Just wanted to take this opportunity to wish everyone a happy new year on behalf of all of our contributors here on the forum. Saying that 2020 has been a rough year is a massive understatement. Whether your struggle has been financial, career-related, relationship-related, physical or mental health-related, you lost a loved one, or a combination of any of those, you've made it this far and commendations to you for the strength and patience it took to make it through. We can only hope that this new year brings with it, the light at the end of the tunnel for which many have persevered.

Bringing it back to Valencia, this has been no easy year being a supporter of this club. The team has averaged 1 point per game, is in danger of relegation, has been decimated financially, and players and fans alike have struggled to find motivation to continue. It's normal and expected for people to feel this way given the situation at hand. We've become used to it in a way as Valencia fans over the years. We can only hope that the sparks of the dying flame can be rekindled and the club can blaze forward once more. Some of the pieces to do that are already there, and the club has one of the strongest fan bases in the world to support such an effort.

Here at the forum, we have yet again managed to cover every single game in the year, across all competitions. We have done our best to keep you informed and updated on the latest developments surrounding the club. That being said, the strength of this forum is in the support of the participants on here, and the diversity of opinions on different subjects. Thank you very much to all of you for maintaining your support despite these difficult circumstances. Whether you are a regular participant in the comments or a sporadic one, an active or casual viewer, we appreciate your support. We hope that this virtual space offered a sense of community in the absence of others, or even a moment of reprieve from the stresses of the world.

Once again, happy new year to all of you! We wish you, your loved ones, and the club the best of the health, wealth, success and happiness this new year has to offer. Amunt Valencia!