Thursday, December 2, 2021

Utrilla 0-3 Valencia (Copa del Rey)

 Valencia advanced to the last 64 of the Copa with an easy win at Aragonese 5th level club Utrillas. Bordalas didn't go too mad with the starting line-up, mostly giving a start to the regular subs. Defender Tarrega was the only debutant. One of the main questions was who would start in goal with Jaume, Mamardashvili and Rivero all possible. In the end it went to Jaume, which must raise questions about Mamardashvili's role in the team. He started very well, but will he be content to hang around to be 3rd choice?

In conrast to recent games, it was a 4-4-2. Valencia dominated from start to finish, controlling possession at all time. The breakthrough goal came on 27 minutes, good cross from Musah, Maxi dummies and Andre finishes well. On 52 minutes we extended our lead through a penalty. It was a very soft penalty I have to say and I'd have been annoyed if it had been given against us. With none of the recognised penalty takers on the pitch, Cheryshev stepped up and.... had it saved. I thought it had gone out for a corner but while I was rolling my eyes and cursing the miss, I looked back at the screen to find Musah had scored the rebound. The third came on 70 minutes. Koba scored a nice free kick goal.

We could have had a 4th later as sub Vallejo was clear through but couldn't beat the keeper.

All in all, hard to draw any conclusions from games like this. I've been watching a lot of 6th level regional teams since I came down here and this was not much better. A lot of the younger members of this forum could train for a team like Utrillas and have a chance of playing for them. If anything. I'm a little disappointed we don't win such games more comfortably. Our goal on 27 minutes was actually our first shot on target. I didn't see anything in this game which made me think we've changed our recent dynamic or made me think "wow, I can't wait for the next league game." 

Draw for next round should be tomorrow or Monday. Another lower division away game.

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Valencia 1-1 Rayo Vallecano Match Thread

Valencia CF match against Rayo Vallecano ended in a draw in what seemed like almost a carbon copy of the previous match, only this time Valencia CF played at home in the Mestalla and against a weaker opponent, but unfortunately that did not change the outcome of the match. 

Valencia CF needed a win here badly, otherwise the last two draws against Real Sociedad and Atletico Madrid would be meaningless as it is impossible to accumulate enough points by just drawing, Valencia CF needs to win against smaller opponents, but I guess at this point even Europa league is out of the question. Technically we are still very close points wise to 6th position, as its only 5 points difference, but Valencia CF will have to win several games in a row and other teams would have to falter few times in order for us to get back into a position to fight for an European league spot. 

Valencia CF took the lead early on through Carlos Soler who converted the penalty and put Valencia CF on a winning course. This was as good of a start one could hope for and you'd think Valencia CF would build upon it, but no it was Rayo Vallecano who actually turned the pressure on and started exerting dominance in the match. Valencia CF focused on defending and absorbing Rayo's attacks and for the most part it worked. While Rayo were the ones attacking they did not create too many chances or scoring opportunities. 

The second half of the match was pretty much the same with Valencia CF primarily defending with the occasional counter attack, with Rayo Vallecano attacking and trying to equalize the match. I think Valencia CF should have exerted more control in the second half and prevented Rayo from constantly attacking. I think if you defend constantly for 90 minutes with very few attacks its essentially just a matter of time before you concede and this turned out to be the case here. It didn't take long in the second half for Rayo Vallecano to equalize the score. It was Palazon who scored the goal after the ball had been punched by Cillessen. 

If we analyze the goal a little bit we see that the chance was created from the left flank, there was no one covering I think it was Ivan Balliu who's run closer to the penalty area was not followed by anyone, Gaya was nowhere to be found and he was left completely unmarked, thus allowing him to pass deep into the penalty area, it was Catena who received the ball, he wasn't in the best position for a shot, but he sort of made it work, but his shot was kind of weak and this allowed Cillessen time to react and punch the ball away, but I think he could have maybe even tried to catch the ball as it was a weak shot and moving quite slowly. Thing is Catena was also not properly covered, I don't know who was supposed to cover him or be in that space, I saw Diakhaby being the closest to him, but I feel like someone even before that should have blocked the pass. Anyways Diakhaby was too far away from him and couldn't block the shot, Cillessen did punch the ball away from goal, but the ball ended up to Palazon and again he was completely unmarked. Foulquier did not move at all, maybe he was setting up an offside trap, I don't know the exact tactical details and whether the tactics were to setup offside traps, if that was the case then Diakhaby played him onside as he tried to run towards him and prevent his shot, but that just made him onside. If there was no tactical decision to setup an offside trap there, then Foulquier was just way out of position and caught sleeping at his job.

