Showing posts with label match preview. Show all posts
Showing posts with label match preview. Show all posts

Saturday, February 10, 2024

Las Palmas - Valencia

 Another placeholder for comments, since I'm still travelling and this game will be the middle of the night for me.

After a 6-season absence Las Palmas unfortunately returned to the top flight. I say unfortunately because, in their previous 3-season stint, they were nothing except a pain in the behind for us. In the first game of the 2016-17 season, Valencia suffered a devastating 2-4 defeat at Mestalla, an omen for the awful season still to come. The season after that, though we had a terrific first season with Marcelino, a defeat in Las Palmas, where we had 2 players sent off, kicked off a slump in form which saw us lose 6 games in a row in league and Copa. 

Before the season, we were expected to be rivals, though not as it's turned out. Many pre-season predictions had one or both of us relegated. Instead, like us, Las Palmas have had a relatively strong season, playing attractive football which has had them on the edge of the European places, though they've been off-form recently and come into the game with a 2-2-3 record, while Valencia has won 5 of the last 6.

Both Almeida and Diakhaby should be back soon for Valencia and Thierry's injury is not as bad as originally feared so he should be back to the team some time in March. 

Thursday, February 1, 2024

Valencia - Almeria match thread

 This is mostly a placeholder to allow for comments, sorry to say, as I'm travelling this weekend to watch football in Germany and that game clashes with ours. 

The winter transfer window closes today and Valencia has another operation in play. The Rafa Mir move has been reactivated. Valencia made an offer yesterday to loan him for the rest of the season, paying 30% of his wages and having a buy option of 4m. Sevilla instantly rejected that but negotiations are ongoing. As I've said, I think Mir would be a good addition. Not because he'd score lots of goals, but because he'd keep Baraja happy and would fit Baraja's system well as a physically strong forward who could bully opposing defenders and help us to "defend from the front." While it's still in balance I'd say the deal is more likely than not as Sevilla want rid of Mir and Mir only has eyes for us. Meriton's penny pinching remains the stumbling block.

After 4 wins in a row, Valencia came crashing down, somewhat predictably, against our long time nemesis Simeone's Atletico. The team has a chance to make amends against the bottom club Almeria. The latter are chasing an unwelcome record. If they don't beat us they'll equal Sporting Gijon's record from 1997/98 of the most games at the start of the season without a win. Almeria, of course, actually played well at Real Madrid and dodgy refereeing decisions cost them at least a point. They also drew with us earlier in the season so this game is not one we should take for granted.

With Paulista now gone and Diakhaby still at Afcon it will be interesting to see what defence Baraja opts for. Mosquera is almost a given but his partner isn't. Yarek and Cenk are the main options, assuming Baraja doesn't want to push Guillamon back. 

The Mir deal didn't happen. As in the summer, Valencia claimed that after agreeing a deal, Sevilla changed the conditions at the last minute. Sevilla claimed that they hadn't changed anything and the difference in asking prices was only 100,000 euros. With Meriton, both options are possible, including that Lim had no intention of re-signing Mir and just went through the motions. It's embarrassing and a poor look all round.

Worse, there was also the following rumour:

"Valencia’s owner Peter Lim was considering sacking their coach Ruben Baraja because he continued to play Gabriel Paulista despite the club's disapproval."

Given that they sacked Marcelino in part for taking the Copa seriously, nothing would surprise me. Sacking Baraja for non-sporting reasons would probably be the final straw for me. If something like that happened, I'd probably take a break from Valencia until Lim sold. There are rumours that Lim is in poor health and his son has no interest in inheriting Valencia, so while I actually wish Lim the best of health, I hope he does sell soon.

Sunday, January 28, 2024

Atletico Madrid - Valencia match thread

 A tough one today after a good run. To illustrate what a tricky away game this is, when Valencia last won at Atletico Madrid, it was our first season without David Villa, Diego Simeone wasn't even manager and only 3 of the 14 who played for Valencia that day are still active (Tino Costa in the French second league, Guaita at Celta and Alba in Miami.) February 2011 is a long time ago and in the time in between we've found it one of our most barren grounds, losing 7 of the last 8 with only a Parejo free kick breaking that sequence. The team came frustratingly close 2 seasons ago, taking a 2-goal lead only for Atletico to score 2 in injury time to win 3-2.

In our favour, we've had more rest as Atletico played Sevilla in Copa on Thursday, winning 1-0. The scoreline is deceptive since it was easier for them, with Greizmann skying a penalty after slipping and 2 goals narrowly ruled out for offside. Valencia also scored a surprise 3-0 win over Atletico in Mestalla earlier this season with Duro scoring twice, same as he did 2 seasons ago. In team news, bad news for us, as Thierry has a long term injury and it's unlikely he'll play again this season. 

On the winter transfer front, it's very much a case of "move along, nothing to see." Valencia was linked with deals for Rafa Mir and Peter Federico of Real Madrid, but nothing has come of those. The hold up seems mostly because the Koba deal hasn't happened, but also because Meriton are too dumb to see with a couple of additional bodies on loan with buy options we could qualify for Europe and that would repay the loan fees with a nice profit.

That was painful to watch. Atleti totally dominated us and apart from a half chance at a corner we did nothing in an attacking sense while they missed at least 3 good chances. One of the biggest weaknesses is on the right where we really miss Thierry, as Fran Perez and Foulquier have struggled. Getting in at half-time would have been a good result but I've no idea what we were doing at the end. Lino was in acres of space and scored the opener. Annoyingly, he even celebrated. As it's late here I'm probably going to switch off, so use this to comment.

Saturday, January 20, 2024

Valencia 1-0 Athletic Bilbao match thread

 Which Valencia manager has the highest win % this century? The answer is not an obvious one. Ernesto Valverde won nearly 55% of his games in charge, beating Rafa and the 3rd place: Quique Sanchez Flores. Now at Bilbao and doing well that indicates what a tough game today will be.

After a morale-boosting comfortable win at Cadiz last time, Valencia came crashing down to earth with a tame Copa exit against Celta. After the game a few idiots in our fanbase ganged up on Javi Guerra on social media leading to him deleting his Twitter account. We need to be patient with these young guys.

Apart from the Afcon absences and Andre Almeida, Valencia had a more or less full squad for this one and has gone for what likes a 4-4-2 with Diego Lopez in a supporting striker role.

