Showing posts with label Copa del Rey. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Copa del Rey. Show all posts

Saturday, December 24, 2022

News update

 The World cup was, overall, not a happy one for Valencia players. Gaya was sent home due to a minor injury while other players from the top clubs who had similar injuries stayed on. The only positive is that now that Enrique has gone we may see less favouritism. Musah was the stand-out player though, as usual, pride in seeing him do well is balanced with the realisation that it just makes it more likely this will be his last season here. Guillamon got no minutes and Comert only limited game time. Cavani did play, but it's probably better he didn't. After not having a penalty appeal go in his favour he and other Uruguay players lost the plot a bit, with Cavani kicking over a plinth at the end. I have to say that I think the referee was right, it was a soft call and didn't look a penalty to me. Now, as a result, FIFA are planning disciplinary action with a ban of 10-15 matches for him being discussed. Possibly the only positive is that Valencia players may have enjoyed more rest.

There have been recent developments on the new stadium. The city council finally published the conditions which it should meet. This includes a 70,000 capacity to allow it to be included in a World Cup bid, allowance for an athletics track around the stadium, solar cover to provide shade and an attached sporting complex which would cost 10 million. The club has until 11 January to respond and the issue needs to be legally settled by August.

Valencia extended the contract of Jaume Domenech until 2024.

Domenech broke into the first team in 2015 after the injuries to Alves and Mat Ryan and has played 116 times since then. Some of us do have concerns about his weakness to shots from outside the area, on the other hand, he's been a Valencia loyalist, who's been happy to be a back-up player and numerous managers have spoken positively about his leadership in the dressing room so it's probably a good thing.

The club has also made a contract offer to Diakhaby whose contract ends in the summer but haven't received a reply. He looks gone to me. The club are still looking for a midfielder and a winger in the transfer market, almost certainly on loan. Jesus Vazquez has been linked with Torino and it's unclear if it will be a simple loan, a loan with a purchase option or repurchase option. This seems a huge loss as he's shown potential, but instead we're developing Lino, good as he is, for another team.

Lastly, Valencia learnt their Copa Del Rey last 32 opponents yesterday.

It's La Nucia of the 3rd level. By pure chance, I attended the Copa Del Rey first round game of La Nucia when they won at Hercules Alicante in controversial circumstances. I didn't see anything that we couldn't handle, their defence looks shaky, but we'll find out soon enough when we play them on 3 January.

Thursday, December 2, 2021

Utrilla 0-3 Valencia (Copa del Rey)

 Valencia advanced to the last 64 of the Copa with an easy win at Aragonese 5th level club Utrillas. Bordalas didn't go too mad with the starting line-up, mostly giving a start to the regular subs. Defender Tarrega was the only debutant. One of the main questions was who would start in goal with Jaume, Mamardashvili and Rivero all possible. In the end it went to Jaume, which must raise questions about Mamardashvili's role in the team. He started very well, but will he be content to hang around to be 3rd choice?

In contrast to recent games, it was a 4-4-2. Valencia dominated from start to finish, controlling possession at all time. The breakthrough goal came on 27 minutes, good cross from Musah, Maxi dummies and Andre finishes well. On 52 minutes we extended our lead through a penalty. It was a very soft penalty I have to say and I'd have been annoyed if it had been given against us. With none of the recognised penalty takers on the pitch, Cheryshev stepped up and.... had it saved. I thought it had gone out for a corner but while I was rolling my eyes and cursing the miss, I looked back at the screen to find Musah had scored the rebound. The third came on 70 minutes. Koba scored a nice free kick goal.

We could have had a 4th later as sub Vallejo was clear through but couldn't beat the keeper.

All in all, hard to draw any conclusions from games like this. I've been watching a lot of 6th level regional teams since I came down here and this was not much better. A lot of the younger members of this forum could train for a team like Utrillas and have a chance of playing for them. If anything. I'm a little disappointed we don't win such games more comfortably. Our goal on 27 minutes was actually our first shot on target. I didn't see anything in this game which made me think we've changed our recent dynamic or made me think "wow, I can't wait for the next league game." 

Draw for next round should be tomorrow or Monday. Another lower division away game.

Monday, April 19, 2021

Super league will destroy football

 I'm sure everyone will have seen the plans for a European Super League, with 15 fixed members: three to be decided, 6 English, the Milans, Juventus and the Spanish Big Three. That latter group would once have included Valencia but it's a sign of how far we've fallen in the last decade that no one questions us being absent and no one even has to ask who the big three in Spain are.

The plan is to have those 15, plus 5 extra teams each year. Whether they would qualify or just be invited is unclear. The clubs involved don't intend this to be a breakaway: they plan to participate in this as well as playing in the national leagues, gambling on the fact that the national leagues won't kick them out. They also promise a solidarity fund greater than there is at the minute for other clubs. 

The Super League idea has been around for ages. "Footballer of the year" a game I played on the MSX computer back in the 1980s included a European Super League, as did later games and it was the idea of it that caused UEFA to bring a group stage into the European Cup in the 1990s.  Ultimately, their attempts at concessions to big clubs have clearly failed. Pandering to greed has just produced more greed.

All the 15 clubs participating would get 350 million euro a year just for taking part, with prize money of around 50 million. That compares to the current situation where a team winning the English Premier and Champions league double would get 230 million. Needless to say, for clubs like Arsenal and Milan, who have frequently been absent, it's a considerable windfall.

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Copa del Rey Round of 32: AD Alcorcón 0 - 2 Valencia CF Match Thread


Alcoron played their previous game 11 days ago against Real Zaragoza in the 2nd round of the Copa del Rey. After going down a goal with the first 5 minutes, they managed to respond and score on the other side of the half, 2 minutes before half-time. The deadlock would remain until the 89th minute when Alcoron grabbed the winner to finish the game 2-1.

Valencia's previous game was one week ago in La Liga, away against Real Valladolid; a game that they won 0-1. While Valencia had plenty of chances to win the game, it would take a Carlos Soler long range shot to break the tied game. Valencia almost grabbed a second but Manu Vallejo's goal had been overturned due to an offside in the buildup. He would get another really good chance moment later but he couldn't finish it. After a nervy ending to the half in which Valladolid struck the woodwork in injury time, Valencia managed to survive and got their first win in 2 months in the competition.

FORM (all competitions)

Alcoron: WLWWD

Valencia: WWDLL


Gracia, in the pre-match press conference also provided some updates on injuries. Gaya will miss this game as a precaution measure, after suffering some discomfort. in training. Cillissen is making good progress in his recovery. Gameiro should be rejoining training shortly. Gabriel Paulista is in his final stages of recovery as well. In the best case, Gracia expects everyone but Cillissen to be available for the next La Liga game.


2' - Early yellow card shown to Hugo Guillamon for a rash challenge.
12' - Goal for Valencia! 0-1! Valencia with a quick counter-attack following the Alcorcon corner kick. Vallejo carries the ball forward with speed and finds Koba Lein in space, setting up a 1v1 against the keeper who comes out to deal with him. Koba takes the shot early, the keeper gets a touch to it but cannot keep it out of the net.
34' - Yellow card shown to Reko for a rough challenge.
42' - Yellow card shown to Jaunma Bravo for taking down Guedes from behind
45 '- One minute of time added by the referee for stoppages


46' - Yellow card shown to Thierry Correia for a rough challenge
47'  - Substitution for Alcorcon. Carlos Bellvis off, Jose Suarez on
54' - Yellow card shown to Sosa for a dangerous challenge on Correia
61' - Triple substitution for Alcorcon. Reko, Alvaro Juan, and Sosa off, Boateng, Ale Lamas and Oscar Arribas on
66' - Double change for Valencia. Diakhaby and Alex Blanco replace Guillamon and Guedes
72' - Great piece of individual skill from Racic. He dispossessed the defender on the flank, beat another and then cut inside into the box before curling a shot to the far post. He shot hit the post and moved away from danger. Really close to a second goal
74' - Another opportunity missed at a second goal. Musah did well to get the ball forward on the right flank under pressure from his marker. He put in a cross to the center where Vallejo was waiting but the defender takes down Vallejo and the ball falls to Alex Blanco instead who has shot saved by the keeper.
76' - Goal for Valencia! 0-2! Manu Vallejo with a great free kick that curls around the wall, and squeezes just inside the post. Keeper was sent the wrong way. Good work from Racic to win the free kick in a dangerous position.
78' - Double substitution for Valencia. Vallejo and Musah are replaced by Kang In Lee and Jason
85' - Final change for Valencia. Gullem Molina replaces Thierry Correia. Final change for Alcorcon, Castro off, Victor Garcia on
90' - Two minutes added by the referee for stoppages.
90+2' - Llamas attempts to catch Rivero, who was off his line, off-guard with a long-range shot from midfield. Rivero gets back in time and tips it over the crossbar.


