Showing posts with label opinion. Show all posts
Showing posts with label opinion. Show all posts

Sunday, May 28, 2023

The final day permutations, almost safe, but...!

 Valencia nearly screwed it up against Espanyol. Despite dominating the first half hour, Valencia as usual were unable to put away good chances and the game went like so many others this season. Eventually, the other team got some half chances and scored.

The English commentator reckoned we were safe. By my calculation we're not. We survive next week in any of the following situations:

1 we get a point
2 Cadiz don't LOSE (away to Elche, there's a very unlikely scenario where Cadiz could still relegate)
3 Valladolid don't win (they are at home to Getafe, who are not safe)
4 Almeria lose (they are away to already relegated Espanyol)
5 Celta don't win (they're at home to Barcelona.)

If we lose and Valladolid win, then there's the possibility of a messy tie on 41 points, which is broken by head-to-head points, then head-to-head goal difference between *ALL* the teams in question. The all is important since, although we win a head-to-head against Getafe, the inclusion of other teams could screw us up.

Here are all the possible head-to-heads involving us and Getafe:

Almeria 16, Cadiz 13, Valencia 10, Getafe 9, Celta 5

Cadiz 11, Valencia 9, Getafe 9, Celta 4
Almeria 14, Valencia 10, Getafe 7, Celta 2
Almeria 12, Cadiz 10, Getafe 5, Valencia 4***

Almeria 10, Valencia 4, Getafe 3
Valencia 9, Getafe 7, Celta 1
Cadiz 8, Getafe 5, Valencia 3***

Valencia 3-3 Getafe (Valencia wins 5-2 on head-to-head goals scored.)

Only the ones with the asterixes relegate us. Oddly, since both of them involve Cadiz, that means we need Cadiz to get a draw or win at Elche. If Cadiz get at least a point, we're guaranteed safety.

It's really frustrating that we have spent so many months surviving not through our own efforts, but more hoping that other teams will be worse than us and throwing away points in crunch games against virtually every relegation rival. (Celta the only exception since the world cup!) 

So while it's 99% sure we'll survive this season, the prospects for next do not look so good. Mamardashvili has saved us on a number of occasions this season, the mistake tonight aside. With our own attacking players so often toothless, we've relied on the goals of Lino and Kluivert to dig us out of trouble. The continuity of all those 3 at Mestalla is in serious doubt. Losing Guedes and Soler last summer removed our 2 biggest threats and although Almeida looks a solid prospect, he's a season away from fully filling Soler's boots. Apart from him, Gaya, Mamardashvili, Kluivert, Lino and some of the promising canteranos, there are very few guys in this squad I'd shed tears over if they left.

Sadly, I expect another relegation struggle next season even if we do survive on the last day.

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Valencia are safe, but have a bigger problem to fix

I decided to wait a few days before writing this blogpost until the situation settled a little bit. Firstly, let’s deal with the elephant in the room. This week should have been a joyous one for Valencia. A first win over Real Madrid in front of our own fans since 2019 (we, of course, beat them due to the Soler penalty hat-trick during Covid.) But not only that: a win which effectively guarantees Valencia’s place in the top flight, which looked seriously under threat.

Of course, what should have been a great week is now one of the worst for our club and the city in ages. The racist idiocy of a few fools has dragged the name of the club and city and fanbase through the mud and tarnished the result. I’ve seen quite a few of our fans giving the other side of the coin: certain players aren’t punished for provocation due to the club they play for, Valencia are being treated harshly compared to other clubs etc etc. Those views have merit but there is a time and place for such discussions and NOW IS NOT THE TIME. Our focus should be on one thing and one thing only: any racist in our fanbase, in our stadium or near our stadium is one racist too many. It doesn’t matter what provocations, true or not, happen. Abusing any player on the grounds of race, nationality, religion, sexuality etc is 100% unacceptable. It is wrong. Full stop.

Now, as far as what’s been done, that only goes part of the way. There should a zero tolerance policy to it. It shouldn’t have to get to the point where protocols are enacted and games paused. Ground security should immediately eject any offenders and they should be banned. A tough example would cut this out.

