Thursday, November 10, 2022

Valencia - Betis match thread

Apologies for such a short thread. Valencia's last game before the World Cup break sees a chance of revenge for the cup final in a tough game against high flying Betis. It's also a chance for us to break a run of negative results.



There are some variations in the line-up due to injuries, with Hugo Duro finally getting his chance up front, an all-Turkish centre back pairing of Comert and Cenk in defence for the first time and Castillejo finally starting after weeks of absence. The absence of Borja Iglesias gives us hope but goals, not possession, are needed to reverse the negative run.

==FULL TIME/SEASON BREAK==
Valencia finally turn possession into points with a solid win. The team played well in the first half albeit without creating many chances. I thought this may have ended one of those games where we did well in 1st half but went in with nothing to show and then blew it in the 2nd, luckily it wasn't to be. The turning point was the sending off of Edgar for 2 clear yellow cards. The first could even have been a straight red. Almeida hit a great free kick to open up the scoring. The penalty we got was dubious, I thought, but Guillamon placed it well and then Kluivert, put through one on one as in a previous game showed great finishing instincts. I do wonder if he's wasted on the wing? He's very dangerous around the box.

The 2 guys who really made a difference today were Castillejo and Almeida. The 1st is always a busy presence on the right, passing and recovering the ball well and he came close to scoring in the 1st half. Almeida is steadily growing into the number 10 role vacated by Soler and has shown signs of being a solid replacement. 

So Valencia go into the break on 19 points and 10th place. It could easily have been 3 to 5 more which would have put us in European places. The team needs stronger second half and late game performances. Maybe a change of formation to 4-4-2 might work in some games? People like Duro, Kluivert and Marcos Andre would do better with Cavani to play off. Work to do in the 2nd part of the season but it's not a lost cause.

I'll try and put some posts up in the coming weeks. Enjoy the world cup!

Saturday, November 5, 2022

Real Sociedad - Valencia match thread

 Valencia come into this game after a mostly poor run of results, with just 1 win in the last six and disappointing outcomes against Elche, Mallorca, Sevilla and Barcelona in the last 4.


It's Anoeta tomorrow, a ground which sounds intimidating but is actually a place where we've had good results in recent times. In the previous 5 seasons, we've won 3, drawn 1 and lost 1. A very good return for such an away fixture. Sociedad have also hit their own mini-slump, losing their last 2 league games in Valladolid and at home to Betis. 

Valencia mostly have a full squad to draw on with longer term absentees Jaume, Diakhaby and Ilaix unavailable. The big question mark is over Cavani, with Andre likely to start instead. 

HALF-TIME 

Valencia went behind to a comical goal. 1st Thierry slipped while in possession. Sociedad still had work to do but Guillamon did it for them sticking out a leg to deflect it past Mamardashvili. 5 minutes later Sociedad had a man sent off for a dangerous foul and that tilted the balance with Lino scoring, nutmegging 2 guys with his shot. Despite the man advantage it's an even game with Sociedad coming closest to scoring.

FULL-TIME
1-1. Really negative emotions. Same vibes as the Sevilla game. Before the season I'd have happily taken a point from this one but in the end feels more like a defeat. To have a man advantage for 75 minutes and 64% possession but look at best equal is not acceptable. If anything it was Sociedad who looked likeliest to win despite only having 10 men. We got a little better when Castillejo and Duro came on, but not good enough. 



Friday, October 28, 2022

Valencia - Barcelona match thread

 After a positive start, it's gone a little sour for Valencia in recent games. Unfortunately, tomorrow brings up one of Valencia's traditionally most difficult opponent in the Mestalla: FC Barcelona. While we did of course beat them in the Copa final of 2019, our home record against them has been dismal. In the last 15 seasons, Valencia has managed only one win, in January 2020 under Celades, when a Maxi Gomez double gave us a 2-0 win. Other than that, we've drawn 6 and lost 8.