Bilbao come into this game in excellent form with 6 wins in a row in all competitions. They haven't lost in La Liga since conceding a late goal at Nou Camp on 21st October and have gone 7-3-0 since then including wins over Atletico Madrid, Sociedad and Las Palmas in recent games. Both Inaki Williams and Guruzeta have been on form for them and our defence will need to be on their toes tonight. A win would be golden, but a draw wouldn't be the worst result for us considering the context.

An intense first half. Bilbao have set up very well with their front four cutting off our passing lanes and showing strong defence. With a possible exception at the end of the half I don't think we've been on target. Bad news for Valencia in the 13th minute when Canos pulled up and had to be replaced by Yaremchuk. Bilbao had the better chances, a pull back in the 3rd minute creating danger and twice Foulquier being beaten for pace by Nico Williams but the latter's shots were easily handled by Mamardashvili. Foulquier overall had a very good game, I think that's 3 in a row. For us, Fran Perez messed up a couple of half chances but made amends near the end with a recovery and a pass which found Duro, but his lay-off was to Guillamon who shot wide. Valencia finished the half well forcing a succession of corners. Bilbao still have the edge so it's important our defence stays switched on. This is a game that a single goal could decide.

It was indeed a game that a single goal decided and happily it was ours. Bilbao missed a good chance early in the 2nd half but Valencia then continued where we'd left off at the end of the 1st half, edging Bilbao. Duro missed a good chance, trying to brush it in. Just as we were all cursing him, Gaya put a great cross to the back post and Duro, not the tallest striker, headed home at the back post. Thereafter we managed to stalemate them well in both defence and midfield. Baraja played it safe with the subs, effectively switching to double full backs. This meant taking off Yaremchuk, it's very unusual to see a sub who's not injured being taken off. The changes worked and we neutralised them for a hard fought 3 points. 

At the start of the season, with Rafa Mir strongly linked many of us were worried about what would happen if we were reliant on Duro all season. How wrong we were. The only players who have scored more penalty goals this season than Duro are Bellingham and Morata. An addition we do have to thank Bordalas for.

This is the first time since 8th April 2018 that Valencia have won 4 league games in a row. Baraja overtook Voro's 40 games in charge in the game versus Celta and overtook Celades' 41 games in charge with this game. In the Lim era only Bordalas (46), Nuno (63) and Marcelino (110) have managed more. Both he and the team deserve big credit for punching above their weight this season.   

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Valencia - Celta (Copa del Rey)

So for the second time this season, Valencia face Celta at Mestalla in the Copa del Rey. Celta must be very annoyed by the change in the Copa format: since their 2-legged game versus Sociedad on 1 November 2018 they haven't played a single Copa game at home at Balaidos. 

Deja Vu

Valencia come into the game in very good shape with 4 wins in a row, a feat not achieved since December 2021. The performances have been solid and the players clearly know what to do. Even if the opponents like Cartagena, Cadiz and Villarreal haven't been that great, we still need to beat whoever is in front of us.

We have most players available for this one bar Almeida, Diakhaby and Amallah. Both Paulista and Gaya had slight injury worries last time so are a little doubtful and we may see Yarek and Jesus Vazquez in their place. Other than that, I don't expect many changes since last game. Jaume will obviously start and Yaremchuk is due some minutes. 

After a poor start (1-5-8) which saw Rafa Benitez close to the exit door, Celta have stabilised. Since losing in Bilbao in late October Celta have lost just once in the league (2-4-1) with 2 wins against lower league teams in the Copa as well. That included a 0-0 stalemate at Mestalla in a dull game. They have Cervi and Aidoo out, with Bamba on Afcon duty. Celta's new danger man is Anastasios Douvikas who was the top scorer in the Dutch league last season. He's on 7 goals this season, though 4 have been in Copa. Iago Aspas is fit and though he hasn't featured yet in Copa, should get some minutes as this is when it starts to get serious.

Possibly the only surprise is Mari in the line-up.

17 minutes in and disaster. First Jaume messed up with a corner allowing them to score and then a few minutes later Diego Lopez made a clumsy challenge and conceded a penalty to put us 2-0 down. A mountain to climb.

Valencia however have come more into it and cut distances in the 28th minute when we pulled one back from a penalty. What has been missing has been the final ball and we've struggled with their press. Half-time. Neither keeper has impressed me in this one so I think there are more goals. The question is: will they be ours?

They scored a third. I did say that Douvikas was the danger man. So now it's focus on the league time. A comedown after the good performance against Cadiz. The fact is we never looked good in the Copa this season. Even against lower tier sides we struggled and this was as favourable a draw in the last 16 as we could have hoped for. The stats for tonight tell the story: we were wasteful and they weren't.

Sunday, January 14, 2024

Cadiz 1-4 Valencia match thread

Valencia come into this game in more optimistic shape than we've been in a while. The expected relegation fight hasn't materialised. The team has 26 points and is 11 points ahead of the relegation zone. With the bottom 3 performing much worse than last season, 37 points would probably be enough to stay up this year. In other words, barring a late collapse, we can expect a more relaxed second half of the season than last year and if we can put a few good results together, we can even dream of European qualification.

Today's game is crucial in that. Cadiz come into the game in terrible form, just 2 wins all season, 1 of which came on the opening day with the other over 4 months ago on 1st September when they beat Villarreal. Since then they've drawn 8 and lost 7. A defeat at fellow strugglers Granada in the last game piles the pressure on more. In many ways they're turning into draw specialists with 5 draws from the last 6. Their biggest problem has been scoring: just 4 in the last 8 games and 14 overall, easily the worst in the division. Valencia fans will joke that that's not a surprise as their forward line is like a list of Valencia has-beens: Negredo, Maxi Gomez and Sobrino. They've played 8, 17 and 16 games respectively and scored... none. Negredo has only played a total of 44 minutes and as he'll be 39 this summer is surely in his last season. Sobrino is unavailable for this game due to a red card in the last game. Ex-Levante player Roger Marti is also out. Cadiz' main (only?) danger man is Chris Ramos who's scored a respectable 5 goals.

If we have any hopes of finishing higher, this is exactly the type of away game we need to win. That's part of the problem. While Valencia have been solid at Mestalla, with 5-2-2, the opposite is true on the road, with a dismal 2-3-5 record. Our absences include Almeida and Thierry. Pepelu is also probably out for this one, while Diakhaby and Amallah are at AfCon. Yaremchuk has had flu and is also under question so if Baraja continues with the recent 4-4-2 we may see Duro-Mari up front, although Diego Lopez is possible there as well. In the last game Valencia managed 3 wins in a row for the first time since early March 2022, I'm hopeful we can continue this run as a draw would be a letdown and a defeat a disaster.

