Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Getafe CF 1-0 Valencia CF Match Report

New coach same old Valencia, same old issues, same old results! This time it was Baraja's turn to try out his luck, after Gattuso's luck ran out and Voro's magic didn't manifest. Peter Lim chose to act quickly and change Voro with a club legend, hoping to appease the fans and try and lift morale in the dressing room. 

The thing is NO ONE believe in this "project"! No one believes in Peter Lim, no one wants Meriton, in fact most fans at this point hate, absolutely hate Peter Lim and all of his cronies! 

I had no expectations from this match, and I had no delusions that we can get a decent result considering we've slandered much better opportunities for victories. At this point I don't even care about the matches and results; I just want Peter Lim gone at all costs! He needs to go, everyone needs to stop buying tickets, whether its seasonal or individual, everyone needs to stop buying Valencia CF merchandise, and everyone needs to pressure the Valencian government to start a financial investigation into Meriton! They are in breach of contract, they have not yet finished the new stadium, they have not acted on their responsibilities and no matter how much the club sells and reduces its expenditures there never seems to be enough cash in the club's bank accounts! 

The match itself was pretty much a repeat of the last 5 matches, the team plays decent football, nothing special, but certainly not relegation level if you look at it objectively, but there is no consistency, there is no confidence with the ball, there is way too much individual errors, etc....

At this point I think Ruben Baraja needs to figure out a super defensive team that sits back, soaks attacks and tries to get results from drawing. We need about 11 points to theoretically avoid relegation and there is still plenty of games to go, but we need to start gaining points immediately! We have 16 more matches till the end of the season, if we are able to get 11 points from 16 games out of a potential of 48 points, we should theoretically be safe from relegation! 

Lim and his cronies didn't bring any reinforcements in the winter transfer window even though Gattuso was demanding it and even though there was obviously a need for it! There were several good options to get on loan deals, so it wouldn't have cost the club a penny, but they couldn't manage even that! 

We seriously lack a winger, we seriously lack a central defender, and we even lack a defensive midfielder! Hugo Guilamon has been terrible since the start of the second half of the season, a big change from the first half when he was relatively good. I don't know what happened to him, but it's not good. 

Illaix Moriba is not really the defensive type, I don't even know what type he is, seems like the busy type, running channels and stuff, but we actually need a defensive minded one, a midfield destroyer the likes of Albelda, Fuego, Topal, etc...

What do guys you see that needs to be changed in order to improve our results? What can Ruben Baraja do to turn things around? 

Saturday, February 18, 2023

Getafe CF vs Valencia CF Match Preview

How bad has Lim ownership and "leadership" turned out? Valencia CF went from being a top 4 club, mostly regular in the champions league, one of the most respected and recognizable clubs in the world, to a minnow fighting to avoid relegation. Even hardcore 20+ years supporters are tuning out and uninterested in the clubs matches! They are right as fans of Real Madrid or Barcelona or Manchester United or any big club start protesting over their clubs not winning few games in a row, let alone seeing their club fall down so far and fight for relegation!

The only way out of this is for fans, supporters, club admirers, former players and staff to organize and chip in the most money we can and have the city government fine Meriton tens and tens of millions of euros until they are forced to sell the club! Meriton has defrauded the city of Valencia by not finishing the stadium and they are liable for damages. I would also inspect the club's finances and if there are irregularities go after Meriton on that as well. Make it financially impossible to continue to own the club and force Lim to sell. 

I can see former players like Silva, Villa, Marchena, Aimar, Canizares, Albelda, Mata, Ayala, etc... all chipping in, to buyout the club, and we would need them in order to get enough money to purchase the club! Small investors who chip in with $50 or $100 are great, especially if there are tons of us, but we need bigger investors, we need big money, we need people to come in with 100k, 500k, 1 million, etc...

Valencia CF appointed Ruben Baraja as head coach for 6 months, as John wrote in the article it's a way to appease the fans temporarily, but it's not going to work! There is literally nothing Lim can do to change fans opinions of him, heck if Valencia CF magically won the league, it still won't change fans opinions of Lim and Meriton and they would be demanding Lim to leave. The relationship has been irreparably broken and there is no way back! 

Even if Baraja is somehow able to turn this ship around and steer Valencia CF past relegation it won't matter, no one can be satisfied with their team barely avoiding relegation! 

