Sunday, November 28, 2021

Valencia 1-1 Rayo Vallecano Match Thread

Valencia CF match against Rayo Vallecano ended in a draw in what seemed like almost a carbon copy of the previous match, only this time Valencia CF played at home in the Mestalla and against a weaker opponent, but unfortunately that did not change the outcome of the match. 

Valencia CF needed a win here badly, otherwise the last two draws against Real Sociedad and Atletico Madrid would be meaningless as it is impossible to accumulate enough points by just drawing, Valencia CF needs to win against smaller opponents, but I guess at this point even Europa league is out of the question. Technically we are still very close points wise to 6th position, as its only 5 points difference, but Valencia CF will have to win several games in a row and other teams would have to falter few times in order for us to get back into a position to fight for an European league spot. 

Valencia CF took the lead early on through Carlos Soler who converted the penalty and put Valencia CF on a winning course. This was as good of a start one could hope for and you'd think Valencia CF would build upon it, but no it was Rayo Vallecano who actually turned the pressure on and started exerting dominance in the match. Valencia CF focused on defending and absorbing Rayo's attacks and for the most part it worked. While Rayo were the ones attacking they did not create too many chances or scoring opportunities. 

The second half of the match was pretty much the same with Valencia CF primarily defending with the occasional counter attack, with Rayo Vallecano attacking and trying to equalize the match. I think Valencia CF should have exerted more control in the second half and prevented Rayo from constantly attacking. I think if you defend constantly for 90 minutes with very few attacks its essentially just a matter of time before you concede and this turned out to be the case here. It didn't take long in the second half for Rayo Vallecano to equalize the score. It was Palazon who scored the goal after the ball had been punched by Cillessen. 

If we analyze the goal a little bit we see that the chance was created from the left flank, there was no one covering I think it was Ivan Balliu who's run closer to the penalty area was not followed by anyone, Gaya was nowhere to be found and he was left completely unmarked, thus allowing him to pass deep into the penalty area, it was Catena who received the ball, he wasn't in the best position for a shot, but he sort of made it work, but his shot was kind of weak and this allowed Cillessen time to react and punch the ball away, but I think he could have maybe even tried to catch the ball as it was a weak shot and moving quite slowly. Thing is Catena was also not properly covered, I don't know who was supposed to cover him or be in that space, I saw Diakhaby being the closest to him, but I feel like someone even before that should have blocked the pass. Anyways Diakhaby was too far away from him and couldn't block the shot, Cillessen did punch the ball away from goal, but the ball ended up to Palazon and again he was completely unmarked. Foulquier did not move at all, maybe he was setting up an offside trap, I don't know the exact tactical details and whether the tactics were to setup offside traps, if that was the case then Diakhaby played him onside as he tried to run towards him and prevent his shot, but that just made him onside. If there was no tactical decision to setup an offside trap there, then Foulquier was just way out of position and caught sleeping at his job.

It literally took 4 mistakes in Valencia's defense one after another for Rayo Vallecano to score, but it happened. We saw 3 Rayo Vallecano players completely unmarked and pretty much every single Valencia CF player in and around the penalty area out of position. Wass, Soler, Helder Costa, Gaya, Diakhaby, Foulquier were all out of position and their reactions were way too slow. 

The goal shook up Valencia CF and they started playing, coming close to scoring in the 66th minute through Soler as he received a solid pass from Maxi Gomez, his shot was good as well, but Stole Dimitrievski was position well and made the save. 

Valencia CF would try to regain control of the match and go on the offensive with mild success, there would certainly be more tries towards Rayo's goal, but it was too little too late. Valencia CF were able to muster up a shot on goal in the later portion of the match, but that too was easily saved by the goalkeeper. Jose Bordalas would try and remake a Atletico Madrid scenario where Valencia CF scored 2 goals in the span for 2 minutes by bringing in a ton of attackers in the closing stages of the match, but he was unable to replicate that performance and Valencia CF were lucky to not lose the match in the end as Martin found himself in a great position alone towards goal and he was able to beat Cillessen and score, but offside was ruled very late in that situation, I thought that Rayo Vallecano had actually scored. 

I think the reason why Valencia CF only managed a draw in this match is because Valencia CF didn't want to win. From the start of the match the team was contempt with just defending. Even after the early goal you'd think it would relieve the pressure from the players and they would be able to more freely play and this would result in much more fluid and attacking football, but no quite the opposite happened. Even the occasional counter attacks were low effort and there was no intent behind them. 

I think sitting back and defending against stronger opposition and especially away from home can be utilized and maybe it can work, but for home matches against technically weaker opposition I don't see how that can bring us results. I think Valencia CF should have been on top of this match from the very first second and relentless to score as many goals as possible and win in a convincing fashion. The team was so focused on defense and not conceding that they forgot there is more to football than that and even with so much focus on defense there were several mistakes in our defense leading up to Rayo's equalizer. There were numerous mistakes that happened one after another that led to their equalizer and so the who focus on defense ended up completely meaningless and useless. 

I think Valencia CF need to achieve a balance between attack and defense and in terms of defending we need to get rid of individual mistakes that often lead to these goals, but we are going to concede goals, its inevitable part of football so you have to outscore your opponent as well. I think the team has to be strategic when they defend and that is not from minute 1 against a weaker opponent at the Mestalla. I think it would have been okay to try and play for a bigger win until the 70th minute and then start backing off and focus more on defending your existent lead. Its easier to defend a result for 30 minutes, than it is to defend it for 90 minutes.