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

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. 

Friday, January 6, 2023

Valencia CF vs Cadiz Match Preview

Valencia CF will be hoping to get back to winning ways in La Liga as their last match against Villarreal ended up in a devastating loss in which Valencia's defensive frailties were exposed to the fullest, and time and time again Villarreal were able to create chances and shoot on goal.

It wasn't so bad this past week as Valencia CF managed to win against La Nucia in the Spanish cup by three goals to zero, with Justin Kluivert really impressing with his performance, though the question is can he perform at the same level against higher quality competition.

Valencia CF vs Cadiz CF Match Preview

Cadiz are currently 19th place on the table with 12 points out of possible 45, though the difference between them and Valencia CF who is 10th on the table is only 7 points. Cadiz are the joint-lowest goalscorers in La Liga this season with only 10, though their biggest issue lies in the defense having conceded 27 goals which is second highest in the league. 

Valencia CF problems on the other side have been inconsistency, set pieces defending, loss of form towards the end of the matches, and just bad organization at the back overall. You would have been forgiven if you though month and a half of rest for the team would have allowed for Gattuso to address and fix some of these problems, but no, they still persist and are even more obvious than ever. 

Valencia CF will be without Nico Gonzales as he sustained a big injury last match and is likely to be out for months. All the more reason for Valencia CF to bring in another winger, possibly Bryan Gil as he is a known quantity and can improve the team. 

Jaume is also in doubt for this match, but apart from these two the rest of the squad are all fit and ready! I think we are going to see mostly the same lineup we saw against Villarreal CF, although personally I'm not convinced about the Comert and Diakhaby duo at the back. I've not even been impressed by Gaya's defensive contribution, similar to last season he has been a liability at the back on many occasions. 

Valencia CF lineup: Mamardashvili; Correia, Comert, Diakhaby, Gaya; Musah, Moriba, Almeida; Castillejo, Cavani, Lino

Friday, December 30, 2022

Villarreal CF vs Valencia CF Match Preview

Valencia CF starts the second half of the season with an away game at the Estadio de la CerĂ¡mica against Villarreal CF in what is going to be an exciting match to watch. Both teams have so far been at a similar level of performance with only 2 points separating them. Villarreal CF sits at 9th position on the table with Valencia CF following suit at 10th position and looking to overtake them with a direct win over them tomorrow.

Valencia CF has been more proficient at the front this season with Gattuso installing a more attacking setup and mentality which has resulted in 22 goals in 14 matches, while Villarreal CF are somewhat more conservative and more defense focused with only 15 goals scored, but also only 10 goals conceded, 5 less than Valencia CF.


Valencia CF has again been slow on the renewal front and is likely going to lose Diakhaby and Tony Lato this winter transfer window, just when we though everyone is going to stay, and we'll see some stability at the team. Tony Lato has been offered a one-year extension of his contract with a smaller salary than his current one, so it's only a matter of time before the player leaves for a new team. Diakhaby on the other hand has been offered a contract extension with a slight increase in his salary, but the player has not accepted the new contract and is likely pondering to leave. 

Valencia's winter friendlies have been all over the place with the club winning some and then losing some, so a mixed bag and nothing really to garner from it, we just have no clue at what level the team is at right now. Villarreal CF is going to be a real test to see where the team is at, what is our current level and if we can muster up some offensive for a possible European place or if we are doomed yet again for a mid-table finish. 

The only injury woe for Valencia CF is Jaume Domenech who is out for a ligament injury and is likely going to sit out the next two to three weeks. Everyone else seems to be fit and healthy and should be available for selection.

Valencia CF lineup: Mamardashvili; Correia, Comert, Ozkacar, Gaya; Musah, Gonzalez, Almeida; Castillejo, Cavani, Lino

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Valencia - Betis match thread

Apologies for such a short thread. Valencia's last game before the World Cup break sees a chance of revenge for the cup final in a tough game against high flying Betis. It's also a chance for us to break a run of negative results.



There are some variations in the line-up due to injuries, with Hugo Duro finally getting his chance up front, an all-Turkish centre back pairing of Comert and Cenk in defence for the first time and Castillejo finally starting after weeks of absence. The absence of Borja Iglesias gives us hope but goals, not possession, are needed to reverse the negative run.

==FULL TIME/SEASON BREAK==
Valencia finally turn possession into points with a solid win. The team played well in the first half albeit without creating many chances. I thought this may have ended one of those games where we did well in 1st half but went in with nothing to show and then blew it in the 2nd, luckily it wasn't to be. The turning point was the sending off of Edgar for 2 clear yellow cards. The first could even have been a straight red. Almeida hit a great free kick to open up the scoring. The penalty we got was dubious, I thought, but Guillamon placed it well and then Kluivert, put through one on one as in a previous game showed great finishing instincts. I do wonder if he's wasted on the wing? He's very dangerous around the box.