“But it was only a handful of people in the stadium! Our fans are no worse than others” I’ve been in Mestalla enough times to know this is true, but there were a group outside the stadium chanting racist slogans. Those people are banned, rightly from the stadium, but they’re still allowed to crawl around outside, engaging in abuse which sometimes veers into bigotry and damaging our reputation. It’s on the police to deal with them, so Valencia need to liaise with local authorities and tell them in no uncertain terms that their payment for policing also includes keeping these fools from gathering and arresting them if they do gather and break into racist chants. Do these clowns not see that we have Diakhaby, that we have Musah, that we have Thierry, that we have Kluivert and Moriba etc?

Finally, our fans in and around the stadium need to make it clear through banners and counter protests, that these Yomus groups are not welcome. We can easily criticise wider authorities for not doing enough to deal with the problem but we should set a proactive example.

Let’s move on to the positive that we would have been talking about if all that hadn’t happened. Valencia are now effectively safe. I’ve been looking at the table and the remaining games and I believe that even if we lost the 3 remaining games we’d still stay up as it would take a very unlikely combination of results to relegate us.

As things stand, we are ahead of Celta, Cadiz, Almeria, Valladolid, Getafe and Espanyol and 2 of those 7, including us, could go down.

If level on points, we have the better head-to-head against Celta and Getafe and effectively Valladolid due to goal difference. We drew with Espanyol earlier in the season so the head-to-head depends on that. Cadiz and Almeria will finish above us if we’re level on points.

Let’s take the worst case scenario. We lose all 3 remaining games. The other teams then get perfect results, all winning, against teams not in the relegation fight. So the teams in capital letters win

Villarreal – CADIZ
Elche – CADIZ
Betis – GETAFE
CELTA – Barcelona
ESPANYOL – Atletico Madrid

Just to start with, I think all those results happening are very, very unlikely, but if anyone disagrees, I’m sure there’s a bookmaker who’ll happily give you good odds. (You’ll lose your money.)

However, that situation would leave La Liga as:

Cadiz 44
Celta 43
Getafe 41
Espanyol 40
Valencia 40
Almeria 39
Valladolid 38
(bottom two go down)

So that’s the situation if we lose and all other teams get perfect results. We’d still not be in a relegation position. There would be remaining games not included above:

Cadiz vs Celta,
Almeria vs Valladolid,
Espanyol vs Almeria,
Valladolid vs Getafe

Almeria-Valladolid would be key.
If there was a draw or Almeria won Valladolid would need to beat Getafe on the last day.
If Valladolid won, Almeria would need to win away at Espanyol on the last day.
In both those cases, Getafe and Espanyol would also be fighting for survival, so wouldn’t lose easily.

So I think even on 40 points and no more wins, we’re safe.

Staying up when confirmed leads us into the familiar discussions of the manager and transfer window, usually disappointing though they are. Baraja has stepped up to the plate and delivered the safety he was hired for. Should he stay on? I’m on the fence. I certainly think we can do better but there’s the problem of who would come to Valencia now with all the instability (and this week’s controversy doesn’t help either.) On the other hand, he’s shaken things up, given the academy players a chance and they’ve delivered. It would also look bad to reward him for saving us by firing him.

Let’s hope for a win at Mallorca to end this nasty week on a more positive note.

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Valencia appoint Rubén Baraja

Valencia have announced that Rubén Baraja has taken over as manager. He has a contract until  the end of the season, with no option to extend, even if he does well. Yet again, we've had 3 people in charge in a month and he's the 10th permanent manager, not counting Voro, in 9 and a half years of Meriton mismanagement.

Not for the first time, Meriton seem to be making it up as they go along. The idea was that Voro would take over till the end of the season. However, he failed to produce a spark in results and so the panic button was pressed once more.

Unlike some of the obscure choices foisted on us from Singapore, Baraja, of course, needs no introduction. His status as a club legend as a player is assured. He was the top scorer, albeit with a mere 7 goals, when we won the league in 2002. The problem comes when you look at his managerial career. Underwhelming is not the word. Poor is.