It literally took 4 mistakes in Valencia's defense one after another for Rayo Vallecano to score, but it happened. We saw 3 Rayo Vallecano players completely unmarked and pretty much every single Valencia CF player in and around the penalty area out of position. Wass, Soler, Helder Costa, Gaya, Diakhaby, Foulquier were all out of position and their reactions were way too slow. 

The goal shook up Valencia CF and they started playing, coming close to scoring in the 66th minute through Soler as he received a solid pass from Maxi Gomez, his shot was good as well, but Stole Dimitrievski was position well and made the save. 

Valencia CF would try to regain control of the match and go on the offensive with mild success, there would certainly be more tries towards Rayo's goal, but it was too little too late. Valencia CF were able to muster up a shot on goal in the later portion of the match, but that too was easily saved by the goalkeeper. Jose Bordalas would try and remake a Atletico Madrid scenario where Valencia CF scored 2 goals in the span for 2 minutes by bringing in a ton of attackers in the closing stages of the match, but he was unable to replicate that performance and Valencia CF were lucky to not lose the match in the end as Martin found himself in a great position alone towards goal and he was able to beat Cillessen and score, but offside was ruled very late in that situation, I thought that Rayo Vallecano had actually scored. 

I think the reason why Valencia CF only managed a draw in this match is because Valencia CF didn't want to win. From the start of the match the team was contempt with just defending. Even after the early goal you'd think it would relieve the pressure from the players and they would be able to more freely play and this would result in much more fluid and attacking football, but no quite the opposite happened. Even the occasional counter attacks were low effort and there was no intent behind them. 

I think sitting back and defending against stronger opposition and especially away from home can be utilized and maybe it can work, but for home matches against technically weaker opposition I don't see how that can bring us results. I think Valencia CF should have been on top of this match from the very first second and relentless to score as many goals as possible and win in a convincing fashion. The team was so focused on defense and not conceding that they forgot there is more to football than that and even with so much focus on defense there were several mistakes in our defense leading up to Rayo's equalizer. There were numerous mistakes that happened one after another that led to their equalizer and so the who focus on defense ended up completely meaningless and useless. 

I think Valencia CF need to achieve a balance between attack and defense and in terms of defending we need to get rid of individual mistakes that often lead to these goals, but we are going to concede goals, its inevitable part of football so you have to outscore your opponent as well. I think the team has to be strategic when they defend and that is not from minute 1 against a weaker opponent at the Mestalla. I think it would have been okay to try and play for a bigger win until the 70th minute and then start backing off and focus more on defending your existent lead. Its easier to defend a result for 30 minutes, than it is to defend it for 90 minutes. 

Monday, November 22, 2021

Real Sociedad 0-0 Valencia CF

Valencia CF managed to secure a draw against the second placed team in the league at the Reale Arena in what is a continuation of some decent results in recent weeks. Real Sociedad were hoping to secure a win at home and at least temporarily just to the first position on the table, but Valencia CF had other plans for them and managed to contain their attacks and secure an important draw.

This result can only be good if Valencia CF wins their next match against Rayo Vallecano though, as getting draws against strong opposition is good, but its the wins against weaker opposition that ultimately can propel the team on the table, so next match against Rayo Vallecano is crucial. 

Unfortunately I did not have the opportunity to watch the match, so I can't comment on it beyond the highlights. Again good result overall considering how strong Real Sociedad are at the moment and the fact that Valencia CF played away from home, but this just gives more onus to get a win in the next match.

Sunday, November 7, 2021

Valencia CF 3-3 Atletico Madrid Match Report

What a turnaround!!! The last 15 minutes of the match were some of the most exciting moments of football I've watched in a long time, especially from Valencia CF. Now imagine that kind of intensity and intent for most of the match, that would be an extremely exciting and powerful Valencia CF team to watch. 

