Sunday, May 9, 2021

Valencia CF 3-0 Real Valladolid Match Report

Valencia CF with a convincing win over a combative and really solid Real Valladolid team. If you'd ask me in the first 30 minutes of the match if Valencia CF would win, I would have doubt it and even a draw would have been fine with me, but two solid goals from Gomez changed the whole game. Its been at least 3 months I think since Maxi Gomez last scored a goal and in this match he scored two and from two. He had two chances and scored from both, amazing performance, where was this guy the whole season?

I didn't expect too many changes from Voro, but I was surprised by the changes. It wasn't numerically many changes, but the concept was different. He started with 3 central defenders, 5 players in midfield with Correia and Gaya also serving as defenders when Real Valladolid attacked, but serving as wingers when Valencia CF was in attack. Wass and Soler completed the midfield with a forward 3 of Kang-In Lee on the right flank, Guedes on the left and Gomez in a central forward position. 

Real Valladolid started well, better than Valencia and had few quick chances. Valencia CF would counter and mount few chances of their own, but noting would come out of them. The match sort of slowed down a bit from the 25th minute, with Real Valladolid having control of the ball and trying to create something, but all of their efforts were stopped and they did not have any serious chances.

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Valencia CF vs Real Valladolid Match Preview

Valencia CF

Valencia vs Valladolid - Predictions, Betting Tips & Match PreviewValladolid

Real Valladolid

Date 2021-05-09 16:15 GMT+1

What an eventful week it has been for Valencia CF. It started off with the loss at home to FC Barcelona and the consequential sacking of Javi Gracia who as I've reported had been on this ice and was going to be sacked in the summer to avoid paying him damages, but with the club so close to relegation he was sacked with just 4 matches to go and Voro was put in charge of the team. This is Voro's 7th takeover of the team, 5 of which are under Peter Lim's era, so a defeating number right there.

Today as I'm writing this match preview there is a huge protest going on in Valencia against Peter Lim and his company Meriton, this isn't the first protest that has happened against Lim's leadership of the club and it certainly won't be the last. With Lim's brazen and stupid character he won't sell the club and I'm afraid with more of his terrible leadership people will do more to force him to leave and this includes not buying any of the merch, not buying season tickets, not even buying individual match tickets, all in order to force Peter Lim out. The bad things is that in the process of trying to remove Lim, its the club itself that is being hurt. 

I think the best decision would be to form an investment group by the fans, everyone chips in $20 or $40 or $100 or even $500 if they have, and we are at the very least 200k fans around the world. I know a lot of inactive fans who would activate if they have the chance to invest in Valencia CF and oust Peter Lim as a consequence! So if say 100k people all chip in on average $40 dollars and it gets coupled with few bigger investors we could be seeing a real takeover possibility and if Lim doesn't want to sell, then force him through the government to sell. Fine and tax his company to hell, fine him tens of million of euros for the unfinished Mestalla construction, sue his company in court and demand even more, work the the banks to force a payout on all of the clubs loans, force his company Meriton be have to pay tens and tens of millions and go into a huge loss if he wants to continue owning Valencia CF. 

Valencia vs Leeds in 2001 UEFA Champions League semi-final

With Lim running the club into the ground and now not even being shy about the fact that he doesn't care (see his Financial Times interview where he says the club is a "trophy asset that is incredibly good for networking) it's hard to believe that Valencia was one of the top clubs in Europe. Today is the 20th anniversary of our last UEFA Champions League semi-final versus Leeds United. (It is, incidentally, also Leeds' last Champions League game.)

Valencia had of course reached the previous final, suffering a disappointing 0-3 reversal against Real Madrid. The result was also a let down in Zaragoza, since Madrid had finished 5th and it therefore deprived Zaragoza of a Champs league place. In the summer, in a reminder that we were always a selling club, we lost Piojo Lopez to Lazio for 35m (€49m in today's money.) Gerard to Barcelona for 24m and Farinos to Inter for €16m. We did at least use part of that money wisely, bringing in players who would be the mainstay of the team in the following years: Aimar from River Plate, John Carew from Rosenberg, Vicente from Levante and Ayala from Milan.

Under Hector Cuper, Valencia was fired up and ready to go one better. With only the top two Spanish teams qualifying automatically for the group stage, we had to enter a play-off versus Tirol Innsbruck. After a goalless draw in Austria, Valencia easily brushed them aside 4-1 at Mestalla, with a brace from Mendieta and Diego Alonso.

With Valencia first seeds in the first group stage, we drew Olympiakos and group stage debutants Lyon and Heerenveen. 4 straight wins put us through with 2 games to spare. With a few players rested, we lost game 5 at Olympiakos, giving them the head to head and putting our status as group winners at risk, but a draw in the last game secured it.