He's failed to last even a year in his 5 permanent jobs. In two of them, he lasted just 3 months. Is he the man to bring about a reversal in fortunes? It's hard to have confidence he will. Overall, as well, the experiment of having club legends manage us has usually gone badly rather than well this century. Only Quique Sanchez Flores had any reasonable level of results. Pellegrino and Dukic failed. The spell of Pizzi (hardly a club legend anyway) is probably better remembered by fans than it was. He did get us to a European semi-final, but league results were poor. 

Where Baraja may help is in motivating a mentally fragile squad as someone who has "walked the walk" at Mestalla. He also has credit in the bank with fans, meaning he'll be given more time. Indeed, some would say his appointment is a cynical effort by Meriton to quieten fans. Really at this point, even if Lim appointed Guardiola and signed Haaland and Mbappe, the relationship with fans is irreparably damaged. 

Sad to say, my hopes are low and my confidence is shattered. The Almeria game was the last one I watched and I'm sorry to admit that I haven't regretted skipping the games, for the sake of my nerves. Even if Baraja somehow manages to save this season, we're looking at a placing of 15th or below. The rot and the decline is clear and we all know why. In the very best case scenario that I see, we escape relegation this season but sell players like Mamardashvili and Musah in the summer, replace them with loan players from Barcelona or Atletico Madrid's b-teams and then get relegated next season instead. Fans who naively hope that may improve things will be disappointed. Relegation will make a poor financial situation much worse, as the cases of Malaga, Zaragoza and Depor show. It would not remotely surprise me to see Lim hang on after relegation and even in the miraculous event he sells, there are plenty more "Lims" out there. We are screwed and I don't see a way out.

Monday, January 30, 2023

Gattuso sacked

 And so the Meriton managerial merry-go-round continues. Valencia announced earlier today that Gattuso has left the club "by mutual consent." 

This just sounds like a polite way of saying that he was fired. Since a win at Osasuna in early October, Valencia have played 14 games and won just 3. Two of those were against lower league opposition in the Copa, so don't really count. In the league the numbers were becoming awful: 1 win, 4 draws and 5 defeats. 

The squad planning has been poor with big gaps. The midfield has been increasingly weak and easily overrun. As the season has gone on, players who showed promise early in the season like Comert, Cenk, Guillamon, Almeida and Musah have all regressed. The coach has to shoulder responsibility for that.

Another issue is that the team has been mentally fragile. In no fewer than 5 games this season (Espanyol and Villarreal away; Elche, Mallorca and Almeria at home) Valencia led. The points tally from those games? 3. We lost 2 and drew 3. That's 12 points squandered as a result of poor game management, in games where we would mostly be expected to win in any case. 

The late goals conceded also point to that. 83rd minute against Espanyol and Mallorca, 86th against Sevilla, 88th against Villarreal, 90th against Valladolid, 93rd against Barcelona = 8 points thrown away. 

Gattuso and his style of play was broadly welcomed as a breath of fresh air after the stodgy, hard-to-watch, anti-football of the Bordalas era. Sadly, his inexperience showed in the end and he should have done much better with this group of players. In the end, only Ayestaran and Prandelli have had shorter stints in the Lim era, while Gattuso's percentage of games won sees him below even Gary Neville. Caveats about squad strength aside, the results were simply not good enough.

Of course, all of us will know the wider picture of Meriton chaos and mismanagement and it is they, not Gattuso, who have to take the lion's share of the blame for all this. Unfortunately, we are now in the all too familiar situation of hoping Voro can somehow conjure some magic to save us, but this is totally not sustainable.

Tuesday, August 30, 2022


 It's been a long time without updates as I've been on holiday or working. So here's a summary.


Cheryshev's contract finished at the end of last season. While he had some quality moments, his time here was too inconsistent and marred with injuries. He has yet to find a new club.

All 4 players who'd been on loan (Helder Costa, Moriba, Alderete and Bryan Gil) returned to their parent clubs. The first two were no surprise but with Valencia's frailities at the back, there were calls for us to exercise the 7 million buy option for Alderete. In the end he joined Getafe instead and will probably be back at the Mestalla next game. Bryan Gil continues to be linked with a loan return for a year.