The 2 guys who really made a difference today were Castillejo and Almeida. The 1st is always a busy presence on the right, passing and recovering the ball well and he came close to scoring in the 1st half. Almeida is steadily growing into the number 10 role vacated by Soler and has shown signs of being a solid replacement. 

So Valencia go into the break on 19 points and 10th place. It could easily have been 3 to 5 more which would have put us in European places. The team needs stronger second half and late game performances. Maybe a change of formation to 4-4-2 might work in some games? People like Duro, Kluivert and Marcos Andre would do better with Cavani to play off. Work to do in the 2nd part of the season but it's not a lost cause.

I'll try and put some posts up in the coming weeks. Enjoy the world cup!

Saturday, November 5, 2022

Real Sociedad - Valencia match thread

 Valencia come into this game after a mostly poor run of results, with just 1 win in the last six and disappointing outcomes against Elche, Mallorca, Sevilla and Barcelona in the last 4.


It's Anoeta tomorrow, a ground which sounds intimidating but is actually a place where we've had good results in recent times. In the previous 5 seasons, we've won 3, drawn 1 and lost 1. A very good return for such an away fixture. Sociedad have also hit their own mini-slump, losing their last 2 league games in Valladolid and at home to Betis. 

Valencia mostly have a full squad to draw on with longer term absentees Jaume, Diakhaby and Ilaix unavailable. The big question mark is over Cavani, with Andre likely to start instead. 

HALF-TIME 

Valencia went behind to a comical goal. 1st Thierry slipped while in possession. Sociedad still had work to do but Guillamon did it for them sticking out a leg to deflect it past Mamardashvili. 5 minutes later Sociedad had a man sent off for a dangerous foul and that tilted the balance with Lino scoring, nutmegging 2 guys with his shot. Despite the man advantage it's an even game with Sociedad coming closest to scoring.

FULL-TIME
1-1. Really negative emotions. Same vibes as the Sevilla game. Before the season I'd have happily taken a point from this one but in the end feels more like a defeat. To have a man advantage for 75 minutes and 64% possession but look at best equal is not acceptable. If anything it was Sociedad who looked likeliest to win despite only having 10 men. We got a little better when Castillejo and Duro came on, but not good enough. 



Friday, October 28, 2022

Valencia - Barcelona match thread

 After a positive start, it's gone a little sour for Valencia in recent games. Unfortunately, tomorrow brings up one of Valencia's traditionally most difficult opponent in the Mestalla: FC Barcelona. While we did of course beat them in the Copa final of 2019, our home record against them has been dismal. In the last 15 seasons, Valencia has managed only one win, in January 2020 under Celades, when a Maxi Gomez double gave us a 2-0 win. Other than that, we've drawn 6 and lost 8.

Diakhaby's injury last time turned out to be more serious, and he's out till January, although the world cup gap makes that less serious. After being injured the previous week, Comert has been back in training and Cenk was one of the bright spots last game. Castillejo has been back in training, but it's unclear if he's fit enough yet. It's the midfield where Gattuso has a huge headache. Ilaix also got injured for a month, which means till after the world cup. Musah is suspended due to yellow card accumulation and Nico can't play against Barcelona due to a "fear clause" in his loan agreement. I think it's unlikely Gattuso will throw a youth player in at the deep end in such a big game so he'll probably play someone else there. I'd expect Foulquier. Another option would be to switch to 4-4-2, but my money is on the Foulquier option. Most likely: Mamardashvili, Thierry, Comert, Paulista, Gaya; Almeida, Guillamon, Foulquier; Lino, Cavani, Kluivert.

Barcelona lost yet again to Bayern in midweek but they've otherwise been playing well so unfortunately I will be surprised to get anything from this game.

Before the game there will be an homage


to David Villa, Valencia's 4th best striker of all time.




Friday, October 21, 2022

Valencia - Mallorca match thread

 After a couple of disappointing games Valencia come into this game hoping for a win.

Our opponents Mallorca have had an even worse run. with just 1 point and 1 goal from the last 4 games and that goal against bottom club Elche. Indeed, goals have been a problem for them, with just 7 in the 10 games so far, a poor record only beaten by the bottom 2, Elche and Cadiz. 

For Valencia, only Jaume and Castillejo are unavailable. The second is expected to be back in the next few weeks. In the last game, Foulquier was the main novelty, used as a right midfielder and extra cover on that side, but I'd expect Kluivert to be back instead. Probably a line-up like Mamardashvili, Gaya, Comert, Diakhaby, Thierry; Almeida, Guillamon, Ilaix; Lino, Cavani, Kluivert is most likely with variations in the midfield three possible. In training Gattuso tested a line-up of the above but with Paulista instead of Diakhaby, Yunus instead of Ilaix and Fran Perez instead of Lino. 