Full-time stats. 10-14 shots, 5-4 shots on target, 48-52% possession, 78-79% pass accuracy.

Valencia qualify to the round of 16 of the Copa del Rey with a solid display against Alcorcon. They scored 2 great goals, one from open play and the other from a set piece and managed to keep a clean sheet. This was all done away from home, where Valencia hasn't had the best time this season, and while resting many first team players.

Valencia's next game is on Thursday the 21st at Mestalla against Osasuna.

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Copa del Rey Second Round: Yeclano Deportivo 1 - 4 Valencia CF Match Thread


With regards to the transfer window, there were rumors that Lim approved two transfers in this window. Both will be loan deals without obligation of purchase. The positions to be reinforced are likely a central defender and a midfielder. Whether or not these two transfers include reclaiming Piccini from Atalanta is still uncertain. It also seems like Ruben Sobrino will be the first player out of Valencia in this window, with Celta and Cadiz both interested in his services.

There was also a report saying that Gracia is only being retained as coach of the club due to financials. If the club fires him, they would have to pay him compensation and they simply cannot afford to do so at this time.

Finally, there was one outlet that reported about Jorge Mendes advising Lim on club affairs, telling him that he should get rid of Anil Murthy and bring on someone with more sporting know-how like Mateu Alemany. Whether Lim takes that advice would be interesting.


Yeclano's previous game was actually in the first round of the Copa del Rey where they narrowly beat Rayo Majadahonda with a 2-1 scoreline away from home. They took the lead a few minutes into the second half but the home team was quick with the response to equalise four minutes later. A red card late in the second half would set up a nervy extra-time period, eventually ending in Yeclano grabbing the winning goal in injury time of the second half.

Valencia played out yet another draw in their most recent game against Cadiz at Mestalla. Cadiz took the lead around 15 minutes into the second half with an overhead kick. Maxi Gomez would equalize around 10 minutes from full-time with great header following Gaya's cross

In the previous round of the Copa del Rey, Valencia struggled against Terrassa, going down 2-0 early but managed to level it up before full-time. In extra-time, they scored 2 more goals to finish the game with a 2-4 scoreline.

FORM (all competitions)

Yeclano: WLLLD

Valencia: DLLDW



7' - Goal for Valencia! 0-1! An initial attempt from Guedes on the right was blocked. Correia picked up the pieces and ran into the box. He pulls it back for Vallejo who scuffs the shot but it slips through for Kang In who makes no mistake in his shot
9' - Goal for Valencia! 0-2! Racic with a tame shot from range that the keeper made an absolute mess of and let it go through into the net.
16' - Really good chance squandered by Sobrino. Guedes threaded through a well-weighted ball behind the defender for Lato to run onto. Lato cuts inside, taking out his marker and draws another defender to him. He squares the ball to Sobrino who is unmarked since the penalty area but his resulting shot is skied. Should have been 0-3.
27' - Yeclano came close to a goal with a shot that struck the crossbar. A cross from a wide position found the forward who sets up Oca for a strike on goal just outside the box, resulting in the shot.
35' - Goal for Valencia! 0-3! Sobrino and Vallejo with great teamwork, exchanging passes between them several times before passing the ball into the net.


Dominant performance from Valencia. The team had a lot of success with stringing together quick passes along the ground to expose the defense of Yeclano. There was a lot of intent going forward, with Gracia clearly intent on putting this game to bed early and leaving no room for doubt as was the case with Terrassa in the previous round. There could have been 2 or 3 more goals had it not been for Sobrino's miss and a few efforts from Manu Vallejo that have been ruled offside.

Half-time stats. 4-9 shots. 0-5 shots on target. 29-71% possession, 65-86% pass accuracy


46' - Double substitution for Yeclano, Luis Castillo and Victor Sanchez replace David Martinez and Antonia Tormos
47' - Goal for Yeclano. 1-3. A defensive error by Correia gave the chance for Oca to score
52' - Yellow card shown by the referee to Manuel Ortega
53' - Goal for Valencia. 1-4! Thierry Correia plays a pass to Guedes and continues his run forward. Guedes plays an ambitious through ball for him to chase. Correia manages gets there ahead of the defender despite starting further back and picks his spot and the far post.
57' - Yeclano hit the woodwork yet again. Guedes was dispossessed in his own half to set up the shot from distance. It took a deflection on its way and hit the post.
60' - Double change for Valencia. Esquerdo and Jason replace Racic and Kang In Lee
61' - Double change for Yeclano. Carlos Martinez and Iker Larranaga on, Christian Moya and Alejando LaFuente off.
65' - Cristian Rivero with a fantastic save to deny a second goal for Yeclano. The corner from Yeclano was headed away by Thierry and then takes a deflection off Vallejo to find Pedro at the edge of the penalty area. He strikes the ball with a lot of power but Rivero is equal to it, punching it over the crossbar.
71' - Yellow card shown to Oca.
75' - Substitution for Valencia. Gaya on, Lato off. Substitution for Yeclano. Oca is replaced by Luis Romero
81' - Substitution for Valencia. Koba Lein appears to have picked up an injury. He is replaced by Carlos Soler.
86' - Yellow card shown to Theirry Correia for taking down Pedro after he got past him
90' - One minute of time added by the referee for stoppages


Valencia advance to the round of 16 of the Copa del Rey in convincing fashion. After a strong first half, the team regressed in the second and didn't build much on their lead. Yeclano got more into the game and created dangerous opportunities yet still Valencia finished the game with a good margin due to the first half performance. 

Full-time stats. 12-12 shots, 5-6 shots on target, 32-68% possession, 68-84% possession.

Valencia's next game is away from home against Real Valladolid on Sunday January 10th.

Friday, December 4, 2020

Yunus Musah renews, Copa del Rey time confirmed

 News at Valencia hasn't been great in recent times, with ongoing instability in the club. Today the club announced better news. Yunus Musah has announced a 4-year extension to his contract, tying him to the club until 2026.

Musah's emergence has been one of the more positive notes to emerge from this season, during which he earned a first international cap for the US national team, though he remains eligible to play for England as well. Unfortunately, none of the sources give his release clause. With Gabriel Paulista recently getting Spanish citizenship, that opened the way for another non-EU player.

Valencia drew Tercera División (fourth level) side Terrassa CF in last 64 of the Copa Del Rey and the date and time have now been confirmed for the midweek after next on 15 December at 19:00 CET.

Terrassa have never played in the top flight and it's been 15 years since they were even in Segunda. While that makes it sound easy on paper, it's a one-leg game away and Valencia have had a few nervy moments in recent times against lower level clubs in the Copa, so hopefully the main enemy, complacency, can be overcome for this one.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Copa del Rey Quarter Finals: Granada CF 2 - 1 Valencia CF Match Thread

Valencia travel to Granada to play in the quarter finals of the Copa del Rey. This is one of three possible games remaining for Valencia on their road to defending their title as the reigning champions of this competition.