So in the end, Pepelu made it with Diego Lopez the second striker.

Valencia started well, dealing with Cadiz' press and got the opener on 7 minutes. A decent team goal with Foulquier hitting a nice through pass, Diego Lopez beating the left back for pace and his cut back was touched past the keeper for the opener. Unfortunately after that, Valencia were wasteful and inconsistent in possession and gave away a stupid free kick on the edge of the area. It hit Pepelu's arms when jumping, penalty for me sorry to say and they equalised. Our only other chance came when we recovered and Canos shot was blocked by the defender. There was a dubious call when Hugo Duro got elbowed in the face and pushed over.

Looked a red to me, but was only given as a yellow. A frustrating first half. 

It got better. First Canos hit a super pass through for Diego Lopez who again used his pace to get into the area. Duro looked better placed but instead of passing, Diego slotted it nicely past Ledesma.

Much of the rest of the half was, as our games with them often are, very scrappy with Cadiz looking like a poor man's Getafe. Luckily, they lived up to their recent form and created little. We missed a golden chance to make it three when Mari was found at the far post, but fumbled the ball between his feet and the chance went. With Cadiz piling forward near the end and even their keeper joining the attack, but we broke out and the ever lively Diego Lopez found himself on a 2-on-1. Again, he made the right decision, finding Guerra and Javi also stayed cool to beat the keeper in a one-on-one. Game over then? Not quite. Cadiz switched off at the end and from a throw-in we got to the by-line and Mari made up for his earlier miss by putting the ball across for Jesus Vazquez to score his first senior goal.

As I said, we've messed up so often against teams like this but today we were clinical when we had to be with the pace of our young players making the difference. Diego Lopez had gone through a period of poor form but he was brilliant today. That's 4 wins in a row and the first time since December 2021 that we've both won 3 in a row in the league and scored 4 away from home. Baraja now has the 3rd highest win % of any Valencia manager in the Lim era. Now only 2 points off 7th and 3 points off 6th. Job well done.

Monday, October 23, 2023

Valencia 2-0 Cadiz match thread

 I'm off to Mestalla soon for this one and hoping for a win. After a positive start it's been a struggle for Valencia since beating Atletico Madrid with 2 draws and 2 defeats. On the positive side, we do have Gaya back for this one but Canos, Diakhaby, Almeida are all out to add to the longer term absences of Mari and Jesus Vazquez. For Cadiz' part, their strike force looks like a who's who of recent Valencia striker flops: Negredo, Sobrino and Maxi Gomez. They're also coming in with 2 draws and 2 defeats. This game marks a quarter of the season already gone. A win would take Valencia up to 8th place and mark a better than expected start. Lose and question marks about the team start afresh.

One major piece of football news affecting Valencia was the choice of 2030 World Cup hosts. To my surprise (I thought South America would get it for centenary reasons) it's going to Spain, Portugal, Morocco, with an insulting and awkward token game each played in Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay. This looks more like a way to clear the path for Saudi Arabia to host 2034 than anything. As Nou Mestalla is one of the bid venues, this puts extra pressure on the club to finally get the stadium done.

I'll be back later from this one, so please use this as a placeholder for comments. I'll be back to normal service around the middle of November.

Well, quickly, that was a fairly comfortable win. Amallah was impressive and linked well with Gaya for the first goal. Thierry always a threat and provided for Duro for the second. We were greatly helped by Cadiz having a man sent off in the 22nd minute. There was a huge downpour at the start but that didn't stop it being a good win. We had 3 good breakaway chances to make it 3 but squandered all of them, with Fran Perez the main culprit. They did little. The game marked the return of Maxi Gomez to Mestalla with Sobrino also featuring. Cadiz seem to have a thing for Valencia flop strikers as Negredo was also in their squad. Both Maxi and Sobrino did what they did best at Mestalla: run around a bit uselessly. Foulquier for Thierry was where the problems started. Stupid mistakes from him and fellow sub Guillamon gave them golden chances which they thankfully didn't take. 8th at the quarter point of the season is a solid start.

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Valencia - Real Sociedad match thread

 I'm going to Mestalla for this one so another short thread.

After the high of the win over Atletico Madrid, Valencia returned to the usual inconsistency with a shaky performance against the league's bottom club, Almeria. We could easily have lost that game. Why do the team always do this?

For tonight, we do at least have Paulista and Yaremchuk available. Baraja has effectively said that Yaremchuk will get at least some minutes, so we should see his debut. Foulquier, Sergi Canos, Jesus Vazquez and Alberto Mari remain injured. 

Tonight's opponents Sociedad have made a solid enough start 2-3-1 with the defeat by 1 goal away to Real Madrid and with a midfield and attack including people like Oyarzabal, Kubo, Brais Mendes and Zubimendi and 12 goals scored so far, our defence will really have to be on their toes. Previous results against them have been all over the place. We beat them when we're weak then throw away points in good seasons, so I won't make any prediction for this, but I'm hoping for a good home win.

Well, I just got back from the stadium and have mixed feelings. For the first 30 minutes I thought we were the better team but then we conceded a dumb goal from a stupid mistake by Diakhaby. He's like Valencia in miniature: has a couple of good games, makes you think he's turned the corner and it will get better from now on and then reverts to business as usual. The second killer was the sending off of Amallah, which seemed harsh from where I was sitting. He'd been looking good up to then and almost playing as a second striker. That killed us off. I thought we'd fold in the second half but we fought well and a draw would have been a fairer result. I thought we were weak on the left, Diego Lopez did little, Gaya not much more. Thierry did well handling their winger and Fran Perez was lively. Duro was active but had very little service. Guerra is obviously a good prospect but his decision making tonight was off and Mamardashvili's distribution could have been better. I liked the little I saw of Yaremchuk's debut. He was active and a physical presence.

Overall, Sociedad clearly had a better squad than us. (Qualifying for Champions League gets you money you can use to buy better players... someone should tell our owner. ) But we mostly held our own. If it hadn't been for the sending off we could have got a draw. The big problem remains the squad depth as evidenced by the fact that our final defence consisted of 4 central defenders. With Vazquez out and Gaya often injured, that's a problem. On to the next game.

Friday, September 22, 2023

Almeria - Valencia match thread

 I'm off to Valencia tomorrow so with apologies and unless anyone else wants to do them, these will be shorter than usual until November, but a placeholder for comments is better than nothing.

