Showing posts with label results. Show all posts
Showing posts with label results. Show all posts

Friday, October 2, 2020

La Liga Matchday #5: Valencia CF 0 - 2 Real Betis SAD Match Thread

Let's go over some news as the team prepare for matchday 5.

In the pre-match press conference, Javi Gracia stated that there has been no communication from management about transfer activity but as long as the window is still open he will remain hopeful. It is strange why they feel like they have to be so secretive about these operations, if there are indeed any. It will be interesting to see what happens if the promise is not kept and Gracia doesn't get any player or gets sub-par players. This has happened before with Prandelli who was quick to leave after the promises made to him were broken.

Despite the secrecy from management, the papers continue to speculate over which players will arrive. Additionally, despite the suggestion from Gracia before the previous match that he doesn't think more players will leave, the rumors continue about which player is on their way out next. Gracia did leave it open-ended by stating that anything can happen.

Diakhaby was reported to have interest from clubs in the Premier League and Ligue 1. It seems like an asking price of around 20 million euros was given by Valencia. Meanwhile, the club is listening to offers for Mangala and Cheryshev. There are also several questions surrounding Cillissen and Gameiro's destinations. 

As for signings, it seems this week's most talked about targets for Valencia are Juventus's Rugani, Lyon's Joachim Anderson and Porto's Diogo Leite. Today, there wer ereports that Rugani seems to be on his way to Rennes on loan. Valencia missed out on another target in Borja Mayoral these past few days, as he is set to join Rome.

Alex Carbonell from the quarry has been transferred to second division side Lucerna with Valencia reserving a percentage of a future sale.

Jordi Escobar appears to be on his way to AC Milan.

Alex Centelles has been allowed to leave, with Almeria looking like the most likely destination. It looks like Valencia will also claim a stake in a future transfer free.


Valencia come into this game having secured an unexpected 0-1 away win against Real Sociedad. After a poor display against Huesca in the previous match, many fans thought Real Sociedad would be too much to handle. However, Valencia would hold their own against the home team and kept them at bay. Changes in the second half from Gracia had an instant impact as Gaya set up Maxi's goal with a great cross. Sociedad would grab a goal in the 5th minute of stoppage time, only for VAR to overturn the goal due to handball; a rare benefit for Valencia.

Real Betis's last match didn't go their way as they succumbed to a 3-0 away loss to Getafe. The home team grabbed three goals, all in the first half. The first a scissor kick from Angel Rodriguez, the shot from the edge of the box by Cucurella and third a standard counter-attack finished by Angel Rodriguez for this brace. Betis had around 70% of the possession during that game and still couldn't grab a single goal. A red card in the 83rd minute took away any chance at consolation.

Valencia currently sit 2nd in the league with 7 points. Real Betis are 7th with 6 points.


Valencia: WDLW
Real Betis: LLWW


The big news for this game, is the return of Carlos Soler to the selection. He has been out for a while, recovering from COVID. He can offer something different to the Valencia midfield if he is played there. It still remains to be seen what position he will occupy under Gracia.

Injury list: Paulista, Mangala, Cheryshev


1' - Yellow card shown to Marc Bartra for a heavy challenge from behind on Maxi Gomez
8' - Guedes puts the ball in the back of the net after a Valencia counterattack but the goal is overturned due to offside. Gameiro had headed the ball over Real Betis's high defensive line to put Gomez through onto goal. He squared the ball for Guedes who had no trouble finishing from that position. 
10' - Real Betis give the ball away in their own half. Gameiro claims possession, sends a pass wide to Guedes who then finds Wass at the edge of the box. Wass gets a shot and hits the target which the keeper spills but no Valencia player is around to take advantage.
12' - Yellow card shown to Guedes for tugging on the shirt of Emerson
19' - Goal for Real Betis. Sergio Canales was set up at the edge of the box after some build-up play for Betis. He takes a touch to set up the shot and it deflects off of Jason and into the back of the net.
22' - Jaume denies Betis from a second goal with a save at point-blank range from Sanabria's header. He had managed to get just ahead of Guillamon to make contact with the cross.
38' - Jaume saves another shot, this time from Fekir, the ball is sent back into play but the defense clears.
40' - Guedes beats his defender on the flank and cuts into an inside position, beating another on the way. He threads the ball through the defense for Maxi Gomez who has a tight angle against him. The shot is hit directly at the keeper who saves easily.
45' - Yellow card shown to Guillamon for tugging on Sanabria's shirt. 


Another poor first half to add to the the collection this season. Real Betis were allowed to control the game while Valencia did not look like a team playing at home.

Valencia went down due to a fortunate deflection from Sergio Canales's shot. The build-up play to that goal was more telling though as the entire Valencia defense and midfield's attention was occupied by two Betis players. Despite being surrounded, they managed to get their passes off, eventually finding Canales with some space.

Valencia did not respond after that goal. Betis always looked more likely to score after that. with Jaume being called to make more saves to maintain the scoreline. Musah, Kang In and Alex Blanco were seen warming up soon after the goal which could an indication of half-time changes.

Guedes did set up a decent change when he beat two players and picked out Maxi Gomez, but the angle was too tight to produce a goal. 

Half-time stats. 2-7 shots, 2-3 shots on target, 45-55% possession, 81-84% possession.


51' - Tello gets a free run on the left flank chased by Diakhaby. Tello crosses and finds Fekir but he scuffs the shot completely. Valencia are fortunate to not concede there.
53' - Yellow card is shown to Canales for taking down Wass after he got away from him.
55' - Double substitution for Valencia. Jason and Guedes are replaced by Kang In and Alex Blanco.
61' - Fekir's free kick takes a deflection as it hits the wall and Jaume has to adjust and stretch to reach it to deny the shot. Great save. Replay shows that it was probably going wide regardless but better safe than sorry.
64' - Tello picks out Canales in the penalty area. Canales takes a powerful shot on goal which Jaume pushes over the crossbar. Increasing pressure on the Valencia goal and a response is still lacking.
74' - Goal for Betis. 0-2. Joaquin sprinted from midfield and through several Valencia players on the way. With all the attention drawn on him, he lays off the ball to Tello in total space. He takes the shot on goal and another deflection, this time from Diakhaby, takes the ball past Jaume.
80' - First change for Real Betis. William Carvalho replaces Joaquin.
81' - Valencia with another double change. Soler and Vallejo come on for Kondogbia and Gameiro.
86' - Second change for Betis. Borja Iglesias on, Pablo Sanabria off.
90' - Two minutes of time added by the referee for stoppages. 
90+2' - Final set of changes for Betis. Fekir is replaced by Guardado while Tello is replaced by Juanmi


The worst performance of the season so far. Valencia hardly looked like they were going to score while Betis had chance after change. If it wasn't for Jaume, the scoreline would certainly be much worse.

The second goal was embarrassing to conceded. Jooquin single-handedly carried the ball through from midfield to the penalty area and not a single Valencia player could stop him. A player at the final stages of his career showed more determination and hunger than what the Valencia players showed today. 

While both goals for Betis were scored as a result of deflections, the build-up to the goals exposed huge flaws in the Valencia system that allowed the goals to happen.

Jaume was perhaps the only positive to take away from the game as he attempted to keep Valencia in the game as long as possible. 

Full-time stats. 5-17 shots, 2-8 shots on target, 46-54% possession, 80-83% pass accuracy.

The transfer market closes in two days - October 5th. Gracia needs players and it is unknown what his response would be if he is left without any.

International break will begin after this. As such, next game for Valencia is on the 18th of October against rivals Villareal. This should give some time for Gracia to reorganize and prepare.

Monday, September 28, 2020

La Liga Matchday #4: Real Socieded SAD 0 - 1 Valencia CF Match Thread

 Let's briefly go over some news as the team travels to play Real Sociedad in matchday 4.

The renewal of Racic's contract is complete. The midfielder's contract is extended to 2024 with a release clause of 150 million euros.

There is 1 week remaining in the summer transfer window, as it closes on October 5th. According to a recent comment by Javi Gracia, he is unaware of any progress on signings. He says that the last time he had a meeting with Anil Murthy was 2 weeks ago. 

With regards to the signing of Capoue from Watford, he had said earlier that just because the player displayed intent of coming to Valencia and submitted a transfer request, does not mean that he will arrive. 

