Sunday, January 18, 2015

Valencia 3 v 2 Almeria La Liga 17/1/2015

The first half had a bright start which saw Valencia take the lead after 11 minutes with Parejo deftly placing the ball into the bottom corner after a good cross from the right from Barragan.  The joy was shortl lived however when within 2 minutes the team from Andalucia were on level terms. Hemed getting the better of Orban to force the ball home from a cross from the left from Arsenal loanee Wellington Silva.  The goal though could have been easily avoided had Enzo Perez not needlessly given the ball away in the centre circle when losing control.

With Otamendi missing due to an ankle injury Orban was given the central roll in defence with Mustafi and apart from the goal was looking more than comfortable in his new roll. Javi Fuego was back in his familiar roll allowing Enzo Perez more opportunities to move forward to support the front runners.

More action though in the 28th minute when a delightful through ball from Andre Gomez found Alcacer, who's shot cum cross was then turned in by Rodrigo for Valencia's 2nd goal.  This should have been the start of a few more goals to warm up the crowd but as we know football doesn't work like that and within 5 minutes the visitors were again level.  A corner from the right found that man Hemed again to head home via a deflection from Andre Gomez easily out jumping the home defence to put the visitors on equal terms yet again. Another chance for the visitors went begging when they hit the crossbar from another header from a cross from the right.  Just prior to half time Barragan pulled up with what looked like a thigh strain and was replaced by Cancelo.  The team left the pitch at the break with whistles from the crowd which in my view were totally unwarranted.

The second period began with Valencia taking a bit more control and soon Javi  Fuego was taken off and replaced by Negredo, who had spent 2 years playing for Almeria in his earlier days.  He almost scored soon after coming on when a good ball from Rodrigo gave him an opportunity from a bad angle but his shot hit the side netting. It seems he could not reproduce the goal he scored in training seen on Youtube from the impossible angle.  Minutes later Rodrigo crashed a shot against the bar after good work again from Negredo who's presence together with Cancelo had really livened the team up. With 7 minutes to go the inevitable happened when after Gaya made a great run on the left and put over a killer cross for Negredo to devastate his old team mates with a powerful header to make the score 3.2.  The score remained the same and to be fair Almeria never really looked like changing the outcome in the second period due to the total dominance of the home team. It was a good feeling for a change not to be biting my nails in the closing stages as we were always the team looking more likely to add to the score.

Player Performances:
Alves 6.5   No fault on either goals and really did not have to make many telling saves and was not even given the opportunity to save a penalty.
Barragan 5.5    Had a really poor performance apart from the cross to set up the first goal. Looks as if he may be out for a while now and I think this is a position that needs strengthening urgently
Mustafi  7    His usual reliable self just gets on with his responsibilities without fuss and took charge of the defence with his quiet efficiency.
Orban 7  Fitted in well in place of Otamendi and had another good solid performance apart from being a little slow to pick up on the first goal.
Gaya  7.5  Had another great game and was sorely missed in the last game.  Caused all sorts of problems for the visitors defence as well as keeping it tight at the back.
Fuego 6.5   Did was was needed until replaced by Negredo to add more fire power
Parejo 7   Had one of his better games tonight spreading passes all over the pitch please keep up this level of performance.
Gomez 6.5    Made the first goal and generally had a solid performance until replaced by De Paul at fault with his marking from corners
Perez  6    Gave the ball away for the first goal with a lazy pass and generally looked out of sorts. I think he needs more time to settle in to La Liga and his new team, undoubtedly a great player but too many passes went astray.
Rodrigo  7.5 One of his best performances in my opinion, scored a goal and hit the crossbar and worked hard for the team
Alcacer  6.5  Worked well and was unlucky not to get a goal tonight, links up well with Rodrigo

 Cancelo 8  My man of the match,  this player should be playing every week, he really tore into the Almeria defence tonight and changed the balance of the team as soon as he came on put more telling crosses in in half a game than Barragan has done all season. Why he has not been playing more regular I cannot understand. Hopefully now with Barragan injured he will play each week.
Negredo 7.5  Made all the difference when he came on, scoring and maybe could have had more with a bit more luck, the goals will soon come I feel. Strong powerful player 
De Paul  N/A 

My conclusions.   We are not Real Madrid, we are not Barcelona. We do not have a Ronaldo, a Messi or suchlike and all the money to buy the best in the world  If this time last year we could have foreseen being third in the league I think we would have taken it.  We do not have a divine right to go out and hammer every team we meet and sometimes results have to be ground out like tonight. We have 3 more good points and next week against Sevilla is another game.  Lets get behind the team and manager and look forward to the second half of the season whatever it may bring. Football is a game it is live it is drama, it is unpredictable that is why it is the best sport in the world and why we all love it.
And please if you take the time to read this please leave a comment whether you agree or not.

1-0, m.11: Parejo. 1-1, m.13: Hemed. 2-1, m.28: Rodrigo. 2-2, m.33: Hemed. 3-2, m.83: Negredo.