Sunday, February 28, 2016

Valencia 0.3 Athletic Bilbao

It is difficult to say what went wrong today for anybody who didn't see the game.  Right from the start it was apparent that today was not going to be an easy with the experienced Athletic players showing absolutely no respect for Valencia.  They seemed just that bit quicker to the ball and their players were bossing the midfield. It was looking to be one of those 0.0 games with the lack of goal chances.  However, our man Negredo spurned a glorious chance in the first half when he found himself on the far post with the goal gaping.  Was this to be the opening goal, no such luck as he blasted the ball way over the bar when it would have been far easier to score.  Munier also had a chance in the first half for the visitors but shot wide from a good position.  A penalty appeal was also ignored by the referee when Gomes was sent sprawling after beating 3 men but the referee was having none of it. I have only seen it at the game so cannot comment as to whether it should have been allowed or not. Having now seen the Gomes penalty I can understand why the ref refused it as he seemed to be falling and there was little contact.  However, Negredo was unfortunate at the other end when his goal bound header was handled when the defender jumped up with his arms out to stop the ball.  That was probably ore of a penalty than the other one IMO.

Valencia started the second half much the same with some nice passing moves and there was nothing really between the two sides. Surely Athletic would start to tire now after their tough game on Thursday against Marseille but it was not to be.  Paco Alcacer having come on for Negredo had a good opportunity to put Valencia in front but the keeper made a good save to deny him.

Suddenly when a draw looked likely Merino slipped between our defenders after a mistake out wide by Mina to head home leaving Alves with no chance.  It's never good conceding so late as there is no time to get back but Munian prevented any chance of a fightback when he placed the ball between the legs of Alves after a ghastly mistake by Parejo.  Parejo has many times been guilty of casual play and causing our defence problems but today was the worst.  Trying to play the ball through his legs he lost possession in front of goal to stop any hope of a comeback.  Aduriz who had come on to a warm reception in the 68th minute repaid the Valencia fans by completing our misery heading home unchallenged in the 79th minute to make the third goal in 6 minutes to make some sort of record surely.

The scoreline flattered Bilbao but they took their chances and we didn't which seems to be the story of the season. Parejo, who was whistled and jeered by his own supporters after his error has to learn not to be so casual, but of course he will not because that is the way he plays.  The referee had a game he will want to forget if he has any conscience, which of course he doesn't have.  Ignoring more serious fouls and our players being pulled back and booking our player for nothing. I reserve judgement on the penalty and leave that until I see it again.  To be fair, in my opinion we were slightly the better team until they scored but then we fell apart.  Let's be honest we won't get into Europe next season and we won't get relegated so lets just chill out and see the season out and start again next year.  Maybe we can do better in the Europa League and I still think we can turn it around against these in the cup.

Player Ratings
Alves 5.5  Distribution poor today and conceded 3 goals so not his best day. Had little else to do really other than collect the ball from the back of the net
Cancelo 6.5  Had a good game today and played his part in the attacks
Santos  6.5  Looked solid enough and is definitely challenging Abdennour for the position
Mustafi 6.5  A few wayward passes but solid enough in defence, Looked a bit static though for one of the goals.
Gaya 7  Getting back to his best with some good crosses.
Perez 7   Had a good game and didn't get booked.  We seemed to fall apart a bit after his withdrawal
Parejo 5.0  Terrible mistake to give away the ball but to be fair not a bad game up to then.
Gomes  6.5  Lots of great runs but too often without the end result, i.e. key pass or goal.
Mina 6.5  Reasonable performance and caused them a few problems out on the flank.
Negredo  5.5  The miss would have changed the game and could have resulted in a win. Too many of these easy chances being missed.
Cheryshev  6.5  A real hit and miss performance, at times really good at times really poor.

Alcacer  6.0  for Negredo Unlucky with the chance but not many other opportunities
Piatti  5.5  for Perez   Did not really provide much to improve our performance
Feghouli  6.0 For Cheryshev   Not one of his better games but not on long enough really

Yellow cards
Gomes and Cancelo

73, 77, 79 minutes