With one week remaining on the transfer window and no communication from management, Gracia is evidently frustrated and rightfully so. It's looking more and more likely that the signings will be made out of desperation in the last moments of the window, if it all. Not even the performance of the last 2 games was enough to communicate any sense of urgency.


Real Sociedad had a great game over the weekend. They took the confidence they had from holding Real Madrid to a draw in the previous matchday to their away game against Elche and walked out with all three points and a 0-3 scoreline. All goals came in the second half, including one in stoppage time.

Valencia had a tough time against Huesca at Mestalla. The away team made themselves at home and caused all sorts of trouble. The game ended in a 1-1 draw. Despite behind on the backfoot, Wass helped Valencia take the lead from a set piece that travelled all the way to back of the net. Huesca peppered away at the goal for the second half, and finally scored, having been denied time after time by Jaume with some clutch saves. 

Real Sociedad currently sit 3rd with 5 points. Valencia are 5th with 4 points.


Real Sociedad: WDD

Valencia: DLW


The squad is boosted by the return of Cillissen from his injury. He starts on the bench though.

Alex Blanco, Kang In and Musah all make the starting lineup with Vallejo, Guedes and Jason benched.

Wass starts in midfield, leaving Correia with an opportunity at right-back.

Injury list: Paulista, Mangala, Soler, Cheryshev


12' - Real Sociedad with a chance at goal. David Silva spreads the ball wide to Barrenetxea who puts in a cross for Isak. The ball is behind the striker and he hits it with the back of his heel but it ends up over the crossbar.
17' - Yellow card shown to Kondogbia for a challenge from behind on Jaunzaj
22' - Kang In takes possession of the ball in the opposition half and gets a quick shot in, claiming the first shot on target in the match. Remiro saves the effort.
27' - Wass with a powerful shot from range that forces a diving save from the keeper. The ball is loose and falls to Correia who waits for it to arrive at his feet. The defender gets in the way and nullifies any danger.
34' - Yellow card shown to Zubimendi for taking down Kondogbia who had taken the loose ball off him and was on the break.
35' - Maxi Gomez strikes the free kick from a long way out. It is a tame effort and the keeper has no trouble saving it.
37' - Januzaj gets his team's first shot on goal with a low powerful drive. Jaume is up to it though.
38' - A chance for Valencia at the other end. Kondogbia with a fantastic diagonal ball to Gaya who pulls it back for Kang In. The youngster takes the shot but in the end the defender gets his body in the way of the shot.
40' - Short break as the referee gets in the way of Elsutondo's powerful shot. It hits him in the head and the medical team is called to tend to him.
45' - Two minutes added by the referee for stoppages
45+2' - Yellow card shown to Maxi Gomez for a late shoulder check on Merino


A relatively decent performance, especially for an away game. The team held their own against Real Sociedad, matching their pace. In fact, they had the majority of good chances in the half.

Most of Valencia's shots on target came from long-range shots. It seems like the players have been given the greenlight to shoot-on-sight this game. The players did well to hit the target when they did take a shot. 

The combination of Wass and Kondogbia in midfield brought a lot of control and prevented David Silva from getting the space he wants to pick out a dangerous pass. What the duo brought in stability though, they lacked in creativity. It was up to Kang In to provide that this game but he barely had time on the ball in the opening minutes of the game. As the game progressed, he did find more of the ball though.

The team needs to try a more direct route towards goal as these long-distance shots have not been effective so far. It's either been that or crosses from wide positions. There are players on the field and the bench who are capable of breaking down the defense so it might be worthwhile to attempt that instead. 

Half-time stats. 4-7 shots, 1-4 shots on target, 64-36% possession, 84-71% pass accuracy.


Change at half-time for Real Sociedad. Oyarzabal replaces Barrenetxea.

54' - Real Sociedad are getting a lot more time and space on the ball to do what they want. Kang In gets possessed in midfield, the ball makes its way to Oyarzabal who gets into the penalty area and forces a save out of Jaume with his shot.
59' - Yellow card shown to Daniel Wass for stomping on the foot of David Silva
61' - Yellow card shown to Gaya for taking down Januzaj after he got away from him
62' - Januzaj hits the free kick straight at Jaume punches it back into play.
66' - For changes for Real Sociedad. Portu for David Silva, Willian Jose for Isak and Guevara for Zubimendi and Roberto Alcaide for Januzaj. No changes remain for the home team.
65' - First change in personnel for Valencia. Gameiro replaces Kang In Lee. 
71' - Second change for Valencia. Toni Lato and Jason on, Alex Blanco and Yunus Musah off. Lato takes over the left-back position, while Gaya is pushed a bit further up into midfield. Looks like Musah picked up an injury.
73' - Gorosabel puts in a cross that deflects of a Valencia player and set up Oyarzabel for a shot. He takes it but it deflects again for a corner.
75' - Goal for Valencia! 0-1! Wass picks out Gaya with a diagonal ball to Gaya on the left flank. Gaya puts in a great curling cross for Maxi Gomez to hit into the roof of the net. Instant impact from Javi Gracia's change.
86' - Yellow card shown to Correia for taking down Portu.
90' - Four minutes added by the referee for stoppages.
90+2' - Final change for Valencia. Vallejo replaces Maxi Gomez.
90+4' - Goal for Real Sociedad. 1-1. The delivery from the cross is saved by Jaume and then some pin-ball action ended with Guillamon heading the ball into the roof of his net. 
90+5' - The goal is ruled out for handball! Sociedad's celebrations are cut short as Elustondo handled the ball. Valencia takes the win!


Well done. The team did well to not only see out the second half but to grab a winner and the first clean-sheet of the season to boot.

Despite having the bigger share of possession in both halves, Sociedad could not take any points this game. Valencia usually struggles away from home but tonight managed to take all 3 points from a tough team.

The goal can be connected to the changes made by Gracia. Bringing on Lato and pushing Gaya forward, allowed Maxi Gomez to get some much needed service. Wass distributed the ball to Gaya from the opposite flank with a diagonal ball, and Gaya puts in a cross across goal for Maxi Gomez to hit past the keeper. 

The rest of the game was a survival mission to hold out until full-time The defense continued its impressive display all the way to the final minute of additional time. There was a last minute scare as the ball was in the back of the Valencia net. However, there seemed to be a lot of action in the penalty area. Multiple players seemed to get taken down, including Jaume before Guillamon's attempted clearance found its way into the back of the net. The goal was overruled due to a handball that resulted from Jaume's initial save landing on Elustondo's arm. It would've been really painful for the team's effort to get undone in the last minute.

Full-time stats. 11-9 shots, 3-5 shots on target, 66-34% possession, 83-71% pass accuracy.

Gracia has made the most of a limited squad today. The defense today looked a lot better, despite the injuries. Maxi Gomez is showing that he can be a reliable source of goals for Valencia. Gracia has yet to draw out the full potential of the team though. If he can get the most of players like Kang In, Musah, Kang In and Guedes, the team gets elevated to another level.

Valencia temporarily take top spot in the league with 7 points but many teams have yet to play this matchday. 

Next game is on Saturday, October 3rd against Real Betis at Mestalla. Amunt.

Friday, September 25, 2020

La Liga Matchday #3: Valencia CF 1 - 1 SD Huesca Match Thread

 Let's go over some news in the lead-up to matchday 3.

The club has been working on a couple of contract renewals this past week. Esquerdo had his contract extended to 2024 with a 100 million euro release clause attached to it. Racic's contract is currently being negotiated with the goal of extension. 

In terms of transfer activity, Murthy should be travelling to meet with Mendes about signings. 

The club remains focused on securing Capoue from Watford, Gracia's former team. The press reported that Capoue has pushed for an exit from the club with a spokesperson from the club confirming this as the reason why he didn't make the squad list. The obstacle in this deal is the price. Valencia have offered 2 million euros while Watford want closer to 8 million euros. After some insistence from Gracia, Valencia may be willing to increase the amount to secure the deal.

The second most common name discussed in relation to Valencia has been Manchester United keeper Sergio Romero. With the club looking for an outlet for Cillissen, it seems Romero is the most likely replacement, if any. A figure around 6 million euros has been reported as the required fee.

From Portugal, there was a reemergence of news surrounding Leite's transfer to Valencia. Additionally, some outlets reported that Mendes is trying to facilitate a transfer of Jota from Benfica. The player has a minimum release clause of 30 million euros, so this one seems very unlikely.


