Showing posts with label preseason coverage. Show all posts
Showing posts with label preseason coverage. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Borusia Dortmund 1-3 Valencia CF Match Report

Valencia's first preseason match starts with a surprising win over a solid opponent in Borusia Dortmund, who finished second in last seasons Bundesliga just behind Bayern Munich. Of course it has to be said that this is just a preseason friendly match and doesn't mean anything, but its enough to entice me to write my first article since April. I was done with Valencia CF since then, but this little bright spot got me interested just slightly. 

Valencia CF were first on the scoresheet, getting the lead through Goncalo Guedes in the 40th minute, with Borusia Dortmund equalizing the score in the second half through a penalty. 

Just minutes after the equalizer Valencia CF would get in front again, this time through Marcos Andre after a good team play by Guedes and Soler. 

Finally Goncalo Guedes with a long range screamer in the 62nd minute would decide the match and give Valencia CF a 3-1 win over Dortmund.

Impressive first preseason performance, but I'll need to see similar performances and results the whole preseason to get excited about next season.

Valenica CF next preseason match is against FC Saint Gallen on Wednesday 20th of July at 19:00 O'clock

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Valencia sign Castillejo

 It has been hard to write anything about Valencia recently as the team seems stuck in a downward spiral which won't change until the current owner goes.

I was tempted to put up a post saying "Valencia's transfer window so far" and leave the text blank. 😏

Generally, our recent summer transfer windows have followed a predictable pattern.

1) We get linked with every man and his dog. Often it's ex-players.
2) Anyone interesting from those linked gets bought by Sevilla, Villarreal or Sociedad instead.
3) Constant rumours about who's leaving and stories the club won't budge from its asking price.
4) August comes and we do budge and sell people way under value, as news stories about us rarely avoid mentioning "our difficult financial position." Other clubs take notice, wait us out them lowball us.
5) The additions are usually people we hadn't heard of, who emerge very late in the market. Often, we're scrambling around in the last hour or two trying to close signings.
6) The signings are almost always loans with possible buy options.
7) Exceptions to the above are when a Mendes client is involved and then suddenly we do have money.

So finally we can report a first signing. It's Samu Castillejo, formerly of Malaga and Villarreal, who joins us on a free with Milan reserving a percentage of a future sale plus some performance related bonuses (qualification for Europe etc.)

He is, inevitably, a less exciting signing than he would have been a few years ago when Milan bought him for nearly 25 million. Since then his star has fallen. He was seriously out of favour last season and played a grand total of 124 minutes! Let's hope he can recover. He usually plays as a winger but can be used as a second striker. His goalscoring rate is unimpressive, but then again, it's Valencia.

In other transfer news, the club is still trying to get offers for Guedes and Soler, with the fate of others like Gaya, Guillamon and Diakhaby up in the air. Surprisingly, there's been little news about Cillessen moving out.

The club was linked with Edison Cavani (hugely unlikely) and, more realistically with Mario Balotelli. The latter as a "past-it" star in the mould of people like Negredo or Nani seems realistic. It's hard to get exicted about it as his last 2 seasons have been in Serie B and the Turkish league, where he did at least score 18 times last season.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Valencia CF 3-0 Atromitos FC preseason friendly

Valencia CF plays its second preseason friendly match this afternoon at 19:00pm CET against Atromitos FC, a Greek professional football club that plays in the Super league. 

Jose Bordalas has focused mainly on fitness and strength at the start of the preseason and his primary focus is and will be the defense which he wants to make super strong, precise and Valencia's best weapon. That doesn't mean other parts have been neglected, with the team training and working on everything.

We'll see how the team performs tonight and what has been achieved so far, I have some expectations considering we beat Villarreal CF in our first match, so I'm hoping for an improved performance in this game considering we are playing a weaker opponent and I expect to see a secure win.

And as I was expecting we did see a much better Valencia CF this time around, albeit against a much weaker opponent, though still it was relieving to see Valencia CF not struggling to score goals and having an easy time dealing with the weaker opposition, which is something the team struggled last season and drew most of the games it was supposed to win.

Valencia CF won by 3 goals to 0, two goals scored in the second half and one in the second half for a comfortable win. Some of the notable mentions are Yunus Musah playing in central midfield once again and doing well until his injury, hopefully its nothing major and he can return to playing in a week or so. Jason scored a wonderful long range goal and Guedes scored a similarly wonderful goal at a closer range though.

Valencia CF coach Jose Bordalas played two different teams in each halves, giving a ton of players a chance to prove themselves, including quite a few younger players. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Rodrigo Moreno leaves

 It seems to be confirmed that Rodrigo has officially left the club, signing for Leeds United, for a reported 30m plus a potential 10m more in objectives.