Granada and Valencia have both got to this stage by going through extra time in their last fixtures. Granada faced Badajoz away from home and each of the sides scored a goal at the beginning and at the end of the 90 minutes in a 2-2 draw. Granada would win the game with a goal 4 minutes into the second half of extra time. Valencia, on the other hand, was unable to break the 0-0 draw against Cultural Leonesa even after 30 minutes of additional time, forcing a penalty-shootout. Jaume Domenech would prove to be a hero in a game that very much needed one and saved two penalties to help Valencia move forward.

In La Liga, Granada faced Espanyol this past weekend. They came back from behind to secure a 2-1 win, cancelling out an Espanyol penalty with two goals on either side of the half-time whistle. That win sees them finish out the week at 10th position with 30 points.

Valencia come into this game having struggled into a 1-0 home win against Celta Vigo. Soler broke the deadlock 13 minutes before the full-time whistle, earning a goal on his 100th appearance for the club and securing the win. With the win in hand, Valencia currently sit in 5th place with 37 points.

Both sides come in with a good run of results (not necessarily performances though):

Granada form (all competitions): WWLWL
Valencia form (all competitions): WWWWL


Domenech starts again, having a streak of four clean sheets in a row. Rivero backs him up as Cillissen is yet to rejoin training sessions due to his injury.

In defense, the team was hit with the bad news of Garay's 6 month injury duration. The club has conveyed their intention to sign a replacement soon. Although the transfer window is closed, there are clauses that permit clubs to sign still in the event of a long-term injury. The players that can be signed are restricted to those that play in the first or second division of the league, or players that currently have no club. With the deadline (Feb.3) of submitting the Champions League squad list to UEFA having passed, the new arrival would not be eligible to participate in the Champions League fixtures. For now, Mangala and Diakhaby will be counted on to cover the absence.

Additionally, Gaya struggled with an injury during training and misses this match as well. Costa will start instead. Either Florenzi or Wass will complete the defense as the countdown begins for Piccini's return to action.

In midfield, the novelty is the return of Guedes to the squad list, having been out for months to injury. Having a fully fit and in form Guedes can take the team to a new level but it remains to be seen if Celades can recover that version of the player.

Coquelin is likely to start this game over Kondogbia, since he is suspended for the next La Liga fixture. Celades has the full selection of midfield available to him with the exception of Cheryshev who is still in recovery.

In offense, Gameiro, like Gaya, also struggle with an injury and misses this game. Vallejo, like Cillissen, has not yet rejoined training sessions. This leaves Rodrigo, Gomez and Sobrino as the choices for Celades; although both Ferran and Guedes can fill any shortage there if needed.

Bench: Rivero, Mangala, Florenzi, Kondogbia, KangIn, Guedes, Sobrino


2' - Goal for Granada. 1-0. Poor start already. Parejo had given up possession in the play before and now Jaume Costa's sliding tackle sent Soldado clear through on goal. He took a heavy touch to start and it should've been punished there but Paulista stood his ground. Soldado side steps him and takes a shot from the edge of the box. Jaume gets a hand to it but cannot keep it out. Diakhaby was way out of position for that since he went on a needless run forward after he cleaned up from Parejo's earlier mistake. Big mess.
7' - Excellent chance for Valencia is squandered. Costa with a great cross to the far post where Ferran Torres is in space. He volleys the ball back towards the other post and finds Rodrigo with plenty of room. He fires but it's wide. He shouldn't miss the target from there.
8' - Granada retaliate with a chance of their own. A diagonal ball is played behind Wass and the Granada player is through on goal albeit with a tight angle to shoot. He takes the chance anyway and Jaume can only parry the effort back into play. The ball is cleared but it was a dangerous play.
14' - Goal for Valencia but it's overruled by VAR for offside. Parejo had played in Rodrigo with a through ball. Rodrigo strikes towards the far post and slots it past the keeper. It was a good finish too bad it won't count.
15' - Granada again retaliate, this time striking the cross-bar.
17' - End to end stuff here. Wass finds Ferran ahead of him, who then plays a low cross to the far-post for Maxi Gomez. Under pressure from his marker and with his side to the goal, he manages a slight turn and shot but cannot hit the target.
22' - Another chance at goal for Valencia. Wass with another great cross for Maxi. Maxi takes a touch and hits it straight at the keeper. He had the time and space for a touch and a strike. Cannot help but feel cross should've been played to his head not his legs. Good that he hit the target but should've done better from a good position.
30' - Granada hit the post again after Coquelin is dispossessed in midfield. Diakhaby attempted to prevent the shot by applying pressure to the striker but it was still a good hit despite that.
40' - GOAL VALENCIA! 1-1! Rodrigo scores again and this time there is no doubt about the goal. Ferran with a quick pass to Coquelin who plays a short cross to the far post from midfield. Rodrigo is unmarked again and the cross is easy for him to run onto and slot past the keeper.
42' - Yellow card shown to Gonalons for using his arms and legs to stop Ferran Torres's run.
45' - Two minutes added for stoppages.

HALF-TIME: A very open half with both teams showing vulnerability and fragility in defense as they go towards the victory. There were lots of back and forths with the ball moving end-to-end very quickly over the half. Valencia started very sloppily giving the ball away twice in the span of 2 minutes. The first resulting in Diakhaby taking the ball for a run to midfield and the second compounding the mistake of the first and with the defense left short-handed Granada scored. Valencia would go on to feed their strikers plenty of good chances in space in the penalty box but for some reason most efforts either miss or are hit straight at the goalkeeper. After an earlier blunder in front of goal, Rodrigo would go on to score, having gone through on goal by virtue of a Parejo through-ball. Despite the good finish, it was over-ruled correctly for offside. He would get a chance again to score following some very quick passing that caught the Granada defense off-guard. Ferran's pass to Coquelin took out two defenders and made it to Coquelin who took out the entire defense with an unexpected cross to Rodrigo.

The right-side has looked better than the left side of the team. Wass and Ferran have set up many chances for the team and linked up well. The left-side hasn't done too much going forward or back. The Granada right-back has kept them preoccupied. In defense, Costa's mistake combined with Diakhaby's poor choices led to the goal. Risky plays like that from the defense proved costly against Granada and for sure the tougher teams ahead will eat those chances up as well. It's good that Rodrigo finally got a goal but the forwards in general need to be a bit more clinical in front of goal, the service was good and the opposing defense open so there really is no excuse.

52' - Yellow card shown to Soldado for a very late challenge on Parejo
60' - Maxi Gomez plays a low cross across goal but none of the Valencia players can get to it. Rodrigo claims the ball on the far-post and pulls it back for Jaume Costa but he collides with the defender and nothing comes of it.
67' - Valencia with the first substitution. It's Guedes on for Ferran Torres. Soler moves back to the right-flank and Guedes takes his spot on the left-flank. It seems he would thrive in this type of game with all the space being given.
69' - Granada with their own substitution, the first of the game. Carlos Fernandez off, Machis on.
71' - Every time Guedes touched the ball so far, he was instantly tripped up by the opposition.
75' - Diakhaby actually playing well since the first goal. Another great tackle to deny Soldado from running through on goal.
77' - Granada set up a chance with a Soldado back-heeled pass for Machis. The shot on goal is parried by Jaume and cleared.
78' - Jaume Costa and Guedes struggling to deal with Machis, as he cuts inside past both of them and takes a shot at goal. Foulquier was already causing trouble on his own on that side.
80' - Second change for Granada. The booked Gonalons is taken off for Eteki.
86'-  Valencia with their own change, taking off Rodrigo for Florenzi. This means Wass will move up to the right side of midfield, Soler moves centrally ahead of Coquelin and Parejo. Maxi remains as the lone striker. It looks like a 4-2-3-1.
90 - Four minutes of stoppage time added by the referee.
90+1' - Penalty for Granada. Maxi Gomez handled the ball in the penalty box. The ball was headed down by Jaume Costa onto his arm. VAR confirms the decision. Disaster in the last few minutes of the game.
90+3' - Goal for Granada. It's 2-1. Soldado scores from the penalty spot, sending Jaume the wrong way.


