Monday, September 28, 2020

La Liga Matchday #4: Real Socieded SAD 0 - 1 Valencia CF Match Thread

 Let's briefly go over some news as the team travels to play Real Sociedad in matchday 4.

The renewal of Racic's contract is complete. The midfielder's contract is extended to 2024 with a release clause of 150 million euros.

There is 1 week remaining in the summer transfer window, as it closes on October 5th. According to a recent comment by Javi Gracia, he is unaware of any progress on signings. He says that the last time he had a meeting with Anil Murthy was 2 weeks ago. 

With regards to the signing of Capoue from Watford, he had said earlier that just because the player displayed intent of coming to Valencia and submitted a transfer request, does not mean that he will arrive. 

With one week remaining on the transfer window and no communication from management, Gracia is evidently frustrated and rightfully so. It's looking more and more likely that the signings will be made out of desperation in the last moments of the window, if it all. Not even the performance of the last 2 games was enough to communicate any sense of urgency.


Real Sociedad had a great game over the weekend. They took the confidence they had from holding Real Madrid to a draw in the previous matchday to their away game against Elche and walked out with all three points and a 0-3 scoreline. All goals came in the second half, including one in stoppage time.

Valencia had a tough time against Huesca at Mestalla. The away team made themselves at home and caused all sorts of trouble. The game ended in a 1-1 draw. Despite behind on the backfoot, Wass helped Valencia take the lead from a set piece that travelled all the way to back of the net. Huesca peppered away at the goal for the second half, and finally scored, having been denied time after time by Jaume with some clutch saves. 

Real Sociedad currently sit 3rd with 5 points. Valencia are 5th with 4 points.


Real Sociedad: WDD

Valencia: DLW


The squad is boosted by the return of Cillissen from his injury. He starts on the bench though.

Alex Blanco, Kang In and Musah all make the starting lineup with Vallejo, Guedes and Jason benched.

Wass starts in midfield, leaving Correia with an opportunity at right-back.

Injury list: Paulista, Mangala, Soler, Cheryshev


12' - Real Sociedad with a chance at goal. David Silva spreads the ball wide to Barrenetxea who puts in a cross for Isak. The ball is behind the striker and he hits it with the back of his heel but it ends up over the crossbar.
17' - Yellow card shown to Kondogbia for a challenge from behind on Jaunzaj
22' - Kang In takes possession of the ball in the opposition half and gets a quick shot in, claiming the first shot on target in the match. Remiro saves the effort.
27' - Wass with a powerful shot from range that forces a diving save from the keeper. The ball is loose and falls to Correia who waits for it to arrive at his feet. The defender gets in the way and nullifies any danger.
34' - Yellow card shown to Zubimendi for taking down Kondogbia who had taken the loose ball off him and was on the break.
35' - Maxi Gomez strikes the free kick from a long way out. It is a tame effort and the keeper has no trouble saving it.
37' - Januzaj gets his team's first shot on goal with a low powerful drive. Jaume is up to it though.
38' - A chance for Valencia at the other end. Kondogbia with a fantastic diagonal ball to Gaya who pulls it back for Kang In. The youngster takes the shot but in the end the defender gets his body in the way of the shot.
40' - Short break as the referee gets in the way of Elsutondo's powerful shot. It hits him in the head and the medical team is called to tend to him.
45' - Two minutes added by the referee for stoppages
45+2' - Yellow card shown to Maxi Gomez for a late shoulder check on Merino


A relatively decent performance, especially for an away game. The team held their own against Real Sociedad, matching their pace. In fact, they had the majority of good chances in the half.

Most of Valencia's shots on target came from long-range shots. It seems like the players have been given the greenlight to shoot-on-sight this game. The players did well to hit the target when they did take a shot. 

The combination of Wass and Kondogbia in midfield brought a lot of control and prevented David Silva from getting the space he wants to pick out a dangerous pass. What the duo brought in stability though, they lacked in creativity. It was up to Kang In to provide that this game but he barely had time on the ball in the opening minutes of the game. As the game progressed, he did find more of the ball though.