Rodrigo was always a divisive player. Signed for 30m in 2014 as part of Meriton's first season splurge, in his early years he was the poster child for Meriton's excesses and unhealthy association with Jorge Mendes' clients.

Usually played on the left of a 4-3-3, his goal rate was hugely disappointing. His first goal for the club came from the penalty spot at Getafe in late September. It would be 4 months before he scored again, his first from open play highlighting what he can do: intercepting near the halfway line, dribbling to the edge of the area and scoring from outside the box. In total he managed 4 goals in his first season, 7 in his second. The departure of Alcacer and Negredo in 2016 saw him moved more central and, somewhat unnoticed at the time, his rate picked up: 7 goals in 21 games before getting injured.

It took the arrival of Marcelino to boost him, with 19 goals that season in a 4-4-2 with Zaza, followed by 15 the following season. The latter included his only hat-trick for the club in the memorable comeback versus Getafe. At the end of the game he clashed with Getafe players and mocked them in revenge for similar gestures. He went on to score the winning goal in the cup final.

Last season he reverted to disappointing goal numbers: 7 in 34 games, though his assists record remained good. He also scored two crucial goals in the Champions league: the winners at Chelsea and Ajax.

Ultimately, as usual, I'm a little disappointed with the transfer figure. I know he's 29, but he is a Spain international and therefore I would have hoped for 40m at least. The big question is how the club will replace his link-up play between midfield and attack. Soler? Kang-In? Guedes? New signing?

Lastly, this is another sign for me of the decline of La Liga, something the league's overseers only have themselves to blame for as they concentrated too much money into two super-clubs (one of which is in clear decline.) It's hard to imagine newly promoted Cadiz signing an England international forward, yet the equivalent has happened. 

In previous transfer windows we seemed to leave things very late, even when we had cash to spare. We're now doing the same, as there are just two weeks until the return of La Liga, but from an even weaker position. Maybe the Rodrigo money can finally get things moving? Cillessen is said to be next out the door.

Anyway, good luck to Rodrigo with his new club

Thursday, August 20, 2020

News and Preseason Fixtures

Here's a news round up from the week:


The headline news about the club over the past few days has revolved around players' salaries. It was reported that, due to liquidity issues at the club, Valencia was negotiating with players to delay their salary payments over the next season. Instead, they would receive promissory notes (IOU's) with the amount and date of payment. Javi Gracia was said to have spoken to the club about this on behalf of the players.

This has come as a shock for many as it demonstrated that the financial situation at the club is in much worse conditions compared to what has been communicated by management. It certainly would explain why the club is in a desperate need to sell and why there are so many players that the club is willing to let go. Many were also quick to point out that Valencia's recent transfer activity which involved accepting transfer fees that were only a fraction of what the players are worth, only made the problem worse. With the club going public with their blacklist of players and their financial situation, other teams will no doubt look to take advantage, as they have already.

In response to rumors that Peter Lim was taking money out of the club, Valencia went on social media to state that the opposite was true; and that Peter Lim had actually injected more money into the club for the upcoming season. 

Valencia lost two opportunities to get some money through conditional clauses in the contracts of both Fran Villalba and Alex Blanco. With both Almeria and Real Zargoza failing to secure promotion to first division, around 1-1.5 million euros for each in bonuses were denied to the club. On the flip side, Rodrigo de Paul's departure from Udinese seems imminent and Valencia has a 15% stake in the transfer amount. 


All rumors seem to indicate that Rodrigo is the next player on his way out of Valencia. This makes sense due to his high salary and the potential to get a decent amount of money in his transfer. Atletico Madrid is the most talked about destination.

Apparently, Gaya has also received plenty of attention with Manchester City, Barcelona, Real Madrid and PSG all indicating interest. Reports are that the club has rejected all offers. It remains to be seen at what price a deal would be accepted.

As for arrivals, there has been little movement on that front. This is probably due to the lack of liquidity and the need to sell first before buying. Jason Remeseiro has returned from Getafe recently and joined up with the rest of the squad. Alex Blanco will also join after his adventure with Real Zaragoza has finished.


There has been little mention of what the new coach has tried so far. What was talked about when he was signed was his inclination towards a 4-4-2 and his preference for inverted wingers. Those who observe training sessions, said that he has been experimenting a lot with that team. There was talk of double pivots and building a lineup with Kang In as the central piece. From those reports, it looks like he was tried in midfield or playing behind the central striker (CAM). There are some fixtures coming up to observe some of the things that are being worked on.