Valencia produced a strong and convincing performance in the previous game to earn the first win over Atletico Madrid in nearly a decade. Nevertheless, the team remains an enigma. Doing well against bigger teams but not so well against smaller clubs. At least that's an improvement on last season when we were rubbish against everyone. So which Valencia will show up tomorrow? 

In team news, there are several absences which highlight the problems of a thin squad. Paulista is out likely for the next 2 games. He started the season well, so this is unfortunate. Foulquier similarly should be back soon. Not such a loss some fans will say, but with barely anyone else who can play as right back, it's better to have him for the last 20-25 minutes to give Thierry a rest than playing someone out of position. The case of Vazquez is similar, though he's more promising than Foulquier and his absence is sorely missed as Gaya needs the rest. Canos unfortunately got injured last game and should be out for several to come. I'd expect Diego Lopez to cover for him, with Amallah saved for the Sociedad game, though it could be the reverse. Lastly, there's the long term injury to Mari, a player who was showing promise and problematic with the team so thin up front.

Our rivals Almeria sit bottom of the table. (Useless fact: they're the most recently formed La Liga team, formed in 1989.) Like us, they narrowly escaped relegation last season An 87th minute penalty to equalise in the final game against already relegated Espanyol was all that kept them up. They did take 4 points from us last season and only a missed penalty at Mestalla prevented them from taking all 6. This season their start has been terrible: losing the first two games at home to R Madrid and Rayo and then drawing at Cadiz. Their home game vs Celta was mixed. They went 2 down, fought back to equalise, squandered 2 one-on-one chances with the goalkeeper and then lost to an 87th minute goal. In their last game at Villarreal they took the lead, but eventually lost to a 94th minute goal. On paper, this is a team we should beat easily and the type of game we must win if we have any dreams of a top half finish. In reality? We've thrown away points in so many such games before, so I hope for a win, but don't know what to expect.

The mood around Valencia now is weird. On the one hand, expectations have never been lower. Most of us would be happy with a comfortable 9th or 10th place finish, something that would have been seen as a disaster a few seasons ago. On the other hand, there seems to be a buoyancy and excitement around the team. Attendances for this season so far (obviously early days with only 3 home games) have been nearly 43,000, the highest since 14/15 under Nuno. (We haven't exceeded 43,000 since 2006/7.)

The attitude seems to be that even though the team is much diminished and one of the weakest Valencia squads this century, we at least have an exciting crop of young players from our academy to cheer for. Mosquerra, Guerra, Fran Perez, Diego Lopez and Mari might be raw in most cases, but they're our guys who've come through the youth system and will bleed for the club badge. 

It's hard to say what line-up Baraja will go for, especially with rotation and a midweek game against Sociedad to think about, but I'd expect something like Mamardashvili; Gaya, Diakhaby, Mosquerra, Thierry; Pepelu, Guerra, Almeida; Diego Lopez, Duro, Fran Perez. I would hope Guillamon can be eased back into the squad, Cenk will almost certainly play some of the game (it wouldn't surprise me to see him start instead of Mosquerra) and we may finally see some minutes for Yaremchuk.

Unfortunately, I think it was the weaker version of Valencia that showed up tonight. We're lucky to come away from that with a point as Mamardashvili saved us a few times. Our goals were great, super pace and finish from Diego Lopez after a link-up with Javi Guerra. It was Guerra who got our second as well with solid play from Fran Perez to create the chance. Sadly both times we couldn't hold the lead and the defending and marking was really poor in this game. Next up: Sociedad at home.

Friday, September 15, 2023

Valencia vs Atletico Madrid

 Valencia tomorrow comes up against one of their most annoying opponents. 

It's been nearly 9 years since we blitzed them on 4th October 2014, scoring 3 goals in the first 13 minutes and having Alves save a penalty for a 3-1 win in the early part of Nuno's first season.

Sadly, it's been a story of massive frustration since then. Even though we've beaten every other team, including Barcelona and Real Madrid, this fixture has been an awful one for us. 17 games. 6 draws and 11 defeats. We thought we'd done it early last year, taking a 2-goal lead away only for them to score in the 64th, 91st and 94th minutes. Sorry to say I don't expect to see this change tomorrow and think we'll lose by a couple.

I'll be out all day, so will miss this game and putting this post up as a "placeholder" for comments during and after the game.

Saturday, September 2, 2023

Alaves - Valencia match thread

So it's a tricky opponent today in Vitoria. Valencia have Almeida back in the line-up but again we see the problem with not doing transfer business in time. None of the 3 latest additions are judged ready yet.

10 minutes in and it's a ludicrous start. Valencia gave away a penalty in the first minute when Mamardashvili fouled after a poor back pass. He saved the penalty but then it was retaken for encroachment. He saved yet again! I guess Mamar penalty saves are like buses, you wait a while and then 2 come at once. A fat lot of good it did us: poor defending with Diakhaby failing to clear and it goes in off Cenk. The stupidity of not adding a central defender in the window comes back to kill us, with Diakhaby back in defence and back to mischief, costing us with mistakes.

Pathetic. Anyone still want to disagree that we're fighting to stay up this year after a poor transfer window? The squad is weaker than last year and we saw today how just 1 injury, to Paulista, messes everything up. The squad is paper thin as shown by subbing off Duro for an unknown youth player. Both teams squandered a few chances, but I don't think this result was undeserved at all. If anything, we deserved to lose by more. Only bright spot was that Mosquera did well.

Sunday, August 27, 2023

Valencia 1-2 Osasuna match thread

Valencia's transfer dealings continue to move at a glacial pace. The Rafa Mir transfer looks doubtful, a plan B, Lucas Boye looks like he's going to Granada instead, Borja Mayoral looks dubious and we're left with names like Martin Braithwaite to fill the void. Mir still seems the best of an average bunch as all the other names have very poor scoring records. If we want a forward who doesn't score much, we already have Hugo Duro. The addition of Selim Amallah is said to be closer, but how many times have we heard that?

Negativity aside and out of the way, Valencia have a great chance to extend their positive start today. Under Baraja, we're 5-3-1 at Mestalla and today's opponents Osasuna are one of only 2 teams (Celta is the other) who we got all 6 points against last season.

Osasuna started well, winning at Celta 2-0 with our former youth player Ruben Garcia netting. In the follow-up, they came unstuck at home, losing to Bilbao 2-0 with some poor defending gifting the goals. They look a solid team without any standout players, just a good range of La Liga experience with guys like Moi Gomez, Ruben Pena etc. What will benefit us is that Chimy Avila, their top scorer last season, got sent off last game and is suspended for today. I'll post the line-up when available, but I'd expect more or less the same as last game with the only question being whether Javi Guerra will start. Canos is of course available but I'd be very surprised to see him feature for more than a few minutes as a late sub as he hasn't trained much with the team.