With the format then featuring a second group stage, we again entered as first seeds. We got lucky, drawing as second seed another Austrian team, Sturm Graz, suprise winners of their group. Pot 3, however had Lazio and Manchester United, and we drew the latter, meeting them in the 2nd group stage for the second year in a row. Another Greek team, Panathanaikos, rounded out our group. A 2-0 win over Sturm Graz, with goals from Carew and Juan Sanchez, was followed by 0-0 draws in Greece and at home to Man U. The Valencia teams of that era were very much built on a defence first approach. A crunch game followed at Old Trafford, with Valencia going behind to an Andy Cole goal. With time running out, great trickery on the left from Vicente produced an 87th minute own goal equaliser. That left the group finely poised, with Man U leading on 8 points, us and Sturm Graz on 6 and Panathanaikos eliminated.

A crucial match in Austria followed. Could we rise to the challenge? We did, and in style. A fifth minute header from Ayala gave an early lead, before second half goals from Carew, Kily and a brace from Diego Alonso gave us an emphatic win to qualify us for the next round. Even better, Manchester messed up in Greece, scraping a draw with a 92nd minute equaliser. That meant we only had to match their result in the last game to be group winners. With Man U easily beating Graz, a nervy encounter at Mestalla saw us fall behind before Kily equalised and Angloma won it in the 75th minute.

The knockout stages had arrived. Leeds, Galatasaray and Arsenal were our possible opponents and we drew the last. An Ayala first half goal was cancelled out by 2 Arsenal goals in the second half to leave the tie on a knife edge. Valencia struggled to break down a good Arsenal defence and looked done until Carew rose to head home in the 75th minute. 

And so to the semis. Leeds had done very well, coming out of a group featuring Barcelona and Milan and then knocking out Lazio in a second group stage that also contained Real Madrid, only losing in the Bernabeu after Raul had punched a winner into the net.

The first leg in England saw heroics from both goalkeepers to produce a 0-0 result.

For the second leg, Valencia kept their usual formation of 4-4-2, with a midfield diamond: Albelda in place of Baraja screening a strong defence of Pellegrino and Ayala, with Kily and Mendieta in central midfield and Aimar in a more advanced position, supporting a strike force of Carew and Sanchez.

Juan Sanchez was nicknamed the Romario of Aldaia, but in this game he was more reminscent of Maradona in the 1986 World Cup quarters: a dubious first goal against an England international keeper before a sublime individual goal killed off English hopes.

In the first half, Leeds, who'd shaved their heads to go for a "warrior" look, more than held their own, though without creating too many chances. But they were outdone in the 16th minute. Kily played a delightful cross field ball to Mendieta and the latter's looping cross was bundled in by Juan Sanchez. A good goal. Or was it? Replays showed it had hit his shoulder and upper arm. After a sneaky glance at the referee, Sanchez rushed off to the corner to celebrate. Leeds, with memories of the Real Madrid goal still fresh, were understandably aggrieved and protested vociferously, but the goal stood. Years later on his Twitter, Sanchez jokingly admitted it, saying with a wink that if the ref had asked, he'd have said it was his "chest hand."

The goal didn't change the dynamic so much. Leeds still only needed a goal to progress. The early period of the second half, however, killed off their hopes. Sanchez received the ball outside their area, cut inside and from nearly 30 yards out, hit a superb low drive which beat Martyn. Sanchez' ecstatic celebration is one of the defining images of Cuper-era Valencia.

Leeds were rattled and, minutes later, conceded a third. Annoyingly, the TV companies were focusing on a foul committed by Aimar and missed the build-up, but reports say that Sanchez provided the assist. Mendieta ran to the outside of their "D" and unleashed another low drive which beat Martyn at the same post.

Leeds were sunk and the rest of the game was more a story of whether Valencia would add to their lead. Vicente put Sanchez through and the latter did well to lob Martyn, but was denied a hat trick by the post. A great run by Mendieta brought a save from Martyn and the latter also denied Carew  and Sanchez as Valencia turned on the style. Leeds' frustration boiled over at the end with a deserved red for Alan Smith after a horror tackle on Vicente.

As the celebrations went on through the night outside Mestalla, the only slight disappointment was that Real Madrid had lost the other semi to Bayern, demying us a chance of revenge in the final. The final itself of course would be one of the biggest disappointments in our history and dominated by penalties. An early lead from a Mendieta penalty, Canizares saving a penalty a few minutes later. Bayern equalising with a second half penalty and then winning the shoot out in sudden death after Zahovic, Carboni and Pellegrino had missed. 

In the summer, Cuper left, while Mendieta was sold to Inter for 47m, around 65m today and still a club record.

While Valencia maintained its position as a key player for most of the 2000s, poor financial decisions would eventually prove our undoing and 2001 was our Champions League peak. Leeds ended up in an even worse position, being relegated in 2004 and then to the third level in 2007 as players were sold off. One of them, Ian Harte, ironically ended up in Valencia, playing for Levante. He was a regular at the Irish pub at Plaza Canovas and when I asked him about the semi-final he was diplomatic, saying that the best team had won.  

All in all, watching that game (highlights here and full game here) is a bitter sweet experience. A reminder of how good things used to be before owners messed it all up.

Which brings us back full circle to the current owner's interview. It's still a mystery why he fails to understand that performances like this would provide him with more of the "networking" opportunities he craves. Until he leaves, happiness will often only come from memories like this semi-final.