Valencia's last matchday saw them lose 2-1 away to Celta Vigo. It was undeniable that the home team outplayed Valencia in the game. A breakdown in defense and midfield set up Celta's first goal. Although Valencia would recover in the second half with a half-chance that was converted by Maxi Gomez, Valencia would soon fall behind again. A free kick was given away at the edge of the penalty area and Iago Aspas hit it perfectly to score. Despite change after change, the team couldn't turn around the scoreline. Celta had a few more efforts that hit the post while Valencia had some penalty claims which were turned down. Most of the discussion from press discussed the unfairness of VAR over the shortcomings of the team.

Huesca suffered their first loss of the season at home against Cadiz, a fellow newly promoted club. Despite having the majority (70%) of possession in the game, they succumbed to a 0-2 loss with goals coming around 10 minutes into the first half, and 10 minutes away from full-time. Negredo scored the first goal for Cadiz.

Valencia are 5th in the current standings with 3 points while Huesca are 12th with a single point.


Valencia: DW

Huesca: LD


The bad news coming out of the camp this week was that Paulista had picked up a muscle tear that will see him miss the next 2-3 weeks. This is a big blow for the team as he is the most reliable center-back. With Mangala having picking up an injury against Levante, this leaves Diakhaby and Guillamon to cover. The need for a center-back signings grows more with this news.

Despite recovering and training with team, Cheryshev has some minor discomfort so he won't be risked this game. 

Gracia did recover Racic and Gameiro from their injuries, and both are available for selection this game.

Injury list: Cillissen, Mangala, Paulista, Soler, Cheryshev


7' - Close call as Okazaki beats Guillamon for the ball and send a header towards goal. The effort is wide.

20' - Very sloppy play from Valencia so far. The team is having a head time stringing together 2-3 passes before losing the ball.

30'  - It's concerning that Valencia is struggling against Huesca for 30 minutes straight with no response. Most of the time is spent in their own half defending. 

37' - Goal for Valencia! 1-0! An expected goal against the run of play from a free kick in a unlikely position. Wass's delivery in the box sails past everyone and takes a bounce, Diakhaby jumps over it and it makes it all the way to the back of the net at the far side of goal. Strange goal to score but Valencia will take it. They needed some luck the way things were going so far. Huesca will be frustrated they went behind in such a way.

45' - Two minutes added by the referee for stoppages.


A misleading scoreline given the performance from Valencia. 

Huesca dominated the game in practically all aspects. They had more of the possession and most of the game was played in the Valencia half of the field. Huesca pressured high and hoped that Valencia would crack under all that pressure. They were frustrated in the end as they could not trouble the defense much outside of the first 7 minutes. In fact, they didn't hit the target once.

With Valencia barely managing to to put together a few passes, let alone get forward, it was a surprise for everyone when they took the lead. Wass took a free kick practically from the touch line, something like 35 meters out and manages to score. The intent was a cross of course, but it was smart to aim for the far post as it usually causes trouble for the keeper. 

Gracia has shown in previous games that he can identify problems and address them as the game goes so it will be interesting to see what his approach this game will be. Guedes seems to be playing with a lot of frustration again and appears to be a likely candidate for substitution.

Half-time stats. 1-5 shots, 1-0 shots on target, 46-54 %possession, 76-82% pass accuracy.


No changes from either team as they both head back out after the break.

46' - Diakhaby does well to deny Okazaki from getting into the box or crossing.

60' - Jaume with a great save to stop Saoune's shot, It was heading into the top corner but he managed to paw it away.

61' - Another save from Jaume. The cross looked like it would go over the bar but he gets his hand up correctly and tips it over.

62' - That's a third save in a row, this time from a header at point blank range. VAR checks and the ball did not cross the line.

62' - Borja Garcia replaces Juan Carlos for Huesca's first change of the game.

63' - Goal for Huesca. 1-1. This time Jaume could not save the effort as Siovas heads it past him. He needed help from the defense here under mounting pressure. Siovas was allowed a free header at goal. Jaume did get a touch on it but it hit the corner post and went in.

64' - Double substitution for Valencia. Musah and Gameiro come on for Vallejo and Jason.

65' - Yellow card shown to Galan for a heavy challenge.

72' - Okazaki volleys, despite pressure from Wass, the early cross from Pedro Lopez and hits the cross bar. Close call.

75' - Kondogbia tries a shot from range and forces a save from the keeper.

79' - Second set of changes for Huesca. Okazaki and Pedro Munoz are off, Ontiveros and Luisinho on.

84' - Good string of passes from Valencia results in a chance for Gaya but he misses the ball.

85' - Third change for Valencia. Kang In replaces Guedes.

86' - Guillamon with a major blunder as he gives possession away on the edge of his own penalty area. Thankfully, Mosquera rushes his shot and Jaume saves.

87' - Gameiro with a chance on the other end. There is too much power on it though and it sails over the crossbar.

88'- Final set of changes for Huesca. Rafa Mir and Ferreiro are replaced by Escriche and Joaquin Munoz.

90' - Five minutes of time added by the referee for stoppages.

90+4' - Final change for Valencia. Swap in midfield, Esquerdo for Racic


Again. Not good enough. The team has not only played out a draw with a newly promoted team but struggled to do just that. 

Having fortunately taken the lead in the first half, this was an opportunity for Valencia to put poor performance past them and build on it in the second. This wasn't the case. Valencia did do slightly better offensively but had big lapses in defense.

The goal from Huesca was coming. Multiple saves by Jaume simply stalled it. It in the end it was all undone with just one corner. There could've been more with chances from Okazaki's volley and Guillamon giving the ball away in a dangerous position. Kondogbia and Gameiro could only give Valencia half-chances.

Overall disappointing and will give Gracia something to think about. These 3 games were an opportunity to build momentum. An opportunity that was taken.

Full-time stats. 5-17 shots, 2-4 shots on goal, 48-52 %possession, 76-82 %possession.

Next game is on Tuesday the 29th away to Real Sociedad. A big step up in quality is needed for that game.

Friday, September 18, 2020

La Liga Matchday #2: Celta de Vigo 2 - 1 Valencia CF Match Thread

Valencia finished the last matchday as group leaders and will take that with them in their first away game against Celta Vigo.

Let's briefly go over some news from the Valencia camp. A lot of articles this week have been linking various players to Valencia as transfer targets. The list grows by the day, yet still not a single move has been made. This has been quite frustrating. So much so that it has recently come out that a recent meeting between Javi Gracia and Murthy ended in anger and the latter storming out. The timeline on this is just before the Levante pre-game press conference where Gracia delivered those strong words at management.

The line that was missed in that conference was one where he questions if the team will make signings needed to elevate the quality of the team. This was originally interpreted as a critique of the lack of signings in general but it has become evident that this was a critique in the quality of the signings. 

Reports this week have mentioned that Javi Gracia identified 5 reinforcements for his team after he learned that the club's plan to sell some major players. A lot of this information was available to him before he joined. He was promised that signings will be made and has generally been upset with the absence of any thus far. He wanted a striker, a central defensive midfielder, a central defender and a right-back and a goalkeeper. He gave the clubs two names: Capoue (if Herrera was not available) and Pepe Reina (if Cillissen leaves). The rest he left for the club to decide. 

Javi Gracia watched one player after the other be targeted unsuccessfully and then learned that Murthy had in fact been targeting players of a different profile altogether. The players on the list were either free players or those that could be secured on loan deals without compulsion in purchase. The quality of the players on the list was the most shocking to Gracia as a lot of them are over 30 years old, unproven and in one case from the third division. The statement from the conference was pointing to the fact that Gracia believes the quality in this list is insufficient to elevate Valencia. All of this was reported by Plazadeportiva.


Valencia come in this game on the back of a surprising 4-2 comeback win in the derby against Levante at Mestalla. The start of the game had Valencia looking like a relegation level team after conceding in the first 30 seconds and giving Levante 2-3 more very dangerous chances in the following minutes. Valencia managed to respond with a set-piece header from Paulista. Levante would take the lead again twice, the first overruled by VAR. Valencia would comeback again, turning an unfavorable 2 v 6 into a goal thanks to the combination of Kang In and Maxi Gomez. Substitute Manu Vallejo would grab 2 goals in the second half, the second of which was in stoppage time, to secure the win.