Due due COVID, the team cannot travel and conduct its preseason internationally. There has been reporting that 1 player, who remains unnamed, in the first team who contracted the virus recently, further statement to the persisting risk. As such fixtures, have been organized locally to help prepare the team for the new season while avoiding unnecessary travel. The two fixtures announced are as follows:

Valencia vs Castellón: 
Date: Saturday August 22nd
Time: 07:00 pm CEST
Location: Antonio Puchades stadium at the Ciudad Deportiva

Valencia vs Villareal
Date: Friday August 28th
Time: 08:00 pm CEST
Location: Pinatar Arena, San Pedro del Pinatar, Murcia

Valencia vs Levante
Date: Saturday August 29th
Time: 08:00 pm CEST
Location: Pintar Arena, San Pedro del Pinatar, Murcia

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Official: Javi Jimenez loaned to Albacete Balompié

The exit operations for Valencia continue with the announcement that Mestalla B defender Javi Jimenez has been loaned to Albacete Balompié for the duration of the 2020-21 season.

Despite having recently renewed his contract with Valencia until 2022, Javi Jimenez was not part of the 31 players summoned by Javi Gracia for the preseason. It seems like he wasn't even given a chance with the new coach. Seeking to get some minutes under his belt, a loan deal was established with Segunda division team Albacete Balompié. Other offers included teams like Castellon and Lugo. 

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Keys to the Next Season

The new season for Valencia is set to start on Monday, August 10. That's when new coach Javi Gracia will take hold of the reins of the team and start working with them. As the date approaches, I would like to take some time to go over the keys to the next season's success.


Valencia must act quick in the transfer market. With a long list of players on the blacklist and with plans overhaul the entire squad, Valencia cannot afford to wait. In recent seasons we have seen Valencia wait until the last moments of the transfer market before beginning to move. This has caused Valencia to lose many signings to other teams.

With budget being a key issue for the next season, which is partially why so many sales are planned, we could see a scenario in which Valencia cannot secure signings without first getting rid of the players on hand. This seems to be already happening on two levels. Firstly, Diego Liete is reportedly the first signing for the team but the signing will remain on hold until some players are offloaded. Secondly, with only 3 non-EU passports available to the team, the pool of signings for Valencia is restricted. Paulista is on his way to acquiring an EU passport, so this will help take some pressure off. Any time wasted will give other teams opportunities to steal the players.

Finally, Javi Gracia must give his input in terms of both incoming and outgoing transfers. Lim and management have shown they are incapable of making that decision and have refused to hire a sporting director. Javi Gracia is the only one as such that is capable of making the decision from a sporting perspective rather than a purely economic one. 


This is one that I have seen completely missed in similar articles from other sources. Every player with the exception of 2, have been on the injury list at one point or another for Valencia. With key players unavailable and a lack of effective replacements on the bench, Valencia suffered for long runs in the season.

There has already been movement in this department. Early July, one of Valencia's doctors, Dr.Casany, resigned after losing the confidence of management in the ability to handle injuries, specifically the Guedes injury. Dr. Pedro Mateu took over after. Additionally, several academy doctors and physios have been fired just this week.

A key part in this is also making sure that players who are injury prone are offloaded if possible and any new signings vetted more rigorously in terms of their injury history.

The fitness of some players has also been of question in games. Some players were caught walking or sleeping at crucial points of the game and have cost the team valuable points.

With COVID-19 affecting somewhere between 35-50% of the Valencia squad and recent studies showing that there are long-term/chronic affects even after recovery, the medical department should be equipped to deal with this. They will also have an important role to play to keep the squad and staff safe as the situation continues to evolve.


The departure of Ferran has aired out a lot of dirty laundry about the squad. These were things that many fans have speculated about from the attitude displayed by various players, and it is only now that confirmation has been given. Salary disputes, contract renewals, egos, loyalty to Marcelino and the resentment from his firing and the alienation/blame of younger players for his departure. How Gracia deals with this will show a lot about his character.


Valencia has been very predictable in games this season. Most teams have been able to read and nullify the Valencia tactics and it isn't very hard to do that. The team is designed, in theory, to play counterattacking football. Soak all the opposition pressure and hit back in explosive counterattacks. However, under Celades this was really missing. The team would get 2 or 3 passes into the counter attack and then pass the ball back at the first sign of an obstacle or challenge from the opposition team. Then the players would get stuck playing this very tame possession football without the ability to do so and struggled in breaking down the opposition defense. The team would then be forced to surrender possession. Closer to the second half of the season, the team decided to just hoof the ball up the field every time they would get stuck in this possession period after a failed counter attack. This almost certainly resulted in giving possession back to the opposition. 

Gracia has to be willing to reward good performance and punish poor performance. A merit based system should be implemented over the favoritism based system we have seen recently. Even if the player is a senior player or is a big name signing, if they are not performing to the required level, they need to negative stimulus to correct the behavior. Once a player has their spot in the team guaranteed despite poor performance, then they start to feel entitled and no motivation or growth occurs. 