Koba was loaned out to Oviedo. He's shown flashes of potential but needs extended game time and with new additions in our midfield he clearly isn't going to get that this season.

Jesper Cillessen was also moved out, returning to his native Netherlands. Like Cheryshev, his time was us saw him injured and unavailable far too often. With Mamardashvili showing good quality after a shaky start he was not needed. The swap with Neto, which seemed a good idea at the time ultimately turned out to be a disaster for all parties as Neto spent his time at Barcelona on the bench before joining Bournemouth on a free earlier this month. 

Easily the biggest loss of the window was Guedes. While this was expected, it was still frustrating as he had finally started to show consistent form and was constantly a goal threat. The fee was also a bit on the disappointing side at 33 - 35 million plus around 4 million more in add ons. The problem was that PSG were due to get 25% of any fee above 40 million so the clubs settled for below that. It seems at best a sideways move for him, as Wolves are struggling and highly unlikely to make Europe this year.

At the time of writing, Soler's future is up in the air. This is another tough one. The club are offering a 5-season renewal but the problem is that mentally, the player seems to have been elsewhere the last few years. His performances have been inconsistent. Again, the issue is a disappointingly low transfer fee being offered by PSG: 15-17 million. It puts Valencia in a tricky position because if he refuses to renew, then the club may just have to take the cash rather than lose him for free next summer. Plus, Valencia allegedly still owe PSG from the Guedes signing. Great things were expected from Soler when he made his breakthrough. He's been a solid player but not the game changing one we hoped for.

Maxi Gomez looks all but gone with only the fee with Fenerbahce to be negotiated. Marcos Andre also continues to be linked. Another disappointment and would also free up a non-EU spot. Manu Vallejo lastly seems surplus to requirements as no coach has trusted him to play him enough.

For once, Valencia did most of their business in good time rather than scrambling around in the last hour on 31 August.

Samu Castillejo was the first player to join on a free from Milan. He did well in pre-season but has looked iffy in recent games with his crosses often overhit.

Samuel Lino and Nico have joined us on season loans from Atletico Madrid and Barcelona. The second has only made late sub appearances so far so it's hard to say. Lino has shown flashes of quality but also has shown a greedy streak so the jury is out.

In defence, Cenk Ozkacar joined us on loan from Lyon. He's supposed to have potential but hasn't played yet and with the injuries to Paulista and Diakhaby and Comert error-prone it's a real surprise this position wasn't reinforced more seriously.

Valencia's only money spent on a transfer was 7.5 million on Andre Almeida from Vitoria in Portugal courtesy of his Portuguese agent whose name needs not be spoken. He's highly rated but again hasn't played yet so we have to wait and see if he can be Soler's heir in midfield.

Lastly, Valencia finally made a marquee signing with Edinson Cavani arriving on a free transfer to great expectation from fans. His scoring rate speaks for itself but there are questions of whether he can repeat it after a disappointing final season at Manchester United and also if he can avoid injuries as he will be 36 in February.

Valencia continues to be linked with another attacker with Braithwaite linked from Barcelona or a return of Bryan Gil. There have been various suggestions of a "surprise addition/return" with both Mata's and Otamendi's names mentioned. 

Valencia started with their customary 1-0 home win over a team that begins with G, beating Granada through a Soler penalty. A tight game at Bilbao followed with a disappointing 1-0 defeat. Last night Valencia put up a good showing against Atletico Madrid but unfortunately lost to a deflected goal after having a Musah wonder strike cancelled out. 

The positive that has to be said is that Valencia are playing much better football than we saw with BORE-dalas ball which had so many of us switching off last season. The team seem capable of stringing multiple passes together, maintaining possession and using a high press.

The negative lies in the following stats.
Against Granada we shared possession but aside from Soler's penalty we only had 1 shot on target the whole game.

At Bilbao we had 63% possession but managed no shots on target. Yep, ZERO!

Last night we went further, having 71% possession but only managing 2 shots on target, while for all their limited possession Atletico managed 7 on target.

