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

Saturday, September 2, 2017

The transfer window closes; Guedes and Pereira join

The Summer transfer window has been a scary occasion for Valencia fans for at least a decade. The club's financial problems, which started in the mid-2000s and have still resulted in the club being one of the five football clubs in the world with the most debt, have meant that Valencia has constantly had to sell off its best players, usually weakening the squad as a result. Silva, Villa, Mata, Alba, Bernat, Soldado... the list goes on. Hopes that Lim's takeover would stop this were dashed when Otamendi was sold, with last year's transfer window being especially traumatic, with the club losing Andre Gomes, Mustafi and Alcacer and the replacements being Munir, Mario Suarez and Mangala. All of them, with the possible exception of the latter, flopped.

This year looked to be going the same way. By mid-August the club had only swapped goalkeepers, replacing Alves and Ryan with Neto, with Maksimovich, who had agreed to join the club 6 months earlier, the only additions. In early August, the central defensive situation looked really scary, with Garay tipped to go and no replacements lined up.

What a difference since then. Garay stays, despite late interest from Benfica. The club added Gabriel from Arsenal for 11m with Murillo joining an loan with a compulsory buy of 12m, though the club has until 2019 to find that money. With Garay, Murillo and Gabriel as main choices, and Vezo and Jimenez as back ups, the central defence looks well sorted.

In midfield, the club added Kondogbia, a loan with a buy option of 25m with the late arrivals of Guedes and Pereira completing the picture. Both join on loan without options to buy.

All in all, unlike last year, the club largely succeeded in clearing out unwanted players and strengthening in key positions. Negredo, Alves and Enzo, all high wage earners, were sold. While we can all complain that they left for peanuts and below market value (see also Piatti), their departure did allow the club a fresh start to rejuvenate the squad. Vincius Araujo's contract was simply terminated. He joins Zaragoza. He always seemed a panic buy and there was close on zero chance of him ever being a useful squad member. Other exits were Santos, Abdennour, Nani, Bakkali, Medran and Cancelo, who all left on loan. The first two were definitely surplus to requirements. Bakkali was a fan favourite, but one who, like DePaul, never seemed to gel with the team. Cancelo had his fans, but his sale was long expected to raise funds, so there was none of the shock factor that happened last year with Alcacer's sale. Medran is one of the exits who will be missed most, but the player himself was pushing for more playing time and so, like Ryan, was shown the door.

The only remaining player that the club hoped to sell or loan but couldn't is Orellana, who stays with the club. Another negative from the window is failing to land a forward. The club was linked with Vietto, who stays with Atletico, Lucas Perez, who returned to Depor and, at the last minute, Gremio striker Luan Viera, who the Brazilian club decided not to sell in the end.

Overall, in relative terms, this is one of Valencia's best transfer windows in years. The club cleared out most of the dead wood, kept key players and strengthened in key positions like central defence and central midfield. Best of all, the transfers look sustainable. Kondogbia will cost 25m if we buy him, but that's up to us and we can evaluate the player for a season without taking a risk. None of the others will break the bank. Compare that to the summer of 2014, when Lim's reckless spending on Mendes clients handicapped us for the next few years. Lessons do seem to have been learnt. The failure to land an extra forward is disappointing and means that we have to make do with Zaza and Rodrigo, with Mina as back up and Guedes possibly covering there. I suppose we can revisit in the winter window if that doesn't work.

Are you happy with the transfer window? Let us know in the comments section.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Negredo joins Besiktas

So, as officially confirmed, Negredo's time at Valencia has come to an end. The player joins Besiktas, with his arrival celebrated by a truly awful video. The fee is said to be around €2.5 million. So Valencia paid 28m for a player worth less than 20, then sells him for less than a tenth of that and about a third of his value. There are many bad examples of poor transfer dealing in the Lim era, but this one has to be the pits.

Negredo joined Valencia back in 2014, sitting out the early months due to an injury. When he did play he was far from the standard that Valencia wanted. He did score some important goals, including a crucial goal to book Valencia's place in the champions league group stage and a goal from the halfway line vs Rayo but all those were overshadowed by him missing sitters, such as the one in the 81st minute vs Real Madrid which would have locked up three points and overall, was nowhere near justifying even half of his fee. Nuno clearly grew to dislike the player and ostracised him and DePaul in his last season. When he did come back, experiments at playing him with Alcacer didn't work and the latter tended to be preferred. Last summer, he was high on Valencia's list of players that they wanted to sell but with no takers, VCF had to settle for a loan to Middlesbrough, with a buy option. With Boro relegated, that buy option wasn't exercised and the club was saddled with him again. While the transfer fee is pitiful, it does free up a significant financial fair play margin, indeed, at the end of last season, Negredo made up an eighth (!) of the team's FFP budget.

With him removed, the club does have space to bring in new signings, which would involve, in order, a central defender then a defensively minded central midfielder. After that, a defender who can be back up on the right and centre would be high and a left winger, with Nani proving injury prone.

Overall, I wouldn't be too harsh on Alemany and co for the Negredo transfer as it was a mess not of their making. Lim's reckless spending in the first transfer window has really screwed us up and three years later we are still suffering. The club tried last summer to get shot of the dead wood and had no takers and with 85% of the current window gone, it wasn't going to happen this one either. So the administration faced the difficult choice of soldiering into the new season with dead wood like Santos, players who Marcelino doesn't count on or selling them on the cheap to get their salary off the books. Hopefully we can now see some movement on bringing in new signings, with Murillo high on the list. If we can sign a competent central defender and central defensive midfielder, we can yet challenge for top 7.


Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Under Voro, Valencia has become a top six side

It's easy to be depressive and despondent if you're a Valencia fan. After a promising start, with a great 2014/15 season, things rapidly declined, with protests against the manager, the owners, a lot of disappointing results and a series of managers all adding to a sense of instability and despair at Valencia.

The year 2016 was particularly dire for Valencia. The club set itself up as a laughing stock by appointing the unexperienced (sic) Gary Neville and then, when that predictably failed, repeated the error by confirming Pako Ayestaran as manager, even though the latter had posted a below par 3-1-4 record in his 8 games in charge. The latter would be duly replaced by a figure of gravitas in Cesare Prandelli, but again, after a promising start, the latter proved to be all talk and no results and then rage quit after a dispute over transfers, though cynics would say that he jumped before he was pushed. With "hot prospect" managers and experienced managers all failing to turn things around, Valencia looked screwed. The team ended 2016 in seventeenth place, with only goal difference keeping them out of the relegation zone.

That's the past and it's high time Valencia fans got over that and focused on the here and now. The current 13th place looks poor, especially after a 12th-place finish last year, but it actually masks what has been Valencia's best period since the departure of Nuno. Points gained in 2017 have been:

32 Barcelona
31 Real Madrid
30 Atletico
25 Sevilla
21 Valencia, Bilbao, Espanyol. Eibar

Sure, Valencia have played a game more, but that doesn't really affect that, since it was against Real Madrid: a team who have won 10, drawn 1 and lost against Sevilla in other games this year. If the league had started after Prandelli resigned, Valencia would be a respectable joint fifth after 13 games (a third of the season) played, and with a realistic shot at Champions league football.