Gracia should look to be more flexible in his tactics and formations. The rigid ways of previous coaches has seen Valencia adopt a rather strange loyalty to the 4-4-2 formation in all scenarios regardless of opposition. The positions of players has also been another area where the previous coaches have been rigid. Players like Guedes, Soler and Kang In must be experimented with to find out their ideal position rather than simply adopting their position from previous coaches. 


Ferran warned that care must be taken with other younger players to avoid a scenario similar to his. Him and Kang In were in the same bubble of exclusion so no doubt they have had many conversations with regards to this. There needs to be plenty of opportunity for young players to participate and get some minutes under their belt whether that's for Valencia or on loan with another team. Having the players sit on the bench or in the stands and just grow in resentment. Players that do end up playing for the first team and show promise should very quickly be involved in a renewal process to safeguard from outside interest. Players with 80-100 million euro release clauses should not end up leaving for fractions of that amount. 


Building a squad of young players will require a lot of effort in instilling discipline in the squad. We have seen even senior players over recent seasons show a complete lack of discipline. The basics of the game has been compromised as a result. This can be seen with the sub-par quality in all areas from fitness, passing to shooting, offense and defense, transitions between the two, as well as set pieces. Gracia needs to get the team on the same page and vision of his ideas. There should be no shame or hesitation in taking sessions to work on particular aspects of the game rather than accepting it as fact and continuing to work on more advanced areas of the game. If the basics are lacking, everything that comes after will follow suit.


Many fans, including some on here, have lost hope and trust in the management and the club. They see coach after coach being replaced and a few steps back for every step forward. They seen an owner that shows more interest in serving his friends and visiting other clubs than his own. They see a loss of presence and negotiating power of the club in the transfer market for players and coaches. Needless to say, there will be a lot of hesitation about the ability of Javi Gracia to turn things around no doubt. The patience of fans shrinks with each and every coach and that will be a difficult challenge to overcome. However, if the fans do see attractive football, the coach being an individual rather than an "official" or puppet of Lim, and most importantly results, they can be won over and will stand behind him. It's good to see so many fans want to give Gracia a shot despite this hesitation.

Alemany has reportedly made a rather interesting statement recently. He has stated that if Lim was willing to pick up the phone and have a discussion with him, that he could be convinced to return to the club. Despite previous disputes, he claimed that his love for the club leaves enough room for a come back. Unfortunately, Lim's ego will likely mean this will not happen. Murthy certainly would rather retain all powers given to him than concede some or all grounds to Murthy, so he is likely to work against any such movement. If his return can be secured, it will be a very important step forward to winning the fans back and is an opportunity that the club shouldn't miss.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Ferran Torres joins Man City

Well, the news was made official 1 hour ago. The first departure of what could be a long and depressing transfer window. 

Ferran Torres has joined Manchester City. Few eyebrows will be raised at that, as it's only been a matter of time, however the transfer fee for one of the club's biggest talents in years is gutting: 23 million euros, with a paltry 5 million more possible in bonuses. With a year left on his contract and him refusing to negotiate, the club had very little wiggle room. Hopes of a bidding war didn't materialise, with only Manchester City in for him in the end. 

For that pittance, I'd almost have been tempted to keep him and just let him go for free next summer, there's very little we'd be able to buy with 23 million.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Valencia CF Preseason 2019

The preseason will start in 2 weeks. Those two weeks will be spent hopefully finishing all the transfer dealings so that as many of the players can participate in it as possible. One of the criticisms for last seasons transfers were the long delays and many players didn't participate in Marcelino's preseason sessions.

Of course, a similar criticism could be leveled at this season with only Cheryshev and Jason brought in so far. We are still lacking any concrete movement for our forwards. Maxi Gomez's signing is being contested by West Ham with a 3 million euro margin (commission for agents) being the point of contention. Rodrigo is still in limbo. Santi Mina looks certain to be on his way out regardless of what happens with Maxi Gomez. Sobrino will likely follow and Gameiro is uncertain.

For outgoing players, Neto, Vezo and Lato have been settled to Barcelona, Levante and PSV respectively. The first two are sales, the latter a loan deal. Roncaglia is uncertain, Murillo could very well be on his way out. Abdennour is being picky about clubs. We know require 2 center backs, a right back (really important) and a replacement left-back. Furthermore if Piccini leaves, we need another right back still.

I expect lots of movement in the next two weeks. With this many changes, the players need quite some time to gel and establish chemistry with the coach, tactics and fellow players. It is really important that they be there for the preseason. A good preseason is crucial to a healthy squad and to bring fitness to the required standard, avoiding injuries latter on. We had quite a few of those in the last season.