So to sum up, 3 games, only 3 shots on target and no goals from open play. This is something that Gattuso urgently needs to fix. Our issue for several seasons has been producing little to nothing for our forwards to work with. It's partly why people like Gameiro and Maxi came and failed. The team needs to create something for Cavani or Duro to work with. As I said lots of times when the topic of replacing Marcelino with Setien came up, possession for its own sake is pointless, we need to create something.

I'll put at least a comment thread up for upcoming games. 


Monday, May 30, 2022

Official: Anil Murthy sacked

Valencia CF confirmed today that Anil Murthy will no longer serve as president of the club. The statement comes after the audio clips that were made public, from which the club is now distancing itself claiming that they do not reflect the opinions of anyone but himself.

Anil Murthy is a top contender for worst president of the club. He has made a habit of disrespecting fans and the club, shirking responsibility, and blaming everyone else for the misfortunes of the club. The sporting aspect of the club often took a backseat to the antics and mishaps brought about under his management. Of course, that's what he's been hired to do, otherwise why would Lim keep him for this long? The club has replaced coaches left and right, yet the president has stayed despite his shortcomings and failures. In the end, it took some leaks to get rid of him, not the consecutive years of poor performance, or the disrespect, or that coaches and players alike had disputes with him. That in itself says something.

Better late than never, yes, but if his behavior was condoned by the owner for this long, the root of the problem still remains. The club is currently in search of a replacement and you can't help but fear that it will be more of the same. Ever since Lim took over, the club has been falling into the same mistakes over and over, with little learned. Why would this be any different?

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Time to go back to basics!

Valencia's disastrous loss against Real Betis has rung the alarm bells as the team has played 7 matches without a win. It all started with a string of injuries to our key players, Soler, Gaya, Correia, Cheryshev, all injured for an extended period of time and unfortunately we could not properly replace them as none of the options proved capable! 

The team has been slowly getting back together, but its clear that we lack team cohesion and team work. Real Betis really showed us how the game is meant to be played and that is with team work and coordination, something which Valencia CF woefully lack! Jose Bordalas needs to go back to basics and start from scratch! The team needs to gel together, to form cohesion, to learn each other's movements and anticipate where players are going to play!

We need serious tactical training, in fact I think the team needs to just play as many short matches as possible, each player has to learn where the others are going to be at any given point and anticipate how others are going to play! When Valencia CF plays it all feels disjointed, it all feels disorganized and we seem to be relying too much on individual skill and luck to get us through games! 

Pepe Bordalas has his work cut out for him, luckily we have an easier match on October 30th against Villarreal CF and a chance to steer the ship at the proper course! We've faced Villarreal CF already in the preseason and we won 3-2 against them, they are also not doing much better than us. 

Once again Jose Bordalas has to start to build the team from the ground up, focus on gameplay, focus on cohesion, focus on ball control. Yeah the players can be physically ready to play for say 120 minutes, but it doesn't help if they just get outplayed! We also need a playmaker, I mean after Baraja we fortunately had Aimar for a while, then we had Banega, but since then we've not had a real playmaker. Parejo has served that role on most occasions, but he was not a real play maker, we need someone with vision in the center midfield to organize the play, to carry the ball forward with confidence. We need a Baraja basically! Soler is a work horse, he is a busy body, he does a lot of stuff, but he is not a play maker. Daniel Wass kind of has the same defensive role as Hugo, but I think the overlap might be a bit too big for both of them to play in the same team, especially when its not bearing any fruit! 

In fact I think Guedes is probably our biggest play maker as he is the only one who can realistically carry the ball forward and who often needs to come back to get the ball so an attack can happen! I think Bordalas needs to think about ditching one of Wass or Hugo, they are both defensive midfielders and where are the results? Maybe try Foulqier in central midfield, maybe Helder Costa, idk figure out who has the chops to be a play maker and try it out. 

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

The transfer window closes: Helder Costa signed on loan

 So the transfer window closed a few minutes ago. Multiple sources saying we've added Helder Costa, and that's only waiting official confirmation.