Look at it another way to gauge Valencia's performances under the current manager. Counting his 3 games in charge after Ayestaran, Voro's Valencia have played 17 games in the league, winning eight, drawing three and losing six. In other words, in nearly half a season, they've averaged 1.58 points per game. Maintaining that average across the season would be easily doable for a side which has beaten Real Madrid, Bilbao, Villarreal and Espanyol and would leave Valencia on around 60 points - good enough for 6th place in four of the last five seasons.

This is important to remember, because a lot of Valencia fans simply don't seem to appreciate how well we've been doing. They see only the negative headlines, hear or see protests outside the ground, look at the league position or go to the Mestalla to see empty seats: Valencia's attendance is down 5.5% this season and only Betis and Celta have a bigger drop. But they miss the trees for the wood. The question is not how Valencia can improve but rather, how can the team maintain its level, a level of performances worthy of Europa league football and just make the next step to Champions league placings?

I would suggest several ways....

1) Offer Voro the job.
He's proven he can get the results needed. The players play for him and the fans are 100% behind him. Give him first refusal on the job. This would also reverse a trend of the club seemingly not respecting people who have put the time, love and effort in (cf Feghouli or Piatti.)

2) Get a shirt sponsor
It's ludicrous that such an obvious revenue source is being missed and for unexplained reasons. If there is uncertainty over whether Valencia will be playing in Europe factor that into the deal with a reduced rate when the team is out of Europe. Better some cash than none.

3) Improve the squad
Fairly obvious. The team needs a stronger midfield especially.

4) Improve communication
Lim clearly takes a hands-off role but that's no excuse for not having his underlings set out a clear and honest strategy for the club and its transfer dealings. If the club has no money, say so. It will be better if fans are forewarned that players need to be sold rather than bs that we'll be keeping star X but then selling him and, in the process, killing fan's trust in the club hierarchy and undermining people of good faith like Lay Hoon.

5) Think long term
In morale terms, fans can't suffer a transfer window like the chaotic one of summer 2016. Identify targets in advance and have a contingency plan in case it's impossible to sell the desired players.

6) Leave decisions to football people
I respect Lay Hoon, but she isn't a football person and the appointment of a chief executive with a football background is a welcome development.

7) Exploit the Asia market more
Having an Asian owner offers a golden chance to expand in that market and raise the club's brand. It's how Real Madrid, Barca and English clubs built up their funds. Maybe I've missed something, but I have seen little sign of that happening so far.

By the way, I plan to do tomorrow's match write-up, but the game will finish after midnight my time on a working day, so it's more likely it will be up some time later on Friday. Patience please.

As always your comments are welcome.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

The Importance of Luck

Valencia has not had, by many teams' standards, a great season. The club hired and fired two managers, settling for a man who has never coached a team in a professional league for more than 3 or 4 games. Not to take away from what Voro has managed during his short tenure, but to find themselves with him as their best option shows Valencia’s board is a little desperate.
And they should be. Valencia was forced to sell some of its best players--Paco Alcacer, Andre Gomes, and Mustafi--over the summer to make ends meet. To replace them, the board brought in players for whom it would be kind to call gambles, such as Medran, Mangala, and Mario Suarez. Some of the gambles payed off, like Montoya and Mangala. Others look less comfortable on the pitch, like Mario Suarez. Regardless, from the start, Valencia looked to be on tenuous ground.
The season started with a wild 2-4 loss against Las Palmas in Mestalla. Though Santi Mina scored the first goal, the lead couldn’t be kept, as Livaja scored his first goal in LStiga only ten minutes after. Then, we had a harsh penalty called against us, letting Las Palmas take the lead. They soon scored again, another debutante in La Liga, Kevin Prince, and though Santi Mina scored again, the game was out of reach.
That game is fairly symbolic of the season. The team plays well, scores, and then collapses as the opponent exploits its various instabilities. Two weeks later, after tying a two-goal lead against Real Betis with 10 men--a Herculean feat--a minute 92 goal cost us the point, and the moral boost. 

Against Barcelona, after taking the lead in minute 56 and later being tied up until minute 93, a harsh penalty robbed Valencia's fan of the chance to savour that feeling of holding back a great team. 

Against Celta, another lead was given up. A minute 93 goal conceded against Malaga cost us another 2 points. Against Eibar, after playing a strong first half, in the 45th minute, an incredibly severe penalty and red card was given to Soler for a typical scruff in the box.
Luck is an integral part of football. It's a crazy, messy game with many variables and moving parts. A goal can be scored or conceded in a matter of seconds. Real Madrid is a team with extremely good luck (some saying suspiciously good luck) being able to pull "remontadas" against very difficult odds. Many times, a team can play well but still be unlucky. It’s part of what makes this sport so fun to watch. 

Recently, Valencia has had terrible luck. They had terrible luck with referees, with their transfers, with their fans, and more. The last-minute goals, the unfair penalties, the untimely injuries. It weighs a team down.
This is not to say that Valencia is solely held back by bad luck. The team has played very poorly for stretches of the season, and deserved the correspondingly poor results.To truly fix Valencia’s issues with form, solutions need to come tactically and systematically from management. 

Still, on a team level and on an individual player level, it has often seemed as though Valencia was labouring under a curse.
Can we hope that curse may be lifting? Against Espanyol, Valencia was able to keep their lead and get all three points. Against Real Madrid, Zaza and Orellana put in the two best chances the team had in the first 12 minutes, and then the team was able to hold off one of the best offenses in the world, no small accomplishment. Against Athletic, there were two fortunate goals and a returning from injury Aduriz that let Valencia through unscathed.
Don't wash that lucky jersey yet. The trials aren't over, the deep issues still remain, and anything can happen in football. Nevertheless, going into the rest of the season, there is reason to hope that Valencia might have better luck,and that it will create a certain stability that will let them deal with their problems.
What do you think? Has luck affected us more than other teams? Will we get better? Let us know in the comments section below.

Friday, January 20, 2017

How Will Zaza Do at Valencia?

Valencia recently acquired the services of one Simone Zaza. The former Juventus and West Ham player comes to us on a loan deal that cost us about 2 million, per Marca, and will cost us another 16 million if he plays 10 or more games for us. The Italian international striker has had difficulty logging minutes at West Ham because of a similar clause in his contract that West Ham didn’t want to activate it.

However, whether or not we keep and use him will depend on how well he plays for us and how well he fits into our system.

In his best years as a player, from Sassuolo from 2014 to Juventus in 2016, he excelled as a human battering ram. Tall, strong, fast, he excelled in harrying defenders and making runs in behind them, proving himself to be an unsettling man on the field. These qualities made him a super sub at Juventus, where he would be brought out late in the game to torture tired opponents.
Seeing as Rodrigo was doing a very similar thing here at Valencia, chasing down balls and making runs, it shouldn’t be too much of a stretch for Zaza to start leading the lines here. Our system asks for a striker with his MO.

His biggest weaknesses as a first division striker are his technical ability and finishing.

He doesn’t excel when opposing defenses don’t give him space to run in, and has difficulty dropping into the midfield, picking up the ball, and getting it out. Therefore, he likely won’t be very useful playing in a pair of strikers. The usual 4-2-3-1 formation will probably suit him best because he’ll be accompanied by the creative Dani Parejo, who’ll hopefully be able to slip him the occasional through ball for him to run on to.

His finishing also isn’t top notch. It’s good, and on Youtube you can find him scoring a few golazos, but a major criticism throughout his career has been his inconsistency in front of the goal. However, to be perfectly honest, Rodrigo and Santi Mina, for all their hard work, have unfortunately set a rather low standard in that department, so for all we know Simone could actually be an upgrade.