Some players have already started training. The remaining players, who were away on international duty, will join on the 15th of July. The preseason schedule is as follows:

It's a 6 game preseason, culminating with the annual Trofeo Naranja at Mestalla. The earlier games are relatively easy, and the last two especially challenging. Both Bayer Leverkusen and Inter Milan are around our level based on league standings last year as they both finished 4th in their respective leagues. We can build up confidence in the earlier games and get ready for them. The games are mostly in Europe, which will get us used to the Champions League travels. Some games are a short distance apart which will be challenging but again useful to prepare for the tight schedule of 3 competitions. Our first game of the season in La Liga, will be on the 18th, eight days after our last preseason match.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Gameiro versus Zaza / Medrán leaves

Valencia officially announced yesterday that a deal had been reached with Atletico Madrid to bring in Kevin Gameiro, subject to a medical which should prove a formality. Sources report the fee as being 16 to 16.5 million euros, with another 2 possible. The signing, together with the arrival of Batshuayi, strongly seems to suggest that Simone Zaza will leave. The only thing that I could see halting that would be if Real Madrid bought Rodrigo, and they've shown no signs so far of meeting the asking price.

Of all the signings this summer, Gameiro is easily the most controversial, especially as it's understood he'll be replacing Zaza, a fan favourite. Gameiro's age, his price and his unspectacular stats have led to questions whether this is worth it, especially since it means we are helping out a direct rival by taking a discard off their books. So why ditch Zaza?

The first answer would be that the latter's stats are even worse than Gameiro's. His first half-season for us was unspectacular. Then he hit a real purple patch in September and October last year, but since then he's been failing to hit the target, notching up only 4 goals in his last 29 appearances. In contrast, Mina scored 12 playing significantly less time. Of course, stats aren't everything. Zaza does a lot more for the team in general with hold up play, work rate, hassling defenders and even tracking back to help the defence. But the fact remains, if he'd continued scoring at a reasonable rate, we wouldn't be discussing this.

The clearest answer to the question therefore seems to be Marcelino's methods. He's consistently made it clear that he wants a harmonious squad and players with egos like Alves, Negredo, Nani and Orellana or those who demand constant playing time (Ryan or Medrán) have been quickly shown the door. Zaza seems to fit into both those categories. He clashed several times with Marcelino and there were a couple of games where he seemed to be sulking and not giving it his all.

Ultimately I have mixed feelings on that one. I can see why Marcelino has chosen to move Zaza on, but I'll miss him and I'm not excited by the replacement, who will have little resale value. The other issue is that by bringing in Gameiro before Zaza leaves, we have reduced our bargaining power for the latter, as teams now know that we will need to sell him. We shall have to see how Gameiro does.

Mentioning Medrán, he has joined Rayo Vallecano on loan for the season. With the midfield well stacked, and Kangin Lee now on the fringes, his chances would have been very limited. My only issue is that we should have just moved Medrán on permanently. The Rayo deal doesn't include any buy option. I would have put a compulsory one in, of between a million or a million and a half, subject to Rayo staying up. As it is, he will come back next summer in the last year of his contract and we likely won't get anything for him.

Lastly, to update the situation from my previous post about the Champions league. We need one of PSV, Salzburg or Benfica to lose in qualifying to achieve pot 3. Benfica are playing this week in Turkey, defending a 1-0 lead against Fenerbahce. In money terms, we need Benfica and Dynamo Kyiv to lose in qualifying as we will get 1.1 million extra for each of those eliminated.

A week to go to the first game and with Guedes likely, we look to have a decent squad.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Valencia CF 3-0 Bayer Leverkusen

Valencia CF won the orange trophy by outclassing German Bundesliga team Bayer Leverkusen. This was Valencia's first home match in the preseason and it was the final test before the kickoff of the new season. Valencia CF has been improving in their play over the last 3 preseason friendlies and it culminated in this victory over Bayern Leverkusen.

Valencia CF started the match in high tempo and was able to pressure Bayern from the start, having few shots on goal early on. In the 10th minute Rodrigo found himself in a perfect opportunity to score the first goal of the match, but unfortunately his close range shot went wide. He would need to improve his shooting accuracy if he is to score as many goals as last season and stay as the first choice striker, especially after Valencia CF got Michy Batshuayi on loan deal from Chelsea FC with an option to purchase the player at the end of the season.

The first goal came in the 29th minuta when Santi Mina scored after a bit of chaos in Bayer's penalty area on an assist from Garay. Valencia CF had few chances after this as well, including a dangerous Santi Mina shot, but he also missed from a good position.

Fortunately the misses won't last long and it was Santi Mina who stole the ball from Bayer Leverkusen, released Rodrigo who calmly slotted the ball past Bayer's keeper and into the net.

The second half was a different affair, with Bayer Leverkusen coming out stronger and determined to get something out of the match, but Valencia CF managed to withstand their initial pressure and normalize the match. Both teams had few decent chances, but ultimately between all the changes and stops the the game, it was a much more uneventful half.