From senior players, we lost Gameiro, KangIn, Sobrino and Mangala. Of those KangIn leaving for free is the only one that stings. Mangala was far too injury prone for anyone to care. Gameiro played a key role in the run to win the Copa but was otherwise a disappointing signing. Sobrino, apart from a fantastic debut against Celtic was just taking up a squad place. The club also made efforts to move out Jason, but could not find a taker. 

From more junior players, defenders Javi Jimenez and Guillem Molina left to join third level Albacete and Sabadell respectively. Both had a similar history at Valencia: a disastrous debut in the Copa (Jimenez got owned by Iago Aspas and gave away a penalty, Molina was sent off) and little game time after. It's unlikely they'd have played much of a role with us. 

Everyone who left did so on a free transfer, it must be decades since we got absolutely no money in the transfer window?

Of course, like the dog in the night in the Sherlock Holmes story what is probably important is not what happened, but what didn't happen. The club went into the transfer window looking to move out Diakhaby, Cheryshev and Guedes, being open to offers for Maxi and with Wass also pushing for an exit. There will be disappointment that we couldn't move out Diakhaby for Djene but the others are very good news. Cheryshev has started the season well and Wass is an experienced utility player who never gets injured. 

The best news is Guedes. This year we've seen him in excellent form. In the last 16 games he's been involved in at least 12 goals: scoring 5 with 7 assists, and those don't even count the goal scored by Wass last game where Guedes was key in the build-up.

In total Valencia has added 6 players, four on loan with buy options. Mamardashvili was only supposed to play for the reserves but impressed enough that he was given a chance due to injuries and he's taken it with both gloves. Alderete already looks like a vast improvement on Mangala. 

The others are unknown as yet but include Foulquier who is a right back capable of covering right wing or left back, Marcos Andre a forward. Hugo Duro, another forward who can play on the wings, and finally Helder Costa. I saw Costa at Wolves. He did really well at the second level but struggled to make an impact in the top flight. He's mainly a right winger but can also cover left wing. In the end the squad looks something like this:

While there are some disappointments, like not getting Arambarri, I think it's been a very good transfer window, keeping key players like Wass and especially Guedes and adding more depth. Let's hope that this squad can push for Europe.

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Jose Bordalas is a step up over Javi Gracia

Jose Bordalas wasn't my first choice, but I think out of the pool that Valencia CF was realistically looking at he was probably the best choice. He is experienced Spanish coach who's experience is exclusively in Spain and while Javi Gracia is also an experienced coach, he did not have the same drive and ambition. Javi Gracia was the typical mid table coach that you hire to maintain your position if you are scared of doing worse. 

Jose Bordalas on the other hand is much more ambitious and is always looking to improve his team and himself, he is constantly pushing his players and himself to do better and that is very important in a coach. He's shown with Getafe CF that he can take a weak team and significantly improve them over time, instill new tactics and instill a fighting mentality in his players. I think what Javi Gracia lacked the most was instilling drive and fighting mentality in the players, I saw it every time Valencia CF was defending, all of our players were marking the opposition players very loosely, giving them so much space and time to work with. There was no urgency in our play, even when we were relegation threatened there was no urgency in the play at all and it showed in the results. 

Monday, May 24, 2021

Valencia CF next coach

Rafa Benitez to coach Valencia CF again?
The most important decision in the following weeks is what coach to appoint to lead Valencia CF. We know it can't be a relatively new coach, we've tried that many times even before the Lim era and it hasn't worked. We've done it with former Valencia CF players like Pellegrino, Djukic, we've done it with British stars like Gary Neville, we've done it a lot of times and in the past decade its never worked. You could say it worked with Benitez, but that was 2 decades ago and when he came to Valencia CF he was coaching a first division club. So he wasn't really that new and again that was over a decade ago, these days it would be harder to succeed for an inexperienced coach as he has to develop new younger players and improve the team he has, Benitez when he arrived had a solid team that just needed the right method to make it work.

Coincidently though Rafael Benitez is free and his last few stints haven't been a great success, his Real Madrid stint was a failure, he then went to New Castle and failed to rescue them from relegation, but did bring them to the premier league the next season before being sacked, and ultimately he went to China for a big money deal, but he had no offers from any big European clubs. 