All in all, it seems that we bought a stronger, taller Rodrigo who wouldn’t be as comfortable on the wing. That said, given the shortage of good strikers on the market, if he works out, at 25 years old, he’d represent a fairly good deal for Valencia.

Will Simone do well at Valencia? Tell us what you think, and thanks for reading.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Peter Lim's failed logic

Valencia CF president Layhoon gave a press conference, along with Pitarch and in that press conference said that Peter Lim invested 200 million euros in players and that spending money doesn't guarantee results and we should be getting better results.

Spending money doesn't automatically guarantee trophies, but it does guarantee results if you buy the right players, unfortunately for us Peter Lim spend over 150 million on his buddies Mendes overprices clients.

Tell me one player that was brought by Peter Lim that made a return on his investment in terms of sporting results? Enzo Perez has not made a return, Moreno hasn't made a return, Negredo, Gomes, Cancelo, Aymen, etc... What paid off were deals made from the previous administration and those were Mustafi, Otamendi, Feghouli, Diego and our own youth players.

Valencia CF success in the first year of Lim's arrival is based purely on the old guard, on the players who were brought here by the previous administration. None of the Lim's players made any real impact, only Gomes was actually not a complete waste, he came in cheap and brought in the hard work if nothing more.

Cancelo is only now becoming a very good player, but he is still not there yet and he would need to play at an increased level for us for the next 2-3 years in order to make a return on his investment. As of right now we have not had any of Lim's transfers pay off.

What is even worse is that Pitrarch hasn't found the cheap quality deals, he says he doesn't have money and had to work to get cheaper players with quality, well he's failed. What good quality cheap players has he brought? Montoya came in free, but he hasn't paid off, he didn't establish himself and personally I think Barragan would have been more useful to us as he had a really strong attacking presence, even more so than Cancelo.

Mario Suarez hasn't turned out to be the forgotten gem, in fact he's proven terrible and I think keeping Fuego would have been a much smarter move, he was a hard working and humble professional who respected Valencia CF. Suarez is here on loan, doesn't see how he would care.

Munir the Barca water boy who was OBVIOUSLY overhyped by Barca favored media and their own fans hasn't paid off, sure he's scored few goals and hasn't been terrible, but you want someone to impose himself on the first team, someone who would consistently provide great performances.

I'm yet to see a Pitarch transfer that has paid off either. Some might say Nani is a good signing, and on paper he is, but again in terms of his contribution to Valencia CF he's failed.

So Peter Lim has invested 200 million euros into his friend's overpriced players, in the hopes of developing them at Valencia CF and then selling them off even more expensive and making profits out of it, why else would he almost exclusively make deals with Mendes? Maybe if Peter Lim kept Rufette, kept Ayala, kept Salvo and asked them which players to get, asked them what kind of transfer to make, but no, he had to get rid of the core structure at the club, from the top level to the bottom level and screw everything up.

Layhoon might be experienced sitting in an office and doing numbers, but she has no clue about football, she has no clue about players, about transfer, about tactics, about football culture, nor does Lim or anyone else who's worked with him. Football is not a business, it is, but its not. The business is so interlinked to the sporting factor, that you need to run it as a pure sport, as a competitive competition and the business aspect comes by itself.

Literally the business aspect in football is non existent, it comes by itself from the sporting aspect. The better results, the more competitions you play in, the more trophies or higher placements the more money you make, its automatic. You can make an administrative business decision to "boost sales", that doesn't exist in football, so bringing in a corporate CEO to handle a football club was doomed to fail from start and will keep on failing.

And you can't just play on a day to day basis and make decisions in hindsight, that doesn't work, in football you have to have long term plan and you have to stick with it, follow it through and do it once and instantly and do it hard. Half assing stuff doesn't work.

Who does Peter Lim in terms of players think is capable of more? I'm looking at the team and I'm not seeing anyone that is capable of much more, sure there are players who can do a little better, but I can't see Parejo doing better, Enzo, Suarez, Moreno, Munir, Santos, Siqueira, Montoya, etc...

I can see Gaya that can do better, but I don't know if he can be guided and led by the new coach to get the maximum out of him. I can see Garay doing better and I'm expecting for him to get better and better as he gels more, as he gets used to the team and environment more and more.

Cancelo can get better, but again we are talking about 6 months to get one level out of 20 better to put it in simple terms. We are looking at the long terms for him to become top player. Mina can do a bit better, but he's shown that he is wildly inconsistent and the few players that are showing amazing talent and have performed well like Bakkali, Leto, Villaba, Soler haven't been given a chance.

Soler got like one chance just recently, heck I've barely even seen Medran and he was brought in as a "future Baraja", give him a chance then, give him more minutes. I know Prandelli wants to create a consistent team, but he has to experiment with individual players, start Medran or Soler instead of Suarez few games, its not like we are getting so many points with Suarez playing.

Heck bench Parejo, it was his fault we conceded two goals against Real Soceidad, his garbage defending is what allowed them two easy goals. He just stood there like a mentally ill person starting at the grass. Literally a young teen from the youth leagues would do better than that garbage defending. Bench him and try out Medran or Soler instead of him.

I actually like the way the team played in the summer more when we had Soler, Villaba, Leto, Eugeni in the team. I thought we played much better, faster, more direct, more enthusiastically, etc... than when we had Parejo and Enzo and other players on those positions. I would literally start slower, but still make drastic changes and this would be my team if I was coach:

Formation: 4-5-1
Line-up: Diego; Cancelo, Mangala, Garay, Leto; Mina, Soler, Eugeni, Medran, Bakkali; Nani

Monday, December 12, 2016

Meeting at Lim's

Valencia CF coach Cesare Prandelli, Jesus Pitarch, Layhoon and other top brass will travel to Singapore to meet with Peter Lim to discuss the current crisis and reinforcements for the winter transfer window!

We know that the appropriated budget for the winter can be up to 10 million euros, for each player who arrives one has to leave and individual salary can't exceed 2.5 million per year. So right from the start Valencia CF transfers are limited, almost crippled, so how can Valencia CF bring any new quality players then?

The answer is it can't. Valencia CF is going to bring in loan players or super cheap players not wanted anywhere else in order to "boost" the squad, which in turn is going to cause even worse performance! Right now we have too many on loan and young inexperienced players, too many new players, so bringing in more new players without quality would mean doing the same mistakes they've done so far!

The only way out of this crisis is to disregard fair play rules! Think about it, does anyone really believe that we are going to be playing Champions league or even Europa league anytime soon? Why would we be following fair play rules if we aren't even close to the Europa league? By the time we can compete (if we buy quality and spend a lot of money smartly) then we'd be playing well enough and doing well enough to get more shirt sales, get more ticket sales, get sponsors to pay better, etc... so it won't even be an issue.

Fair play rules won't be important if we are playing in segunda division!!!!!! Peter Lim needs to inject 50 million euros into Valencia CF in order to get 3 new quality players!

We need to purchase one high quality DM, no matter what quality player we go for we'd have to play around 15 million for a quality player on that position! Then we need a proper winger for the right wing, Nani has been playing left wing for us, Santi Mina is more of a striker rather than a winger and using Cancelo as a makeshift is just temporary solution, so we need a quality right wing, preferably someone who can hold the ball and is technically gifted.