Valencia is eliminated from the Copa del Rey in the final minutes of the game. The penalty in the stoppage time is hard to recover from with so little time remaining. Granada go through to the semi-finals and the reigning champions go home.

The second half did not get as many chances as the first and it needed something like a penalty to settle the draw. Everyone had anticipated that the game would go to extra time but Granada had other plans and just edged it.

It was interesting to see Soldado celebrate both goals with the amount of enthusiasm he did. He has clearly moved on and felt joy from sticking it to his old side.

It was also an interesting decision from Celades to bring on Guedes, especially by sacrificing Ferran Torres in return. It would've seemed better to take off Carlos Soler instead since Ferran was contributing a lot this game. Guedes did not show much during the time he was on. It seemed like he was just trying to ease himself into the game rather than to make a difference. Nothing more can eb said as it is tough to get back into the game following a long term injury.

When Rodrigo was substituted for Florenzi, it became more clear that Celades could not help but keep the weekend fixture in mind and was protecting key players.

It would've been nice to win, especially against Granada. As the champions, losing to a bigger team would have looked better. However, this might be for the better. It's easier to say now but many fans would rather look ahead and focus on La Liga and the Champions League. One cannot help but think that Getafe wanted this game to go all the way to penalty shootout so that they can get a fatigued team to play against.

Next game is away to Getafe in La Liga on Saturday. This is a very crucial game to the season and it is paramount that the team really needs to show up. This team is one of Valencia's direct rivals for the Champions League spots. They sit at 4th with 38 points, 1 point ahead of Valencia. As such, this game is a chance to deny them three points and get three for the team, passing them in the table. Amunt.

Friday, January 31, 2020

Copa del Rey Quarter Finals Draw

The draw for the 2019-2020 Copa del Rey Quarter Finals has been completed today. The results are as follows:

Valencia CF have avoided the tournament favorites and rivals, landing a fixture against Granada CF. It's another favorable fixture, but again cannot be taken lightly. Both Valencia and Granada have struggled to put away opponents from lower divisions in this competition so it will be interesting to see how they fare against each other.

The other teams in the draw are all teams you would expect to be there with the exception of Mirandés. However, in their last fixture they surprised everyone and beat Sevilla 3-1 at home. The semi-finals will be a tough fixture as such.

The game will be played on Wednesday, February 4th at the Nuevo Estadio de Los Cármenes in Granada.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Copa del Rey Round of 16: Cultural Leonesa 0 - 0 Valencia CF Match Thread (2-4 penalty shoot-out)

The Round of 16 of the Copa del Rey will see Valencia travel away from home to play against Cultural Leonesa at the Estadio Reino de León.

Cultural Leonesa, like UD Logroñés, plays in the Segunda División B. In fact, they are both in Group 2 with Logroñés in 1st position and Leonesa in 2nd. Now it might be tempting to say that Valencia won against the group leader so the 2nd place team should also be a win. However, Valencia really struggled in that game and the scoreline aws hardly indicative of the difference of the caliber of the two teams. Also, Cultural Leonesa knocked out one of the favorites, Atletico de Madrid, from the competition already. This is not a game to be taken lightly. A chance at the quarter finals of the Copa del Rey awaits the winner.

Cultural Leonesa come into the game with a 1-0 away loss to the Athletic Bilbao B team, conceding in the last 15 minutes of the game. In the Round of 32 of the Copa del Rey, they beat Atletico de Madrid 2-1. Atletico scored first in the 62nd minute but the game was equalized at minute 83. This took the game to extra time where they managed to score mid-way into the first half and held the opposition at bay for the remained of the game to secure the results.

Valencia come into this game having shocked everyone with a 2-0 win at Mestalla against Barcelona. The away team looked far from the threat they normally posed and Valencia had the upper hand. They even managed a clean sheet, which is firstly, rare this season and secondly not expected against the league leaders. In the Copa del Rey Round of 32, Valencia beat Logroñés, but just barely with 1-0 win. The team dominated the first half but could not put the game to bed and the opposition was allowed to take charge of the game in the second half.

Cultural Leonesa form (all competitions): LWDWW
Valencia form (all competitions): WWLLW

Cillissen is absent from the squad list yet again, still struggling with that injury, ever since the Super Cup fixture. Rivero is called up as Jaume's back-up again.

In defense, Garay and Wass, are both left out of the squad. Some sources say this is a technical decision, other say that they had discomfort post-match against Barcelona. Thierry Correia and Mangala are called to fill the gap. 

The midfield looks more complete with Parejo returning to the squad, having missed last game via suspension. Cheryshev is still out so Esquerdo fills his spot. Guedes has trained with the team and should be back shortly. 

For offense, Rodrigo is the notable absence. With all the rumors circulating about the interest from Barcelona and a likely transfer, many will see this as a sign that he is on his way out. There was some news that he traveled with Cillissen and Manu Vallejo to Barcelona to have their injuries looked at. It remains to be seen how this will develop.

The starting XI features many changes from the weekend La Liga game. In defense, Correia and Costa are introduced in place of Wass and Gaya as full-backs. Also, Diakhaby joins Paulista in the center of defense with Garay absent.

In midfield, Kondogbia is given another start, this time alongside Parejo. To either side of them, Soler and Ferran occupy the flanks.

Celades gives Maxi a rest and opts for a striking partnership of Gameiro and Kang In. Again, Ferran and Kang In's positions are inter-changeable so it remains to be seen who will start where. Regardless, they will both bring a lot of energy and dynamism to the lineup.

Bench: Rivero, Mangala, Gaya, Coquelin, Esquerdo, Sobrino, Maxi Gomez


1' - Chance for Leonesa from a corner. The header is hit low but Domenech can get down quickly enough to save it.
6' - Correia plays the ball ahead into space for Ferran to run onto. Ferran passes his marker, looks up and crosses for Gameiro but the defender gets in the way of the shot. The ball goes out for a goal kick.
10' - Parejo with a loose pass but he makes up for it by pressuring the defender to win the ball back. He plays a great through ball for Ferran who squares the ball across goal but the defender gets to the ball ahead of both Gameiro and Soler who were on the prowl inside the box.
19' - Valencia's corners seem like they always go to waste. When the delivery is good, the header does not even hit the target.
23' - Early forced substitution for Cultural Leonesa due to injury. Calvan off, Pichin on.
27 - One of the worst free kicks possible. It was a good chance to get a cross into the box and the ball doesn't even make it past the first Leonesa defender.
31' - Gameiro spreads the ball out wide for Ferran who then returns it to Gameiro in space. The shot is blocked by a Leonesa defender for a corner.
42' - Correia doesn't seem to be having a good game. Many loose passes and difficulty controlling passes.
43' - Really good chance for Valencia. Parejo threads a pass to Gameiro in the box, he takes a touch to knock it past the defender and sets himself up for a shot. Unfortunately, it's over the cross bar.
44' - Another chance for Valencia. A throughball from midfield to Gameiro in a wide position. It is almost out of play but he barely keeps it and plays a sliding cross to the center. Correia clashes with a defender over the ball but he cannot get a shot on goal. The ball is cleared.

HALF-TIME: Pretty tame performance this first half. Leonesa is just the type of team that Valencia struggle against. They have almost everyone behind the ball defending, leaving little to no space and making them tough to break down. The team struggled with this for the majority of the half but managed to set up some decent chances towards the end with some precise quick passing. Unfortunately nothing came of those chances. On the other end, Leonesa hasn't really troubled the Valencia goal. Just two decent chances at the beginning and the end of the half. Adding to the challenge this game is some loose passing, with deteriorating quality especially in the final third. Hopefully, better chances will come in the second half.

