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. 

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Real Betis vs Valencia CF Match Preview

After a set of difficult matches against Real Madrid, Sevilla FC and FC Barcelona, Valencia CF had a chance to get back to a winning path against Mallorca at the Mestalla, but Valencia CF barely managed to rescue a draw against what should have been a comfortable win. 

So right now the great start to the season seems like a distant past and all the good work from the early season has gone down the drain. Valencia CF is going to face Real Betis in mid week and it is going to be a very tough game as Real Betis are playing some good football currently and are in the top 5 positions on the table. Valencia CF desperately needs a win if we are to have any chance for European football next season, as anything other than a win against Real Betis would have us way too far down on the table to be able to mount any attack on the top 7 positions. 

Last match exposed how thin our squad is as none of the alternatives have shown up and any sort of injury or ban has our team struggling against even much weaker opposition. Last match Diakhaby and Uros Racic were really exposed and they are unlikely to feature for Valencia CF anytime soon. Maxi Gomez is the same old story of just being invisible for most of the match and barely even getting into any good positions and needs to be benched, but who can really replace him? Maybe play Yunus Musah as an attacker? 

We have also been missing Correia as his powerful forward attacks have contributed a lot to our attack and Foulquier does not have the same presence. The biggest issue this season has once again been our defense, we can talk about Maxi Gomez and inability to score goals, but we've been very leaky ever since we lost to Real Madrid and had that injury crisis. All of the teams in front of us on the table have conceded less goals, except for Osasuna who are matching us in that regard, otherwise all of the other teams have conceded less and have been much more diligent in front of goal. 

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

Winning Probability: Real Betis 60%, Draw 20%, Valencia CF 20%

Result Prediction: Valencia CF has slim chances of winning this match, especially after a string of very poor results. The best we can hope for is a draw here and hope to gain points at home and against weaker opponents, though anything other than a win here almost guarantees no European spot for us this season. Hopefully Jose Bordalas can wake up the team and whip them in shape, reinvigorate the fire in the players, but he has his work cut out for him. I'm expecting a loss here, but a draw would be a decent result and a win would be amazing, but its highly unlikely! 

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Valencia 2-2 Mallorca

 Just got back from Mestalla, my first visit since May 2016 and I'm on the phone so this is a quick placeholder post for comments. The game didn't lack for drama. We were poor for most of it and gifted 2 soft goals. Racic has really lost presence, Maxi and Diakhaby were being Maxi and Diakhaby. As a special guest, Kangin was also being Kangin, he was not well received and his red card was cheered. Still, we looked short of ideas and accuracy but somehow rescued it with 2 injury time goals. It's hard to be really unhappy when rescuing a point that way, but this was dire overall and the team must do better than thus.