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Fire Anil Murthy, bring Manual Llorente

Valencia CF should bring Manuel Llorente back

Manuel Llorente former Valencia CF president
Valencia CF should fire its president Anil Murthy and try to bring in Manuel Llorente as president of the club. Remember that Valencia CF had some of its best years under Manuel Llorente, he fixed some of the economic mess left from before, sure he had to sell players, but never on a whim, never for less than their value, he always oversold and put some of the money into economic recovery and the other into bringing in adequate replacements. 

He also started the process of selling Valencia CF and brought in a ton of investors in his time, he didn't finish the process, but was instrumental in it and positioning Valencia CF good enough financially and sporting wise to be sold for a solid amount. 

I think he was the best Valencia CF president in recent history, and really helped Valencia CF back when it was the most difficult, crushing debts looming, players whos contract are close to running out, falling apart New Mestalla with no plan to ever finish it, etc... 

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Peter Lim inadequate leadership strikes again

Peter Lim - Valencia CF
Javi Gracia was a defeated man as early as his arrival, he was promised several reinforcements, but all he got was a mass giveaway of established and core players. It wasn't even a sellout, few players actually got sold for decent sums, most of them were literally given away or released from their contracts, Valencia CF barely got any money out of big exodus. 

So as soon as Javi Gracia arrived, as soon as Meriton's promises were broken. In fact he did come out at the start of the season to talk about the lack of signings and that he was informed there would be signings to cover for some of the players that left, but there weren't any. He downplayed it all and talked about how great some of the younger players are, how the team can build a team from scratch with youth players, but he was clearly downplaying the severity of the situation and trying to appease his new employer.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Valencia CF shouldn't sell its best and most senior players

Valencia CF wallpaper
Warning: Long wall of text!

There is a lot of talk these days and pretty much every season toward the end of it about selling players and rebuilding the squad and this and that, but while selling players way past their prime or just flops is perfectly fine and should be done, in fact its probably a necessity, Valencia CF should not sell its best and most senior players.

I see articles and comments on various sites how people wouldn't mind Valencia selling Jose Luis Gaya or Carlos Soler or Goncalo Guedes, etc... after all these players will bring the most amount of money, with one sale Valencia CF can balance the books and have a little bit left over for 1 replacement, but if we want sporting success, if we want Valencia CF to be competitive again we should not sell our best and most senior players! Players like Soler, Gaya, Guedes, Paulista, Jaume, etc... should not be sold at any circumstances. 

I understand people can become frustrated with some of the players poorer performances and are willing to sell those players momentarily, but just as we are seeing with Guedes now, he can be extremely valuable if played at the right position and with the right tactics. Allow him roaming freedom and play him as a forward and he excels in that position. We see how big of a difference just a position change can make, so if Gaya or Soler has poor form or even a bad season, we've seen these players perform very good, if they are underperforming the solution isn't to sell them, its to build a team around them, its to fit the formation and tactics TO the players, not the other way around! 

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Diakhaby shouldn't play anymore

I couldn't watch the match against Osasuna as I was working second shift, but I watched the highlights, looked at the stats, the match reports and our comment section and its the same old story, the same issues week after week since the start of this season. Last season if you remember Valencia CF sacked Albert Celades essentially with 6 games to go, though quite a bit later as there was a big pause due to Covid19, but essentially in a normal season it would have been around this time he would have been sacked and Valencia CF was actually eight place when he was sacked. Valencia CF now is at 14th place, let that sink in, we are 14th place right now, when we were 8th place last season and Celades was sacked due to poor results! 

Javi Gracia has not only not improved the team, but he has regressed it and even though some players keep on making the same mistakes game after game and keep causing the same issues, he neither changes the players, nor the system to better protect them and cover for the weaker players! 

How many big mistakes should Diakhaby make in order to lose his starting spot in this team? I can count at least 6 big mistakes in each of the last 6 matches he's played, in each match he essentially makes at least one big mistake, not to mention all the smaller mistakes he keep on making that thankfully get dealt with or don't result in goals! 