55' - It doesn't look like it's improved so far. The complacency in passing is making a lot of chances go to waste.
61' - Soler draws a foul at the edge of the area, winning a free kick in a useful position.
62' - Valencia with their first substitution. Kang In Lee is replaced by Maxi Gomez. This will add something different in attack.
64' - Parejo's free kick is hit straight at the wall.
70' - Yellow card for Kondogbia. It didn't look like a foul, it seemed like the player kicked the ball and the follow-through hit Kondogbia causing pain to the player.
72' - Yellow card for Montes. He fouled Correia and then uttered some verbal abuse at him while he was on the ground.
73' - Yellow card for Soler. He used handled an opposing player to stop his run.
74' - Second change for each of the teams. Castaneda on for Araujo. Gaya on for Jaume Costa.
77' - Great combination play from Valencia. Gaya and Soler exchange passes back and forth. Soler plays it to Gameiro in the box who the picks out Maxi first time. Maxi, with his back to goal, plays the ball back to Parejo in space but the shot is off-target. Needs to do better there and hit the target. Good build-up but no final product.
79'- Final change for Cultural Leonesa, Marcos on for Martinez.
82' - Final change for Valencia. Kondogbia is swapped for Coquelin.
86' - Cultural Leonesa with their best chance of the game from a counter attack on the left flank. The cross finds Benito but Jaume with a quick reflex save to deny the effort.
89' - Correia with a terrible back-pass to Domenech, resulting a last minute corner. Luckily, it's easy for him to deal with.
90' - Five minutes of time is added for stoppages by the referee.
90+2' - Yellow card for Aitor for a late challenge on Diakhaby, hitting him tail bone with a sliding tackle.
90+4' - Cultural Leonesa with an effort from the edge of the penalty box but it's hit straight at Domenech, good height and right in the middle.

FULL-TIME (Extra-Time Next): The second half barely had any improvement on the first. There is a scarcity of chances. The team will now have to play 30 minutes of extra-time and a possible penalty shoot-out which nobody wants to play, especially against Cultural Leonesa. This just adds unnecessary fatigue to the team, ahead of a very important month. Extra time also gives each team an additional substitution to make. For Valencia, there is Rivero, Mangala, Esquerdo and Sobrino on the bench left. A substitute using any of those players would likely be for fresh legs or in case of an injury but not really an impact change. Sobrino can surprise off the bench as he has done before, but he is highly unpredictable in terms of performance.

96' - Cultural Leonesa with a splitting through ball behind Gaya, leaving the Luque clear on goal. Fortunately, his Domenech denies him with a great save. Too close for comfort.
98' - Both teams use their extra substitutions. Sobrino comes in for Gameiro. Dominguez on for Galvan.
100' - Paulista looks like he's struggling with some sort of knock/injury. No more substitutions are left though.
104' - Gaya plays the ball to Sobrino in the box. Sobrino heads it down for Soler to shoot but the shoot has too much power and it flies way over the goal. Composure was needed there. It was a good chance. One minute added by the referee for stoppages.
105+1' - Awful free kick delivery in the dying minutes from Parejo. It misses literally everyone. Yellow card for Castaneda for protesting the free kick.

106' - Valencia set up a good chance early in the second half. Gaya plays a cross to the far edge of the box where Ferran receives in space. He hits it well but the keeper makes a good save to maintain the tie.
109' - Gaya wins a free kick. Parejo delivers to the far side where Ferran waits again, he attempts to cross it on the volley but he fumbles the effort and it's out.
111' - Ferran involved in another chance. He receives the ball centrally, goes past the defender at the edge of the box and runs wide with it, all the while making the angle at goal smaller. He fires at goal but the effort is wide.
114' - Parejo seems to be at his fatigue limit. He's walking a lot and struggling with it.
115' - Gaya plays a quick pass ahead to Soler. He takes a touch and a look up before shooting at goal but it's straight at the keeper.
116 ' - Corner for Leonesa and they bring everyone but the keeper forward to the Valencia half. The corner is cleared by Valencia and a counter attack starts. Sobrino drives the ball forward on the right-flank and waits for support. He gets tackled and wins a free kick. Yellow card for Pichin for that challenge.
119' - Best chance in a long time for Valencia. Gaya makes a run along the goall line and pulls it back. It's a game of pinball in the box. It falls to Sobrino in space but he takes too many touches and his shot is blocked.

PENALTY SHOOT OUT: This is the only way left to split these two teams. Leonesa will take the first kick.

0-0: Jaume with a save! Menudo is denied!
0-1: Coquelin scores! Blasted right into the roof of goal with the keeper going right.
0-1: Jaume stops the penalty again! Benito leaves disappointed. Same side, almost identical save!
0-2: Soler sends the keeper the wrong way and passes the ball into the net! Good lead!
1-2: Pichin gets the first one for Leonesa. Lots of power and Jaume goes the opposite way.
1-3: Maxi Gomez scores this time! The keeper guesses the right way but Maxi places it in the top corner.
2-3: Montes scores. Jaume barely moved for that one.
2-4: Parejo scores and Valencia goes through! The keeper goes the wrong way.


Not a convincing or pretty display by any measure but the result is there. It took all the way to the penalty shoot-out to split these two teams which are quite far apart in stature. The opposition was tough to break down and it look like the game was going to go all the way even early on.

Jaume Domenech was the clear man of the match here. Two saves in the shoot-out early on and great reflexes to deny earlier efforts from open play.

Overall, nothing to be too happy about. Too much effort and fatigue was exerted to achieve this results and qualify. However, games like this tend to bring the team together and build resilience.

The draw for the quarter finals happens on Thursday and the fixtures will get tougher than this. Let's hope the team fares better in those games.

Next game is on Saturday against Celta Vigo at Mestalla in La Liga. Amunt!

Friday, January 24, 2020

Copa del Rey last 16 draw

Though Valencia's win in the cup away to third level opposition was unconvincing, at least we got through. The same can't be said for 10 La Liga clubs, half the division, who have already gone out to lower league opposition. Both our quarter and semi-final rivals from last season, Getafe and Betis, are out. The biggest scalp this midweek was Atletico Madrid, who lost after extra time to Cultural Leonesa. Clearly, there's a motivation element here, with lower league sides taking it seriously while top division sides put out half-strength teams. Today's draw was:

with Valencia now travelling to Leon to meet Atletico Madrid's conquerors the coming midweek. VAR will be used from this round on. Though Leonesa are of the third level, they've already shown they are not a team to be taken lightly. They're currently second in their division, just behind Logrones, who we narrowly beat. Leonesa are also an ambitious side: owned by Qataris, with decent investment, partnership with English side Leeds and owners who have a target of getting them to the top division by 2025. We need to make sure we are not the latest scalp on their planned road to the top.

The big question is how seriously Valencia should take this competition? Obviously, as last season showed, we can win it *and* achieve other objectives. However, we have a very tough February ahead, which will make or break our Champions league ambitions, with away games at Getafe, Sociedad and Atalanta. Put out a weakened team and we risk the fate of Atletico and many other La Liga teams. Take it seriously and we risk more injuries. Next Tuesday or Wednesday, we may get an answer.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Copa del Rey Round of 32: UD Logroñés 0 - 1 Valencia CF Match Thread

The fourth competition for the season begins for Valencia in Wednesday’s fixture against UD Logroñés. With the new format of the competition, there is only one leg, meaning the winning of this match goes through to the Round of 16. Valencia come in as the reigning champions to defend their title.

The result of the new format is that Valencia will probably field a better squad than what they would do otherwise. Instead of providing a rest opportunity for the main squad and some game minutes for the bench players, this is just another load onto the main team to take on. It must also be said that its another opportunity for players to get injured in a season already riddled with injuries. As the team moves into the crucial part of the season, these cannot be afforded.

