Monday, January 9, 2017

Osasuna 3-3 Valencia

Osasuna means health in Basque. What we saw tonight from both teams was anything but good health, we saw two very sick teams who both looked doomed to play football at a lower level unless something radical and unexpected changes.

Let's look at the context. Osasuna had lost the previous seven games before this, conceding 17 goals against relegation candidates such as Depor, Leganes and Sporting. They'd scored a single goal in those games.

That stat tells you all you need to know about how awful Valencia are. In 630 minutes or ten and a half hours of footy, Osasuna had scored once. It took them just six minutes of this game to find their way through the defence and they'd added two more by the end. If that isn't a clear sign that Valencia fans need to prepare for trips to Reus, Oviedo, Soria and Alcorcon next season, I don't know what is.

The game started pretty well for VCF too. Mina shot just over in the opening minute. A link up between Mina and Siquiera resulted in the latter putting in a great cross for Munir to slam home. You almost knew it wouldn't last. A few minutes later Mario Suarez provided a brilliant assist (if you're an Osasuna fan) for Osasuna to equalise. We know he's not a defender, but come on? Playing out of position does not absolve you from marking opponents.

The rest of the half was mostly even with Munir missing a good chance for us. Just before half time, we had an undeserved lead, with a Parejo corner headed in for an own goal which is already a contender for Valencia's goal of the season (there aren't that many contenders for the honour.)

An uneven and scrappy second half followed with both teams proving inept in front of and around the area and misplacing passes. Osasuna scored in the 62nd, Montoya somehow managed to get himself in the left channel and put us back in front 10 minutes later. At this point, I fully expected the clock to wind down and for us to concede a late equaliser, it's what always happens. The only surprise came in the form of a penalty which gave us the chance to clinch a valuable three points, only for Parejo to hit an awful shot at the keeper. The inevitable equaliser followed. Why aren't these even a surprise now?

I said before this game that only a win without conceding would start to life the spirits. Failing to win and conceding three goals is awful. I fully expect us to go down now. If we can't beat the worst team, there isn't a team we can beat. Valencia has conceded at least one goal in the last 30 games and the last 26 away league games. In 41 league games since Nuno resigned Valencia has kept one clean sheet. It's hard to see any credible argument against relegation now.

Alves 3 - needed to do much better on the goals.
Montoya 4 - good goal and marginally better than Cancelo in this position but needs to do much better than this.
Suarez 1 - wasn't the Copa disgrace enough of a sign that he is not a defender. Still no excuse for such dire football.
Mangala 4 - the best of a very bad bunch but lacked any understanding with colleagues and another stupid yellow means he's out next week just when we desparately need defenders.
Siquiera 3.5 - another guy who will not be missed when he leaves this year
Enzo 2.5 - failed to screen the defence and many mistimed challenges and moments of petulance. Lucky not to be sent off.
Parejo 3 - was he drunk again when he took that penalty? Do Sevilla still want to pay 20m for him?
Soler 3 - had his chance in a starting role and failed to inspire
Mina 3.5 - did well to win the penalty and had a couple of good link ups, but overall, way too selfish
Rodrigo 2.5 - like the guy who finishes 1567th in the London marathon. Ran and ran, won nothing.
Munir 4.5 - best of the forward line and well taken goal, but seems to lack the combinations with others

Lato 4.5 - good to see him finally getting his chance and made a couple of good interceptions
Nani 2.5 - anonymous, might as well have just stayed on the bench recovering from his injury
Sito N/A - again, nice to see a B-team player get a debut, but didn't understand this sub at all, why not bring on Santos to shore up the defence and kill the game?

Voro 3 - not the saviour we hoped for. Very questionable decisions playing Suarez in defence and bringing on an offensive player when we should have been looking to kill the game off.