Guerra, as predicted is the only change. 23 minutes in and Valencia are 1-0 down. Thierry mistimed the tackle and they scored from the penalty.

We lost 2-1. A disappointing result in a game that we deserved at least a draw from. I didn't think we played badly but the issue is the obvious one that everyone that apparently Meriton can see. We needed a striker BEFORE the season started given the clear issues up front in the 2nd half of last season. Good to see Duro score but he struggles as lone forward (I think he could have uses as a supporting forward.)

Did you all see the joke at the end where they gave him man of the match?

Friday, August 18, 2023

Valencia 1-0 Las Palmas match thread

This week has produced nothing except rumour on the transfer front. None of the rumoured signings like CanĂ³s have materialised yet. After a winning start it's crucial that we keep the momentum going and get as many points as possible while the team is still fresh.

Today's opponents are Las Palmas, back in La Liga after 5 seasons in Segunda and of all teams, they are the one I most didn't want to see again as they were nothing other than a pain in the a$$ for us in their previous 3-season stint. They got a draw against us in Mestalla in Nuno's last game in charge there (a sacking that never should have happened) and the return leg the same season was Pako Ayestaran's first in charge. It started well with Rodrigo scoring in the 3rd minute, but a penalty and then the most comical own goal you'll ever see, with Aderllan Santos (who else) trying to clear but the ball bouncing off the back of Mustafi and in for the winner (enjoy it here!). We played them the 1st game of the 2016-17 season and it was a devastating start which showed how the season was going to go as they beat us 4-2 at Mestalla. Though we beat them in Marcelino's first game, their jinx struck again in the return fixture with them coming from behind to beat us 2-1, helped in big part by Vezo and Paulista getting sent off. 1-1-4 against them and interestingly, ex-Valencia player Jonathan Viera scored in 5 of those 6. He's one of the only survivors from that era, back in Las Palmas for the 3rd time after a spell in China. He scored their equaliser last week so remains a threat.

For Valencia, it's the same line-up as last week. I guess if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Las Palmas also have ex-Valencia loanee Munir.

Cooling break. We started well and created a couple of good chances with Duro having the best one. We've been a bit sloppy in possession and Mamardashvili's clearances have put is in trouble couple of times. We've had a slight edge but that counts for nothing unless we score.

Second half. Guerra comes on for Almeida and looks very good, clearly the best next talent from the academy. We almost score when he puts Lopez through but the ricochet goes just wide. They have a couple of good chances for Viera and Munir but waste them. We got a penalty when their player carelessly handles, Pepelu sends it right down the middle for 1-0!

FULL-TIME: not the prettiest or most exciting of wins but I'll take it. The team, despite the odd sloppiness and misplaced pass, looks more comfortable and composed on the ball. The defence largely functions and shuts down danger. The biggest problem remains up front. Duro works hard, but he isn't a target man and the team badly needs more bite there. Osasuna at home next.

Saturday, February 18, 2023

Getafe CF vs Valencia CF Match Preview

How bad has Lim ownership and "leadership" turned out? Valencia CF went from being a top 4 club, mostly regular in the champions league, one of the most respected and recognizable clubs in the world, to a minnow fighting to avoid relegation. Even hardcore 20+ years supporters are tuning out and uninterested in the clubs matches! They are right as fans of Real Madrid or Barcelona or Manchester United or any big club start protesting over their clubs not winning few games in a row, let alone seeing their club fall down so far and fight for relegation!

The only way out of this is for fans, supporters, club admirers, former players and staff to organize and chip in the most money we can and have the city government fine Meriton tens and tens of millions of euros until they are forced to sell the club! Meriton has defrauded the city of Valencia by not finishing the stadium and they are liable for damages. I would also inspect the club's finances and if there are irregularities go after Meriton on that as well. Make it financially impossible to continue to own the club and force Lim to sell. 

I can see former players like Silva, Villa, Marchena, Aimar, Canizares, Albelda, Mata, Ayala, etc... all chipping in, to buyout the club, and we would need them in order to get enough money to purchase the club! Small investors who chip in with $50 or $100 are great, especially if there are tons of us, but we need bigger investors, we need big money, we need people to come in with 100k, 500k, 1 million, etc...

Valencia CF appointed Ruben Baraja as head coach for 6 months, as John wrote in the article it's a way to appease the fans temporarily, but it's not going to work! There is literally nothing Lim can do to change fans opinions of him, heck if Valencia CF magically won the league, it still won't change fans opinions of Lim and Meriton and they would be demanding Lim to leave. The relationship has been irreparably broken and there is no way back! 

Even if Baraja is somehow able to turn this ship around and steer Valencia CF past relegation it won't matter, no one can be satisfied with their team barely avoiding relegation! 

Lim needs to retire, to go off into the sunset and hire real football professionals to run the club, he shouldn't be making ANY decision about the club, no one should be calling him, no one should be seeing him, he should be no one to the club, with professionals running the club and not caring about Lim. That is the only way forward, that is the only way the club can start moving in the right direction again! 

The match against Getafe CF doesn't even matter, not if the team's goal is to avoid relegation, which it's kind of is at this time. Basically, Valencia CF need to acquire about 13 points till the rest of the season to theoretically avoid relegation, I think that is the safe limit historically, so individual games don't matter, though it would be nice to see Valencia CF win for once and break the terrible string of defeats! 

Last time I checked and reported on Valencia's finances I believe the club was supposed to have only been 150 million in dept, Lim and Meriton were bragging that they've been paying off huge chunks of the debt and financially the club was making small profits, or at least not losing money to require new loans! So last time I checked we were 150 million euros in the debt to various banks, I'm not sure where some of our readers are coming up with numbers of 400+ million in debt. Again, it was about 3.5-4 years ago when I reported few times on this and back then almost 4 years ago, I believe the debt was reduced to around 150 million or 175 million, somewhere around those numbers. 

I know the club has been loaning money from Meriton, but didn't the sale of several of our players cover that? I believe the club owed Peter Lim around 70 million euros, which I think the club paid off through the sales of several players! 