Finally I'd purchase a new central midfield as well, look Parejo wanted to leave in the summer, he might want to leave again next summer and he is the only midfielder of that kind we have. Also he doesn't need to play all matches, having another CM preferably a playmaker would do us a lot of good. I'm a fan of controlling play, keeping possession and this would work in Valencia CF favor as holding the ball would prevent the opposition from attacking us so much, if we control the ball, the opposition can't attack us.

I know we technically need a striker, but even if we went back in time and got the real Ronaldo(9) in his prime years, he can not score goals if we aren't creating enough chances for him. Yes sure a real Ronaldo would improve our attacking play and would go on to score a few individual goals, but ultimately I think any striker can do well enough if the team provides enough good chances!

So I think between Moreno, Munir, Santi Mina(who is technically the closest to a striker) we can score goals if we actually create good chances and often enough!

Now of course the issue is that Peter Lim is not going to want to invest any of his money into Valencia CF, I think he is of the thinking that he invested a lot of money in the first year and it didn't really pay off, but the main point here is that he invested a ton of money on overpriced players from his friend Mendes, when in reality these players should have cost half the price we paid for them!

Sure Aymen wasn't Mendes client and we paid 25 million for him, we now know we overpaid for him and in terms of the performance he's given us he is not worth more than 5 million. Enzo Perez worth around 10 million at most, Cancelo is our best buy at 15 million euros, but he is still a potential, sure he is basically one of our most valuable players now, but when we got him he wasn't worth 15 million euros, Moreno cost us 35 million euros, at best he is 10 million and for Andre Gomes we paid 15 million in what was the only decent deal at the time, we even sold him for a big profit.

But the truth is none of the big money players have ever made a return on their investment in terms of play, in terms of performance on the pitch. The issue was that the purchases weren't chosen from a sporting point of view, they were chosen on a personal relations point of view with a scheme to enrich Mendes, develop these young players and sell them for profit down the line. I bet Peter Lim wasn't expecting that his financial and personal deals that has no basis in sporting decisions would fire back so terribly.

Essentially what saved the first season with Peter Lim as the owner was Otamendi who was purchased by the previous administration, Paco who was a youth product and had an amazing season, Gaya who broke through the youth ranks and had a breakthrough season and our coach Nuno at the time, who's defensive style counter attacking football allowed Valencia CF to perform optimally with the players that it had.

If you remember none of the big money players made any impact, Negredo was injured than came back and couldn't replace Paco, it was the other players like Diego, Mustafi, Otamendi, Barragan, Gaya, Parejo, Fuego, Piatti, Paco, Feghouli who made the difference. Only Andre Gomes featured regularly in the midfield, but as an attacking midfielder and he was the only one fairly priced at the time.

Look at the team just 2 years since then! We only have Diego, Gaya and Parejo left. Our core defensive duo is gone(for Otamendi realistically we couldn't keep him), but everyone else we just threw away. Now we have a makeshift team of loanees, mercenaries, new players that have no fusion together, that have no relationships together, that have no history together, that don't even care in many cases.

The only solution to the current problem is 3-4 high quality players in the most needed positions. Get rid of Ryan(I'm sorry for him, but once again our terrible planning that we ended up with 4 goalkeepers and Yoel has been the loan out victim), get rid of Guilherme Siqueira(and promote Leto already), sell Fede or send him on loan since he doesn't want to be in Valencia CF(and who could blame him?, sending him on loans time and time again) and that is 3 players left, now we can use the money saved on their salaries to bring in 3 new players. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Give Prandelli the full season

I know the results haven't been the most stellar and looking at the trend they are likely not going to get much better, maybe slightly better, but we have to stick with Prandelli and give him the support and confidence for the whole season. Fans need to be patient with the coach and it would be absurd if supporters(especially Spanish ones) started acting up. We are on our 3rd coach since Nuno, 4th if you count Voro the temporary coach, so just from purely numbers perspective we are out of coaching options.

Prandelli won the European cup with Italy, that is no small feat, you don't achieve that by chance, he knows which players to choose, what kind of tactics for each opponent, etc... He needs the full time to get to learn some basic Spanish so he can more effectively translate his thoughts to the players, his ideas and he needs time to learn the best tactics, formation and players for this team, he took over months after the season started and he hasn't had a summer preparation, he probably didn't even know much about VCF before coming on.

He still hasn't gotten it right in terms of best squad and optimate tactics and formation, but he is trying and changing stuff up, small changes and rotations, not sudden shifts to lay waste all that progress, he is slowly building up his preferred team, though it will probably take another 2-3 months before he is able to find the best possible squad and tactics and formation for that squad.

As I've been writing for I think about a year now, this team lacks good movement, this is THE PRIMARY ISSUE! When the team moves, they move as individuals, not as a team. This is why so often we only see 2-3 guys in attack, because the players don't move in unison, so when we are attacking, only the attackers are out there attacking, our back line is too far back, our midfield is too in the midfield, when the defense should be at the centre of the field, midfield should cover the 25-35 meters and the attackers should be anywhere between 25-10 meters from the opposing goal.

Right now Valencia CF defenders are in their own half, usually at least 5 to 10 meters back from the center line, midfield is somewhere on the centre line with ONLY Parejo slightly more forward at times. Then we have the 2 or 3 forwards our there in attack against 6-7 opposition players, this way they can never score, its almost impossible to score in such a situation.

So the PRIMARY ISSUE Prandelli needs to sort is team movement, team cohesion, team coordination, they need to all move in unison and move as a one single unit. Numbers in attack, numbers in midfield, numbers in defense, even the goalkeeper should be involved in game play, just like most modern teams with modern coaches like Juventus, Chelsea, Manchester City, etc...the play starts with the goalkeeper, he is the one who builds-up the play.

So while we shouldn't copy-paste 100% such system, especially when we don't have the proper players for it, but we should be implementing the features that we can do, that will benefit us, picks parts of that system and implement them. This team, this Valencia CF would literally become 2x times better just by learning better movement as a team!

Friday, November 4, 2016

Valencia CF can still reach Europa League

I know it seems like a pipe dream now, but look at it with the facts, Valencia CF is only 6 points from 6th place, that is just two wins.Sure its not like all the other teams will stay in place and wait for Valencia CF ti catch up, but if Valencia CF can manage 4 wins in a row or at least 4 wins out of 5 games we'd be right up there, fighting for 6th position.

Now can we realistically hope for 5th spot and automatic qualification to the Europa league? That seems kind of a stretch, especially since 5th spot it 9 points away and in reality that would have to be at least 6 wins from from 9 matches or more to realistically fight for 5th spot, but 6th spot is realistic and reachable.

Sure we had a chance and blew it against Deportivo La Coruna, it was a good opportunity to get in a winning streak, and the team blew it against one of the weakest teams in La Liga right now, but this is a long haul and all Prandelli has to fix is just two key issues, one of which already seems quite better and that is the defense, but of course it still needs improving and that would also mean Aymen not playing ever and another issue is recovering the ball quickly, marking the opponents tight. When Valencia CF loses the ball none of the players start pressuring the opposing players, they all start falling back and moving into defensive positions, when instead they should be instantly pressuring, with just one defensive midfield and the two central defenders standing further back into their positions. Everyone else need to put pressure on and try and get back the ball instantly.