Logroñés plays in the Segunda División B of La Liga. While this would be a simple game for many other team, recent results indicate that there could be a tricky game. Fixtures against Eibar and Valladolid who are closer to the bottom of the table proved challenging with tight scores. Just 3 days ago, humiliation against RCD Mallorca, a relegation side, with a 4-1 scoreline.

This competition always draws mixed responses, some people, including the owner himself, simply do not value this competition (at least according to Marcelino). They would rather efforts be focused on the main sources of revenue and prestige – La Liga and the Champions League. Extra-time and penalty shoot-outs are also possible in this competition, adding to the exhaustion and could result in a tired squad for an important weekend fixture against Barcelona. Others want Valencia to be competitive in all matches, to have the mentality of a big team and believe they can win it all. Regardless of which camp they’re in, I think most would be upset with a bad result here.

While Valencia suffered a 4-1 defeat away from home in their last game, Logroñés pulled off a comeback away from to Haro scoring two goals into the second half to win the game 1-2. 

Logroñés form: WDDWW
Valencia form: LWDDW


Garay is available for selection, having missed last game with an ankle injury. Hopefully, his reintroduction provides some structure back to a defense that was largely absent the previous game.
Rodrigo remains in recovery with the goal to play in the weekend match against Barcelona. 

Paulista and Kondogbia are missing from the squad list due to suspension from accumulated bookings in the last season's Copa del Rey. This leaves room for both Mangala and Esquerdo in the squad as their replacements.

It's a very different lineup from what was expected. It seems Celades has the game against Barcelona in mind and trust this team to do the job against Logroñés.

Cillissen returns to the lineup after an extended spell on the bench. It seems he will be in charge of this competition.

 The defense has been overhauled completely with all substitute players being used, even Mangala and Correia.

With Parejo suspended in the upcoming La Liga fixture against Barcelona, it would make sense that he starts here. Esquerdo joins him in midfield. Soler and Ferran play their usual roles in wide positions.

KangIn and Maxi look like they will lead the attack. There is a chance that Ferran plays up front and KangIn takes his wide position.

Bench: Domenech, Garay, Gaya, Wass, Coquelin, Sobrino, Gameiro


1' - It seems like there was an error in the posted lineup with Domenech starting over Cillissen. I wonder why Cillissen is not being given any game time. Ferran is playing wide, KangIn playing up front with Maxi Gomez. Soler and Parejo are playing centrally, leaving Esquerdo on the left flank.
14' - GOAL Valencia! 0 - 1! Correia with a run forward, passes to Maxi Gomez who spreads it wide to Ferran and continues his run forward into the box. Ferran picks him out perfectly for an easy header past the keeper. Good start!
21' - KangIn Lee with a shot on goal that's cleared off the line! Close to a second! Jaume Costa provided the delivery, Kang In controlled the ball with his back to goal and did a turning shot on goal.
25' - Another shot cleared off the line, this time from Ferran! The corner was not dealt with well by Logroñés and it fell to Ferran in such a good position. He would normally score that.
29' - Good from Diakhaby and Mangala maintaining their discipline and playing the Logroñés player offside, he was through on goal there.
31' - Yellow card for Ferran Torres. It was KangIn who fouled the Logroñés player yet Ferran got booked. It's probably for something prior to that. Yeah, the replay showed an earlier challenge of Ferran's where he had his studs up.
36' -Logroñés pulling off a string of passes around the Valencia penalty area. The resulting shot is blocked by Mangala.
41' - Logroñés with a free kick from a dangerous position to the right of Jaume's goal. It was Correia's foul that resulted in the free kick. It's crossed into the box and Mangala's header hit the crossbar and bounced back out. The resulting cross is claimed by Jaume. Almost an own goal there from Mangala.
44' - Logroñés gets some space and makes a runs horizontally, drawing defenders. He surprised with a shot from distance but it's slightly high and wide.

HALF-TIME: It's a half of very small margins. Three chances, 2 for Valencia and one for Logroñés that were close-calls. The two chances for Valencia fell to KangIn and Ferran, who would normally gobble up those chances, but both efforts were cleared off the line. The close-call for Logroñés was in the form of a header by Mangala as a clearance attempt but it hit the crossbar and bounced out. In general, Valencia has the edge in this game so far with more possession and more shots on goal. 

The defense looks more alert than last game. Correia's side has been the main point of attack for Logroñés and has put him under pressure. Costa hasn't had trouble from his end, while Diakhaby and Mangala are dominating any aerial plays. In midfield, Parejo and Soler have given the ball away a couple of times which is not good in any game but especially today where they should be dominating. KangIn is getting in the right positions but is also guilty of some giveaways. Esquerdo has been hardly visible. Maxi continues to build his goal count for the season. Second half will start soon, hopefully the team put the game away and complete a convincing second half.

46' - Mangala with shaky start to the half, giving the ball away and then getting completely taken out by the attacking player. He manages to get it out for a corner. The corner is header just over the bar, too close for comfort.
48' - Diakhaby with a give away, a loose pass across the box right to the Logroñés player. He takes a shot on goal but Costa is swift to get in the way and block the shot.
52 ' - Logroñés have come out strongly this second half taking control of possession and chances. Correia being targeted yet again. 
54' - Valencia with a chance from the corner. Parejo picks out Maxi Gomez at the near post, who takes a glancing header across goal but it's over the crossbar,
55' - Yellow card for Valencia. Mangala with a push from behind on the Logroñés player.
60' - More possession giveaway from Valencia causing a counterattack. David drives the ball forward and tries to test Jaume with a shot from distance but it doesn't trouble him.
62' - First substitution for Valencia. KangIn off, Coquelin in.
66' - Logroñés with a change for their own, Quintana off for Andy.
70 ' - Logroñés has looked like the more dangerous side this half. So many giveaways from the midfield that the opposition uses to counterattack. 
72' - Coquelin with a good interception at the edge of the Valencia box. He drives the ball forward, spins past the opposition player and picks out Ferran. Ferran looks up, sees the run of Soler into the box and picks him out with a through ball. However, the keeper anticipates the effort and smothers the shot.
73' - Ferran seems to have switched sides and is playing on the left side of midfield now.
74' - Good chance for Valencia. Ferran finds Costa's run with a through ball but the resulting cross is directly at the keeper. He parries the ball straight to the feet of Maxi Gomez but the shot is over the crossbar. That should've been a goal.
75' - Second substitution for Logroñés, Mateos off, Saenz in.
76' - What a chance. Quick free kick from Valencia in midfield finds Parejo who plays in Ferran Torres with a through ball. He's one-on-one against the keeper but cannot score as the keeper saves the effort.
77' - Second change for Valencia, Maxi Gomez is replaced by Kevin Gameiro.
79' - Logroñés with their final chance, Ander Vitoria in for Garcia. Commentator saying that he's their top scorer this season, wonder why he didn't start. Clear sign of intent in going for the win for the opposition.
81' - Yellow card for Oleatxea. Dangerous challenge from behind on Parejo.
83' - Gameiro uses his pace to drive into the box onto a backheel from Correia. The keeper parries it into his post but it stays out. Almost an own goal.
85' - Final change for Valencia is an attacking one. Esquerdo is taken off for Sobrino.
89' - So many chances are being wasted with poor delivery on the final ball. Sobrino and Ferran both had good runs but they were not picked out well.
90' - Three minutes of time for stoppages added by the referee.
90+2' - Valencia content with just keeping possession and running down the clock.


Valencia are through to the Round of 16 but only narrowly. If it's only about the result the job was done. Other than that it was hardly convincing. 

Valencia had the better first half with the goal from Maxi Gomez and two more potential goals with efforts from KangIn and Ferran that were cleared off the line.

In the second half though, Logroñés took the reins of this match and cause problems for Valencia. In the first few minutes of the second half alone, they could've scored twice by way of complete complacency from Mangala first then Diakhaby. That was their biggest mishap in match where they played decently well. The most frequent threats in the half though were by applying pressure to Correia's end. 