What can I say, from the 80th minute, all the way until the 97th minute, there was a long stoppage time of 7 minutes and towards the end, in the 95th minute Valencia CF managed to equalize the match! 

I thought this match was over after they scored their second goal, I thought there was no chance for Valencia CF to equalize against such a defensively solid team and then Atletico Madrid scored a 3rd goal. They were better in ball possession, they were better in passing,  they had the initiative as if they were playing at home. I tuned out for about 10 minutes and then tuned in again at about the 70th minute and Valencia CF was looking to attack, was looking for opportunities and was trying to score, even so it would have been hard to image Valencia CF ever equalizing this game and then the 80th minute started passing, Jose Bordalas decided to bring in 3 basically attacking players all at once and replace our defense and Carlos Soler in the 85th minute, last gasp desperation move! 

Who would have known that it would actually work, Valencia CF managed to score in the 92th minute through Hugo Duro and then just 3 minutes later score once more to equalize the score and manage to rescue a draw! 

I could not believe what I was seeing, it was incredible! This is the type of Valencia CF I want to see all the time, fighting for every ball, running up and down the pitch constantly, running channels, overwhelming the opposition. The last 15 minutes of this match should be the model for Valencia CF! 

I think this also shows that we don't have defenders who can push the ball forward, apart from defending our central defenders are unable to push the ball forward and we always end up skipping the midfield. With more players willing to move the ball forward and to receive it we were able to dominate for 15 minutes, we were able to win every single ball and to force Atletico Madrid players to make mistakes! 

Again the first 60 minute of this match was Atletico Madrid playing and Valencia CF just doing nothing, the occasional counter attack, the occasional good play, but for the most part sitting back, defending and just crossing the ball far, hoping to somehow score! I did not see Valencia CF getting a result, even when we equalized it was an own goal from Stefan and Valencia CF did not look like they were able to score on their own! 

This is a positive result, I would have taken a draw even before the match started, but the team has to improve! This 3-3 result can not be a fluke, we need to see initiative, we need to see a fighting spirit, we need to see playing every match like its a final! 

Valencia CF vs Atletico Madrid Match Preview

Valencia CF showed signs of life last week after managing to beat Villarreal CF and end a terrible streak of 7 matches without a win. Now the team has to continue in a winning manner in order for that result to matter, otherwise we are just back to square one, but unfortunately for Valencia CF it just so happens that their next opponent is Atletico Madrid who have been solid this year and are sitting at 4th position on the table with 22 points. As always Atletico Madrid are a rugged, tough team and are playing physical and aggressive football, focusing on mostly defending and then on occasions hitting the opponents with fast attacks, which is similar to how Valencia CF has played this season, so it would be interesting to see which team has more control of the ball and takes the initiative.

I think Valencia CF can actually get a decent result against Atletico Madrid as long as we fix our leaky defense, because if you look at the statistics we do seem to score reasonable amount of goals, even if we aren't creating a ton of chances and missing some very good ones, statistically speaking we should be getting better results, if not for the terrible defending. Its mostly been individual errors, players just not following their mark close enough and allowing too much space for them to do whatever, so defenders need to be more aggressive, but not overly as to give away needless penalties.

Good news for Valencia CF is that players like Correia, Cheryshev, Racic will be available for this match, though all of them are likely to start from the bench as a precaution, though Carlos Soler is going to be starting the match. Jose Bordalas is likely to reinforce the midfield, similar to the last match as to avoid conceding goals and look for goals on counter attacks, but also beat Atletico's midfield as well and negate them of the ability to start dangerous attacks.

Valencia CF Squad: Cillessen, Correia, Diakhaby, Alderete, Gaya; Helder Costa, Hugo, Soler, Wass, Andre; Guedes

Winning Probability: Valencia CF 25% Draw 50% Atletico Madrid 25%

Result Prediction: Both teams play similar football, though Atletico much more effectively of course and they've been perfecting their play style for close to a decade now, so Atletico Madrid are the slight favorites, but not by much since they also tend to struggle to score goals and their wins are marginal with just one goal difference, usually something like 1-0. So Valencia CF has a good chance to get a positive result, but its going to be very hard of course, so I'm thinking this is most likely going to be a draw. Win would be amazing, it would propel Valencia CF really hard and could potentially put us back in the European competition fight, but a draw would be a decent result as well against a very dangerous and solid opponent! 

