Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Malaga CF 1-0 Valencia CF Match Report

Well, it's late but I couldn't write anything after seeing that performance. It was a night where the list of things we did do write is a lot shorter than the list of things we got absolutely wrong.

Nuno started off things like he usually did, if it worked last time, I'll keep playing it. The team that played against Sevilla, with authority I might add, 3-1 would not show up today though. This performance was reminiscent in my opinion to a Djukic level performance, where I have said before countless times, even the basics weren't done correctly. The runs, the passing, the shots, the crosses were all poor. You'd almost think Malaga was the one that had the better players, although Valencia's players on paper are a lot better. When a Valencia player crossed the ball, the viewer (us) and even the player himself would be hoping to pick out someone. When a Valencia player shot, again they are only hoping for it to do something. On the other hand, every cross from Malaga, you knew, everybody knew, precisely where it would land, or if it was a shot that it would be aimed with utmost confidence.

Malaga's goal would come 25' minutes into the game with Samuel Castillejo slipping between the Valencia center backs and getting on the end of an excellent cross from Samuel Garcia to head the ball backwards and over Alves. Garcia was in acres of space and he took the time to pick out the cross, not just kick it and hope like Valencia CF have done. Ok, it's a mistake, a slip-up fine. Now alarm bells should be ringing, Garcia can cross really well and Castillejo can finish, lets prevent the crosses. That didn't happen. Garcia again was given space 3-4 more times in the next 10 minutes to do the exact same thing, same position, same cross, same run in between defenders. These are the basics, you can't fall for the same thing more than once like that - fortunately none of those efforts were converted but were awfully close.

The game continued with Valencia CF giving possession away time and time again. At this point, even the passes I was praying that they'd make to their target, a lot of them didn't - either too short or way too much. I hope Nuno schedules 3 training sessions, one for crosses (how to do it and how to deal with), shooting, and passing. That's the only solution I see cause these are basics...What's the point of a counter-attack if the passes can't be made.

Anyway, the onslaught continued with Malaga getting chance after chance and Valencia CF had three players booked before half time - another thing thats being common these days. Second half, you'd hope Nuno would address the issues and a better team would come out but it still changed nothing. So Nuno's solution - we need another striker, let's take off Parejo (the creative core of the team) off for it. Well, the forwards weren't getting the ball in the first place, you can have 5 forwards if you wanted but there is no supply. Then things go to the absolute worst and Joao Cancelo's youthful rashness gets him a second booking (notice all our right backs Pereira- gone now, Barragan and Cancelo are familiar with red cards).

The good thing though was that Valencia CF played surprisingly better, although not by much, with 10 men. Rodrigo de Paul, no matter how well he plays previously, gets the last 15 minutes of the game and can't do anything at that point. There were some measly Valencia CF chances at the end but nothing worth mentioning compared to Malaga's chances

1-0 (Samuel Castillejo, 25')

Alves 6 - Can't really blame him, if anything he kept it at 1-0, with his saves
Joao Cancelo 3 - Really disappointed, gave us a good performance the match before only to ruin it with a terrible one and a red card
Mustafi 5 - Decent performance to track back and cover up but allowed forwards to slip through several times
Otamendi 5.5 - You could tell he was trying despite everyone else messing up, he was covering the whole back line.
Gaya 5 - Not his best day, and most of the danger and the goal came from the left flank (Malaga's right) when he went forward - no one was there to take his spot
Fuego 1.5 - Awful, awful, awful, was a minus player, gave away posession too much, spent his time watching the match instead of playing it. I can't believe we have players like this and Augusto who play for us and we're supposed to be Champions League tier. Come back and take him West Ham.
Parejo 5 - Passing wasn't up to par today, he was trying, but still nothing close to the Parejo we know from last year who could do it all - tacke, intercept, pass and score
Gomes 4.5 - Not much game impact despite running all game
Enzo 4 - anyone starting to regret the 25 million spent here? For a player of his quality, reputation and price tag should do a lot better
Negredo 4.5 - not much blame attached here, barely got the ball, the chances he did get though all though they were half chances, a player of his quality should make those pay off
Rodrigo 4.5 - Ran like a horse but was started to get selfish when he saw the team underperforming. Too many unecessary dribbles and touches when he should pass

Alcacer 5 - felt sorry for him, he wanted to do something but a poacher can't do anything with no supply and with the creative player on the bench
Rodrigo de Paul 5 - Brought on with 10 men and a goal down, couldn't do what he's good at doing.
Orban N/A - Not enough time

Man of the Match (MOTM): Diego Alves -by rating only the whole team sucked
Flop of the Match: take your pick, Javi Fuego
Worst Posession: Javi Fuego
Best Posession: None
Best Defense: Otamendi
Worst Defense: Joao Cancelo
Best Offense: We had an offense?
Worst Offense: None - forwards don't get the ball

Final Thoughts:
This needs to change and fast, none of us like writing losing match reports where the team sucks this much. Nuno has shown potential in the games against big teams - no question, dropping points to weaker teams on the other hand, is out of the question. Champion's League Team, heck even Europa League teams shouldn't lose this much to teams like this. As someone pointed out, every team ends their losing streak or their off-form run against Valencia CF it seems. We also end good records like Real Madrid's winning streak. We have the best home form of any team in La Liga and that's something to be proud of - the Mesalla is a fortress. Away from the fortress though, whether its lack of confidence, preparation or adaptation, needs work - major work. We still have the Calderon, Bernabeu and Nou Camp on the way and thats where things can get ugly with this away form. However, one step at a time, next up is Cornella for match against Espanyol. This is where Nuno has to prove himself, win away from home against the team that, at this stadium, knocked both Valencia CF and Sevilla from the Copa del Rey. Trust in Nuno until then, no coach gets it right on the first year, again Simeone only finished 5th on his first season, look where Atletico is now. Same with Brendan Rodgers - first season failed, second season was competing for the title. Amunt Valencia!