I'm going to Mestalla for this game which means updates will be scarce. By chance this is the 3rd time I've seen this fixture. The previous 2 had the same result. In the Emery era, we blew a 2-goal lead to draw 2-2. Last season saw Kang-In sent off on his return to Mestalla, Mallorca get a 2-goal lead before 93rd and 98th minute goals from Guedes and Gaya salvaged a point. I'm hoping for 3rd time lucky, with a Valencia win.

Monday, October 17, 2022

Sevilla - Valencia match thread

As so often happens, Valencia, after getting us excited with a couple of decent results, messes up against a weak relegation candidate. The team really showed their inexperience in the second half and the main message is that, as with recent seasons, there isn't much depth in the squad to turn things round when they're not going right.

Next up is one of several tough games we face in the coming month, Sevilla away. For several seasons, Valencia had the measure of Sevilla, but that changed when Marcelino was fired and since then, results against them have been awful. In the last 3 seasons we have 2 draws and 5 defeats, including a Copa elimination. Last season's game in Seville was eventful for the wrong reasons with Valencia 3-0 down after 22 minutes and two of the goals due to mistakes by Mamardashvili who was dropped for 4 months after the game.


Sevilla have had an awful start to the season which saw them in relegation places and led to the sacking of Lopetegui and his replacement by Jorge Sampaoli who returns for his second spell. Under him, results have improved, a battling draw with Bilbao was followed by another in Dortmund where they were unlucky not to win, before a credible win in Mallorca last game. He's known for his attacking style, using a high defensive line, so this should be an interesting match-up.


For Valencia, both Diakhaby and Marcos Andre are available again after suspensions. Cavani's injury last time doesn't seem too serious and he should be available, however Guillamon and Castillejo remain in doubt.

In other Valencia news, Gaya's contract extension is reported to happen this week. The club also wants to renew Diakhaby but that looks unlikely to happen as he looks to be holding out for a move as a free agent in the summer. Lato has also attracted the interest of Bologna and Ajax.

More on the Sevilla game to follow tomorrow.

====
Update: Both Cavani and Guillamon trained with the team, so both may be available, though whether Gattuso risks Hugo is another question. 
====

Unfortunately, due to work I'm going to miss most of this game but good news is we're ahead through a Cavani goal.

I only caught the last 30 minutes and wish I hadn't. Second game in a row we've been poor in the 2nd half. Could have stolen it at the end but the Gaya penalty was awful. If it hadn't been for the penalty I'd have been relieved to get the point. I hate Sevilla.

Friday, October 14, 2022

Valencia - Elche match thread

 Valencia come into this game in a very positive frame of mind. A good and deserved win at Osasuna last time out has created a mood of optimism. The team has, for possibly the first time in a few seasons, been fun to watch, with direct attacking football. Numerous news stories have suggested the renewal of Gaya, until 2028, is imminent. Following the renewal of Guillamon, this would be great, leaving a solid base to build a team around.

The opponents are also at a low point. Elche have managed a dismal 2 points from their opening 8 games, conceding 19 goals, the highest in the division, and having the second worst scoring record with just 4 goals scored. Valencia's defenders have actually scored more (5 goals) ! So, on paper, an easy game. The emphasis being on "on paper" because this is a regional derby and Valencia have often messed up such easy games in the past. Valencia's run of fixtures after that is very tough with Mallorca, Betis and Barcelona at home and Sevilla, Sociedad and Villarreal away, so I'm hopeful of a solid win tomorrow.

In team news, Castillejo is still injured. Guillamon sounds doubtful so either Musah or Nico will start instead. There have been news stories this week that Barcelona would like to cut the loan short in January as they're unhappy with his limited playing time, however that isn't something they can do unilaterally under the contract. Diakhaby and Marcos Andre are suspended.

I'll post more closer to the time. 

------------

No surprises at all in the line-up. With Guillamon doubtful the only question was which of the midfield 4 would not start and it's Ilaix on the bench with Nico returning to the line-up.



In the ideal world, a 2- or 3-goal win would be golden.

HALF-TIME 

A weird slightly frustrating first half. Apart from an early corner, Elche did nothing. The first 25 minutes were all Valencia but somehow we failed to score. Almeida, Gaya and Comert all had decent chances which somehow failed to trouble the keeper too much. A rare Elche attack gained a free kick. Mamardashvilu came out to punch but it was their player (who left on a stretcher) not the ball. He got a hand to the penalty but we found ourselves 1 down. 12 minutes later Gaya was brought down and Cavani comfortably equalised with the penalty for his 1st goal. Deep into injury time he headed home a cross. Hat-trick upcoming? Elche had set out to park the bus so will be interesting to see how they approach next 45.