The midfield continuously gave the ball away over and over, facilitating these attacking plays from Logroñés. Only when Coquelin was introduced did the structure of midfield return. Having Soler and Parejo together in midfield resulted in a lot of overlap of responsibilities and not enough variety of skill sets.

The offense in the second half lacked the sharpness to score. The chances were there. Soler's chance was dealt well with by the keeper. Gameiro's also was parried but almost resulted in an own goal for Logroñés. Ferran had a one-on-one chance squandered. Maxi Gomez, Sobrino and Ferran all had a run into a good position but the final delivery wasn't there for them to score. 

This game was a good test of the reliability of the bench. For me, Costa passed most convincingly of them. Gameiro seems to do well when brought on late where his pace can cause the most trouble. Kang In had a good chance, but also got out-muscled off the ball. Esquerdo was largely invisible that game. Mangala and Diakhaby had one or two mishaps that would've been costly against a higher caliber team. Correia was under a lot of pressure with his side being the chosen path of attack for Logroñés and more often than not handled himself. Although it cannot be helped to think that against stronger opposition, it would be a different story.

Next game is on Saturday when Valencia return to the Mestalla to face Barcelona in matchday 21 of La Liga. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Copa del Rey draw

The draw has just been made. In the last 32, Valencia will be away to UD Logroñés of Segunda B.

UD Logroñés are the successors to a former La Liga club which went bankrupt over a decade ago. They were second in Segunda B last season, missing out on promotion after losing a play-off. This season they are repeating the achievement, currently top of their group.

Unlike recent seasons, this isn't two legs. In the past, we could put out a weaker team to give our prospects some experience, safe in the knowledge that, if we screwed up in the first leg, as we did last season away to Gijon, we could put out a stronger team for the second leg. Now, we have to get it right first time.

The game will be next week on either 21st or 22nd with extra time and penalties if level at 90 minutes.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

How changes to domestic cups will affect Valencia

There are some major changes coming up in domestic cups, with more confirmed and proposed for Europe. Here I want to look at how the changes to domestic cups will affect us.


The old format which has been used for about 15 years was seen as boring, so the Spanish Football Federation decided to make some changes, inspired by the German and English domestic cups. The number of teams has been expanded slightly, from 83 to 126. For the first time since the early 1980s, teams from the Regional Preferente, the fifth level of Spanish football, will gain entry.

The other big changes are that only the four clubs playing the Super Cup will start in the last 32. The other La Liga clubs will start two rounds earlier. Instead of two-legged games, as we've seen up to now, all ties, except the semi-finals, will now be one game only. No replays, just extra time and penalties if needed. Games will be played at the ground of the team that is in a lower division.

If two teams from the same division are drawn against each other, the first team drawn will have home advantage. After preliminary rounds reduce the Regional Preferente teams down to 10, the Regional Preferente and Tercera division teams, along with 4 Segunda B teams, will be drawn at home to the La Liga teams. This round will be regionalised, though how regional we will have to wait and see.

Effects for Valencia are
  • Fewer games. Winning the cup next year would only require playing 6 games rather than 9. If we are not in the Super Cup, it's still 8 games instead of 9. 
  • Shorter first round trips. Valencia have headed to Vigo in the first round in recent times. If we're not in the super cup, we shouldn't have so far to travel.
  • Loss of revenue. Fewer cup games at Mestalla, as lower league teams get home advantage.
  • The cup gets a bit more open. In the past, Barcelona and Real Madrid could lose their first leg against La Liga opposition and win the return: that happened this season with Barcelona losing 0-2 at Sevilla but battering them at Camp Nou. I think it's more likely that clubs outside the big two can win now.
  • Less chance to blood young players. The two-legged format suited La Liga clubs well. We could experiment with the team and include some promising reserve team players in the starting line-up in the first leg, safe in the knowledge that, if we screwed up and lost, we could put out a stronger line-up in the second leg at Mestalla and overturn the loss. That's exactly what happened this season against Gijon. This allowed us to try out players like Gaya, Kang-In and Alcacer in the past. Now, we won't be able to gamble too much with a weaker squad in the first leg.
Overall, the changes are better for the neutral, but mixed for us, especially from the development point of view.


Similar to the Copa del Rey, the Super Cup expands next season to four teams. Instead of the league champions against the cup winners (or runners-up if a team won the double) over two legs it will be the cup finalists and the two highest placed teams in La Liga playing single leg games outside Spain. Saudi Arabia is the likely venue for this. Valencia were very angry about this, arguing that forcing us to play a semi-final, when we had qualified by right for the final, was unfair. The club said it supported the expansion for future seasons, but not for next. The changes have gone ahead anyway. Valencia made noises about legal action but this hasn't happened.

The draw has already been made, Valencia will face Atletico Madrid on 8 January, with Barcelona - Real Madrid the following day and the final on 12 January. There are conflicting stories about the division of revenue. Some sources suggested we would get 1 million, Atletico 2m and the big two 6m each, which sounded blatantly unfair. Later, reported that the losing semi-finalists will get 800,000 each, the runner-up 2m and the winner 2.8m. 

Effects for Valencia

  • More chance of qualifying. 4th in La Liga will probably be there about a third of the time.
  • More money. Foreign cities will pay more to host it.
  • The neutral games often won't be neutral. Barcelona and Real Madrid have far more international fans than we do. Barcelona vs Valencia played in Miami, for example, would be virtually the same as Barcelona playing at home.
  • Less disadvantage in La Liga when playing the Super Cup. Under the old format, we would have had 2 extra games next season while other La Liga clubs have a nice break. This time, we'll be playing at the same time that they play Copa del Rey games. 
So, apart from next season, and assuming that the money will be performance based, these changes are better for us.

In a future post, I'll look at how changes to European competitions could affect us.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Valencia beat Barcelona 2-1 in Copa del Rey final!

It's the last game of what has been a weird season. Appropriately, it's a final, Valencia's first in 11 years. Back at the start of the year, when Valencia lost its last 16 tie to Sporting Gijon in the middle of a miserable run, this looked unlikely. Not only that, but getting anything from the season looked unlikely at that point in time. The team lay 12th in the league, nine points behind 4th placed Alaves, with rumours of Marcelino's sacking growing. European qualification seemed to depend on winning the cup to get into the Europa league. The panorama now is hugely different. Valencia staged an epic recovery to meet the season's main target of 4th place and go into the game in a relaxed manner. As underdogs, most neutrals expect us to lose, whereas there is huge pressure on Barcelona, following another humiliating reversal in the UEFACL to Liverpool. We have an excellent chance here to end our centenary season in style.

In our favour is Barcelona's poor morale. Numerous Barcelona fans actually want us to win, believing this will be the best way to get rid of Valverde (talk about spoilt and ungrateful.) Barcelona failed to beat us in both league games this season, needing Messi to dig them out of their holes and get a draw. Also, Barcelona have several players out. Ter Stegen probably wouldn't have played anyway but they also miss Luis Suarez, Arthur, Rafinha and most likely Coutinho and Dembele. Marcelino has never won against them in 20 games so now is the time.

For Valencia, apart from Cheryshev's continued injury and Kang-In's absence for the international tournament, it's almost a full squad. There are slight doubts about Garay and Kondogbia but the latter at least is likely to feature, at least as sub

A possible line-up is Jaume ; Gaya, Diakhaby (Garay), Paulista, Piccini ; Guedes, Parejo, Coquelin, Wass ; Rodrigo, Gameiro.

I think Marcelino will start Wass instead of Soler and aim to hold Barcelona at bay in the first period, with Soler, Mina and Kondogbia the possible second half subs. LET'S DO THIS!

I logged on to do a quick half time report, but our regular contributor Amunt.Valencia has written one in the comments, so I'm stealing it and please give full credit to him for this part....