Valencia CF would ultimately make the game 3-0 with a goal by Mestalla youngster Kangin Lee.

What do you guys think of this performance and what are your predictions for next season?

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Everton 2-3 Valencia

Valencia scored a decent win in their penultimate pre-season friendly with the team producing their best performance of the pre-season.

VCF went with a line-up that will probably be similar to what we'll see next season, though the club will hopefully have Guedes or a left winger and an extra forward or two by then. Marcelino experimented with Ferran on the left for this one.

Both teams started energetically and it was Valencia that drew first blood. Ferran put in a pinpoint cross from the left, Soler showed good decision making, controlling, when he could have shot, and then pulling the ball back for Rodrigo to score.

Thereafter, we struggled to creat clear cut chances and Everton had more attacks. Neto produced a great save to keep us ahead but couldn't do anything about the equaliser. Soler's clearance was poor and somehow Sigurdsson managed to evade 4(!) Valencia players to pass to Tosun in space and his low drive made it 1-1.

Just five minutes later we were back in front. Great cross from Piccini and Rodrigo managed to evade his markers to head home. Rodrigo was our best player on the day and in an energetic first half I was also impressed with Ferran, Diakhaby, Piccini, Neto and Parejo. Garay and Mina were disappointing and Soler and Gaya were below their usual quality.

Everton equalised again in the 29th minute and it was an annoying goal. A corner found Keane who had escaped his marker, who seemed to be Kondogbia, and Keane headed home at the near post. The type of goal that we conceded too often last season and Marcelino will be annoyed that the defence still don't seem reliable at dealing with corners.

Mina scored a good goal just after that but was wrongly judged to be offside. At least we'll have VAR next season to take care of that.

After half time we started to see some of the subs, starting with Wass and Jaume. The latter had an ok game, but is still suspect at aerial balls. He flapped at one or two and punched when I felt he could have caught. Wass didn't do too badly. He missed a good chance from a Gaya centre but made up for it after that. Sandro and Coleman got in a tangle for Everton, Wass stole the ball, drove inside and thumped home the winner from just outside the D.

All the other subs came on except for Cristian Rivero. None of them really impressed me. Zaza and Jordi were invisible. Kangin Lee has good potential but looks at least a year away from being ready for first team action. Montoya's mind is elsewhere (Betis?) and Vezo made a couple of mistakes which will prove costly if repeated against better teams.

Overall, a good result. Everton are around the level that Betis are currently at, so an away win there is good. However, we have defensive issues which still need sorted if we are to challenge for last 16 of the Champions league or top four of La Liga. Defending set pieces is the main one.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Leicester City 1-1 Valencia CF

Valencia CF continued their preseason preparations with a friendly match against Leicester City FC as a part of an English tour and tonight both teams were evenly matched throughout the match, with the outcome being a 1-1 draw, a fair result all things considered.

Valencia CF started the first half the better team, we had the ball possession, we were dictating the tempo and we had good fast movement on and off the ball for the most part. The one negative was the conceded goal, but it was more of an individual mistake, rather than a collective error. The highlight was obviously the goal scored by Parejo on an assist by Zaza.

The other negative was Rodrigo Moreno, he seems to be struggling so far in the preseason and I haven't see anything from him that is giving me confidence that he will repeat last season. He seems sluggish, he seems lethargic and just generally out of it. Considering the club was willing to sell Zaza and still are considering it, its clearly a mistake, since we can't rely on Moreno as it seems. I know its still early on, but he's been training for over two weeks now, he featured in two of out preseason matches and should be getting close to form on paper.

No one from Valencia CF particularly impressed me in the first half, or for that matter the second, but on that later. Every player did good in the first half, again the biggest highlights were the goal scored and goal conceded.

As far as Medran is concerned, since obviously the focus will be on him and whether he shows enough to stay in Valencia CF, he did okay. Nothing special, played it safe for the most part, the few times he made riskier plays he lost or gave away possession, so it didn't work out when he tried to create something more.

Its hard to judge him just from the friendly matches, how he does in training is half the picture, so it will be up to Marcelino to make a decision and I trust it will be the best one.

The second half brought in a few changes to the Valencian team, with Marcelino bringing in Neto, Mouctar, Gaya, Mina and Wass in place of Jaume, Vezo, Lato, Moreno and Medran.
Those changes didn't bring much change to the flow of the game, both teams had few weak tries on goal, nothing direct, but few weaker tries. I think Leicester had slightly more tries and shots in the second half and stepped up their game, while Valencia CF played in the same gear and got overwhelmed a bit.

Further changes in the 64th to 65th minute didn't bring any improvement to the play, in fact with Wass and Soler in the midfield Valencia CF actually lost more possession and completely lost control of the proceedings, as Leicester were dictating the play.