Celta Vigo played out a very even game away to Eibar in their first matchday. The game ended with a 0-0 scoreline. 

Valencia currently sit top of the league with 3 points while Celta are 9th with 1 point.


News this week also revealed that Rivero was almost loaned to Malaga before the Cillissen's injury but that has been cancelled since it is believed the injury will extend past the transfer window close date. He will be on the bench again to cover for Domenech.

With Mangala being injured last game, Gracia will have to rely on Diakhaby or Guillamon to partner Paulista. Molina is also available if needed. Lato has been recovered from his injury.

In midfield, Soler tore a muscle during training, and will be out for 3-4 weeks. This is unfortunate as the player had just started training again with the team. With Cheryshev also out with a recent injury, Koba Lein is called up from the youth team. Jason has also recovered from his injury and will be available for selection. It was questionable whether Racic would make the squad after some intense wisdom tooth pain.

In offense, Gameiro has recovered but is not yet ready for the game. No changes from the previous game as Alex Blanco covers for his absence if needed.

Bench: Rivero, Guillamon, Lato, Thierry, Centelles, Molina, Koba Lein, Jason, Sobrino, Vallejo, Alex Blanco


10' - Several chances for Celta in the opening 10 minutes. Mild efforts but efforts nonetheless.
13' - Goal for Celta Vigo. 1-0. The defense exposed once again. Four players around Nolita and they couldn't stop him. He drives through towards goal and plays a through ball for Iago Aspas who runs around the keeper and pokes it into the net. VAR is checking for offside after the linesman initially overruled it.
14' - Paulista seems to have picked up a knock after that last play. Hopefully he's okay.
15' - The goal stands as Wass had just played him onside. Valencia have to come back from behind for the second game in a row.
20' - Kondogbia with a shot from distance, but it's just wide of goal. Good effort.
24' - Yellow card shown to Tapia for a tackle from behind on Maxi Gomez
34' - Some disagreement between Gaya and Kang In over who should take the free kick. Eventually, Wass gets the ball to Gaya and Kang In walks off in frustration. 
45' - Two minutes added by the referee for stoppages.


Disappointing half. Valencia conceded early, not as early as last game, but in similar fashion. The complete collapse of the defense and midfield at the hands of a few opposition players. Why was Nolito allowed to carry the ball that long with 4 Valencia players around him?

When they went down, Valencia did not respond as they did last game. Celta's dominance persisted throughout the half. The only chances from Valencia came from a Kondogbia shot and some crosses that just missed their mark. From these, not a single shot actually hit the target.

Half-time stats. 8-3 shots, 4-0 shots on target, 46-54 % possession, 81-84 % pass accuracy.

Gracia's half-time adjustments changed things last game. Change is needed again. Let's see if he can impact the course of the game again.


45' - Double change for Valencia. Guedes and Kang In off, Vallejo and Jason on
46' - Goal for Valencia! 1-1! First shot on target by Maxi Gomez and it's a goal! Kondogbia finds Jason in midfield who does the same for Wass's advanced run. Wass puts in the cross and Maxi strikes it first time and into the net! Great team effort. Maxi refuses to celebrate the goal against his former side.
54' - Yellow card shown to Esquerdo for a strong follow through on the tackle on Nolita. Free kick given away in a dangerous position.
56' - Goal for Celta Vigo. 2-1. Iago Aspas scores directly from the free kick. After spending so much time setting up the way and adding additional players behind it to prevent a shot under the wall, Iago Aspas simply goes for the top corner and scores.
58' - Paulista misjudges the trajectory of the long ball which results in Nolito going clean through on goal, 1v1 against Domenech. Jaume manages to save the shot and the ball is cleared. That could've been much worse
64' - Paulista gets a header on target from a cross, forcing the keeper to save and push it over the crossbar.
65' - First set of changes for Celta. Denis Suarez and Beltran are replaced by Yokuslu and Miguel Perez
71' - Third substitution for Celta. Emre Mor is taken off, and Brais Mendes come on to take his spot.
72' - Gracia with another change for Valencia. Correia replaces Esquerdo. This sees Wass move to midfield and Correia take over at right-back.
79' - Final set of changes for Celta. Murillo and Tapia are replaced by Araujo and Gabriel Veiga Novas
83' - Almost a third goal from the away team as Brais Mendes's shot hits the crossbar.
84' - Final change for Valencia. Sobrino replaces Musah. Miguel hits the Valencia post as soon as play restarts. Celta could be up a few goals now.
87' - Celta temorarily down to 10 men after Aidoo walks off due to a head injury from a clash with Vallejo.
90' - Seven minutes of additional time is signaled by the 4th official.
90+1' - Yellow card shown to Okai for a tackle from behind on Wass.
90+2' - Maxi Gomez takes the resulting free kick and hits it low, managing to force a save from the keeper.


A chance to build momentum is not taken by Valencia. Celta take all three points and give Gracia quite a bit to think about.

The frailties shown against Levante are now beginning to appear as a persisting problem rather than a one-time thing. If management wasn't convinced that quality signings were needed, hopefully this will wake them up.

Unfortunately, the defense wasn't the only problem this game as the midfield looked very permeable and ineffective both offensively and defensively.

Kang In and Guedes had an especially disappointing game, with those two often expected to be the difference makers in a game. Their head was completely out of the game and it manifested as poor attitude towards the game.

Vallejo and Maxi have shown that they are capable of converting chances when they are provided with the service. Today, there wasn't much service, let alone quality service. The one good chance that Valencia got was converted by Maxi Gomez to cancel out Celta's first half goal.

Esquerdo again involved in the action as he gave away the free kick which Iago Aspas converted to get ahead. He cannot be solely blamed though as the opposing player was given plenty of space and forced a tactical foul from Esquerdo with no backup available.

Full-time stats. 23-9 shots, 6-3 shots on target, 52-48 % possession, 81-81 % pass accuracy.

Next game is Saturday the 26th at Mestalla against Huesca.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

La Liga Matchday #1: Valencia CF 4 - 2 Levante UD Match Thread

Valencia start off their first game of the season in a local derby against Levante UD at the Mestalla. This will be a great chance to evaluate the level of the team and hopefully build momentum in what would be the first of a series of "beatable" opponents.

Valencia's preseason was eventful. Javi Gracia took over as head coach and bean training the team on August 10. Key players like Parejo, Rodrigo, Coquelin and Ferran have all moved on to other clubs, another key player - Garay - had his contract expire with no renewal, Costa's loaned ended, while Piccini was recently loaned out. To deal with the absences, Javi Gracia heavily relied on the youth players as well as some of those returning from loans like Racic and Jason Remeseiro.

Valencia had 4 preseason fixtures in total, playing against Castellon (W: 1-0), Villareal (W: 2-1), Levante (D: 0-0) and Cartagena (W: 3-1) and remained unbeaten throughout. 

Levante's most notable loss in the transfer window was Borja Mayoral, who has been a rumored Valencia target, since his loan period has ended. Levante most notably brought in Jorge de Frutos and Dani Gomez from Real Madrid, while most other transfer activity was either free transfer arrivals or promotions from their youth team.

Levante played 5 preseason fixtures with some common opponents to Valencia's preseason. They faced Mallorca (W: 2-1), Valencia (D: 0-0), Cartagena (W: 2-1), Villareal (W: 2-1), Castellon (W: 1-0) and also managed to remain unbeaten.

The scorelines and results from the preseasons of both teams are actually really similar. Levante did play an additional game against Mallorca though.


The most notable absentees from the squad list are Gameiro, Jason and Cillissen, all missing due to injury. Lato is also not on the list, as he was not deemed fully ready after struggling with a muscle injury.

Due to the absences, Rivero, Centelles, Musah and Alex Blanco supplement the first team. Furthermore, Wass is listed as a midfielder and Guillem Molina gets on the list in defense.

Javi Gracia has recently expressed his dissatisfaction and concern with the lack of signings and had some strong words in his press conference. Anil Murthy's promise of having at least one signings before the start of the season was broken. However, the coach insists that those who are here are ready and can compete.