5' - That was a golden chance for Rodrigo! We almost scored. Both sides seem nervous.
22' - GOAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL GAMEIRO! Nice touch to take Alba out

24' - Barcelona seem really shaky, giving the ball away too easily.
32' - We're playing decently well. Need to get Guedes involved more, he seems isolated.
33' - GOAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLL 2-0! Rodrigo!!! Great run from Carlos Soler to beat Jordi Alba!

36' - Parejo controlling the ball and Messi so well
42' - Our tackling and interceptions today are on point. We're getting helped by sloppy Barca play though.
45' - Great leaping save from Jaume to deny Messi from distance!
Half-time: 2-0: Really the best half we could've hoped for. It's ours to lose from here on out.

Valencia did it! The team had to soak up a lot of pressure in the second half. Jaume made a couple of great saves. The team conceded (as usual) from a corner, Soler, who had done well otherwise, playing Messi on to follow up a rebound and score to set up a nervous last 15 minutes.

Guedes didn't do himself any favours by scuffing a couple of great chances on the break to kill the game but at this point, it seems like the nitpicking about that, and some of the performances this season, can wait for another time.

4th place, Europa semis, a Copa win. Don't know about you folks, but that makes a fantastic season for me. AMUNT!!!!

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Valencia 1-0 Betis (Copa del Rey semi-final)

Valencia have done it! First cup final in 11 years

Marcelino went with a risky enough game plan, trusting Valencia's defence to hold out, while aiming to steal a goal on the counter. It worked. Betis had very limited opportunities, mainly a couple of shots from distance. The Valencia goal was well worked. Piccini burst through and played a nice pass to Gameiro who had made another intelligent run. As usual, he showed his unselfishness, chipping it to Rodrigo, who couldn't miss an empty goal.

Rodrigo came off to protect him for the final, since he was on a yellow and Cheryshev, Soler and Diakhaby came on, with Guedes ending as the lone striker up front. If there's a minor grumble, it's that we fluffed a number of chances to kill the game with a second goal on the break.

This is a quick post, since I have to sleep, but I was happy with the performances of the team particularly Roncaglia, Piccini and Jaume among others.

Next cup game on the 25th....

gives us the first chance of silverware since 2008. Just a reminder, cup runners-up no longer qualify for Europe, so we have to win it and doing so would guarantee a place in Europa league group stages, whereas finishing 7th would mean sacrificing our late summer playing 3 qualifying rounds of Europa league.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Betis 2-2 Valencia Copa match thread

Another draw! Valencia's 15th of the season but definitely one that the team will be more satisfied with than Betis. It looked like we'd screwed it up, conceding just before half time, with poor communication between Gaya and Jaume and the second was poor, Joaquin beating Jaume at the near post directly from the corner. There was debate before the game whether Neto should start instead, given that he has been in great form this season and that goal did Jaume's claims to start no favours.

So, 0-2 down, over and out? We hadn't even been bad, Rodrigo and Mina had come close to scoring before their first goal. To their credit the team rallied. The substitutions helped, with Kondogbia and Gameiro coming on and the latter was instrumental. Rodrigo fed a good pass to Gameiro in space to centre for Cheryshev to bundle a header past the keeper in minute 70. The game opened up, with Betis seeming to be unsure whether to push for a third goal, mindful of our away goal, or defend their lead. A defensive mistake nearly cost them, Gameiro getting on to it and making a good decision, centring the ball for Cheryshev whose header hit the bar. In the final minute of injury time we got a deserved equaliser with an excellent counter attack. Gameiro feeding Rodrigo on the left and the latter's pass was perfect for Gameiro to use his speed to get ahead of Sidnei to make it 2-2.

Plenty to improve. Dead balls, especially corners, remain our weak spot. Jaume and Soler among others had disappointing games (Gamiero should surely start instead of Mina) but the team did well to not give up and now has the edge of away goals, but has only half the job done.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Valencia 3-1 Getafe (Copa del Rey) match thread

Incredible stuff. Valencia looked like they had a mountain to climb after conceding a soft goal in the first minute. 38 seconds had gone to be exact. Getafe showed their dirty side as usual throughout the game and half time arrived with Valencia needing 3 goals. It looked like the first had arrived in the 55th minute with a good cross put in and Mina finishing well, but it went to a VAR review and in that, it looked like Ferran, who had played a part in the build up, was slightly offside.

In the 60th minute, Rodrigo put us level but Getafe sat back in depth frustrating Valencia's attempts. Getafe were reduced to 10 men in the 73rd minute but still, the game reached injury time with Valencia needing two goals. Getafe's constant time wasting resulted in seven minutes added. Cheryshev, Kang-In and Gameiro had all come on and the latter two played a key part. First, a centre from Kang-In was headed back across goal by Mina for Rodrigo to score in the 91st minute. A minute later Valencia lost the ball and the defence found themselves outnumbered with Getafe looking likely to score, however their shot was saved and Valencia raced up the pitch. Kang-In found Gameiro and he put the ball across the goal for Rodrigo to score his first hat trick. What a time to do it.

Valencia held on after that, with tempers boiling over at the end and what seemed like a fight, leaving Gabriel bloody and reports (unconfirmed) that Diakhaby, who never played, got a red card?

If you went to bed during this one, I don't blame you, but unfortunately, you've missed one of our most dramatic finishes in years. The team showed huge character to claw this one back and hopefully this will be a springboard for us to continue our mini-revival.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Gijon match thread / News

After yet another disappointing draw, Valencia find themselves fighting to stay in the cup, hoping to overturn a 1-2 loss at Gijon. In usual circumstances, that would be an easy task, but given the team's travails this season, all bets are off. When the draw was made it was expected that Valencia would have won by 1 or 2 goals in the first leg and been able to experiment and rest players. Instead, it's win or bust and therefore a near first team line-up should be expected.

Transfer news is that Uroš Račić has joined Tenerife of the second division on loan. His time with us has been very limited and NickVCF in the comments has rightly asked what the point is. We can bring in these young prospects, but if their time in the first team is limited to a late sub appearance in the cup before they're sold for a miserable profit at best, it seems worthless. We did identify a young talent a few seasons back. His name was Rodrigo De Paul. We sold him for a dismal 3 million and now he's being targeted by several clubs for 30-35 million. Sure, it's not a total disaster for Valencia, since we'll get at least 10% of that but in hindsight, it would have been better to keep him.

Batshuayi's exit looks imminent with Monaco remaining the likely destination, though late interest from Everton and Galatasaray may change that. Not our business really, since he's been a bust. A fourth striker seems almost certain, though with funds very limited the options are underwhelming. Chicarito was being touted as the likely possibility last week but high demands from West Ham have made that less likely. 

The name currently in vogue is Sergio Leon, who has been a back-up for Betis after decent spells elsewhere including Osasuna. Like Gameiro and Chicarito, this is one I think comes at least 3 years too late. Leon was a good player a few seasons back but I have my doubts he'd significantly improve things up front. In hindsight, we should have got 40-50m for Rodrigo last summer and spent that on Maxi Gomez of Celta. I said that last summer in the comments. However, that boat has sailed, Rodrigo's nominal value has dropped to 25-30m at best, while Gomez's has soared and there's close on zero chance that he will join us. Other options are limited. If we had the money, Borja Iglesias, another of our former youth players who we let leave on a free enjoyed good seasons with Celta B at the third level, Zaragoza last year at the second level and has made the step up with Espanyol, averaging nearly a goal every two games. But, at 25 million (release clause) for a player that has only has one good season in the top flight it would be a gamble.

EDIT: So a 3-0 victory over Sporting Gijon to lift up everyone's spirits, it was a dominant performance in the second half, which unfortunately due to work is the only half that I watched and we managed to turn that domination into goals, what a surprise.

This is what we need, this is how we should play all the time and this is how many goals we should score. I mean at one point it seemed like this would end in yet another draw and we would be out of the cup due to losing the first leg, but we scored the first goal and after that it was smooth sailing with two more goals coming along.