Valencia CF coach Prandelli talked about this in his interviews, he gets it, he understands the issues, the problem now is fixing these things and here is the challenge, is this a tactical issue, player issue, formation issue, technical issue, or a combined issue? Prandelli will have to figure out how to solve these problems in order to make this team more competitive.

We can also look forward to the winter transfer market, the team has money now, but I doubt its too much and I doubt we could we spending a lot of money. In all likelihood the team can spend about 30 million euros at most and would be looking to possibly get two to three players for those money. Personally I think we need a quality defensive midfielder, someone who is a true destroyer, but also possesses technical skills and can pass the ball efficiently. I think we can find a player of that mold for about 15-18 million euros, leaving potentially 12 to 15 million euros for an additional player.

Another weak spot is the wings and attack, we basically don't have any pure striker and Moreno hasn't paid off the trust in him. Truth be told Valencia CF has failed to create too many chances, but even when they do Moreno has been unlikely to finish them. Our wings are also suspect, we can't seem to be able to provide good service from them, but rather than turning to the market, we could look inward and give Fede and Bakali a chance. These two have barely featured at all, so they could be given chances and they could surprise and offer a solution there.

Anyways I think we still have a lot to look forward to and Valencia CF can turn this situation around and make this season a success yet! 

Monday, September 19, 2016

Can Valencia CF turn things around?

Valencia CF suffered its 4th straight defeat in the league against Athletic Bilbao in what I suspected was going to be a disappointing loss and it was. Valencia CF started good, scoring a goal in less than 2 minutes and the action on goal was quite decent, nothing special and Nani's pass was deflected and thus the ball came towards Medran with his shot close to being stopped by the goalkeeper, but thankfully the ball went in.

After the 2nd minute it was all Bilbao unfortunately, it seemed like Valencia CF played one decent attack and that was their capability, they got dominated for the whole first half. I expected the team to do better with Medran on the field, he's been really good for us in preseason and the times he was introduced in the matches, but today he failed to make much of a difference. I guess benching him for Suarez, even though Medran had a great preseason and full preseason training with us and Suarez joined relatively late was Pako's genius master plan.

Suarez on the other hand has been garbage for us, I though he could come back to form, establish some of his Atletico Madrid days, but no, he's been worse than Danilo from last season, worse than Javi Fuego, he's been terrible for us. Good thing he is only on loan here, because he is worth ZERO!

Lato had an amazing preseason, but again Pako's genious master plan to return him to the B team, even though we only had Gaya as Siqueira was injured and even though Gaya looked much worse all preseason long. He doesn't choose players based on performance, he chooses them based on status.

Can Valencia CF turn things around? Absolutely not with Pako on the helm. Last year he saved us from relegation(big fucking deal) really? That is the accomplishment now that one has to achieve to be put in charge of Valencia CF? He's shows he's clueless tactically, strategically and selection wise from the start of preseason all the way until the last match. We play the same way, the same style, the same tactics, the same team, the same random crap against all teams! Where are the tactics in that? We have no player to player cover, we have no zoning of specific position against certain teams, we have no higher or lower defense, we play the same exact random crap every single game.

We always have the same defensive position, which is medium, we always attack with two full backs and there is never cover in defense when we attack. We also have no ideas and we keep loosing the ball in the final third of the opposition field. Rarely do we have accurate passing in the opponents third.

There is no way for us to win without any tactics and if we suck so much in the defense, then play appropriately, park the bus in front of goal and try and score through counter attacks, don't try and play a game you can't play, that you don't have the players to. We concede too much goals? Park the bus, venture out on counters and just stay compact, at least this way we might actually get a draw rather than a full blown loss.

I just don't see us doing good if we don't hire proven and experienced coach. Why do we keep on hiring unproven coaches? Are we a coach factory now? Get an experienced coach, get someone who's coached for a long time, someone with a proven track record, someone who understands tactics, someone with the knack for recognising talent and field the best team, rather than the team that is the usual.

My team would literally be:
Cancelo, Garay, Santos, Lato
Soler        Parejo        Medran
        Moreno  Valderrama

The players that most impressed me in preseason were 1. Lata, Valderrama, Soler. Play them! These are great players, huge potential, don't waste them, don't waste their talent, get them to the first team and let them play, give them a chance, I guarantee they will do better than the other players.

In fact an alternative team may look like this:
Cancelo, Garay, Santos, Lato
Soler        Enzo     Valderrama
         Moreno   Bakkali

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Relegation here we come!

All that optimism from the previous week, after the arrival of Garay and Mangala, gone! As reality sinks in more and more, I knew, I said it time and time again, I said it was going to be a relegation battle, but people couldn't wrap their minds around it.

Well I'm objective and level headed like that, what seems to be radical hate spewing coming from me is actually a level headed objective analysis, albeit with very angry tone, but it is still objective and based on deep understanding and analysis.

I think right now no one can deny that Valencia CF are in a position to fight to avoid relegation. I held some small hope as well, I got tricked a little bit with the arrival of Garay and Mangala, but reality has sunk in, Valencia CF will be fighting to avoid relegation this season and that is the hardcore objective truth!

I'm not happy saying it, I'm not enjoying being right all the time, especially when its bad for the team, but I have to be objective as I've always been for the past 6 years writing for this blog and point out the hard truths, no matter if people get angry at me personally or not.

I'm just not even seeing the good play that others are magically seeing, yes we played good vs Las Palmas, but its against a newer La Liga team, we still loose 4-2, what happens when we don't play good? The result is we lose by 2-0 or more. I don't see with the way we are playing how this team can achieve anything better than trying to avoid relegation.

I called and called for Peter the scourge Lim to bring in Pellegrini when he was available, I spoke against releasing Nuno knowing a new coach won't improve our situation, I knew Nuno wasn't at fault, I knew Nuno wasn't to blame for the Mendez transfers, he was a simple coach, no control over the purse or market. At best he had small input, but fans blamed him instead of Peter Lim, instead of ousting Lim, they ousted Nuno and since then we've been going down hill.

At this point I don't know if anything can bring in hope, the only solution is for VCF to actually start winning and winning consistently and even then its going to be tricky to believe in this team.

People want me to write match reviews, editorials, keep up to date with news, I want to too, but I can't, I haven't got the will to do it when this team frustrates me. Not just the results, it frustrates me how they play, they play like garbage. I can't do it.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

A Few Thoughts...

Just thought I'd write a few points on my thoughts about what's been going on recently and just to cover some points that I think might have been missed.

Firstly, I am just as disappointed as the rest of you at this transfer window. Here are a few positives and negatives I managed to come up with:


1) We managed to get rid of a lot excess luggage that's been dragging itself around the team and getting paid but not giving us our money's worth. Barragan, Piatti, Orban, Yoel and Danilo all needed to go and they did.

2) Despite initial rumors stating otherwise, we did manage to retain Diego Alves. Previous posts have correctly described the lack of identity of the club (signified by players who have been here 2 years or more at least). Diego Alves is one who has been there for about 5 years now. His presence is important not only because of the identity issue but he is a true leader on the field. As far as being vocal and talking to his team, Diego does plenty of that. He should really be getting the captain's armband and not Perez which worries me (Diego might not be in Ayesteran's plans). I'm sure you are all familiar with how every time we are defending a corner, you hear one loud voice scream "Ariba! Ariba!" encouraging everyone to jump up. Or when we concede he claps and encourages the team to get back in. All that on top of the fact that he is our best goalkeeper undeniably.

