Monday, May 22, 2017

Valencia 1-3 Villarreal / reserve news

Valencia's dismal season ended exactly as it began, with a home defeat by a 2-goal margin in a game that they probably should have got at least a draw from. It was almost as if the team was determined to showcase the worst aspects of their play this season: shocking and, at times, cowboy defending, cluelessness going forward, giving away possession too easily and a lack of imagination in the final third. For the umpteenth time this season, Valencia faced a team that weren't much better on the day but came away with nothing and while the team seems to have kicked its habit of conceding late goals, it just seems to have replaced that with conceding early ones.

With the reserves still battling for promotion, there wasn't even the opportunity to give any of them a game, so only 3 changes happened. Santos replaced the injured Garay, Soler came back in for Medran and Cancelo replaced Orellana, with the team aiming more for Marcelino's preferred 4-4-2, with Rodrigo taking a more central role.

Some people hadn't even taken their seats in a half-empty Mestalla when we fell behind to a clownish goal. Santos tried to pass it out of the danger area instead of hoofing it clear and Montoya inexplicably passed it right into the danger zone where Soldado slammed home. When you fall behind in such a fashion so early on, you will always struggle as you'll be chasing the game thereafter. Santos got booed for much of the half after that, which didn't help morale and the goal was probably even more Montoya's fault, but at least the latter has been one of our better players. Valencia did put in a good effort for the next 20 minutes or so after that with Parejo and Gaya forcing good saves from the keeper and the half ended with Valencia the better side, but a goal down.

Villarreal came out stronger in the second half and applied more pressure, but, against the run of play Valencia got the equaliser we deserved, Rodrigo making a good run and putting a dangerous cross for Nani to power in a header. It was shortlived. Though Zaza would miss a good chance, Valencia had been sitting back, it was unclear if this was a deliberate tactic or if they'd just run out of steam but Villarreal scored 4 minutes later and added a third near the end, when Valencia did look tired.

A year ago me (and Peter Lim) made our last visit to Mestalla for the last game of the season, losing 0-2 to Villarreal. A year on. it's like nothing has changed. The team finished 12th again, getting 2 more points than last time, winning 2 more games and scoring 10 more, but losing 2 more games and conceding 17 more. Sure, the results this year have been a bit better, but, by my tally, despite playing a game more versus R.Madrid, the team would be in 8th place based on 2017 results. That's not good enough. Some of these guys played their last game yesterday and their exit is for the best.

On a more positive note, Valencia B won 3-2 yesterday away to Celta B in the promotion play-off quarter finals. The team fell behind but then went 3-1 up, before conceding a late penalty, but are still in pole position with the second leg coming on 27 May


Jaume 4.5 - a disappointing game and could have done better for at least two of the goals
Montoya 3.5 - has been one of our best players this season, but this wasn't good, very shaky and terrible for the first goal
Santos 3 - no idea why he got the nod instead of Abdennour, but it didn't work. To his credit, had a good first half after the blunder, silencing the boo boys, but then undid it with mistakes in the second. Has to go.
Mangala 6.5 - very likely his last game and he'll be missed
Gaya 6 - turned in a good defensive performance, but was wasteful in possession
Soler 4.5 - mostly invisible game, is it just me or have his performances dropped off in the last month or so?
Parejo 5 - think we saw the best and worst sides yesterday. Some great passing but also gave away possession too much.
Nani 7 - had a really good game and was always an attacking threat
Rodrigo 6 - good performance overall
Cancelo 5.5 - acceptable performance up front, but less effective at the back
Zaza 4.5 - had an off day and missed a couple of chances

Munir 4 - didn't do a lot after coming on, but does end the season as joint top scorer with Rodrigo
Mina 4 - limited after coming on. I'll say what I said about Alcacer 12 months ago, needs to step up to the plate next season or be sold.
Bakkali N/A - his usual, and totally pointless, 5-minute cameo. Should be loaned out or sold.