Bench: Rivero, Thierry, Diakhaby, Guillamon, Centelles, Molina, Soler, Cheryshev, Racic, Sobrino, Vallejo, Alex Blanco


1' - Goal for Levante. 0-1. About 30 seconds in before Esquedro loses the ball and is quickly punished for it. Morales runs into the box and perpendicular to the goal, dribbling past Kondogbia, avoids Paulista challenge and slides in between him and Wass before slotting it past Domenech at the far post. 
5' - Shaky start from Valencia. The ball is being given away time after time in dangerous positions.
9' - Gaya plays a pass along the touchline for Guedes to run into. Guedes sends a low cross into the box aimed at Maxi Gomez but the defender gets there ahead of him.
11' - Goal for Valencia! 1-1! Kang In sends the corner all the way to the far side where Paulista had found a pocket of space. Paulista just manages to squeeze the header between the keeper and the post. The service and goal-scoring from corners was really lacking last season, so this is great to see.
16' - First change of the game for Valencia as it looks like Mangala has picked up an injury. Diakhaby is his replacement.
18' - Goal for Levante. 1-2. Total pin-ball chaos at the back for Valencia. Diakhaby was drawn out of position and out of his penalty box. Morales gets the cross in which results in shot after shot at Jaume which he blocks one after the other. The ball falls to just inside the box where Melero strikes it into the net. 
19' - VAR is checking the goal and after a few minutes the goal is overruled due to handball. Lucky break for Valencia. Back to 1-1. The defense looks really vulnerable.
34' - Jaume Domenech with a fantastic save to deny Levante from taking the lead. Morales picks out Miramon in space on the right flank and continues his run into the box. Miramon sends a cross to the near post and Morales is there to head it but Jaume stop it.
36' - Goal for Levante. 1-2. The ball is given away by Guedes in a dangerous position just outside the box. Levante string together some passes between a square of players before picking out Morales centrally at the edge of the box. Diakhaby is drawn out to deal with him but he dummies his challenge before picking out the top right corner of goal. Nothing Jaume can do about that.
39' - Goal for Valencia! 2-2! Kondogbia plays the ball out from the back and finds Maxi Gomez in the center of the pitch. The striker turns away from the defender and spreads the ball out wide to Kang In. The youngster takes a few touches and is patiently waits for Maxi Gomez to make the incisive run in the box, threading in a fantastic through-ball. Maxi takes a touch and fires the ball across goal into the far post.
44' - Maxi plays the ball into space for Musah to run into which he does, managing to stay onside. He holds his run and waits for his teammates after a heavy touch. He pulls the ball back for Maxi Gomez at the edge of the penalty box where the striker tries a shot from distance that is spilled by the keeper. No one is in a good position to take advantage of the spill.
45' - Two minutes added by the referee for stoppages.


Mixed reaction at half-time. On the one-hand this is some of the worst defending from Valencia on display. On the other hand, this is quite a good showing in attack. 

Levante took the lead quite early with a complete collapse at the back. Valencia would continue giving the ball away and could've fell even further behind. The one chance that Valencia got from a corner was well-taken. Being a threat from these set pieces will add an extra dimension to Valencia's attack that was lacking in previous seasons.

Mangala's injury resulted in an early substitution for Valencia. Hopefully, these injuries don't persist like they did last seaosn. His replacement Diakhaby would be caught several times out of position, both resulting in goals. The first over-turned by VAR and the second stands. 

Valencia would equalize for the second time out of nothing. It was a 6v2 at the back with Levante outnumbering the Valencia players yet patience from Kang In and smart movement from Maxi would unravel their defense. 

Kang In, Maxi Gomez and Yunus Musah have really stood out this first half. They seem the most alert, most determined and are fully of energy. Naturally, they have caused the biggest problems for Levante. Javi Gracia really needs to sort out the defense in the second half. Even experienced players like Mangala and Paulista have looked very fragile against this Levante offense.

Half-time stats. 2-2 goals, 4-8 total shots, 4-5 shots on target, 44-56 %possession, 82-84% pass accuracy.


53' - Kondogiba does well to dispossess Levante in his own half. He quickly finds Guedes who drives the ball forward. He looks up and finds Musah's run and picks him out. He out paces his marker and gets into the box before taking a shot that hits the frame of the goal. Great chance!
59' - First substitution for Levante. Dani Gomez replaces Sergio Leon
62' - Yellow card shown to Rober Pier for a heavy challenge on Maxi Gomez
71' - Triple substitution for Valencia. Cheryshev, Racic and Vallejo come on for Guedes, Esquerdo and Kang In
72' - Wass with a wonderful diagonal ball that sets Vallejo up for a one-on-one against the Levante keeper. Unfortunately he could take advantage of the opportunity and had his shot blocked.
74' - Goal Valencia! 3-2! The substitutions by Gracia team up for the goal. Cheryshev puts in an early cross into the box. Maxi Gomez lets the ball go through for Manu Vallejo, who takes one touch away from the defender and scores past the frozen keeper. It's nice to see both forwards looking sharp and lethal.
76' - Double change from Levante. Vukcevic and de Frutos come on for Melero and Bardhi
84' - Musah goes down from fatigue and some cramps. 
85' - More changes from Levante. Postigo and Coke on, Radoja and Duarte off.
87 - Final substitution for Valencia. Musah is finally taken off, and Sobrino come on.
89' - Yellow card shown to Racic for time wasting.
90' - Four minutes added by the referee for stoppages.
90+3' - Goal for Valencia! 4-2! Cheryshev intercepts the Levante's ball out from the back and brings it forward for a counter attack. Maxi Gomez is picked out with a through ball and looked like he would grab a second but his shot bounces off the post. Thankfully, it falls to Vallejo, who made no mistake and smashes the ball into the roof of the net.
90+4' - Yellow card is shown to Campana for dissent.


A winning start for Javi Gracia. After a first half where the team looked vulnerable defensively, there was a lot of anxiety. In the second half, this wasn't the case though as the team looked a lot more stable.

Valencia seemed comfortable in the second half. Musah almost grabbed a goal in the opening few minutes of the half. Javi Gracia made a triple substitution all of whom would change the game. Talk about impactful subs.

Racic brought much need calm and collection in the midfield whereas Cheryshev and Vallejo would be instrumental to getting both the third and fourth goals for Valencia. They have definitely made a case for their selection in future games.

Full-time stats. 4-2 goals, 14-19 shots, 8-8 shots on target, 44-56 %possession, 80-86 % pass accuracy.

It seems likely that Javi Gracia will use the first half as leverage to squeeze one or two signings out of Anil and Lim. There is plenty of positives to take away and a step was made in building momentum. The coach has shown that he can make impactful decisions and made the team lethal in front of goal. The defense still has a lot of question marks on it though and he will certainly look to address that.

Next game will be on Saturday the 19th away against Celta Vigo. Amunt!

Sunday, July 19, 2020

La Liga Matchday #38: Sevilla FC 1 - 0 Valencia CF Match Thread

The final game of a season that couldn't possibly end fast enough for some Valencia fans. This was supposed to be the decider game on which of these two rivals would take the 4th spot and qualify for the Champions League. Unfortunately, only Sevilla managed to make it to the end of the path. They have already qualified for the Champions League, while Valencia play this game with the hope that they might qualify to the Europa League. A win here is not enough though, results from the Real Sociedad and Getafe games have to go in Valencia's favor as well.

The news since the last matchday has been a continuation of the discussion on who the next Valencia coach will be. Sources say that Lim could decide on Monday at the earliest and by the end of the week at the latest. The most discussed names have been Bordalas, Javi Garcia and Ruben Baraja, with names like Laurent Blanc, Valverde and Emery all fading away. It remains to be seen what Lim will do.

Sevilla arrive at this game with qualification secured. They are already looking ahead to their second leg Round of 16 of their Europa League fixture against Roma no doubt. In their last match day they played out a 1-1 away draw to Real Sociedad.

Valencia's last game was their final one at Mestalla for the season. They beat an already-relegated Espanyol side by a narrow 1-0 margin thanks to a goal from Gamerio that was set up with a brilliant Ferran through ball.

FORM ***all competitions

Sevilla: DWWWW
Valencia: WLWDL


Gaya and Rodrigo's absence continues as they work to recover from their injuries.

Costa will miss this game due suspension after he picked up a red card against Espanyol. This will mean that youngster Guerrero will be the likely starter.