We still haven't seen out best 11 out in the field, I think Marcelino is still undecided what would be the best squad and still trying to experiment, though you can see in the squad he started and the subs and timing of subs who he currently favors.

Either way I'm looking forward and expecting to see Kondogbia and Parejo in midfield, with Soler on the right wing, with Moreno and Zaza up front, right now Murillo and Mouctar probably being the favorites for the CD starting positions, Gaya obviously as left back, Neto at the goal and the right back position is up for grabs if you ask me.

None of the youngsters have impressed me, Ferran is okay, Kangin lee has a long way to go, Escobar still seems far off of the level required as well.

What we seem to be missing is a Goncalo Guedes, someone with fast pace, direct running and someone who would force things. We need to get either him or someone exactly like him, otherwise we might have trouble scoring goals. We just lack that X factor right now that Guedes gave us last season. So if we can't land him, the club needs to work on getting a proper replacement, someone with a very similar skill set and footballing characteristics. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

FC Lausanne 0-0 Valencia CF Preseason

Valencia CF played their second preseason match against Swiss based FC Lausanne in which the team only managed a scoreless draw. Additions to this match were Rodrigo Moreno and Jeffrey Kondogbia who weren't in the squad for our first preseason friendly match and both of them featured for 45 minutes.
Once again the team changed completely at half time, with Marcelino trying out all players. I have a feeling that after the 3rd preseason friendly we are going to see a more narrow selection as Marcelino tries to find the best squad and home the players together.

We obviously saw all of the new players on the field today and they all had relatively good showing, considering this is just the second friendly match, and the team did look kind of sloppy and slow truth be told. Obviously it's just the second friendly and they were probably even told to ease off a bit in order to avoid injuries and needless tackless, but still the team did look very slow on and off the ball and we see that there is a long way to go before they are primed and ready.

I didn't watch all of the match, the stream was cutting and coming up, so it wasn't a 100% experience that I got, but yeah saw a lot of it. I'm just looking forward to see the improvement over time and how we do against better and better opponents. 

Friday, July 13, 2018

Valencia's pre-season friendlies and more transfer exits

Valencia have already started their pre-season training and will play their first friendlies next week, in Switzerland. The "Alpine football festival" will see them play Galatasaray on 21 July at 18:00 and Lausanne on 24 July at 18:30. The club will then have away games at PSV (28 July, 19:00) , Leicester (1 August, 20:45) and Everton (4 August, 16:00.)

All times are Central European summer time (GMT+2) so the last 2 will kick off an hour earlier. The last game will then be a home game for our annual Orange Trophy, against Bayer Leverkusen at 21:30 on 11 August.

More exits to report this week. Nani was the biggest. He returns to Sporting Lisbon on a free transfer. Valencia will get 40% of any future sale. He joined us in 2016 for 8.5 million euro and a cold reading of his stats for 2016/17 aren't bad, with 5 goals and 8 assists, but in reality he was a huge disappointment. His time with us was blighted by injury and inconsistency. We did at least get 2 million from Lazio for his loan but otherwise he's yet another costly flop. Unless he makes a big money move to one of the retirement pastures like China, the MLS or the Middle East, it's unlikely that the 40% sell-on will be of much use, but at least we save on his high wage.

The next high profile departure is Nacho Vidal who has joined Osasuna, again on a free, though with Valencia retaining 50% of his rights, including of any future sale. Deportevalenciano report that there isn't even a buy back option, which seems strange. What a massive disappointment he turned out to be. Just last October he was being named as one of the five best young La Liga prospects, a future Spain international and a certain target for top European clubs this summer. He started last season okay, playing the full 90 against Las Palmas and the last 15 minutes at the Bernabeu, but whatever Marcelino saw in training, he didn't like. It would be a few games before he played again, in the away game at Sociedad where he scored with a great finish

but the next game after that, at Betis killed him off as he was responsible for their second and third goals in a near comeback. Fingers crossed he'll be able to resurrect things in the Segunda.

Speaking of disappointments, Fran Villalba has joined Numancia on a season-long loan. Big things were expected of him a couple of years ago, but he fell off the radar after that.

Gonzalo Villar was expected to sign a new contract but instead he's left on a free transfer to Elche, though Valencia retain 80% of his rights and he'll play more games for them.

A deal to sell Maksimovic to Getafe seems done, with only official confirmation lacking. They'll pay 5 million for him, with Valencia having a buy-back option of 7.5 million, next summer, rising by 1 million in the two summers after that. Valencia have even agreed in advance on a contract for him should he return.

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.