Diakhaby's injury last time turned out to be more serious, and he's out till January, although the world cup gap makes that less serious. After being injured the previous week, Comert has been back in training and Cenk was one of the bright spots last game. Castillejo has been back in training, but it's unclear if he's fit enough yet. It's the midfield where Gattuso has a huge headache. Ilaix also got injured for a month, which means till after the world cup. Musah is suspended due to yellow card accumulation and Nico can't play against Barcelona due to a "fear clause" in his loan agreement. I think it's unlikely Gattuso will throw a youth player in at the deep end in such a big game so he'll probably play someone else there. I'd expect Foulquier. Another option would be to switch to 4-4-2, but my money is on the Foulquier option. Most likely: Mamardashvili, Thierry, Comert, Paulista, Gaya; Almeida, Guillamon, Foulquier; Lino, Cavani, Kluivert.

Barcelona lost yet again to Bayern in midweek but they've otherwise been playing well so unfortunately I will be surprised to get anything from this game.

Before the game there will be an homage


to David Villa, Valencia's 4th best striker of all time.




Friday, October 21, 2022

Valencia - Mallorca match thread

 After a couple of disappointing games Valencia come into this game hoping for a win.

Our opponents Mallorca have had an even worse run. with just 1 point and 1 goal from the last 4 games and that goal against bottom club Elche. Indeed, goals have been a problem for them, with just 7 in the 10 games so far, a poor record only beaten by the bottom 2, Elche and Cadiz. 

For Valencia, only Jaume and Castillejo are unavailable. The second is expected to be back in the next few weeks. In the last game, Foulquier was the main novelty, used as a right midfielder and extra cover on that side, but I'd expect Kluivert to be back instead. Probably a line-up like Mamardashvili, Gaya, Comert, Diakhaby, Thierry; Almeida, Guillamon, Ilaix; Lino, Cavani, Kluivert is most likely with variations in the midfield three possible. In training Gattuso tested a line-up of the above but with Paulista instead of Diakhaby, Yunus instead of Ilaix and Fran Perez instead of Lino. 

I'm going to Mestalla for this game which means updates will be scarce. By chance this is the 3rd time I've seen this fixture. The previous 2 had the same result. In the Emery era, we blew a 2-goal lead to draw 2-2. Last season saw Kang-In sent off on his return to Mestalla, Mallorca get a 2-goal lead before 93rd and 98th minute goals from Guedes and Gaya salvaged a point. I'm hoping for 3rd time lucky, with a Valencia win.

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Gaya renews until 2027

So following the disappointment of the late drama at Sevilla comes better news. Gaya has renewed until 2027. His contract was up next summer and a lack of renewal could have led to a painful exit for free. 

                                   


In his statement, Gaya admitted that he'd had offers from other clubs including some for more money but only wanted to play at Valencia. In particular, Barcelona have had a long interest in signing Gaya as long term replacement to Jordi Alba and Gaya always had good relations with Mateu Alemany.

The club's video (here) announcing the renewal was very good, with Valencia legends Pep Claramunt, Ricardo Arias and Fernando Gomez symbolically passing on the captain's armband to Gaya.

The 10th anniversary of his senior debut in the Copa del Rey will be on 30th October. He is currently 26th in terms of league appearances for Valencia


He's quite a way to go to match Fernando and Arias but could get into the top 10 next year. The club is also interested in renewing Diakhaby and Lato but those will be more difficult. Diakhaby is understandably evaluating offers from other clubs. As for Lato, the renewal of Gaya and continued competition from Vazquez makes his role questionable. Gattuso has been trying him as a Wass-style utility player but it hasn't worked so I would be surprised if her or Diakhaby were still with us next season.

Monday, October 17, 2022

Sevilla - Valencia match thread

As so often happens, Valencia, after getting us excited with a couple of decent results, messes up against a weak relegation candidate. The team really showed their inexperience in the second half and the main message is that, as with recent seasons, there isn't much depth in the squad to turn things round when they're not going right.

Next up is one of several tough games we face in the coming month, Sevilla away. For several seasons, Valencia had the measure of Sevilla, but that changed when Marcelino was fired and since then, results against them have been awful. In the last 3 seasons we have 2 draws and 5 defeats, including a Copa elimination. Last season's game in Seville was eventful for the wrong reasons with Valencia 3-0 down after 22 minutes and two of the goals due to mistakes by Mamardashvili who was dropped for 4 months after the game.