Lim needs to retire, to go off into the sunset and hire real football professionals to run the club, he shouldn't be making ANY decision about the club, no one should be calling him, no one should be seeing him, he should be no one to the club, with professionals running the club and not caring about Lim. That is the only way forward, that is the only way the club can start moving in the right direction again! 

The match against Getafe CF doesn't even matter, not if the team's goal is to avoid relegation, which it's kind of is at this time. Basically, Valencia CF need to acquire about 13 points till the rest of the season to theoretically avoid relegation, I think that is the safe limit historically, so individual games don't matter, though it would be nice to see Valencia CF win for once and break the terrible string of defeats! 

Last time I checked and reported on Valencia's finances I believe the club was supposed to have only been 150 million in dept, Lim and Meriton were bragging that they've been paying off huge chunks of the debt and financially the club was making small profits, or at least not losing money to require new loans! So last time I checked we were 150 million euros in the debt to various banks, I'm not sure where some of our readers are coming up with numbers of 400+ million in debt. Again, it was about 3.5-4 years ago when I reported few times on this and back then almost 4 years ago, I believe the debt was reduced to around 150 million or 175 million, somewhere around those numbers. 

I know the club has been loaning money from Meriton, but didn't the sale of several of our players cover that? I believe the club owed Peter Lim around 70 million euros, which I think the club paid off through the sales of several players! 

This is also another big red flag, why is Lim "borrowing" Valencia CF money and why is the club paying it off with interest? He owns the club, why is he squeezing money out of it? I don't see any other private club owners screwing their own clubs! I don't see the Sheiks "borrowing" money to their clubs, in fact they've done all of the possible loopholes and tricks in order to invest money into their clubs, I remember Man City got an injection of 400 million euros with the club selling the stadium name and image right to its owner for 10 years, which he owns anyways, it was a trick to inject money into the club without getting afoul of fair play! 

Its only Valencia's owner that is borrowing money to his own club with interest on it! What a joke the dude is! He should be investigated for financial malversations, money laundering, fraud, etc... Force him out, threaten him with jail time, etc...

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Valencia appoint Rubén Baraja

Valencia have announced that Rubén Baraja has taken over as manager. He has a contract until  the end of the season, with no option to extend, even if he does well. Yet again, we've had 3 people in charge in a month and he's the 10th permanent manager, not counting Voro, in 9 and a half years of Meriton mismanagement.

Not for the first time, Meriton seem to be making it up as they go along. The idea was that Voro would take over till the end of the season. However, he failed to produce a spark in results and so the panic button was pressed once more.

Unlike some of the obscure choices foisted on us from Singapore, Baraja, of course, needs no introduction. His status as a club legend as a player is assured. He was the top scorer, albeit with a mere 7 goals, when we won the league in 2002. The problem comes when you look at his managerial career. Underwhelming is not the word. Poor is.

He's failed to last even a year in his 5 permanent jobs. In two of them, he lasted just 3 months. Is he the man to bring about a reversal in fortunes? It's hard to have confidence he will. Overall, as well, the experiment of having club legends manage us has usually gone badly rather than well this century. Only Quique Sanchez Flores had any reasonable level of results. Pellegrino and Dukic failed. The spell of Pizzi (hardly a club legend anyway) is probably better remembered by fans than it was. He did get us to a European semi-final, but league results were poor. 

Where Baraja may help is in motivating a mentally fragile squad as someone who has "walked the walk" at Mestalla. He also has credit in the bank with fans, meaning he'll be given more time. Indeed, some would say his appointment is a cynical effort by Meriton to quieten fans. Really at this point, even if Lim appointed Guardiola and signed Haaland and Mbappe, the relationship with fans is irreparably damaged. 

Sad to say, my hopes are low and my confidence is shattered. The Almeria game was the last one I watched and I'm sorry to admit that I haven't regretted skipping the games, for the sake of my nerves. Even if Baraja somehow manages to save this season, we're looking at a placing of 15th or below. The rot and the decline is clear and we all know why. In the very best case scenario that I see, we escape relegation this season but sell players like Mamardashvili and Musah in the summer, replace them with loan players from Barcelona or Atletico Madrid's b-teams and then get relegated next season instead. Fans who naively hope that may improve things will be disappointed. Relegation will make a poor financial situation much worse, as the cases of Malaga, Zaragoza and Depor show. It would not remotely surprise me to see Lim hang on after relegation and even in the miraculous event he sells, there are plenty more "Lims" out there. We are screwed and I don't see a way out.