This is also another big red flag, why is Lim "borrowing" Valencia CF money and why is the club paying it off with interest? He owns the club, why is he squeezing money out of it? I don't see any other private club owners screwing their own clubs! I don't see the Sheiks "borrowing" money to their clubs, in fact they've done all of the possible loopholes and tricks in order to invest money into their clubs, I remember Man City got an injection of 400 million euros with the club selling the stadium name and image right to its owner for 10 years, which he owns anyways, it was a trick to inject money into the club without getting afoul of fair play! 

Its only Valencia's owner that is borrowing money to his own club with interest on it! What a joke the dude is! He should be investigated for financial malversations, money laundering, fraud, etc... Force him out, threaten him with jail time, etc...

Friday, February 10, 2023

Valencia CF vs Athletic Bilbao Match Preview

I had relative confidence with Voro at the helm of this team, but all that came crashing down with two consecutive defeats. Voro's first match was a really difficult one with him taking on Real Madrid at the Bernabeu, though I expected to see a strong and solid Valencia CF that would cause Real Madrid trouble and truth be told they did in the first half. Then in the second half the team felt apart and conceded two preventable goals, it seems as if the team started in 3rd gear and couldn't get going in the second half, enough for Real Madrid to score two goals and claim the victory! Real Madrid wasn't playing exceptional football either and Valencia CF did have a chance. 

Then Valencia CF played against Girona one of the relatively weaker teams and I believe anyone in the world would have told you that Valencia CF is the slight favorite even with its bad form and string of bad results. Turns out Valencia CF can't even beat Girona and can't even outplay it either! Girona had more posession, more shots on goal, more shots off target, more corner kicks, more attacks and more blocks. Girona outplayed Valencia CF in every department! Valencia CF also played what I consider its strongest team with Lato and Gaya on the left flank, Yunus and Foulquier on the other flank and Hugo and Almedia in the middle, with the inform Cenk and Eray Comert at the center of defense, completing the team were Lino and Cavani up front! The only player missing that could have made this team slightly better in Correia, but I'm grasping at straws here!

Valencia's next opponent is the tricky and always challenging Athletic Bilbao, Valencia CF will be looking to end its string of 4 defeats in La Liga and 5 overall losses in the last 6 matches. How would they do that I have no clue, I'm all out of ideas and I'm hoping that Voro can figure it out and bring a new perspective for the team. 

Every time I expect a win, or a decent result Valencia CF always falters and suffers a defeat, so now I'm actually expecting and predicting a loss. If Valencia CF can't win against Girona to avoid relegation and get back on track to at least a mid-table finish, then I don't see it happening against Athletic Bilbao. I'm predicting a 2-1 victory for Bilbao! 

I'm expecting pretty much the same lineup from last match, with maybe one of two changes, though I really don't know what to expect right now. Voro is a conservative guy, I have a feeling he is going to stick to his guns and play the same team with maybe one or two changes, probably the same formation and tactics as well, though he might surprise and change everything, if things aren't working with what's tried and tested, then maybe some radical changes are needed, although Valencia's options are limited. We have Hugo Duro who could replace say Toni Lato, Samu Castillejo who can replace Lino, but those are the options. In midfield we are paper thin both in the center and on the flanks, Justin Kluivert is out injured so he is not an option either. 

I'm expecting a loss, I would be extremely surprised if Valencia CF managed anything else as depressing as that is to write!

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Real Madrid vs Valencia CF Match Preview

Valencia CF sacked Gennaro Gattuso as coach after yet another disappointing performance against Real Valladolid in which Valencia CF lost 1-0. That match was seen as an opportunity for the team to bounce back and get a much-needed victory that would put the team forward on to a winning path but was rather another disappointing loss against a much weaker opponent on paper. 

The latest loss put Valencia CF only 1 point above the relegation zone and Valencia management made the decision to sack the coach in the hopes of improving the situation. Voro will be interim coach for the 8th or 9th time, it is a frequent occurrence. If he is able to deliver decent results he might even stay till the end of the season.

Meriton's mismanagement of the club has had dire consequences in the sporting and financial department! Valencia CF is at best fighting for mid table finish on the sporting side and on the financial side it is unable to pay players' salaries. Seasonal ticket sales are low due to the fans disappointment from the results and the hate for Meriton. Many fans just refuse to give the club money as long as Meriton owns the club and they'd rather stay home and watch the games on TV, rather than watch it live. 

Meriton has also not invested anything in the old stadium, so there is less and less reason to go to the stadium as it is getting worse there, let's not even talk about the "new" stadium. There were reports that Valencia CF might have 1.5 million euros to spend for the winter transfer market, but even that seems a far fetch as the club has not brought in any reinforcements, not even loan ones!

I don't know if someone needs to paint it to Peter Lim, but you cannot run a football club as a business! In order for a football club to gain money it needs to have sporting success, the better you do on the sporting side the more local fans that will go watch the live matches in the stadium, the more international fans you gain thus boosting the club's prestige and reach and the bigger the sponsors they can attract! 

You cannot even sell player's shirts as a third of them are on loan and won't be here next season and the ones the club does own are all new players that don't attract too much interest. 

The only recognizable names that we have in our squad right now are Jose Luis Gaya and Edinson Cavani that can sell any decent number of shirts. I remember Real Madrid president in the Galactico era justifying paying record-breaking prices by saying that the players are going to pay for their transfers through shirt sales and sharing image rights with the club. He was right, as Real Madrid was able to sell enormous numbers of shirts from all of their top players like Zidane, Ronaldo, Figo, Cristiano Ronaldo, etc...

Voro will be starting in his role as coach with a weakened squad as Justin Kluivert, Correia, Jaume and Nico Gonzales are all injured and will be unavailable for the match against Real Madrid!

Few articles back I was going through Valencia's stats, and they were painting a good picture, according to all of the stats we are at 7th place in terms of actual performance, but for some reason we are bottom half of the table. So, I had high hopes for the next couple of matches, but my hopes were shattered as the results did not come. 

I still think our biggest issue is the defense, we lack a proper midfield destroyer like an Albelda or Topal or Javi Fuego and we seriously lack high quality defenders! I was hoping we were going to buy Otamendi as he only has 6 months remaining of his contract, so he was going to come in really cheap, probably 1 million euros, but the club doesn't even want to bring in new loan players, let alone buy new players! 

Hopefully Voro can work his magic and organize our defense better, we also raise our game when playing against stronger opposition, so I expect a fairly decent showing tomorrow night against Real Madrid, though we are most likely going to lose, but hopefully it is a very narrow loss, and we show some potential for the future! 