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Fire Anil Murthy, bring Manual Llorente

Valencia CF should bring Manuel Llorente back

Manuel Llorente former Valencia CF president
Valencia CF should fire its president Anil Murthy and try to bring in Manuel Llorente as president of the club. Remember that Valencia CF had some of its best years under Manuel Llorente, he fixed some of the economic mess left from before, sure he had to sell players, but never on a whim, never for less than their value, he always oversold and put some of the money into economic recovery and the other into bringing in adequate replacements. 

He also started the process of selling Valencia CF and brought in a ton of investors in his time, he didn't finish the process, but was instrumental in it and positioning Valencia CF good enough financially and sporting wise to be sold for a solid amount. 

I think he was the best Valencia CF president in recent history, and really helped Valencia CF back when it was the most difficult, crushing debts looming, players whos contract are close to running out, falling apart New Mestalla with no plan to ever finish it, etc... 

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Protest planned against Peter Lim

Wrote an article about Peter Lim's terrible management of Valencia CF just yesterday and these types of articles have been common in the 7 years since Lim's arrival. You can miscount several mishaps that happened due to lack of experience in owning and managing a club, due to wanting to make the club successful quick, due to not being familiar with Spanish football, etc... But you'd think one would learn from their mistakes, you'd think Lim would do things better over time, but no he's done things worse over time, he's become more stubborn in his ways and more arrogant than ever! 

When he sacked Marcelino and soon after Alemany I think it was the last straw for many people, there was no defending such an illogical, purely stupid move! Since then Valencia CF has been on a steep decline, and last season giving away most of the club's core players for barely nothing or free was just the peak of his terrible management of this club. No foresight to predict how failing to qualify for the Champions league can negatively affect the team, how the move itself is going to be seen, how it will negatively affect the players to sack in such a manner such a bellowed and respected coach.

He could have been the arrogant hot head that he is and fired him in the summer, without ALL of the negative consequences firing him at the beginning of the season for no reason, and who knows the team might have even failed to qualify for the Champions league even with Marcelino, so Lim would have the perfect excuse. Again it doesn't take too much to know this, its not rocket science. 

Anyways people are sick of it and are planning a massive protest against Peter Lim and Meriton on May 8th. There's been several protests over the past 2 years against Meriton, each one becoming bigger and more serious.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Peter Lim inadequate leadership strikes again

Peter Lim - Valencia CF
Javi Gracia was a defeated man as early as his arrival, he was promised several reinforcements, but all he got was a mass giveaway of established and core players. It wasn't even a sellout, few players actually got sold for decent sums, most of them were literally given away or released from their contracts, Valencia CF barely got any money out of big exodus. 

So as soon as Javi Gracia arrived, as soon as Meriton's promises were broken. In fact he did come out at the start of the season to talk about the lack of signings and that he was informed there would be signings to cover for some of the players that left, but there weren't any. He downplayed it all and talked about how great some of the younger players are, how the team can build a team from scratch with youth players, but he was clearly downplaying the severity of the situation and trying to appease his new employer.

Monday, May 3, 2021

Javi Gracia sacked, Voro takes over

Valencia have just announced that Javi Gracia has been sacked. 

Javi Gracia sacked

Voro will take over for the final four games as Valencia stares at a relegation battle.

Gracia leaves with the fourth worst win record in La Liga

Koeman: 18% (4 of 22) Neville: 19% (3 of 16) Valdez: 23% (5 of 22) 𝗚𝗿𝗮𝗰𝗶𝗮: 𝟮𝟰% (𝟴 of 𝟯𝟰) Miljanic: 25% (5 of 20)
His numbers probably aren't quite as bad as Neville's or the king of mediocrity Koeman, as they had better squads.

Gracia does have some mitigating factors in his defence. He was lied to from the beginning by Lim and Murthy who promised him signings then undermined him by not only failing to provide them, but also gifting one of the few quality midfielders, Kondogbia, to a rival club after the season had started. Gracia did offer his resignation but this was refused due to the compensation needed. Valencia would have been able to fire him in the summer without compensation but as usual, the club's indecisiveness has made a hash of things. Despite all that, with the squad we have, we should be fighting for top 7, not viewing the end of the season with such trepidation.

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Valencia CF 2-3 FC Barcelona Match Report

Valencia CF plan against FC Barcelona was to sit back and defend with numbers, park the bus type of strategy and hit FC Barcelona on the counter, all good, but you need to have a solid defense for that and Valencia CF doesn't! The team did hold out for about 55 to 60 minutes truth be told, but then the flood gates opened and Barca scored three goals in succession. 

Valencia CF wasn't without its chances, Gaya had an early chance which he blew, Guedes had a good chance later on, Racic, Guedes in the second half, etc... We had our chances, there were good chances as well, but we didn't manage to score from them! Its also shameful when our defenders seem to have more goals than our attackers, though our defense is with its own set of issues!

It was a fairly close game all and all, yeah Barca had a little bit more chances and complete ball control, but Valencia CF was with its own serious chances and the result could have easily been 3-3 or 2-2 or 4-4 or whatever had Valencia CF took at least one of its early chances!