Friday, February 10, 2023

Valencia CF vs Athletic Bilbao Match Preview

I had relative confidence with Voro at the helm of this team, but all that came crashing down with two consecutive defeats. Voro's first match was a really difficult one with him taking on Real Madrid at the Bernabeu, though I expected to see a strong and solid Valencia CF that would cause Real Madrid trouble and truth be told they did in the first half. Then in the second half the team felt apart and conceded two preventable goals, it seems as if the team started in 3rd gear and couldn't get going in the second half, enough for Real Madrid to score two goals and claim the victory! Real Madrid wasn't playing exceptional football either and Valencia CF did have a chance. 

Then Valencia CF played against Girona one of the relatively weaker teams and I believe anyone in the world would have told you that Valencia CF is the slight favorite even with its bad form and string of bad results. Turns out Valencia CF can't even beat Girona and can't even outplay it either! Girona had more posession, more shots on goal, more shots off target, more corner kicks, more attacks and more blocks. Girona outplayed Valencia CF in every department! Valencia CF also played what I consider its strongest team with Lato and Gaya on the left flank, Yunus and Foulquier on the other flank and Hugo and Almedia in the middle, with the inform Cenk and Eray Comert at the center of defense, completing the team were Lino and Cavani up front! The only player missing that could have made this team slightly better in Correia, but I'm grasping at straws here!

Valencia's next opponent is the tricky and always challenging Athletic Bilbao, Valencia CF will be looking to end its string of 4 defeats in La Liga and 5 overall losses in the last 6 matches. How would they do that I have no clue, I'm all out of ideas and I'm hoping that Voro can figure it out and bring a new perspective for the team. 

Every time I expect a win, or a decent result Valencia CF always falters and suffers a defeat, so now I'm actually expecting and predicting a loss. If Valencia CF can't win against Girona to avoid relegation and get back on track to at least a mid-table finish, then I don't see it happening against Athletic Bilbao. I'm predicting a 2-1 victory for Bilbao! 

I'm expecting pretty much the same lineup from last match, with maybe one of two changes, though I really don't know what to expect right now. Voro is a conservative guy, I have a feeling he is going to stick to his guns and play the same team with maybe one or two changes, probably the same formation and tactics as well, though he might surprise and change everything, if things aren't working with what's tried and tested, then maybe some radical changes are needed, although Valencia's options are limited. We have Hugo Duro who could replace say Toni Lato, Samu Castillejo who can replace Lino, but those are the options. In midfield we are paper thin both in the center and on the flanks, Justin Kluivert is out injured so he is not an option either. 

I'm expecting a loss, I would be extremely surprised if Valencia CF managed anything else as depressing as that is to write!

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Real Madrid vs Valencia CF Match Preview

Valencia CF sacked Gennaro Gattuso as coach after yet another disappointing performance against Real Valladolid in which Valencia CF lost 1-0. That match was seen as an opportunity for the team to bounce back and get a much-needed victory that would put the team forward on to a winning path but was rather another disappointing loss against a much weaker opponent on paper. 

The latest loss put Valencia CF only 1 point above the relegation zone and Valencia management made the decision to sack the coach in the hopes of improving the situation. Voro will be interim coach for the 8th or 9th time, it is a frequent occurrence. If he is able to deliver decent results he might even stay till the end of the season.

Meriton's mismanagement of the club has had dire consequences in the sporting and financial department! Valencia CF is at best fighting for mid table finish on the sporting side and on the financial side it is unable to pay players' salaries. Seasonal ticket sales are low due to the fans disappointment from the results and the hate for Meriton. Many fans just refuse to give the club money as long as Meriton owns the club and they'd rather stay home and watch the games on TV, rather than watch it live. 

Meriton has also not invested anything in the old stadium, so there is less and less reason to go to the stadium as it is getting worse there, let's not even talk about the "new" stadium. There were reports that Valencia CF might have 1.5 million euros to spend for the winter transfer market, but even that seems a far fetch as the club has not brought in any reinforcements, not even loan ones!