Valencia starting lineup: Mamardashvili; Toni Lato, Dimitri Foulquier, Comert, Gabriel Paulista, Gaya; Musah, Samu Castillejo, Almeida; Hugo Duro, Cavani.

Valencia CF formation: 5-3-2

Valencia CF tactics: Voro is likely to opt for more conservative tactics, with a medium defensive line, with the two full backs serving as wingers in midfielders when the team is attacking. I'm expecting to see a slower attack buildup with Voro demanding the ball be passed around sideways or backwards, rather than rushing it forward and losing it. 

Match Result: Real Madrid 2-1 Valencia CF

I think Real Madrid are going to win. We always cause them trouble and occasionally are able to beat them, but at this point in time in the current form I'm not seeing any other results except a loss. Hopefully we can maybe get a draw, that would be something, but it's going to require significant defensive cohesion, something which I don't think Voro can just magically create! He is known for squeezing out the best of the players, but our defensive woes are just too big to be solved by pure mental fortitude alone!

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Valencia CF vs Athletic Bilbao Match Preview

Valencia CF just can't seem to get any result in La Liga, even when things seemed to be picking up and we had a moment of optimism it all comes crashing down as Valencia CF drew at the Mestalla against UD Almeria. I was really excited for the match and full of optimism that finally we are going to record a win and start turning things around, we played really well against Real Madrid with that formation and lineup, Gattuso stuck with the same things in the Spanish cup against Sporting Gijon and Valencia CF won easily, so I was expecting a solid victory against UD Almeria, one of the weakest teams currently in La Liga. Well, it seems like Valencia CF is competing for the weakest team in La Liga as well, and they are just three points away from relegation. 

Valencia CF vs Athletic Bilbao Copa del Rey Match Preview

Valencia CF is facing Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey though and as such there might be chances for a win, though Valencia CF has hardly faced stiff opposition in the cup and Athletic Bilbao is the first real tough opponent. A win here would place Valencia CF in the semifinal and give fans some cause for celebration. 

Valencia's record in all competitions coming into this match is 3 losses, 2 wins and 1 draw on the opposite side Athletic have 2 wins, 2 loses and 2 draws. Valencia's La Liga stats are 25 goals scored and 20 goals conceded and Athletic have very similar stats with 25 scored and 19 goals conceded. The biggest difference between these clubs is the possession with Valencia CF on top of the charts with 59% possession rate and nothing to show for it, while Athletic Bilbao have 51% possession rate, but appear to be using the most of that possession and creating enough chances. 

Valencia CF are also better in the passing accuracy department as well as aerial duels won, with the only stat being worse than Athletico's being shots conceded per game, but only by just a tad. Valencia CF are also one of the most fouled team in the league, with little protection from the referees, in fact part of our issues might be refereeing related as they just don't seem to award enough cards and penalties for Valencia CF. Our team gets fouled constantly and our actions and flow stopped, but the opposing teams always seem to get away with it, with barely any punishment. Valencia CF should definitely ask for more protection from the referees based on actual statistical data and facts that we are one of the most fouled team in the league! 

All of Valencia's stats actually seem really good, but why we don't have any results is beyond all reason! Obviously, our team is extremely error prone and individual mistakes do cost us often, but even that doesn't fully explain the bad results. 

At this point I feel like we need an experienced and great central defender to organize the defense. Paulista used to do that to a certain degree in the past, but now he's out of form and was out of the squad for a long period with injury, so we need someone like Nicolas Otamendi to sort out our defense. He is currently playing at Benfica and his contract is expiring this summer, so Valencia CF should move swiftly and sign the player. He is not going to cost anything more than 1 million euros and I'm sure he'll love to finish out his career at Valencia CF the club which made him a household name. 

I think we are going to see mostly the same lineup from our last match, with few chances just to give some players rest and have them fit for the next game in La Liga. 

Valencia starting lineup: Mamardashvili; Correia, Comert, Diakhaby, Gaya; Musah, Guillamon, Almeida; Kluivert, Cavani, Lino

Valencia CF formation: 4-4-2

Valencia CF tactics: High defensive line when attacking with two defenders covering at the back and Hugo Guilamon falling back to serve as a defensive cover. Lato and Correia interchanging position as both can attack and defend. Mostly long crosses from the wings with generally shorter passes through the center of the field. Cavani positioned aggressively in the front, serving mostly as a static threat, while Lino running channels more and shifting position.

Match prediction: Valencia CF 3-1 Athletic Bilbao

I'm going to persist with my optimism and big wins prediction as we have all of the tools at our disposal to do exactly that. If you look at all of the stats Valencia CF is doing really good, in fact in the top 6 good in almost every department. All the team needs to do is stay concentrated for 90 minutes + stoppage time and don't do anything stupid defensively. Seems simple enough, right? 

Gattuso needs to figure out how to secure our backline and we should be good. I'm hoping he figures something out and implements it in this match, because I really want to believe and I'm hoping for good results with that issue figured out and solved. 

Sunday, January 22, 2023

Valencia CF vs UD Almeria Match Preview

Valencia CF has been on a downward spiral in the last couple of matches, but they showed signs of life against Real Madrid and Sporting Gijon in the Copa del Rey. Gattuso played with a 4-4-2 formation in those matches, and it seems like it produced good play, though I personally think it was more of the lineup that produced those results, rather than the formation itself. We had Almeida in central midfield in both matches, something we've lacked with Nico playing there instead, we've also had Hugo Guillamon a lot in midfield, and he's been having a really bad patch recently. 
So, with the current batch of midfielders, we seem to be a lot more secure in midfield, with Yunus covering at the back and playing that more defensive role, while Almeida has more leeway to push the ball forward and he does so really well. Justin Kluivert has also been playing great on the wing and has provided a good outpost there for our team, he can solo play on the flank, or he can play with the team and create chances. 

Toni Lato completes the midfield and with him playing on the right flank we have a more secure backline, he is used to tracking back and tackling opponents, so we get better defense with him on the flank, while also offering reasonable attacking prowess. Don't forget we have Correia who can bombard more freely on the flank as well, knowing that Lata will cover for him at the back. So, we get both more offensive and defensive power on that right flank with Lato playing there.

I also like Cenk and Comert at the back, I think Cenk provides more stability at the back, he has that maturity of a much older and more experienced central defender, but he's still very young and can improve even further. Comert has also gelled in a lot better with the team since his arrival here the previous season, and in combination with Cenk they seem to work well for now.