65 minutes: just rubbish. We've been clumsy in passing and wasteful in possession and are punished. Poor from defence and keeper as Elche equalise. Totally don't understand why Cavani was taken off at half time either

72: Elche ahead? No they're  not. Valencia lazy in possession and the ref whistles for a foul when he should have played advantage. Elche furious and I don't blame them. Terrible refereeing. Awful from Valencia who could lose this.

FINAL: 2-2. Very poor result in a game we dominated for long periods.

Sunday, October 2, 2022

Espanyol - Valencia match thread

 After a solid win over Celta 2 weeks ago, Valencia come into this game with the age old question of whether decent home form can be translated into results away. That has often been the club's problem.

Evaluating Gattuso's start so far, with 9 points, it's mixed in relation to former managers. A win today would produce a start bettered in the last 11 seasons only by Nuno and Marcelino's debut seasons. A draw or a defeat would mean the same average start we've seen far too often and leave a struggle for the European places ahead.


Espanyol come into the game in poor form. They needed a 98th minute goal to get a draw at Celta on the opening day, lost at home to Rayo and R. Madrid, got a surprise win at Bilbao before losing at home to Sevilla and away to Sociedad. The pressure is also on them to get results.

For our line-up, Musah remains the main injury doubt so the only questions are 3 positions in the centre. Will Paulista partner Diakhaby or will Comert be preferred? Which 3 of Guillamon, Almeida, Ilaix or Nico will start? Up front will Cavani start or will Marcos Andre or Duro start instead?

Line up and updates will follow.

--------------------------

And we have the line-up and it's one free of surprises.


Let's hope for the 3 points!

-------------------
10 minutes in and Espanyol had the better start, pressing us, but we had the best chances. First Gaya's cross was missed by Cavani and then Lino dribbled well to leave himself one on one, though with a defender on him and from an angle and was saved by the keeper.

12: good work again from Lino. He lays it off to Cavani who shoots over.

16: Uff. Guillamon, who's been shaky so far, gives it away. There's a 3 on 3 break and Mamardashvili has to turn away Braithwaite's shot.

23: Nice! Diakhaby, Almeida and Lino with a great link up but the shot is just wide.

28: We've looked in control but only the Lino chances to show for it.

45: most of our attacks have come down the left. It looks like Lino and Castillejo have switch sides. 57% possession but without too many threats. Cavani has been disappointing. 

46: Kluivert is on for Castillejo who was invisible the first half, though the right side saw almost nothing in passing. Hopefully Castillejo isn't injured as he was good in previous games and earned a player of the month nomination.

47: penalty claim for Espanyol but looks like the ball just missed Thierry's hand.

50 break on for Espanyol but great work by Gaya to cut it out. Guillamon, whose passing has sucked gives it back.

52: GOAL! Through ball finds Ilaix, who puts in a good centre for Cavani who can't get there. Espanyol put it out for a corner, nice header down from Paulista, the keeper gets a hand but it creeps in at the post.

55: FFS. 1-1. It's very close, Joselu is just about level when he gets the ball and he curls it past the defender and keeper off the post.

62: close again from Espanyol, Braithwaite gets and forces a save, the ball pings around and reaches Darder whose bouncing shot goes out off the bar. We're on the back foot now.

67: chances for both teams. Cavani hits a free kick just over, Joselu gets in but Diakhaby and Gaya do enough to put him off and he shoots over.

72: Espanyol have looked the more likely to score, sadly. Triple substitution. Comert on for Paulista, Andre for Cavani, Nico for Almeida.

77: first Valencia chance in a while, centre from Gaya, Kluivert just can't get to it, comes to Andre who blasts over.

80: excellent from Guillamon who makes space and force a great save from their keeper as it was going in.

82: Losing 2-1. Comert did well to cut out a pass, but we're clumsy in midfield possession, give it away, Darder is allowed to run freely and his shot from out of the area goes on. Unusually poor from Mamardsashvili who was wrongfooted.

83: Duro on for Ilaix.

84: Going from bad to worse, Marcos Andre tussles with their defender. Looked like 6 of one half a dozen of the other to me, but he puts his hand on the defender's face and he goes down like he was hit with a baseball bat. Red card for Andre and we're down to 10 men.

91: 10 men each as Braitwaite is sent off for fouling Thierry. 7 minutes left of added time to rescue something.

92: Valencia really pushing. Mamardashvili is even on their half to make a pass. Nico, who gave it away for their 2nd hits a good shot which their keeper fumbles but just managed to push off the line.

95: GOAL! Lucky, but it counts. Valencia put a throw in, it's knocked out. Comert puts the ball into the box looking for a colleague but somehow it sails over the keeper, who totally misses it.