Diakhaby will also miss this game with a suspension from accumulation of yellow cards, meaning Javi Jimenez gets another call up.

Esquerdo and Koba Lein are called up from the youth team to complete the squad numbers caused by absences.

Going the other way, Manu Vallejo has recovered and is available for selection.

Bench: Cillissen, Thierry, Guillamon, Jimenez, Guerrero, Kondogbia, Soler, Kang In, Esquerdo, Koba Lein, Vallejo, Sobrino


5' - Coquelin forces the opposing left-back into a rushed clearance which falls straight to Guedes with space ahead of him. He takes a few touches forward and fires from distances but Bono sees it all the way and parries.
15' - Jesus Navas wins back the ball at the edge of the Valencia box. Joan Jordan finds Navas again in the wide position who then plays the ball into the box to Oliver Torres. The youngster takes a touch and shoots at a narrow angle, forcing the save from Jaume nonetheless.
22 ' - Early substitution for Valencia, Guedes is subbed off after picking up an injury. Good thing this is the last game of the season. Unfortunate if he has to suffer another long-term injury. Soler is his replacement.
23' - Sevilla play the ball between themselves on the right flank before releasing a ball over the defense to Ocampos who acrobatically strikes at the ball and gets it on target. Jaume can save easily from such a tight angle.
28' - Diego Carlos with a long ball over the Valencia defense for Munir to run onto. He gets into the Valencia box but can only hit the side netting.
38' - Parejo's free kick is on target and caused some trouble for the keeper due to the bounce just before it made it to him. He manages to avert the danger and play goes to a corner.
45' - Five minutes are added by the referee for stoppages


47' - Reguilon tests Wass and is allowed quite a bit of space. He fakes that he is going for the run and instead picks out an incisive pass between Wass and Ferran to find Munir in the box. Munir's shot hits the far post and deflects away from goal towards Soler who clears. That was close.
52' - Yellow card shown to Carlos Soler for tripping Oliver Torres in a tactical foul after the player had pulled away from him.
55' - Goal for Sevilla. 1-0. Oliver Torres and Gudelj exchange passes on the left before Torres plays a ball for Reguilon to run onto. It seems like it's going out and Parejo watches it on its way, however, Reguilon perseveres in his run and puts in a sliding challenge to keep it in. He takes it past Parjeo near the goal line, gets past Wass as well sending him to the ground. Parejo is busy claiming the foul against Wass and Reguilon doesn't wait, he takes a touch to open up the angle at goal and blasts it into the top right corner. Really sloppy defensive work from Parejo and Wass.
71' -  Two changes in quick succession from each team. For Valencia, Maxi Gomez and Ferran Torres come off to be replaced by Sobrino and Kang-In Lee. For Sevilla, de Jong and Munir are replaced by Suso and En-Nesyri.
79' - Sevilla take off Oliver Torres and bring on Franco Vazquez in his place
82' - Final set of changes from Voro. Coquelin and Wass off, Kondogbia and Correia on.
83' - Parejo spreads play out wide for Correia on the right. He draws the attention of the opposing left-back and finds Gameiro's run behind the defender with a good pass. Gameiro drives the ball into the box and takes aim at the far post but his shot fizzles past the post.
84' - Jaume's clearance is blocked by En-Nesyri who heads the ball down to Suso. Suso takes a touch past Kondogbia causing him to lose his balance, and then another one to set himself up for the shot which is on the wrong side of the post.
85' - Final change for Sevilla. Lucas Ocampos is subbed off and Sergi Gomez takes his place.
90' - Five minutes of additional time signaled by the fourth official.
90+3' - Kondogbia receives the ball from Parejo and tries a shot from distance but its wide.
90+5' - Florenzi attempts a cross for Mangala but the keeper sithere to it first.


Hardly surprising based on recent results. The most surprising part was that they didn't lose by more. The team struggled against two relegation sides in their previous two games and now against a rival that has nothing more to play for this season.

Sevilla's goal sums up this game. One player had more spirit in him to fight for a lost ball while two Valencia players watched and tried to get the referee to intervene instead of doing so themselves. Parejo was never someone you would want defending in your own penalty box and he showed everyone why again today.

Valencia's only chance at the Europa League was if they got the win and all three points. They couldn't do that but even they could, they would be level on points with Granada and Real Sociedad in 6th place. The tie breaker is head-to-head matches where Valencia would beat Granada but lose to Real Sociedad, meaning Sociedad would qualify. However, depending on the Copa del Rey results, if Sociedad were to win, Valencia would've got the additional spot. Lot of if's but it's too late for that now.

Full-time stats. 12-6 shots, 3-2 shots on target, 61-39 %possession.

With the season over the owner has to take a hard look on how to rebuild this team. Learn from the mistakes of the past and stop trying the same thing over and over expecting different results, it won't happen and is just a fool's strategy. With no European competitions to partake in next season, it is the perfect time to rebuild and properly this time. No band-aids, no shortcuts. The hard way. The new coach has to be someone who can take this task and a proven record that has credibility with the players and allows them to get behind his ideas. That is the most important step. Next, he has to be involved in weeding out the players and having a say in the signings for next season. If these decisions are only evaluated from a business lens, the team will continue to suffer.

All that is the least that can be done for the fans that stuck with the team throughout the season. And for those that didn't, that would be a step to win them back.

Thank you everyone for keeping up with the posts throughout the season. Between us in the writers team, we managed to cover every game this season.and your comments under each thread were definitely something we look forward to reading. Stay tuned for more posts reviewing the season and player performance, keeping you up to date with transfer activity and preparations for the next season. Amunt!

Thursday, July 16, 2020

La Liga Matchday #37: Valencia CF 1 - 0 RCD Espanyol Match Thread

The penultimate game of the season and the last one at Mestalla. This would usually be a time in which teams would be fighting tooth and nail and mustering up every last bit of willpower and strength to achieve their goals. For these two teams here, Valencia and Espanyol, the season is over though. Valencia cannot practically qualify for either European competition while Espanyol are seeing out their last 2 games before bidding farewell to the first division as they cannot escape relegation in the time remaining. Nothing left to fight for and everything positive will only be a consolation prize.

Who will occupy the bench of Valencia for the coming season(s)? That has been the question that the media has been covering. Around three days ago, the talk was all about Laurent Blanc. This week it's learning more towards Bordalas.

Valencia come into the game following one of the most miserable games of the season. They played another relegation side, Leganes, away from home and went down 1-0 at half-time due to a penalty conceded. The home side were barely troubled. In the second half, Valencia got gift after gift. Leganes were reduced to 10-men via red card, Valencia were awarded a penalty and Leganes parked the bus, conceding all possession to Valencia. The home team made entirely defensive subs while Valencia brought on all the artillery they could off the bench. Yet still, the man advantage wasn't made use of, the penalty that was awarded was missed, and despite all the possession and firepower on the field Leganes would not concede. They would walk away with all 3 points.

Espanyol welcomed Eibar to their home grounds in the previous matchday. Despite having an equal amount of chances and over 70% of the possession in the game, they suffered a 0-2 defeat with both Eibar goals coming in the first half; one from open play and one a penalty.

The previous encounter between Valencia and Espanyol in La Liga ended in a 1-2 win for Valencia away from home. Espanyol would take the lead from a penalty due to a Diakhaby handball. Valencia evened out the game with a Parejo penalty after Rodrigo was taken down in the penalty box. Maxi Gomez scored the winner, meeting Rodrigo's cross to the near post with a header past the Espanyol keeper in the 80th minute.

FORM ***all competitions

Valencia: LWDLL
Espanyol: LLLLL


Gaya and Rodrigo are still in the process of recovery and miss the game. Manu Vallejo spent the last 3 days in the hospital and will miss this game as well. Esquerdo has been called from the youth team to complete the numbers.

Bench: Domenech, Mangala, Paulista, Wass, Florenzi, Guerrero, Parejo, Cheryshev, Coquelin, Esquerdo, Sobrino, Maxi Gomez

Starting XI looks very different. Mostly young players with Kondogbia, Costa, Cillissen, and Gameiro for experience. Thierry and Guillamon finally get their start under Voro. Parejo also finally gets rested.