3) We didn't rush into expensive Negredo, Rodrigo and Enzo Perez type signings. This point might be due to necessity rather than smart judgement. Garay may have been a tad bit overpriced but I am not complaining too much since he is a quality player and we desperately need a quality defender. This FFP might be a blessing in disguise in the case of Mangala cause I fear what could have happened if we did have the money. Would we have spent 30-40 million on him despite him not proving his worth yet?


1) We did lose a lot of Valencia CF identity. A lot of the players marketed as Valencia CF's future are gone now. You can say the club is larger than any player and that we have lost our best players in the past all you want but it doesn't make it better. When Lim first bought the club we all thought good now we can keep some of our players for a change. Yet mad spending to no one other than the benefit of his friends cost Valencia CF a lot.

2) Once again we benefit others while we suffer. It's true that a lot of the players did ask to leave and there is always the "you can't turn down Barcelona or Real Madrid" but we're not giving them any incentive to stay or even fighting for them. I mean Andre Gomes's release clause was some absurd 115 million euros or something. We didn't even get close to that. 30 million?! I get the urgency to sell with FFP but really? Why set an absurdly high release clause if you're going to accept an amount that low. We're helping the league champions who don't need any help as it is and we're hurting ourselves. More on this point is that our last two signings (Mendes and Garay) are both Mendes inspired.

3) Replacement that we did get were not adequate and are unproven in some cases. Our defense I feel has definitely improved but Mangala could still be a question mark. Abdennour had one game where he did do well and we saw his potential but has easily been our worst players since. He needed to leave. His mind looked set on the Premier League for a while now so let them take him please. However I don't think Suarez is a big improvement on Fuego, could be wrong but it doesn't seem that way. Munir has some promise and is a lot more mobile than Alcacer (who relies more on positioning) but again is unproven. And Montoya...same deal.

4) We learned Lim's judgement is questionable. They say stupidity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Why are we doing the same thing over and over? We keep trusting Mendes to give us the next superstar of the century and pay absurd prices that nobody else is willing to pay of them plus his commission and have always been disappointed. Why do we still deal with him? This comes back to letting Ayala, Rufete and Salvo go. Ayala made us really good signings since he had special influence especially on Argentine players. Otamendi for 12 million euros was a steal and we sold him for close to 50 million after one year. That is what I call return on investment. Now you invest in this 50 million in 3 or 4 "Otamendi's" and so on. Who knows how many actual prodigies we turned down cause they weren't Mendes related. Yet clubs seem to always sell us their junk and "prodigies" for such high prices and not willing to step down a bit. Yet we always make it easier and facilitate them signing our players. Why do we always have to be the ones to step down? Lim if you're reading...Please get those 3 back, and lets start making good deals again. Getting them back will not be a sign of weakness but a sign that you actually care.

5) Financial Fair Play? We don't have enough money? Lay Hoon was explaining that people thing we get the money from the signings instantly and that we have a 100 million or something euros to spend but in football money gets paid over 2 or 3 years. Fair point. We need to meet FFP so we sell even if we don't want to do so. And even if we sell we are still in a shortage of money. Well why then are we still waiting on a shirt sponsor? You cannot complain that you don't have enough money if you are not making the most out of the opportunities you have. Every year for the while now we have a shirt that's blank from the front and we keep waiting and waiting and no sponsor. I just looked up a table of Premier league incomes from shirt sponsors. Let's say we are slightly better than West Ham's annual income of 8 million euros annually on shirt sales at 10 million (This just a worst case scenario), then over the past 2 or 3 years we have 30 million euros, the amount for which we sold Gomes/Alcacer. But we keep leaving the shirt blank waiting for a better deal. Well some deal is better than no deal. Put Mendes's companies name or something since we like him so much, just get some money for it already.

6) Manager probably is weak link. We have not had a proven manager for the past while now. They all make their way into the club and leave the next year and we have no consistency in results or managerial position. Ayesteran did have a decent run last season but is he really the manager we need? I was thinking the other day, we have a manager that keeps saying I would love to go back to Valencia one day in interviews and is currently managing Newcastle in the 2nd division of the English League. Please tell me we can at least convince him to come here? He helped Valencia a lot and was an important part on Valencia's path to greatness. Who better to put us back up than him? I wouldn't even mind keeping Ayesteran with him. I have nothing against him, I just think it's about time we get an experienced manager.

7) Clubs mocking us? I know this is the least of our worries but Barcelona president said something that I found offensive. I hope the translation was incorrect but he said something along the lines of (while talking about the Alcacer signing) that playing for Barcelona alongside Messi, Suarez and Neymar and telling your grandkids about that is better than staying at Valencia and scoring even 50 goals a season. And then adds with all due respect to Valencia. Some respect that is? Is that the speech they give to our players when they take them from us?


Anyways, I haven't written in a while, I will try to be more regular but here is a summary of what I thought over the past while (good work from SlickR to keep up with all the pre-season and transfer window). The last two signings especially gave me some hope in that we might be able to compete for mid table somewhere if we play it absolutely right. I don't know if we're ready for top four yet but we can sure try. A lot people I read in some posts (not necessarily on this blog) say there is no point in supporting the club anymore and things like that. The least we can do is stand by our team. There are a lot of negatives but let's at least make the fan's support a positive in the lack of other positives.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Transfer updates and rumours

Firstly, Valencia welcomes its fourth new arrival of the summer window. Right back Martín Montoya has signed from Barcelona. It's a bit of an underwhelming signing as he couldn't even hold down a regular spot at Betis last season and doesn't seem like much of an upgrade on Barragan, who he effectively replaces. On the plus sides, he can also fill in it left back if needed and he comes for free.

Balanced with that are some departures. The most prominent of them is Danilo (Barbosa.) His year's loan had expired. Valencia had the option to buy him for 15 million. While he clearly has some potential, 3 or 4 million would have been the maximum that the club probably would have paid for him and with Braga refusing Valencia's request to take him on loan for another season, he has gone on loan at Benfica instead.

From the B team, Tropi has gone on loan at Alcorcon of Segunda Division for 2 seasons. Like the recently departed Zahibo and Diallo, he's been largely restricted to the occasional sub appearance for the first team in the Copa Del Rey. This will provide him with higher level opponents than he'd face at Valencia Mestalla and, at the end of that period, the club can then see if he's ready for more first team action, or sell him for a higher price. Similarly, Nando, a player who has done well in pre-season has gone on loan for a season at Real Oviedo, also of Segunda Division.

As always, in the summer pre-season, there continue to be rumours of varying degrees of plausibility about players that Valencia may buy or sell. On the buying front, Raul Albiol remains a key target for the club, though we have also been linked with Sidnei, who had a good season for Deportivo. Some clubs have expressed interest in buying Mustafi, but, after giving mixed signals, the club recently declared their resolve to keep the player. The plan still seems to be to try to sell Abdennour and possibly Santos as well and replace with Albiol or another central defender.

The other main issue recently has been the Parejo case. I'll admit, I've always been a fan of the player but he is frustrating. He clearly has quality and is one of the best free kick takers in La Liga, but, for every good game he has, he has at least one where he is anonymous, strolling about the pitch as though he's taking his dog for a walk and, as he's one of the highest paid players in the squad, we are entitled to expect a lot more from him. That said, the club's handling of the situation does raise concerns. Pako publicly humiliated him, by having him train separately from the rest of the squad, whil Suso demanded he apologise to Valencia supporters. While that might be the shot in the arm he needs, it can also be counter-productive. It also seems stupid to wash our dirty clothes in public this way, because, if we do decide to sell him, clubs will hope that they can get away with paying less for a player that is unwanted/out of favour. Sevilla have already been sniffing round. If we do sell him, it also sends a message to players in future that, if they want out, all they have to do is play and train badly and then they can move on. There is no easy solution to the Parejo problem.