I don't know if someone needs to paint it to Peter Lim, but you cannot run a football club as a business! In order for a football club to gain money it needs to have sporting success, the better you do on the sporting side the more local fans that will go watch the live matches in the stadium, the more international fans you gain thus boosting the club's prestige and reach and the bigger the sponsors they can attract! 

You cannot even sell player's shirts as a third of them are on loan and won't be here next season and the ones the club does own are all new players that don't attract too much interest. 

The only recognizable names that we have in our squad right now are Jose Luis Gaya and Edinson Cavani that can sell any decent number of shirts. I remember Real Madrid president in the Galactico era justifying paying record-breaking prices by saying that the players are going to pay for their transfers through shirt sales and sharing image rights with the club. He was right, as Real Madrid was able to sell enormous numbers of shirts from all of their top players like Zidane, Ronaldo, Figo, Cristiano Ronaldo, etc...

Voro will be starting in his role as coach with a weakened squad as Justin Kluivert, Correia, Jaume and Nico Gonzales are all injured and will be unavailable for the match against Real Madrid!

Few articles back I was going through Valencia's stats, and they were painting a good picture, according to all of the stats we are at 7th place in terms of actual performance, but for some reason we are bottom half of the table. So, I had high hopes for the next couple of matches, but my hopes were shattered as the results did not come. 

I still think our biggest issue is the defense, we lack a proper midfield destroyer like an Albelda or Topal or Javi Fuego and we seriously lack high quality defenders! I was hoping we were going to buy Otamendi as he only has 6 months remaining of his contract, so he was going to come in really cheap, probably 1 million euros, but the club doesn't even want to bring in new loan players, let alone buy new players! 

Hopefully Voro can work his magic and organize our defense better, we also raise our game when playing against stronger opposition, so I expect a fairly decent showing tomorrow night against Real Madrid, though we are most likely going to lose, but hopefully it is a very narrow loss, and we show some potential for the future! 

Valencia starting lineup: Mamardashvili; Toni Lato, Dimitri Foulquier, Comert, Gabriel Paulista, Gaya; Musah, Samu Castillejo, Almeida; Hugo Duro, Cavani.

Valencia CF formation: 5-3-2

Valencia CF tactics: Voro is likely to opt for more conservative tactics, with a medium defensive line, with the two full backs serving as wingers in midfielders when the team is attacking. I'm expecting to see a slower attack buildup with Voro demanding the ball be passed around sideways or backwards, rather than rushing it forward and losing it. 

Match Result: Real Madrid 2-1 Valencia CF

I think Real Madrid are going to win. We always cause them trouble and occasionally are able to beat them, but at this point in time in the current form I'm not seeing any other results except a loss. Hopefully we can maybe get a draw, that would be something, but it's going to require significant defensive cohesion, something which I don't think Voro can just magically create! He is known for squeezing out the best of the players, but our defensive woes are just too big to be solved by pure mental fortitude alone!

Monday, January 30, 2023

Gattuso sacked

 And so the Meriton managerial merry-go-round continues. Valencia announced earlier today that Gattuso has left the club "by mutual consent." 

This just sounds like a polite way of saying that he was fired. Since a win at Osasuna in early October, Valencia have played 14 games and won just 3. Two of those were against lower league opposition in the Copa, so don't really count. In the league the numbers were becoming awful: 1 win, 4 draws and 5 defeats. 

The squad planning has been poor with big gaps. The midfield has been increasingly weak and easily overrun. As the season has gone on, players who showed promise early in the season like Comert, Cenk, Guillamon, Almeida and Musah have all regressed. The coach has to shoulder responsibility for that.

Another issue is that the team has been mentally fragile. In no fewer than 5 games this season (Espanyol and Villarreal away; Elche, Mallorca and Almeria at home) Valencia led. The points tally from those games? 3. We lost 2 and drew 3. That's 12 points squandered as a result of poor game management, in games where we would mostly be expected to win in any case. 

The late goals conceded also point to that. 83rd minute against Espanyol and Mallorca, 86th against Sevilla, 88th against Villarreal, 90th against Valladolid, 93rd against Barcelona = 8 points thrown away. 

Gattuso and his style of play was broadly welcomed as a breath of fresh air after the stodgy, hard-to-watch, anti-football of the Bordalas era. Sadly, his inexperience showed in the end and he should have done much better with this group of players. In the end, only Ayestaran and Prandelli have had shorter stints in the Lim era, while Gattuso's percentage of games won sees him below even Gary Neville. Caveats about squad strength aside, the results were simply not good enough.