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

FC Cincinnati 0-2 Valencia CF

Valencia CF managed to shake off an unexpected defeat at the hands of second tier club New York Cosmos and in a way redeemed themselves with a 2-0 win over Cincinnati. Of course this is also a second tier club, so managing to only win 2-0 and scoring the second goal right at the end doesn't give you confidence in our teams abilities, but a win is still a win and hopefully we can learn from this and last match.

We do see some play and some moves that have been practised in training, we do see some of the work Marcelino has been doing, but again I'm most worried about our defense, if we concede it's hard to win, no matter how good our forwards are we need to concede little to none to be able to win more consistently.

We urgently need a solid central defender to pair Garay, otherwise we will find ourselves struggling again in the league. 

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Valencia CF suffers first friendly loss

Valencia CF lost 2-0 to New York Cosmos a tier two American team in what was a terrible performance from the so far impressive side. Of course you can blame jetlag, you can say that the New York Cosmos are more physically ready as their season begins sooner, but there is no doubt that the performance was not up to par and not what we've seen so far.

Our biggest issue was the defense, with a weak pairing of Aymen and Vezo(who replaced Javi Jimenez) the back line was fragile and it showed, as Garay wasn't even in the match suffering from a muscle injury.

I don't know why team team pushed for the goalkeeper purchase and sale of Diego Alves, when our priority was always a solid defender and a solid defensive midfielder, we haven't brought either and we are now being linked with attackers and wingers, we don't need any of them!

We need a solid defender who will link up with Garay and keep Vezo as a backup, but get rid of Aymen please, he is way too expensive for us to be keeping him. He has huge salary, one of the highest overall in the squad and has not payed off either his transfer fee or salary!

What did you guys thought about the performance and what do you think of the preseason so far in terms of games, transfers and training?

Monday, July 17, 2017

Diego Alves and other confirmed departures

Yesterday, Diego Alves became the latest player to leave Valencia. He joins Flamengo and again, it's for a laughably low amount said to be 300,000-500,000 euros. Alves was one of the highest wage earners in the squad and was said to be a disruptive influence in the dressing room and in training, but it's a mystery why the club, which is complaining about having no money for transfers, is giving away a player worth 5 million for a tenth of that. The transfers of Piatti, Enzo and Alves should have brought in close on 20 million, instead we've got just over 4 million for the lot.

Alves joined us in 2011 from Almeria, making 146 appearances and gaining notability for his penalty stopping, saving 23 during his time with us. Despite that, from a pure playing point of view I don't think it's a bad decision. For me, Alves was never the same player after his knee injury at the end of the 2014/15 campaign. Valencia's record of conceding in recent seasons has been horrendous and part of that must rest on the goalkeeper, not only for failing to stop them, but also because he's the one who must organise the defence in real time. A typical Alves game involved him saving a penalty making a couple of good stops, but an error and conceding three goals. So while all of us will wish him well and be grateful for some good moments, it was time for a change.

With his departure, that means there are only two outfield players left who played under Pizzi: Parejo and Vezo and the latter is hardly a regular. That tells you what you need to know about Valencia's stability in recent seasons.

Other recent departures have involved Santos going to Sao Paolo on loan for 18 months with an option to buy and Bakkali going for next season to Deportivo. Santos will not be missed by anyone but there will be a few fans who will still wonder why it never really happened for Bakkali. He seems to have ended the same way as Fede or DePaul: a flair player and a fan favourite but one who got limited playing time. I think this one is for the best. I've long said in the match reports that I never saw the point in bringing him on for barely 5 minutes at the end. Bad for the player and club. While it's possible he'll have a good seasonat Depor and come back to us stronger, I think it's likely that he'll end up the same way as Fede and make a permanent exit.

The other players whose exit is talked about are Cancelo and Garay. The first has long been the obvious choice to sell to raise funds. Garay, despite a disappointing first season, is firmly in Marcelino's plans for next season but if the club can't get the cash they need from selling Cancelo, he would be the next choice, as he's still sufficiently highly rated for teams in England to pay big money. The lack of clear targets remains a concern. The closest to a clear target for now is Geoffrey Kondogbia of Inter Milan, who the club is interested in taking on loan with a buy option.

Either way, the club needs to get a move on. The previous season finished 8 weeks ago and the new one is just 3 weeks away, with the fixtures announced on 20 July.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Valencia CF 3-0 Sporting CP

Valencia CF trashed Sporting CP in yet another great preseason showing, giving us all hope that we can do much better than last season. Before I get carried away though this is still a friendly match early in the preseason, but the confidence, gameplay, fluidity in the play is there for everyone to see and this team is definitely playing differently than it used to with our last 3-4 coaches.

We are so early in the preseason, but I can already see an identity to this club, a certain style of play and hopefully the squad continues to grow, continues to improve and doesn't stumble at the first roadblock. So far so good and I'm really impressed by the work Marcelino is doing.