Sunday, May 14, 2017

Espanyol 0-1 Valencia / reserve team news

Valencia's last away game of a miserable season ended with a win, producing a double over Espanyol, who were probably the better side in the game.

Voro went for three changes. Medran replaced Enzo in the double pivot with Parejo. Rodrigo got his first start since early January, replacing Cancelo, while Orellana started in place of Soler. Jaume also continued in place of Alves, who was a slight injury doubt.

After a nervy opening 5 minutes, Valencia's best spell came between the 5th and 25th minutes. We were passing the ball well and using a high press against Espanyol which was working. However, in the final third it was a disappointment, with few chances falling our way and an overall lack of creativity. Things weren't helped by a bit of greediness on the part of Nani, who shot virtually every time he had the ball in the final third.

After that, Espanyol came back into the game, but luckily for us, they squandered several good chances. Gerard Moreno was put through but shot straight at Jaume, while Navarro had an almost free header, but put it just over. Our front three weren't doing that great in comparison, Zaza's best chance came at the start of the second half, but he blazed over.

With the clock ticking down and Espanyol looking by far the more likely to score, we nicked it in the 74th minute. Parejo put through a good ball for Gaya, who controlled and spun well to fire into the far corner for his first goal since December 2015. The game petered out after that, as it was a dead rubber for both sides.

Overall, not the greatest of games for us, we continued to look shaky in times at defence, especially from set pieces and were often poor and lacking connection in the final third. Hopefully, Marcelino can sort these issues.

In other news, Valencia 'B' finished their season this evening with a 3-1 win over L'Hospitalet with goals from Jordi Sanchez, Eugeni Valderrama and Grego. This secures the team a place in the play-offs for Segunda division. The draw will take place tomorrow, with the first leg taking place this weekend. We will face either Celta 'B', Fuenlabrada or Villanovense in the first of three possible play-off ties.

Jaume 8 - continues to prove himself a solid option and has staked a good claim for more games regardless of whether Alves stays or not
Montoya 7 - the silver lining in the ill-fated Alcacer deal was getting this guy, who's been turning in increasingly confident performances
Garay 5 - shaky at times at the back, not marking tightly enough and taken off at half time
Mangala 5 - has had some good games but this wasn't one of them and almost gifted them a goal
Gaya 7.5 - has shown good form this year and will hopefully remain at the club
Parejo 7 - had a decent game, helped us keep control of the midfield and was passing well
Medran 6.5 - did play it safe with his passes, but had an 83% success rate with them, good game on the whole
Nani 5 - has skill but is far too selfish and needs to pass more to teammates
Orellana 5 - made more of an effort this game, but was disappointing on the whole, all sources say we have a compulsory buy on him for 3m. If that's not the case, I'd pass on him.
Rodrigo 5.5 - he'd combined well with Zaza in the previous game and I was looking forward to this one, but it was a letdown. Pressured well, but didn't seem sure what to do when he had the ball.
Zaza 5 - ran a lot as usual, but was fairly anonymous this game

Santos 5.5 - was an improvement on Garay, but this could well have been his last game for us
Soler 5.5 - improvement on Orellana, but has been a bit average of late
Munir N/A - probably the second of several games he'll be playing in the city of Barcelona this year