Of course, all of us will know the wider picture of Meriton chaos and mismanagement and it is they, not Gattuso, who have to take the lion's share of the blame for all this. Unfortunately, we are now in the all too familiar situation of hoping Voro can somehow conjure some magic to save us, but this is totally not sustainable.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Valencia CF vs Athletic Bilbao Match Preview

Valencia CF just can't seem to get any result in La Liga, even when things seemed to be picking up and we had a moment of optimism it all comes crashing down as Valencia CF drew at the Mestalla against UD Almeria. I was really excited for the match and full of optimism that finally we are going to record a win and start turning things around, we played really well against Real Madrid with that formation and lineup, Gattuso stuck with the same things in the Spanish cup against Sporting Gijon and Valencia CF won easily, so I was expecting a solid victory against UD Almeria, one of the weakest teams currently in La Liga. Well, it seems like Valencia CF is competing for the weakest team in La Liga as well, and they are just three points away from relegation. 

Valencia CF vs Athletic Bilbao Copa del Rey Match Preview

Valencia CF is facing Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey though and as such there might be chances for a win, though Valencia CF has hardly faced stiff opposition in the cup and Athletic Bilbao is the first real tough opponent. A win here would place Valencia CF in the semifinal and give fans some cause for celebration. 

Valencia's record in all competitions coming into this match is 3 losses, 2 wins and 1 draw on the opposite side Athletic have 2 wins, 2 loses and 2 draws. Valencia's La Liga stats are 25 goals scored and 20 goals conceded and Athletic have very similar stats with 25 scored and 19 goals conceded. The biggest difference between these clubs is the possession with Valencia CF on top of the charts with 59% possession rate and nothing to show for it, while Athletic Bilbao have 51% possession rate, but appear to be using the most of that possession and creating enough chances. 

Valencia CF are also better in the passing accuracy department as well as aerial duels won, with the only stat being worse than Athletico's being shots conceded per game, but only by just a tad. Valencia CF are also one of the most fouled team in the league, with little protection from the referees, in fact part of our issues might be refereeing related as they just don't seem to award enough cards and penalties for Valencia CF. Our team gets fouled constantly and our actions and flow stopped, but the opposing teams always seem to get away with it, with barely any punishment. Valencia CF should definitely ask for more protection from the referees based on actual statistical data and facts that we are one of the most fouled team in the league! 

All of Valencia's stats actually seem really good, but why we don't have any results is beyond all reason! Obviously, our team is extremely error prone and individual mistakes do cost us often, but even that doesn't fully explain the bad results. 

At this point I feel like we need an experienced and great central defender to organize the defense. Paulista used to do that to a certain degree in the past, but now he's out of form and was out of the squad for a long period with injury, so we need someone like Nicolas Otamendi to sort out our defense. He is currently playing at Benfica and his contract is expiring this summer, so Valencia CF should move swiftly and sign the player. He is not going to cost anything more than 1 million euros and I'm sure he'll love to finish out his career at Valencia CF the club which made him a household name. 

I think we are going to see mostly the same lineup from our last match, with few chances just to give some players rest and have them fit for the next game in La Liga. 

Valencia starting lineup: Mamardashvili; Correia, Comert, Diakhaby, Gaya; Musah, Guillamon, Almeida; Kluivert, Cavani, Lino

Valencia CF formation: 4-4-2

Valencia CF tactics: High defensive line when attacking with two defenders covering at the back and Hugo Guilamon falling back to serve as a defensive cover. Lato and Correia interchanging position as both can attack and defend. Mostly long crosses from the wings with generally shorter passes through the center of the field. Cavani positioned aggressively in the front, serving mostly as a static threat, while Lino running channels more and shifting position.

Match prediction: Valencia CF 3-1 Athletic Bilbao

I'm going to persist with my optimism and big wins prediction as we have all of the tools at our disposal to do exactly that. If you look at all of the stats Valencia CF is doing really good, in fact in the top 6 good in almost every department. All the team needs to do is stay concentrated for 90 minutes + stoppage time and don't do anything stupid defensively. Seems simple enough, right? 

Gattuso needs to figure out how to secure our backline and we should be good. I'm hoping he figures something out and implements it in this match, because I really want to believe and I'm hoping for good results with that issue figured out and solved.