Sevilla have had an awful start to the season which saw them in relegation places and led to the sacking of Lopetegui and his replacement by Jorge Sampaoli who returns for his second spell. Under him, results have improved, a battling draw with Bilbao was followed by another in Dortmund where they were unlucky not to win, before a credible win in Mallorca last game. He's known for his attacking style, using a high defensive line, so this should be an interesting match-up.


For Valencia, both Diakhaby and Marcos Andre are available again after suspensions. Cavani's injury last time doesn't seem too serious and he should be available, however Guillamon and Castillejo remain in doubt.

In other Valencia news, Gaya's contract extension is reported to happen this week. The club also wants to renew Diakhaby but that looks unlikely to happen as he looks to be holding out for a move as a free agent in the summer. Lato has also attracted the interest of Bologna and Ajax.

More on the Sevilla game to follow tomorrow.

====
Update: Both Cavani and Guillamon trained with the team, so both may be available, though whether Gattuso risks Hugo is another question. 
====

Unfortunately, due to work I'm going to miss most of this game but good news is we're ahead through a Cavani goal.

I only caught the last 30 minutes and wish I hadn't. Second game in a row we've been poor in the 2nd half. Could have stolen it at the end but the Gaya penalty was awful. If it hadn't been for the penalty I'd have been relieved to get the point. I hate Sevilla.

Friday, October 14, 2022

Valencia - Elche match thread

 Valencia come into this game in a very positive frame of mind. A good and deserved win at Osasuna last time out has created a mood of optimism. The team has, for possibly the first time in a few seasons, been fun to watch, with direct attacking football. Numerous news stories have suggested the renewal of Gaya, until 2028, is imminent. Following the renewal of Guillamon, this would be great, leaving a solid base to build a team around.

The opponents are also at a low point. Elche have managed a dismal 2 points from their opening 8 games, conceding 19 goals, the highest in the division, and having the second worst scoring record with just 4 goals scored. Valencia's defenders have actually scored more (5 goals) ! So, on paper, an easy game. The emphasis being on "on paper" because this is a regional derby and Valencia have often messed up such easy games in the past. Valencia's run of fixtures after that is very tough with Mallorca, Betis and Barcelona at home and Sevilla, Sociedad and Villarreal away, so I'm hopeful of a solid win tomorrow.

In team news, Castillejo is still injured. Guillamon sounds doubtful so either Musah or Nico will start instead. There have been news stories this week that Barcelona would like to cut the loan short in January as they're unhappy with his limited playing time, however that isn't something they can do unilaterally under the contract. Diakhaby and Marcos Andre are suspended.

I'll post more closer to the time. 

------------

No surprises at all in the line-up. With Guillamon doubtful the only question was which of the midfield 4 would not start and it's Ilaix on the bench with Nico returning to the line-up.



In the ideal world, a 2- or 3-goal win would be golden.

HALF-TIME 

A weird slightly frustrating first half. Apart from an early corner, Elche did nothing. The first 25 minutes were all Valencia but somehow we failed to score. Almeida, Gaya and Comert all had decent chances which somehow failed to trouble the keeper too much. A rare Elche attack gained a free kick. Mamardashvilu came out to punch but it was their player (who left on a stretcher) not the ball. He got a hand to the penalty but we found ourselves 1 down. 12 minutes later Gaya was brought down and Cavani comfortably equalised with the penalty for his 1st goal. Deep into injury time he headed home a cross. Hat-trick upcoming? Elche had set out to park the bus so will be interesting to see how they approach next 45.

65 minutes: just rubbish. We've been clumsy in passing and wasteful in possession and are punished. Poor from defence and keeper as Elche equalise. Totally don't understand why Cavani was taken off at half time either

72: Elche ahead? No they're  not. Valencia lazy in possession and the ref whistles for a foul when he should have played advantage. Elche furious and I don't blame them. Terrible refereeing. Awful from Valencia who could lose this.

FINAL: 2-2. Very poor result in a game we dominated for long periods.