FINAL: 2-2

Somewhere between disappointment and thinking that a draw is a fair result. Valencia looked in control for much of it but gifted a goal to Darder, then had to rely on luck to fluke an equaliser. After 7 games the feeling would still be that we're more exciting to watch but are going to have a similar finish to last time, a mid table irrelevance.  

PLAYER RATINGS
Mamardashvili 5.5: made a few important stops but at fault for their goal.
Gaya 6.5: good game in defence and attack, his crossing was better here.

Diakhaby 6.5: another solid game and his passing continues to improve.
Paulista 6: apart from Espanyol's opener, handled Joselu well. Looked better this game and scored.
Thierry 6: a quiet first half, saw more action in the 2nd and provoked the dismissal of Braithwaite.
Ilaix 5: needs to get forward more and stop going for the foul, but had few mistakes.
Almeida 4: very quiet game where he saw little of the ball
Guillamon 6: After a shaky start when he was gifting possession improved in the 2nd half and was unlucky not to score.
Lino 7: a constant threat to their defenders in the first half, though ran out of steam in the 2nd.
Cavani 3.5: disappointing game and so far he's been rusty it's been a case of Uruguayan up front with nothing happening, same as last season.
Castillejo 2.5: worst game of the season. Totally anonymous and barely touched the ball.

SUBS:
Kluivert 5: lively at times, but lacking experience
Nico 4: guilty of gifting possession for them for their second, nearly made up for it with an equaliser.
Comert 6: has been this season's most improved player. Now looks sound in defence and got a lucky goal.
Andre 2: improvement on Cavani, and the red card was dubious, but you're asking for trouble when you put your hands in someone's face. He really should know better and could have cost us the game.
Duro: not enough time.

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Valencia 3-0 Celta match thread

 After a disappointing and poor performance last week, the pressure is on to get something from today against Celta. They're just above us in the standings following a mixed start. They began in disappointing style dropping 2 points to a 98th minute penalty equaliser at home to Espanyol. They also lost 1-4 at home to Real Madrid and by the same scoreline away to Atletico Madrid. However they beat relegation favourites Cadiz 3-0 at home and won 1-0 at Girona. Brais Mendes was a big loss for them in the summer, but they've retained Iago Aspas who has scored 5 goals in 5 games so far. His inexplicable omission from the Spain squad can only be down to personal disputes with Luis Enrique.


For Valencia, Jaume is out for many months and Yunus is an injury doubt for this game. On the plus side, Cavani has been training with the full squad and may make his debut tonight, though I'd expect him to come off the bench rather than start. Mamardashvili, Gaya and Thierry should all start. The biggest question is the defence. Diakhaby has been our best defender for a while now and it remains to be seen if Paulista will get another chance after being awful last week or if Comert will get the nod instead. If Yunus is unavailable then it most likely means a midfield of Guillamon and Nico, which means we may get to see Almeida start for the first time. I'd expect to see Duro or Andre start, flanked by Lino and Castillejo, with Cavani maybe coming on for last 20 minutes.

Our recent form against Celta has been good, 6-2-2 over the last five seasons, including winning both last season. Unfortunately, that counts for very little and if we have any hopes of a top half finish nevermind Europe, this is a must-win game.

-----------------

So, Cavani starts to my surprise. Comert plays instead of Paulista and Ilaix instead of Nico. Both changes totally justifiable benching 2 of the worst players from last week. Also good to see Almeida, who has shown brief flashes start instead of injury doubt Yunus.


Let's hope Cavani can find his best form!

26 minutes in and both teams have mostly cancelled each other out. Our best chance has actually come from Diakhaby hitting the post from a corner. We've been trying to get the ball in to Cavani but the accuracy just hasn't been there. Thierry and Moriba both had great bits of skill but nothing resulted. Celta have had a couple of half hearted penalty shouts. Their best chances were when Comert mishit a pass and Guillamon had to commit a tactical foul and take a yellow for the team Guillamon was the villain for the second, giving it away when we were trying to play it out from the back. We've been careless in posession.

HALF-TIME
We improved in the later part of the half and lead 1-0. It was a good goal. Great work from Lino on the left holding off two defenders. He tried to beat the keeper who parried and Castillejo was quickest to follow up and finish well. Didn't see much of Cavani but I think our midfield has handled them well. Moriba has been especially good. Diakhaby, Mamardashvili and Thierry have been solid. A bit disappointed with Gaya's passing. As in previous games we've dominated possession. The main issue is that while we've done better than last week against a high press, we don't look very comfortable. Giving the ball away in risky positions hasn't hurt us so far but it will if we keep doing it. Unfortunately our team still looks unbalanced and inexperienced and seems to have mistakes waiting to happen.