Saturday, October 30, 2021

Valencia CF 2-0 Villarreal CF Match Report

Valencia CF finally records a win after 7 matches in which the team only managed a measly 3 points! The win comes at the expense of Villarreal CF who were in a similar position to Valencia CF and both teams needed a win to set the course right! 

I got to be honest I didn't think Valencia CF deserved to win, I think we were just a bit more lucky today, I think the fairest result would have been a draw, but hey I'll take a win wherever I can. 

Uros Racis started the match in place for Carlos Soler as the coach obviously didn't want to risk him, Foulquier also started instead of Correia, though both players were eventually subbed in and got to play. We had a similar lineup to previous ones, with the standard back 4, Hugo serving as a defensive midfielder, while Wass and Uros Racic playing a bit more forward, with Helder Costa and Guedes on the flanks and Marcos Andre as the sole forward. 

The match was fairly equal from the start with both teams fighting for control of the midfield, but Villarreal CF exerted more dominance in the early stages and dominated possession for long periods of time, with Valencia CF relegated to defending. Villarreal would have the first more serious opportunity in the 28th minute with Arnaut Danjuma having a shot at goal that went just wide. 

Then in the 41st minute Serge Aurier volleys the ball towards goal, but Cillessen is able to just reach it and deflects the shot, saving an almost certain goal there. 

Valencia CF looked destined to lose once again, with the team barely having 28% ball possession and most of the attacks were coming from Villerral CF who looed more likely to score, but in what was a individual bit of skill Hugo Guillamon received the ball in a good position and lobbed the goalkeeper to put Valencia CF ahead.

Second half was pretty much a carbon copy of the first, Villarreal were trying to find the equalizer, but just weren't too dangerous in attack, while Valencia CF was contempt to sit back and occasionally attack through counter attacks. Then in the 77th minute Foulquier rushed into the penalty area to intercept a ball, but an opposition player hit him instead of the ball, prompting the referee to award Valencia CF a penalty! 

Carlos Soler stepped to the penalty spot, he sent a rather weak shot right in the center, but the goalkeeper essentially jumped before seeing the shot, and went too far on the side. 

The last 15 minutes of the match were basically injuries after injuries, mostly for Valencia's players, but there doesn't seem to be anything serious, except for Paulista who might have renewed the injury he had before the match and might be out for the next match, but we'll have to wait and see. 

So there you have it, a 2-0 win over a direct rival and finally a win under our belt, but it felt a bit lucky, it felt a little bit undeserved. We were completely outplayed in every department, but with a little bit of individual skill and luck we managed to get a win. I think the play needs to seriously improve if we are to stand a chance against any team. 

Valencia CF vs Villarreal CF Match Preview

Valencia CF will 'welcome' Villarreal CF at the Mestalla today at 18:30 in what is a key match for Valencia CF as the team has not recorded a single win in the past 7 matches, and what is even more worrying is that the gameplay just isn't there. While at the beginning of the season and even against Real Madrid the team looked solid and capable of winning, this has not been the case in the past 6 matches, in most of them Valencia CF having to fight back from a deficit and barely scramble a draw and in many cases it hasn't been able to even manage a draw!

I think the issues are clear to Jose Bordalas, he knows what they are, but the difficult part will be fixing them! I wrote an article saying that its time to go back to basics, basically start from the ground up and just work on rudimentary stuff, along with just playing a lot of short matches to gel the team. My biggest issue is that the team never seems like a one whole, we are never really playing like a team, its always just a few players kind of randomly passing the ball around and essentially having individual talent win or rescue games for us. 

I've not seen a consistent and persistent systematic attack or systematic passing of the ball, both back and forth and trying to find holes in the defense, we string a few passes together and most of the time either lose the ball or have no end product. We need to retain the ball if there is no good option and pass it around, forward and back, then side to side and we need to have all of our players opening up to receive the ball, including the forwards, including the back. 