Monday, April 19, 2021

Super league will destroy football

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Valencia Mestalla in shambles

Miss this guy yet?
You thought Valencia CF has issues, think again! Valencia Mestalla or Valencia's B team is doing terribly, so much so that the team is last position in segunda B relegation group, after being last in their previous group. There is 4 if I may call them "divisions" above the one VCF Mestalla is playing right now, so its not like they were just too highly positioned and are now going back to their real level, no the division the team is right now is quite low, there is still a bit lower than that, but at those levels its teams C level or lower teams playing.

Peter Lim and Anil Murthy love to mention the word "youth", but how can Valencia CF draw from its youth pool, when these players are so bad they can't even sustain in second division group 3 or whatever. This is just another example of the bad management under Peter Lim, there is literally no long term planning, no long term stability, no real management and staff that have a clue how to run a club. Its all makeshift, put duck tape on it and leave it be like that. 

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Fans must return to the stadiums

Its now been year and a half since Covid19 and for most of that time stadiums have been empty. This has caused major financial troubles especially for the smaller clubs, the big clubs like Manchester City or Bayern Munich or Real Madrid have major sponsors and gigantic fanbases, over 80% of their income is other than ticket sales, but smaller clubs rely very much on their ticket sales, in fact for some clubs ticket sales account for about 50% of their income, so being without audiences for year and a half and as it seems likely even two years, governments and football associations must begin to think about opening up and allowing people back into the stadiums, before a permanent financial damage is done and clubs start going bankrupt left and right.

Whether it starts with stadiums only being able to be half full, whether masks are required to attend the games, whatever the case might be, stadiums need to start opening up. You can not have empty stadiums forever, you can not have no fans in matches forever, its unrealistic and dangerous. The fact that governments haven't even thought about the possibility of returning fans is mind blowing, especially as we are closing in on two years of complete shutdown of stadiums, not just in football, but in all other sports. Major financial damage is being done and can't be undone, can't be fixed, can't be reversed, you have clubs like ours who were already in a bad financial situation and not being able to generate revenue through tickets is really destroying Valencia CF. 

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Valencia CF needs to find a winning path

The focus since the Cadiz match has been on racism and rightly so, the relevant institutions need to deal with that, setup protocols and of course lay out punishments if there is evidence. With that said the team should be 100% focused on getting better and winning. We can't lose focus and engage in racism hunting and all of a sudden Valencia CF is going to magically end racism, no, the club as an institution can work on that, but our players, our sporting staff should be 100% focused on getting better. Valencia CF has not strung more than 1 win this whole season, its one of the worse seasons in terms of being able to win and our away form this season has been the worst in all of Valencia's history! 

Monday, March 29, 2021

Valencia CF needs to secure our top players

Valencia CF is not in a position to make any purchases, not unless it sells players in excess of 40 million euros and lowers the wage bill significantly, and then able to bring in few cheap replacements, otherwise Valencia CF can not pay even a penny out of its pocket to acquire a new player. With that said we need to keep the key players we currently have for the long haul.

I'm talking about players like Soler, Gaya, Paulista, Kang-In, Correia, and yes controversially Guedes as well, because I still believe he is an asset and can be more consistently better if the coach utilizes him better and in better positions.

We can not afford to lose any of the players above, that would be devastating for the club and would probably put Valencia CF right into relegation territory. We've had so much reports about princes and investment funds and whatnot buying Valencia CF, but regardless of who the owner is the club needs to secure these players contracts. 

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Can Javi Gracia turn things around?

We all know why Valencia CF is in its current position and how and why we got here, I've written about it and so have other people and websites, but that doesn't mean we can excuse everything the coach does. Yes, we have a weaker squad than last season, yes we didn't get any reinforcements, yes the mid season reinforcements weren't even on people's last places on their lists, but our week to week results still have to be looked at and analyzed on their own merit. 

I feel for Javi Gracia, he was chosen in a really bad situation and hasn't gotten any signings that he was promised, so he was lied to from the start. With all of that our of the way he still bears some responsibility for the results we are getting. So the question is can Valencia CF coach Javi Gracia turn things around or is it time to 'think' about a new coach? Is it time to 'think'(not act) about a new coach?