--------------

49: A bit of humour. Lino's shot is blocked by the Celta player with his elbow. It was in a natural position so no foul. But the commentator says "it came off his elbow, it was beside his arm." Yes, that's where elbows usually are found.

54: Insane. Lino is clearly brought down in the box. One of the most obvious penalties you'll see this weekend and he's booked for non-existent simulation. Disgraceful decision. What's the point of VAR?

59: The referee balancing it out for his poor call? Cervi of Celta gets a straight red for a dirty challenge on Thierry.

63: Celta get a rare corner, on the break Moriba is elbowed off the ball. Nothing doing says the ref, who's been poor this half. Moriba has been constantly fouled.

68: Moriba goes off for Nico after a very solid game.

71: Cavani goes off to a round of applause. Castillejo too. Kluivert and Andre are on. Celta get a free kick in a dangerous position and Mamardashvili produces a point blank save to deny them.

74: Good few minutes for us, with Gaya's shot from range forcing a save. But we need to bury this.

79: Chance! A good break, excellent through ball from Andre, but from an angle, Kluivert just can't beat the keeper. He forces a save from a header a minute later too.

82: Marcos Andre! Another Valencia break and this time there's no mistake. With the ball played forward, Gaya is strong to challenge and the ball falls to Andre who beats the keeper with a low drive.

84: Gaya and Comert off for Lato and Paulista.

93: 3-0! Celta look tired, we've been threatening  and after our cross is cut out, Guillamon threads it through to Almeida in the box and he finishes well for his first goal.

-----------------
FULL-TIME: 3-0
After an even first 30 minutes Valencia grew into the game and got a deserved win to chase away the disappointment of last week. Win or lose the team is just far more enjoyable to watch this season. There are definitely areas to improve. The passing can be careless, the final ball often is too rushed. Playing out from the back is clearly the game plan but we struggle with presses and the players often make mistakes in these situations. It's hoped they'll improve with experience.

PLAYER RATINGS
Mamaradashvili 7.5: deserved clean sheet, only suffered with a couple of mistakes in distribution
Gaya 5.5: a little disappointed with his crossing and final balls, but he redeemed himself with a key role in the second goal.
Comert 6: much improved this season though can be a bit careless with passing under pressure
Diakhaby 7: enjoying a really good run in the team. Never misplaced a pass and his positioning is always correct.
Thierry 7: Had a good day. Strong in defence and in attack with even a few flashy moments.
Guillamon 6.5: helped the team well with a tactical foul and assist, but can be a bit too carefree on the ball in dangerous positions
Almeida 6.5: his first full game and it was a solid one with good passing and a goal
Ilaix 7.5: probably his best game for us, a commanding presence in midfield 
Lino 7: a flair player, good involvement in 2 of the goals. Can still be too selfish but given his contribution can be forgiven for that today.
Castillejo 6.5: a continual threat on their wing and moved well. Took his goal confidently. He's now the team's top scorer!
Cavani 5: a quiet, almost disappointing debut. He worked hard but had little of the ball to work with.

Nico 5: filled the hole in midfield but wasn't that productive 
Marcos Andre 6.5: good sub appearance, making their defenders work and taking his goal well
Kluivert 6.5: very lively presence. Didn't get a goal but it's coming, needs to maintain this level.
Paulista 5: late sub, didn't have much to do but looked better than last week
Lato 5.5: late sub but covered well 



Saturday, September 10, 2022

Rayo Vallecano 2-1 Valencia match thread

Valencia come into this game after a morale boosting thumping win over Getafe. Prior to that game, many questions had been asked about whether the team could, for all the improved play and possession the previous game, actually get shots on target, let alone score goals and they answered in emphatic fashion. But in the end this is only one game and the team in fact still has 4 points less than Bordalas did after his first four games which included a 4-1 win at Osasuna, so we need to see this sustained across several games before we can get excited.

Rayo's start has been patchy. They started well against the Barcelona teams, getting a draw in Nou Camp before winning at Espanyol, but then they lost at home to Mallorca, with Kangin Lee getting a goal and assist. The last game they lost to a 90th minute winner at Osasuna. It's been an unproductive ground for Valencia to play at, our last win there came in December 2014 in the Copa del Rey while the last league win was in May 2013. 

In team news, Jaume got a serious injury and may miss most of the season. The club is evaluating the option of signing ex-Bilbao keeper Iago Herrerin as cover for the season. As one of the only free agents with La Liga experience, he's the obvious choice. Diakhaby and Marcos Andre have recovered from their injuries and are available, while Paulista and Gaya are back. On the other hand, Ilaix is suspended after his sending off last week. 


Gaya and Paulista come back today replacing Lato and Comert. Cavani is still training and not involved yet.

4 min: And Valencia are behind already. We tried to shepherd the ball out for a goal kick but got dispossessed, we gave away a soft foul in a dangerous position and poor defending meant they scored.