Jose Bordalas is on the right track in identifying the problems, he recently stated that players just wait for the ball to come to their feet and that is just not realistic, he is absolutely right, they need to be running for every ball, running to intercept passes and not just standing in one position and waiting for the pass to perfectly come to their legs! 

Good news for Valencia CF is that Villarreal CF aren't any better and thus this will be an interesting match and a step forward for one team and even further step back for the other. Looking at the statistics Valencia CF has scored 3 more goals than Villarreal CF, but its also conceded way more goals 17 to the 10 of Villareal. Valencia CF also has a worse possession as well as a miserable 74% pass rate, compared to the 60% possession rate and 86% percent pass rate for Villarreal. 

So statistically it is not looking good for us, but what we have is those individual moments, what we have is individual talent, so a Guedes or a Soler or a Gaya can make the difference for us in tight situations. We've also missed Correia on that right back spot, he has been training for the past few days normally, but its unclear if he'll be fully fit and in full form to start this match. Gabriel Paulista is also a doubt for this match, though he has also completed a soft training session the previous day, so he could be back in the squad. 

Valencia CF Squad: Cillessen, Correia, Paulista, Alderete, Gaya; Soler, Hugo, Wass, Cheryshev; Andre, Guedes

Winning Probability: Valencia CF 25% Draw 40% Villareal CF 35%

Result Prediction: I think Villareal CF are the favorites to win this match as painful as it is to say that, but they the better team overall and just haven't had too much luck on their side, while Valencia CF has been the worse team overall with more conceded goals, less ball possession, poor passing and less goal chances. I think getting a draw would be decent for this match, I hope for a win, but I'm expecting a loss here. Valencia CF 1-2 Villareal CF! 

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Time to go back to basics!

Valencia's disastrous loss against Real Betis has rung the alarm bells as the team has played 7 matches without a win. It all started with a string of injuries to our key players, Soler, Gaya, Correia, Cheryshev, all injured for an extended period of time and unfortunately we could not properly replace them as none of the options proved capable! 

The team has been slowly getting back together, but its clear that we lack team cohesion and team work. Real Betis really showed us how the game is meant to be played and that is with team work and coordination, something which Valencia CF woefully lack! Jose Bordalas needs to go back to basics and start from scratch! The team needs to gel together, to form cohesion, to learn each other's movements and anticipate where players are going to play!

We need serious tactical training, in fact I think the team needs to just play as many short matches as possible, each player has to learn where the others are going to be at any given point and anticipate how others are going to play! When Valencia CF plays it all feels disjointed, it all feels disorganized and we seem to be relying too much on individual skill and luck to get us through games! 

Pepe Bordalas has his work cut out for him, luckily we have an easier match on October 30th against Villarreal CF and a chance to steer the ship at the proper course! We've faced Villarreal CF already in the preseason and we won 3-2 against them, they are also not doing much better than us. 

Once again Jose Bordalas has to start to build the team from the ground up, focus on gameplay, focus on cohesion, focus on ball control. Yeah the players can be physically ready to play for say 120 minutes, but it doesn't help if they just get outplayed! We also need a playmaker, I mean after Baraja we fortunately had Aimar for a while, then we had Banega, but since then we've not had a real playmaker. Parejo has served that role on most occasions, but he was not a real play maker, we need someone with vision in the center midfield to organize the play, to carry the ball forward with confidence. We need a Baraja basically! Soler is a work horse, he is a busy body, he does a lot of stuff, but he is not a play maker. Daniel Wass kind of has the same defensive role as Hugo, but I think the overlap might be a bit too big for both of them to play in the same team, especially when its not bearing any fruit! 

In fact I think Guedes is probably our biggest play maker as he is the only one who can realistically carry the ball forward and who often needs to come back to get the ball so an attack can happen! I think Bordalas needs to think about ditching one of Wass or Hugo, they are both defensive midfielders and where are the results? Maybe try Foulqier in central midfield, maybe Helder Costa, idk figure out who has the chops to be a play maker and try it out.