17' - Goal for Valencia. 1-0! Ferrran Torres puts in a fantastic through ball behind the defenders for Gameiro to run onto. He gets into the box with the two center backs on his heels but he manages to slot it past the keeper at the near post.
36' - Fantastic save by Cillissen to deny a dangerous change from Espanyol. Didac Vila had put in a great cross for Raul de Tomas but Cillissen denied him the goal. Saves like these are the equivalent of goals.
39' - Yellow card shown to Pipa for dangerous play.
45' - Three minutes of stoppage time added by the referee.


59' - Yellow card shown to Diakhaby for tripping Raul de Tomas.
63' - First change for both teams. Valencia replace Kang-In with Coquelin while Espanyol replace Marc Roca with Oscar Melando.
66' - Yellow card shown to Raul de Tomas for a push on Kondogbia
69' - Yellow card shown to Didac Vila for a rough challenge on Kondogbia
71' - Single change for Espanyol. Raul de Tomas is replaced by Compuzano. Double change for Valencia. Correia and Ferran are taken off, Florenzi and Cheryshev are brought on.
77' - Final set of changes for Valencia. Diakhby and Gameiro make way for Paulista and Maxi Gomez.
80' - Yellow card shown to Coquelin for a tactical foul to stop the advancing Espanyol player
81' - Yellow card shown to Bernardo for a rough challenge on Maxi Gomez
85' - Espanyol are really going for it with a triple change. Sergi Darder, Lei Wu and Bernardo are replaced by Ribaudo, Lozano and Vargas.
90' - Yellow card shown to Jaume Costa for a lunging challenge on Pipa as he was about to get into the penalty box. VAR review the footage and calls the referee to check. The yellow card is overruled and a red card is shown instead. Valencia down to 10-men. The replay shows that he had his studs up and made contact with the calf of Pipa. Dangerous challenge.


Narrow win against the last place team in the league. Voro made a lot of rotations and changes from previous games, fielding a team composed largely of younger players. Still with these changes it wasn't enough for a convincing performance against Espanyol. However, there is plenty of room to grow and work with this young team, a lot of which don't have many minutes playing with each other, in the positions they did today or minutes at all in general.

Full-time stats 6-15 shots, 3-6 shots on target, 52-38% possession.

With Real Sociedad, Getafe and Villareal all dropping points this matchday, Valencia is still mathematically in contention for a Europa League spot. Depending on the results of the next and final matchday of the season, as well as the final of the Copa del Rey, the teams who qualify will be determined.

For Valencia, the final match of the season is away to Sevilla on Sunday, July 19.

Saturday, July 11, 2020

La Liga Matchday #36: CD Leganes 1 - 0 Valencia CF Match Thread

Three games from the end of the season. With some rivals having challenging games this matchday, Valencia should look to finally capitalize on this opportunity after wasting so many earlier in the season.

The rumor mill in Valencia this week mostly continued their speculation on who the new coach would be. There was also discussion on Guillamon and how strange it was that he stopped featuring in the team under Voro despite the coach giving all but one (Correia) of the other players some game time. Maybe this will change this game, who knows.

Leganes played out a 0-0 away draw against Eibar in their previous La Liga fixture. It was a pretty even game where there was one shot on target between both teams and it went to Eibar.

Valencia managed to secure their first win under Voro in a home game against Real Valladolid which finished 2-1. The team's first goal came in the first half after a great team play to win the ball back in the opposition half and a series of quick passes that ended in a squared ball for Maxi Gomez to finish. Valladolid would equalize a couple of minutes after the half-time restart, with a deflected cross into the penalty box being controlled by Victor Garcia before he quickly turned away from Diakhaby and beat Cillissen. Kang In Lee would take all 3 points for Valencia with fantastic shot from the edge of the penalty area.

The game earlier in the season between these two teams at Mestalla ended 1-1. Dani Parejo's first-half penalty goal was cancelled out by Leganes in the same half. A fortunate deflection off a Leganes player had fell into the path of Oscar Rodriguez in the penalty box where he managed to beat Cillissen at the near post.

Leganes are currently fighting relegation at second to last place in the league with 29 points. Valencia are in 8th position, 3 points away from Getafe and the Europa League places.

FORM (***all competitions)

Leganes: DWLLD
Valencia: WDLLL


More rotations from Voro, as Domenech starts over Cillissen, Costa starts over Guerrero and, both Kondogbia and Coquelin are in the same lineup. Coquelin has played on the right-side of midfield before but this could very well also be an experimental change in formation.

Bench: Cillissen, Thierry, Mangala, Florenzi, Guillamon, Guerrero, Soler, Cheryshev, Kang In, Ferran, Vallejo, Sobrino


5' - It looks like the formation for Valencia is still a 4-4-2 with Coquelin playing on the right flank.
7' - Guedes find himself unmarked in the opposition half and strikes at goal from distance, hitting the target and rattling the cross bar. It's good to see a diversification of the types of efforts on goal.
8' - Yellow card shown to Daniel Wass for a late challenge on Jonathan Silva.
15' - Penalty awarded to Leganes after Kondogbia's trailing hand made contact contact with the ball as it bounced off the head of the Leganes player.
17' - Goal for Leganes. 1-0. Ruben Perez scores from the penalty, just rolling it into the net as Jaume dives the wrong way.
23' - First substitution for Leganes. The injured Kevin Rodrigues is replaced by Bryan Gil.
26' - Free kick is well delivered by Parejo into the opposition penalty area and onto the head of Diakhaby. He nods it back across the face of goal, the keeper gets a touch, there is a bit of pinball between them and the Valencia players before the ball is finally cleared.
45' - Three minutes of injury time added by the referee.


Not that the half the Valencia would have wanted. Despite having the majority of possession in the half, the team still finds themselves behind on goals as well as total shots for that matter.

Valencia would cause some worry for Legans in the opening 10 minutes as Guedes struck a shot from distance that hit the cross bar. That was the closest that Valencia got to scoring.

At around the 15 minute mark, Valencia gifted the opposition a penalty after Kondogbia handled the ball. That was the only shot on target for Leganes and the goal that separates the two teams in this half. Valencia would not look like they were going to score for the remainder of the half.

With Coquelin occupying the right flank for this game, most of the attacks went through Guedes on the left. This made Valencia very predictable and easy to defend for Leganes. As soon as Guedes so much as touches the ball he gets taken out by his marker and the play shuts down.

Valencia has overall played very lethargic as the ball movement is very slow. This further adds to the predictability of the team and nullifies danger as Leganes defenders have plenty of time to get back and reorganize.

Voro's substitutions in the second half have usually had a positive impact on the team. Changes are definitely needed based on the performance of this half.

Half-time stats. 5-3 shots; 1-1 shots on target; 38-62% possession.


45' - First change for Valencia. Kondogbia is replaced by Ferran Torres. Coquelin moves to a central position as a result of this change.
46' - Diakhaby plays a ball over the defense to Ferran Torres who manages to beat the keeper, however he was in an offside position. The goal is ruled out.
52' - Yellow card shown Jonathan Silva for handling and kick Ferran Torres in an attempt to stop his run. VAR reviews the decision and calls the referee's attention to the challenge again. The yellow card is replaced with a straight red and Leganes is down to 10 men. Replay shows that he had made contact with Ferran's calf with his studs up.
56' - Parejo picks out Jaume Costa in the penalty box who then manages to get a shot on target but it's hit directly at the keeper. Easy save.
57 ' - Another VAR check for a handball by Tarin in the penalty box. It is a clear handling of the ball and a deserved penalty. Leganes falling apart over the last 5 minutes. Parejo steps up to take it.
59' - The penalty is saved. Cuellar guesses correctly and smothers Parejo's shot.
61' - Second change for Leganes. Roque Mesa replaces Guerrero. A defensive change as Leganes is left with no striker on the field.
63' - Jaume Costa plays a fantastic cross into the box and Ferran Torres gets on the end of it. The header is over the cross bar though. That needs to hit the target at least.
64' - Double substitution for Valencia. Cheryshev replaces Jaume Costa. Florenzi replaces Wass.
69' - Yellow card shown to Roque Mesa for forcefully stopping the run of Guedes. Free kick in a good position for Valencia.
70' - Parejo hits the target from the free kick, curling it towards the far post and forcing a save from the keeper.
73' - Another change in personnel for Valencia. Paulista off, Kang In on. Interesting to see how the players lineup with this change.
78' - Cheryshev gets past his defender and plays a cross to the opposite flank where Florenzi sends the ball across the face of goal. Gameiro slides in to get a touch but it is just out of reach. All it needed was a touch and it would've been a goal.
79' - Yellow card shown to Aitual Ruibal for a tackle from behind on Diakhaby. Red card shown to one of the Leganes staff for dissent against the referee.
85' - Double change for Leganes. Siovas and Gill are replaced by Recio and Aviles. Valencia's final change is Sobrino for Gameiro.
90' - Seven minutes added by the referee for injuries and stoppages.
90+2' - Yellow card shown to Awaziem for time wasting.
90+3' - Yellow card shown to Recio for a scuffle with Parejo.