Valencia are away at Bournemouth tomorrow, the game is on the usual streaming networks like and

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Pako Ayestarán appointed Valencia manager until 30 June 2018

VCF Official Statement

"Valencia Club de Fútbol wish to announce the appointment of Francisco Martín Ayestarán Baranadiarán -Pako Ayestarán- as head coach of the first team, on a deal running through to June 30th, 2018.

The squad were informed of the decision this morning by club Chairwoman, Lay Hoon Chan, and Sporting Director, Jesús García Pitarch at the Ciudad Deportiva de Paterna.
A press conference with Pako Ayestarán, Lay Hoon Chan and Jesús García Pitarch will be held at 6:30pm this Tuesday afternoon, in the VIP Box at Mestalla."


All a bit of an anti-climax, after names like Mourinho and Pellegrini were thrown around. The former just seemed to be using us to force Manchester United's hand, however, the latter seemed a real possibility. Instead, we have yet another manager who's largely unproven at the top level. When will the club stop gambling this way and learn the lesson that a skilled squad needs a real leader to get the best from it? Pako's record towards the end of last season was not that impressive. 3 wins, a draw and 4 defeats. That did include a win at Barcelona, but we often seem to raise our game against the top teams, only for this to prove worthless as we squander points with defeats at Las Palmas or at home to Sociedad. Can Pako get a bit extra out of this underperforming squad? I remain to be convinced.

On the plus side, he does have the fans on his side...for next season can start without the negativity that dogged last season. His priority will be to work alongside Suso and revamp the squad, throwing out some of the dead wood.

Lay Hoon Chan gave an interview recently (link here) where she did admit to mistakes made last season, specifically: "The key thing is to plan for a balanced squad. What we learnt from the last season was that our squad was a bit too young and inexperienced."

Talk is cheap, so the summer transfer window will show if words can become actions.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

To the players - You suck!

I can't stand this anymore, I can't stand to watch this team, its an exercise in torture trying to watch this team play right now.

There is ZERO passion in you, zero motivation, zero effort, it feels like you arrived for a soft ballet session the way you play on the field.

Honor your contracts if anything, you are all getting paid millions of euros, honor the contracts that you signed and are failing to fulfill. I mean seriously guys, I've watched and followed Valencia CF for over 15 years and I don't remember a spell worse than this and players looking and playing so disinterested.

I'd remove them all from the field and field a mix of the B team and the younger players. If they can't play right why play them over and over again? Field a younger and more enthusiastic squad, we have few decent B team midfielders and just give them a chance.

Get rid of Mustafi in defense, he's been the only constant in defense and we've failed every time, its time for a new partnership, I'd give Santos and Vezo the nod in central defense, bring in Villalba from the B team and field him, build a new look team that puts the "veterans" to shame.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Peter Lim sign Manuel Pellegrini

Peter Lim you have a historic chance here to sign Manuel Pellegrini, the kind of coach Valencia CF has always needed and wanted, but its been unable to do so because of monetary reasons. Now we have the chance, you brought in the capital and you could invest a little bit more money into a top quality manager.

One top coach is worth more than 5 top players, players without a good coach are just single individuals, they could contribute the most, but still not enough if the team is not playing as a team. Manuel Pellegrini is a proven coach, he knows fluent Spanish, he's lived in Valencia in the past, its where his family is, so he would want to come back to Valencia, its your job to make sure he works for Valencia CF as well.

I know there are other coaches being mentioned around and some are decent coaches that I think have potential, but none of them are proven on the level of Pellegrini, he's also shown he's great with younger players and has always given them plenty of chances, at Malaga he groomed several young players, including our own Isco which the team made the mistake of not tying him up with a good and long term contract.

Pellegrini is also a team builder, most of his teams have been the sort of mid table clubs that he's build up from the ground, he lays strong foundations and builds upon them, while in Manchester City he has experience dealing with a lot of egos and superstars.

In the summer we are going to be letting go of quite a number of players, especially costly ones like Alvaro Negredo, Daniel Parejo, Pablo Piatti, Sofiane Feghouli, etc... so we can afford to hire a more expensive coach like Pellegrini and I'm sure that at his age he is not interested as much in salary as he is interested in being in a stable club and close to his family, which is Valencia. I'm sure he would take a little smaller salary to coach Valencia CF, rather than take a higher salary to coach some mid table English club, most top clubs in England already have managers and his choices are limited to mid table clubs.

You need to make this happen, you are the owner of the club and you need to order our sporting director to go after Pellegrini, period. We need have the full club trying to get Pellegrini and the sooner this decision is made the better. Creating a strategy, ironing out the details, having more time to convince him will be to our advantage.

This is the manager we need, this is the manager fans want and every single fan can get behind Pellegrini and support him long term. He is not even going to cost much in the long term, because his benefits will outweigh the costs and if he can get some of our young players to perform consistently week-in, week-out then we'd save money on reinforcements and expensive player purchases with expensive salaries, so in the long terms we are actually going to gain money from him, rather than lose.

And again he is a proven manager at the highest levels and all round, he has the experience for everything, he will be available in the summer and his agent has REPEATEDLY said he'd be interested in joining Valencia CF. DON'T SCREW THIS UP PETER LIM!!!!

Friday, February 5, 2016

So Where Do We Go From Here ???

I have been busy these last few days so no time to write up about  the debacle at the Nou Camp and was hoping somebody else might do it.

I think they are all feeling the same way as I, total shock at what was on offer Wednesday night. So why was it and how did it all come about ?

I have only seen the highlights and from my point of view there are a number of glaring problems with the way we are playing.

Why do we always give the opposition wide players so much space to receive the ball, bring it under control and then attack our defence or put in a cross ?

Why did we stand around like practice cones while Barcelona played the ball around us, through us and over us at will ?

Why didn't we give our players specific responsibilities to mark certain players and stay with them wherever they went.  It didn't seem as if we did that. We seemed to just stand around watching the game go by ?

Wan't enough importance put on this game as our league position is so dire and what about next Wednesday.  Do we go out with a weakened team as the game is of no consequence apart from our pride. Will it be 7.0 again if the play their first team ?

Why did players look totally lost and seemed to have no idea what they were supposed to be doing ?
I know that there is a language problem but other people are there to translate.

I don't profess to be and expert on match tactics by the way, this is just my humble opinion.

I was at the last league match against Sporting Gijon and in my personal opinion, despite the fact we were beaten I could definitely see many signs of improvement in the team apart from the glaring misses by Negredo.

When Nevillle was appointed he had backing from a large majority of the supporters in a poll. Now it is  90%  saying he should go.  The latest news is that Rafel Benitez may step in and take over. What do we think of that.  I think he should come, if not now, then next week.

Looking at the league standings, I cannot believe how low we are now. It seems only recently we were talking about an outside chance of Champions League. Now it will be a relegation fight, that is for sure.  We are now looking at the other results of Las Palmas and Levante instead of Sevilla and Villareal.