The team needs to try a more direct route towards goal as these long-distance shots have not been effective so far. It's either been that or crosses from wide positions. There are players on the field and the bench who are capable of breaking down the defense so it might be worthwhile to attempt that instead. 

Half-time stats. 4-7 shots, 1-4 shots on target, 64-36% possession, 84-71% pass accuracy.


Change at half-time for Real Sociedad. Oyarzabal replaces Barrenetxea.

54' - Real Sociedad are getting a lot more time and space on the ball to do what they want. Kang In gets possessed in midfield, the ball makes its way to Oyarzabal who gets into the penalty area and forces a save out of Jaume with his shot.
59' - Yellow card shown to Daniel Wass for stomping on the foot of David Silva
61' - Yellow card shown to Gaya for taking down Januzaj after he got away from him
62' - Januzaj hits the free kick straight at Jaume punches it back into play.
66' - For changes for Real Sociedad. Portu for David Silva, Willian Jose for Isak and Guevara for Zubimendi and Roberto Alcaide for Januzaj. No changes remain for the home team.
65' - First change in personnel for Valencia. Gameiro replaces Kang In Lee. 
71' - Second change for Valencia. Toni Lato and Jason on, Alex Blanco and Yunus Musah off. Lato takes over the left-back position, while Gaya is pushed a bit further up into midfield. Looks like Musah picked up an injury.
73' - Gorosabel puts in a cross that deflects of a Valencia player and set up Oyarzabel for a shot. He takes it but it deflects again for a corner.
75' - Goal for Valencia! 0-1! Wass picks out Gaya with a diagonal ball to Gaya on the left flank. Gaya puts in a great curling cross for Maxi Gomez to hit into the roof of the net. Instant impact from Javi Gracia's change.
86' - Yellow card shown to Correia for taking down Portu.
90' - Four minutes added by the referee for stoppages.
90+2' - Final change for Valencia. Vallejo replaces Maxi Gomez.
90+4' - Goal for Real Sociedad. 1-1. The delivery from the cross is saved by Jaume and then some pin-ball action ended with Guillamon heading the ball into the roof of his net. 
90+5' - The goal is ruled out for handball! Sociedad's celebrations are cut short as Elustondo handled the ball. Valencia takes the win!


Well done. The team did well to not only see out the second half but to grab a winner and the first clean-sheet of the season to boot.

Despite having the bigger share of possession in both halves, Sociedad could not take any points this game. Valencia usually struggles away from home but tonight managed to take all 3 points from a tough team.

The goal can be connected to the changes made by Gracia. Bringing on Lato and pushing Gaya forward, allowed Maxi Gomez to get some much needed service. Wass distributed the ball to Gaya from the opposite flank with a diagonal ball, and Gaya puts in a cross across goal for Maxi Gomez to hit past the keeper. 

The rest of the game was a survival mission to hold out until full-time The defense continued its impressive display all the way to the final minute of additional time. There was a last minute scare as the ball was in the back of the Valencia net. However, there seemed to be a lot of action in the penalty area. Multiple players seemed to get taken down, including Jaume before Guillamon's attempted clearance found its way into the back of the net. The goal was overruled due to a handball that resulted from Jaume's initial save landing on Elustondo's arm. It would've been really painful for the team's effort to get undone in the last minute.

Full-time stats. 11-9 shots, 3-5 shots on target, 66-34% possession, 83-71% pass accuracy.

Gracia has made the most of a limited squad today. The defense today looked a lot better, despite the injuries. Maxi Gomez is showing that he can be a reliable source of goals for Valencia. Gracia has yet to draw out the full potential of the team though. If he can get the most of players like Kang In, Musah, Kang In and Guedes, the team gets elevated to another level.

Valencia temporarily take top spot in the league with 7 points but many teams have yet to play this matchday. 

Next game is on Saturday, October 3rd against Real Betis at Mestalla. Amunt.