10 min: we've struggled with Rayos' press and have given the ball away too cheaply leading to them having the better chances.

14 min: shambles at the back. We lose the ball easily in midfield, Trejo totally owns Paulista with a turn and has the whole goal to aim at. Mamardashvili parries, Rayo have the chance again but Thierry blocks on the line. So nearly 2 down.

17 min: Alvaro Garcia accelerates, beats Thierry and Paulista (who's had a terrible game so far) but his centre is cut out by Diakhaby.

18 min: Musah gives it away with a sloppy pass in midfield, they're in again all too easy, and Mamardashvili has to put it behind for a corner.

25 min: Valencia have a rare spell of possession, but for the second time, Gaya overhits his cross which sails out for a goal kick.

28 min: cooling break and Valencia need to work something out. Midfield non-existent, getting totally overrun, mentally slow and getting easily dispossessed and rarely able to break out of our first third.

32 min: no change. Rayo still have us pinned back. They get their 5th corner (we've had none) and Mamardashvili punches away.

34 min: the ball bounces over Paulista and Rayo are in. Thierry body charges the Rayo player over in the box. Correctly not a penalty though I've seen ones like that given.

36 min: Valencia's first corner, but Nico flicks well over.

37 min: Valencia move it about well, but yet again Gaya messes up with his cross. They've been awful today.

39 min: Lino needs to learn to pass the ball. He gets it in a good position but dribbles into trouble. Needs to be more of a team player.

40 min another good chance for Rayo. Dangerous free kick and they head just over.

42 min: Castillejo fouled. I nearly forgot he was playing as, like Duro, he's barely had a touch

45 min: better! Valencia's corner is pushed out, we keep possession, Nico's shot is well charged down. It falls to Duro who volleys over though it was probably offside.

HALFTIME: We're lucky to be only one down. There were few positives there with Mamardashvili and Diakhaby saving a couple of dangerous attacks. It's hard to believe we've had 56% possession as they've dominated us.

46: Lino loses it but Thierry is strong to cover.

47: Valencia with the best chance yet, good work by Castillejo in taking out 2 defenders, Musah's cutback gives Nico the whole goal to shoot at but he puts it over.

51: Terrible. Trejo gets past 3 of our players. Nico brings him down. We give away an unnecessary corner and with no danger, Nico slices it into his own net. Why isn't Almeida on instead? 0-2

54: Heart in mouth as Paulista gets owned yet again. Camello with a good chance blocked. We get the corner clear but after the ball spins across our area, luckily no Rayo player there to get a touch but they're pushing for a third.

57 Thierry is brought down in a dangerous position. Commentator thinks we'll be missing Soler. Why? He never hit a useful free kick that I remember. Gaya hits it and at least gets it on target but it's easy for the keeper. Marcos Andre has come on for Nico.

61: Valencia have a couple of corners without creating anything. Lino, as usual, dawdles on the ball, tries to dribble a bit and loses it, there's a dangerous counter on which Mamardashvili has to come way out to clear. Someone with the initials GG needs to have a word with Lino.

64: Good free kick put in which Paulista heads just over. Kluivert and Lato on for Duro and Gaya.

70: We move it up the field well, but Lato overhits his cross with Andre waiting in the centre.

72: Cooling break. It looks like we've switched to a 4-4-2 with Kluivert and Andre up front but nothing much happening. Rayo at least have run out of steam a bit but they should be ok with a 2-goal lead.

76: good interception and pass from Diakhaby finding Andre but a poor first touch lets him down and the danger passes.

78: Mamardashvili saves us again, that's Rayo's 6th shot on target, we've had 1. Almeida on for Guillamon.

82: A good run from Lino but again, instead of centring it, he selfishly takes a shot which the keeper easily covers.

92: DIAKHABY! A good few minutes from Valencia. Almeida centres from a free kick and Diakhaby knocks it in at the back post. Too little, too late.

FULL TIME.
A poor and really flat performance after the high of last week. The team showed their inexperience against a high press in the first half and got overrun. Really a 1-goal loss flatters us. Rayo hadn't won at home in 9 months but beat us so easily. The questions being asked before the previous game return.

PLAYER RATINGS
Mamardashvili 6: saved us on a couple of occasions. Without him it would have been more.
Thierry 4: mostly covered his side well, but also lost possession in some dangerous areas.
Paulista 1: awful return to the side, constantly out of position and failed when needed, hard to believe that Comert looked better.
Diakhaby 5: best of the defence, cut out a number of dangerous balls and grabbed a consolation at the end.
Gaya 3: sluggish return and his crossing was abysmal in this game, ruining some promising chances.
Guillamon 4: overrun with the rest of the midfield, needed more presence this game.
Nico 0: poor in midfield, missed one of our best chances and scored their winner. Can it get any worse?
Musah 4: was full of energy but his passing was off and never got a chance to link up in any meaningful way
Castillejo 3: had a couple of good link ups at the end after an invisible first half.
Lino 3: has ability and is a good dribbler but way too selfish. PASS THE BALL!
Duro 3: forgettable day, though he was starved of any service.