Sunday's game at relegation threatened Real Betis is a massive game for Neville but more important a massive game for Valencia CF and it's supporters and our future.

Friday, January 1, 2016


I have a prediction to make well before our game against Real Madrid begins.

I guess most or a lot of us will have seen over the last few days how Real Sociadad and Betis were robbed by disgusting referee decisions in favour of Real Madrid and Barcelona.  I will not call them mistakes because that is an insult to their ability to referee a football match.

Firstly there was Barcelona against Betis when the Betis keeper Antonio Adan came out to make a clearance by punching the ball away.  A type of save you see regularly in football most weeks. After the save Messi collided with him and at no time did the keeper make any type of foul on Messi. However, now it is the time for the referee to intervene and to everybody's amazement, including Messi and his team mates a penalty is awarded to Barcelona.  What a surprise !   a dubious penalty awarded to Barcelona.  It wasn't the winning goal of course because they then went on to get 3 more. However, what a sickener when you are playing against Barca to join the never ending list of teams to go down to a goal that wasn't.

Then we come to the 'mighty'  Real Madrid.  Firstly Benzema goes into the area shoulder to shoulder with a defender and falls to the ground. Maybe not quite obvious enough for him to be booked for diving, but needless to say the ref points to the spot and a penalty is awarded to Real Madrid. The kick is taken and missed.  Don't worry boys says the referee, and sure enough a short time later a defender goes to ground and saves a cross with his leg and the ball bounces up glancing his arm. Penalty says the referee and the ball is duly tucked away for a goal.

If this was just a one off we would just say that these things happen in football.  We know that some decisions you get and some you don't. I would like to know why it always fall in favour of  R.M. and Barca.

So this Sunday we have the dubious pleasure of inviting Real Madrid to the Mestalla.  This is a game we should all be looking forward to pitting ourselves against one of the best teams in La Liga.  Unfortunately, I and many others will be waiting to see how we will be cheated yet again out of the points like we did when we played Barcelona at home last month and the offside goal was given to Saurez.

Update.  OK apart from the offside goal by Bale I thought the referee had a pretty good game. He made a few mistakes but that is normal and at least they were mistakes against both teams.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

The Near Misses

Looking back over the season in the transfer market a lot has been said in past about players who we should have signed and some that we missed out on for one reason or another. Below are just a few who come to mind and I know there were many more.

Gianelli IMBULA grabbed by Porto from Marseille for 20 mill euros when we looked in a good position to sign him.
Now they are looking to get rid of him in the winter break because. ' He hasn't quite lived up to expectations' Which I think is a nice way of saying, He has been crap.
Maybe he would have done better here or maybe this was a lucky near miss by us.

Jackson MARTINEZ  another wonder boy who was talked about as a future Valencia star.  Has found the jump from Porto of Portugal to La Liga a mighty big step.  At a mere 35 million euros I think Athletico Madrid are thinking the money may have been spent better elsewhere. With only 2 goals in La Liga so far this season
how long will it be before they are offloading him.
Another near miss for us I think.

Ellaquim MANGALA  or the new Otamendi was supposed to come and fill the massive gap that Ota has left in our team. I think it was 30 mill they were wanting.
He has recently been described by Man City fans as follows:
"City should have let him go as part of the Otamendi deal"
"Just by the way he runs you can tell he is a rugby player and not a footballer".
"He simply has to go he is just not good enough."

 Javier HERNANDEZ  now this is a player who maybe we should have signed when we had the chance to.  From Man United to Bayer Leverkusen and has scored 11 goals in 14 games so far this season.
Would he have scored that number for us ?  We don't know and never will know now.

Hindsight is a great thing and of course we never know how these players would have performed for us.

Fans have been asked which position needs strengthening in the winter transfer if Mr Lim is to put his hand in his pocket or get out his credit card.  The consensus by the majority is that we only need to strengthen the attacking midfield area.  This is interesting to me because I think it may have been different a few months ago. ( Yes, and I didn't mean it would have been the manager area )

So what are your thoughts ?

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Gary Neville report

So Gary Neville has coached Valencia CF for over two weeks now, since taking over he has presided over one loss to Lyon in the Champions league, two draws in the league and one win in the cup. Modest results, if you can even call them that, more on the weak side, but he has also barely got enough time to start working and even if he would have won all games so far, it wouldn't be his contribution, so the poor results so far under him are not at a fault of his own.

Any coach taking over in the midst of the season would encounter big challenges and would require at least a month to start implementing his ideas and tactics and ultimately you need a long term plan and long term objectives and a coach can only be ultimately judged at the end of the season. So Gary Neville still has two more week of grace period, the honeymoon period where he can try stuff out and avoid any consequences and pressure for any poor results.

With all that out of the way has Gary Neville's Valencia CF team started to show any sort of improvements or positives over the previous Valencia CF, are there any seeds being planted for better future play? The short answer is yes, sort of. We can clearly see from the overall gameplay and the statistics that in the past three matches Valencia CF is slowly starting to get more possession, this could of course be a statistical error, just because of the small number of games, but the way the team has started to position and move has some changes to be able to conclude that things are shifting.

Now I don't think we can safely say if the seeds being planet are going to ultimate improve the team, but its certain that we are seeing some small changes that have taken small effect in the last 3 matches.

Personally my biggest issue right now is the defense. Valencia CF has been unable to keep a clean sheet in the league since 31st October in the 3-0 win over Levante. So basically almost 2 months without a clean sheet, where the team has conceded at least one goal in the net. This is simply unacceptable for any top team, if Valencia CF is serious about fighting for a Champions league spot the defense needs to improve. What this entails is another matter, do the midfields need to cover back more, do the wingers need to play more defensive, do we use only 1 attacking full back, while have one sit back to cover better in defense, these are all questions that need to answered and decided tactically. Is it simply that our defenders suck at an individual level? I don't believe so, these are all very good defenders, though some consistency and improvements are needed. Aymen especially has been really poor for us, in fact every time I've written a match report with him in defense, I've rated him lower because I haven't felt his defensive contribution was on a good enough level.

The one big issue that I've already written before, few times in fact is that the team doesn't move as one. There are just huge gaps between defense, midfield and attack. Each of these positions feels separate, it feels as if we only have 4 in defense, only have 3 in midfield, only have 3 in attack and they are all against 6-7-8, sometimes even more players. The biggest reason why we can't control the midfield and have more possession is because there are only 3 players in midfield and only 1(Parejo) can properly retain and control possession, while the opposition moves together in force and overwhelms our midfield and other positions.

When Valencia CF is attacking, all of the players need to move in unison, the defense needs to come forth all the way until the midfield line, the attackers, expect the main one(Paco) need to also fall back a bit and then constantly move back and forth. Whoever the winger is needs to always move, they need to come back, possibly take the ball for a pass, return the pass, move forward and see if they can get in good position, if not move back, then repeat.

Right now the divide between the positions, between the players is too big, so we get overrun in each position. We just don't have enough players concentrated in a certain area. I think Gary Neville gets this, after all he has been an analyst in England, doing a great job, he's a proven winner as a player, has a decent assistant manager career and has trained under one of the best coaches in history Alex Ferguson. So I think Gary knows this and will be slowly addressing the problem in the upcoming weeks, trying to fuse the team together and make them play more as one unit, more as a collective.

Tell us what you think about Gary Neville's work with Valencia CF so far, how do you think its going and do you see any positive changes in the team play so far, no matter how small they are?