The question now is how long will this last? Is the coach on to something with this setup or is it just a fluke? We often play much better against the big teams like Barcelona and Real Madrid and suffer to reproduce that play against the weaker opposition. So, this match to me is extremely exciting as it will show if this new formation and team composition is actually any good or just another fluke and we go back to being demoralized and searching for new solutions and blaming Meriton and wishing for better transfers and players. 

I'm sick and tired of seeing a weak Valencia CF, not even a mediocre one, I consider Valencia CF playing for that 6th position, the last position that leads into Europe mediocre, maybe we get it, maybe we don't, but that is a mediocre Valencia CF that can barely manage European competition, but for the past several seasons we've been finishing at mid table or worse. To me that is a very weak Valencia CF and each consecutive season we seem to be doing worse, rather than better. 

The rushed and weird transfers the management does don't help at all, the inconsiderate coach changes don't make sense at all, Meriton and its owner don't seem to know when we have good things going for us. There was a period of 2 years when Marcelino was coach when we were doing reasonably good, we also had a really great sporting director at the time, but Marcelino was sacked and soon after the sporting director left but was realistically forced out. 

I just want to watch a Valencia CF match and be excited and happy most of the time. I don't want to watch disappointments over and over again, where we lose matches who are certain wins on paper, we lose or draw in the last moments of matches for no apparent reason, we blunder absurd goals, etc... What does it take to have a solid Valencia CF that is able to fight for that 6th position on the table? 

Gennaro Gattuso is likely going to field the exact same squad from the Real Madrid supercup match in this match and I'm hoping that is indeed the case, because I am really curious if this setup actually has quality and if we actually win matches like this. 

Valencia CF squad: Mamardashvili; Correia, Comert, Cenk, Gaya; Lato, Musah, Almeida; Kluivert, Cavani, Lino.
Valencia CF formation: 4-4-2
Valencia CF tactics: High defensive line when attacking with two defenders covering at the back and Yunus falling back as well, serving as a defensive cover. Lato and Correia interchanging position as both can attack and defend. Mostly long crosses from the wings with generally shorter passes through the center of the field. Cavani positioned aggressively in the front, serving mostly as a static threat, while Lino running channels more and shifting position.
Match prediction: Valencia CF 3-1 UD Almeria
I think this is going to be a big win for Valencia CF, I think this setup has potential and the formation also serves these players, making it easier to defend and organize in the center. Defensively I don't think we can just improve instantly, so I still think we are likely to concede a goal, but I think offensively we are going to be much better and be able to score several goals, giving Valencia CF an easy win.

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Sporting Gijon vs Valencia CF Copa Del Rey

Valencia CF has not had the best start to the new year with loss after loss, the latest one in the Super Cup at the feet of Real Madrid, not the end of the world loss, but it still stings. Valencia CF did show way better play and gave Real Madrid a hard time, in fact Valencia CF could have won the match if the finishing was a bit more precise. 

Sporting Gijon vs Valencia CF Match Preview

I think if Valencia CF shows such play in every league game we can probably challenge for European competition, but that the issue is our team has been very inconsistent. We can lose to the worst team in La Liga and then go on to beat a Barcelona or challenge Real Madrid and just barely lose. There is no consistency, something which I'm hoping Gattuso has addressed, and we see a good Valencia CF side against Sporting Gijon. 

Sporting Gijon are 15th place in the second division, so they are coming into this match as the underdog with Valencia CF the favorite, but anything is possible. Again, I'm hoping to see a stable and effective side tomorrow that easily dismantles Sporting Gijon, after all they are playing kind of poor football even for second division. Not quite relegation level football, but they are bottom of the pack with a lot of goals conceded and average number of goals scored. 

We are likely going to see several changes from the match against Real Madrid as Gattuso is likely to give other players some playing time and keep some of the better performing players like Andre Almeida and Cavani fresh for the league match against UD Almeria on the 23rd. 

Valencia CF squad: Cristian Rivero; Jesus Vazquez, Paulista, Diakhaby, Correia; Foulquier,  Hugo Guilamon, Illaix Moriba; Fran Perez, Hugo Duro, Marcos De Sousa.

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Real Madrid vs Valencia CF Super Cup

Real Madrid vs Valencia CF Match Preview

Valencia CF are going to face Real Madrid in the Spanish super cup tomorrow. The other duo are Real Betis vs FC Barcelona, the matches will be played in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

The Spanish super cup got overhauled in 2020, now it's a four-team competition that takes place in January. The top two teams in La Liga the previous season and the two Copa del Rey finalists make the four teams to play in the cup. If the same teams finish in the top two and reach the Copa del Rey final, then the spot goes to the 3rd placed team and so forth.
Real Madrid vs Valencia CF Super Cup Match Preview

Valencia CF qualified for this year's super cup by reaching the final in last year's Copa del Rey, while Real Betis were the winners. Real Madrid won the league title last season and also won the super cup as well, beating Athletic Bilbao to clinch the title. 

Valencia CF are coming to this match with two losses since the start of the second half of the season and will be looking to put those behind them with a win over Real Madrid. I wrote in last match's report how Valencia CF can lose to the weakest opponents and then go on to beat a team like Real Madrid or FC Barcelona, well they have the chance to do that tomorrow.

Real Madrid are also coming to this match with a loss to Villarreal, they lost 2-1 against them, same score Valencia CF lost to them just a week before that! Real Madrid is currently trailing FC Barcelona 3 points in the league and will be looking to get back to winning ways with a victory over Valencia CF tomorrow night! 

Valencia CF will be without Samu Castillejo and Nico Gonzales due to injuries, while Jaume Domenech has traveled with the team, but won't be available for selection because of injury as well. 

Real Madrid on the other hand are without their defender David Alaba, and their midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni, but have few returning players from injury who will be available for selection.

Valencia CF Line-up: Mamardashvili; Correia, Comert, Diakhaby, Gaya; Musah, Guillamon, Almeida; Kluivert, Cavani, Lino

Real Madrid Line-up: Courtois; Carvajal, Militao, Rudiger, Mendy; Kroos, Valverde, Modric; Rodrygo, Benzema, Vinicius

It's going to be an interesting match for sure, I think Valencia CF are going to have stronger fighting spirit and extra motivation against Real Madrid, as such I do not expect Valencia CF to be more competitive than they've been in their last two matches, and I don't see it being a walk in the part for Real Madrid. That said it's going to be very hard for Valencia CF to win this match considering our form and the defensive weaknesses, realistically a draw would be a decent result, but as always, I'm preparing for a loss that way I can't be disappointed.