Andre 4: more lively than Duro and posed more of a threat but the final touch wasn't there.
Lato 4: an improvement on Gaya, especially in the passing sense.
Kluivert 4: limited time generated some moments of danger and forced a save from the keeper
Almeida 5: limited time but performed well in the brief period he was on and got a good assist.




Sunday, April 3, 2022

Valencia CF vs Cadiz CF Match Preview


After a short break due to international football, club football returns to action this weekend. Valencia CF will be hosting Cadiz CF at home at the Mestalla in the hopes of securing another win and furthering its position on the table with the slight hope and possibility of maybe reaching a position that will lead them to European football next season.

Of course Cadiz CF might have something to say about that and will be looking for a win themselves against a weak and unpredictable Valencia CF and escape the relegation grip even if only temporarily. Cadiz CF are 17th on the table with 27 points, just one more than RCD Mallorca who are in the relegation zone along with Levante and Deportivo Alaves. They've only scored 25 goals, yet have conceded 41 goals which is in line with what Valencia CF have conceded this season. 

Valencia CF on the other hand are currently sitting at 9th place on the table with 42 goals scored and 43 goals conceded which is one of the highest conceded goals in the league and way more than the top 10 teams currently on the table. Only four teams have conceded more goals than Valencia CF this season and all four are in a relegation battle at the bottom of the table. 

Good thing is that since the return of Gabriel Paulista the defense has been rejuvenated a little bit and Valencia CF has been conceding a lot less goals with several matches resulting in clean sheets. Hopefully this trend will continue till the end of this season and we can hopefully move few position up the table. Of course our midfield is still completely broken and our attack relies on individual brilliances for goals, but somehow we are scoring goals this season. 

Jose Bordalas has had great success with an updated 3-5-2 formation or a 5-3-2 essentially when in defense with three central defenders securing the back and two more wide defenders in midfield to further help in defense when needed. Interestingly this formation was used last season by Voro when he took over the temporary coach role and he also had great success with it.  Essentially a very defensive formation overall designed to soak attacks and then be able to quickly do counter attacks through the wings and try and score goals that way. 

I expect pretty much the same team from previous matches with Giorgi on goal, Paulista, Alderete and Diakhaby in defense with Foulquier and the returning Gaya on the wings, Soler, Hugo and Gil in midfield and then the attacking duo of Guedes and Hugo Duro. Some of the variations he can and has used are Musah, Racic and Maxi Gomez. 

Saturday, March 19, 2022

Elche CF vs Valencia CF Match Preview


Elche CF are hosting Valencia CF at the Martinez Valero stadium later today in a clash between the midtable combatants and have a chance to jump several positions if they manage to beat Valencia CF. Valencia CF on the other hand sit at 37 points and even a win wouldn't budge them off of the 9th position at the table. Even reaching 8th place would a challenge and everyone from 7th and higher is too many points ahead of us at this point. 

So we know where Valencia CF is going to place this season, its going to be between 8th or 14th place, I'm hoping a victory today would push us towards the upper half of the table, but unfortunately this is our reality as of right now. We have great individual players like Soler, Gaya, Guedes, Paulista who I'm sure will thrive in any other team, but they just aren't leading this team to better results and the rest are all looking to make an individual name for themselves as well to hopefully play at a bigger club. 

I know I've been quite negative on the team this season, more so than the few previous ones, but in the past I just blamed Peter Lim and the management, now I also put a decent amount of the blame on the team as well. I think the coach, the players are also to blame for our results. Bad management is ultimately the key issue, but the team has to look past that and do their thing, play and win games. 

Looking at Elche CF they are of similar quality to Valencia CF, they play various type of football depending on who their opponents are, they have a rather leaky defense, but not the worst in the league, they are only average in terms of goals scored and they have about 50% overall possession rate. So basically average stats, not good, not terrible either and its going to be interesting to see if Valencia CF is going to be able to bring the game to them or will we still defend and only attack on the counter like most of our matches? 

In terms of lineup I expect to see the strongest squad selected, with Guedes and Hugo Duro in attack, Bryal Gil a bit further back behind them, a midfield of 3 with Soler, Racic and Foulquier and a 5 man defense with the wide players acting as wingers when we attack, which is likely to be rarely! 

Jose Luis Gaya, Lato, Thierry Correia and Jasper Cillessen are still out, though the last two should be available next week if everything goes well.