Far from the level required for the Champions League or the Europa League for that matter. The result today is the best indicator of that and pretty much seals Valencia's fate outside of the two European competitions.

After a poor first half, Valencia was given the upper hand for almost the entirety of the second half as Jonathan Silva was shown a red card, leaving Leganes with 10 men.

Further after, Valencia would be given a penalty would be awarded to Valencia for a Leganes a handball. Parejo could not convert the effort to a goal with the keeper guessing the right way. That was Parejo's first miss in his last 6 penalties.

Leganes would make defensive change after change while Valencia would make one offensive change after the other. They would have significantly more shots and a lot on target.

On top of all that, many Leganes players were yellow carded and had to play cautiously to avoid further red cards. Despite that, Valencia could not find the goal. How? Who knows. All this against a team fighting relegation.

Valencia is known to struggle against team's that park the bus and Leganes did that for the entire second half with all their players behind the ball. This proved the case once more, with Valencia having no answers to the tight defense of Leganes.

Full-time stats. 6-13 shots, 1-5 shots on target, 34-66% possession.

Next game for Valencia at home to Espanyol on Thusrday July 16.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

La Liga Matchday #35: Valencia CF 2 - 1 Real Valladolid SAD Match Thread

Valencia return to Mestalla to face against Real Valladolid for matchday 35 of La Liga. The players and management have changed their words to align with reality and have been talking about Europa League being the season's objective. This was even happening before the last game despite the Champions League being mathematically possible. There is still debate as to whether or not that's worth it. Regardless, the team had quite a bit of work to do to achieve even that goal.

The past three days have featured rumors of who the next coach for Valencia could be. Names included Ernesto Valverde, Mauricio Pochettino, Massimilliano Allegri, Marco Silva and Laurent Blanc.

There was also news that Kang In has specifically asked to leave the club as he feels that he will never get the minutes he wants. Voro did feature players like Mangala, Sobrino and Vallejo which were out of favor for previous coaches, so it will be interesting to see if he gives Kang In a chance as well. Correia is another player desperate for minutes.

Valencia come into this game on the back of a 2-2 away draw at Granada. While Valencia were lucky to come away with a draw based on the chances that Granada had, the team did show improvement from the previous game in one key area: they got chances in front of goal and converted them. Not many chances, but they ended up in the back of the net. This was an area the team struggled with all season. The goals came from two players who needed a confidence boost. Vallejo scored after some perseverance from Cheryshev in finding him with a great pass, cancelling out the Granada lead quickly. Guedes would get Valencia in front with a beautifully struck shot from outside the penalty area. Unfortunately, the defense had a lapse to both allow a free kick and leave enough of a gap for the shot to pass through onto goal.

Real Valladolid played out a very tight game against Alaves at home. The game was even on almost every metric and the scoreline reflected that up until the 88th minute when Joaquin Moreno managed to put the home team in front, leaving the away team no time to respond.

The first fixture between these two teams in La Liga was in December with the game ending 1-1. With the game remaining scoreless for 82 minutes, Real Vallodolid found the goal in the 83 minute. Valencia would find the equalizer late in injury time as Ferran plays the ball across the face of goal where Manu Vallejo tapped the ball into an empty net.

***FORM (all competitions)

Valencia: DLLLW
Real Valladolid: WDDDL


The positive news in terms of personnel is the return of Ferran Torres after missing last game due to injury. Additionally, there was worry that Jaume Costa picked up an injury against Granada as he was subbed off in half time for Guerrero. However, those worries were alleviated and he is included in the squad list for this match.

Bench: Domenech, Thierry, Costa, Mangaka, Wass, Guillamon, Cheryshev, Ferran, Coquelin, Vallejo, Sobrino


30' - GOAL VALENCIA! 1-0! Good pressure from Valencia to win the ball back in the opposition half. Guedes carries the ball forward through the middle and picks out the run of Gameiro on the right. Gameiro looks up and plays a ball between the defenders legs, across the face of goal where Maxi Gomez pokes it past the keeper.
45' - Four minutes of injury time added by the referee


46' - Substitution for Valladolid. Ruben Alcaraz comes on for Federico Emeterio.
47' - Goal for Real Valladolid. 1-1.  A cross from Valladolid is deflected by Soler and falls fortunately to their strikers in the penalty box. Victor Garcia has his back to goal with Diakhaby pressuring him. He turns quickly and fires at the far post, beating Cillissen.
59' - Triple substitution for Valladolid. Enes Unal, Ben Arfa, and Victor Garcia are replaced by Sergi Guardiola, Pablo Hervias and Sandro.
64' - First changes in personnel for Valencia. Kang In Lee replaces Carlos Soler, Manu Vallejo replaces Gameiro and Coquelin replaces Parejo.
71' - Yellow card shown to Adrian Guerrero for a rough foul on Pablo Hervias
75' - Yellow card shown to Kondogbia for tripping Sergi Guardiola
83' - Double change for Valencia. Wass comes on for Florenzi and Cheryshev replaces Guerrero (strangely).
84' - Final change for Valladolid. Kiko Perez off, Javi Sanchez on.
88' - GOAL VALENCIA! 2-1! Kondogbia and Guedes play a one-two on the right flank before laying it off for Kang In right at the edge of the box. Kang In takes a few touch inside and fires at the near post, his shot masked from the keeper by the defender marking him and the ball sneaks just inside the post. He took a risk at a critical time and it paid off.
90' - Five minutes of injury time added by the referee
90+2' - Yellow card shown to Guedes for a a heavy challenge on Kiko


First a loss (although could've been worse), then just barely scraping a draw (although could've been worse) and finally a narrow win (although could've been worse). This has been the team's performance after Celades left. The improvement is coming in small intervals but it's there. Let's hope the next game carries this momentum forward.

The results keep improving under Voro. First off, the team had shots and most of them were on target, That's a very important step forward. The flip side of that still remains in that Valladolid were allowed the same number of shots and similar number on target despite seeing less of the ball.

Once again, a substitution made by Voro had the intended effect on the game and resulted in a positive outcome for the team. Kang In was given some play time as predicted in the preview to this game, following the pattern of Voro giving more bench players chances in previous games.

The first goal for Valencia was a very team-spirited goal. They pressured together to win the ball and then strung together quick passes to counter-attack and give Maxi Gomez the chance to score.

The goal for Valladolid was a combination of a failure to close down both the player delivering the cross (marked by Soler) as well as Victor Garcia in the penalty area (marked by Diakhaby), and a good piece of individual skill by Garcia.

Valencia's winning goal also involved some combination play between Kondogbia and Guedes to bring the ball forward. However, Kang In took on responsibility himself to set up a good angle and squeeze the ball past the keeper. masked by his marker.

Full-time stats. 8-8 shots, 5-5 shots on target, 57-43% possession.

Next game is on Sunday July 12th away to Leganes.

Friday, July 3, 2020

La Liga Matchday #34: Granada CF 2- 2 Valencia CF Match Thread

Five games remaining for Valencia to rescue the situation and achieve their goal of Champions League qualification. Phrases often heard from the club are "one game at a time" and "every game is a final for us". These were used so much to the point where they don't mean anything anymore, especially since the actions that follow contradict these words.

More words that came this week were from owner Peter Lim's family with regards to the discontent of the fans at the club. His daughter made a short statement along the lines of 'Valencia is ours and we can do whatever we want with it'. At a time where tension is high, statements like these only add to the tension and come off as combative and irresponsible.

Peter Lim's son, on the other hand, wrote a more thought out message in which he communicated sentiments of understanding and empathy with what the fans were thinking and tried to unite under a common goal of the better of Valencia CF. He also explained his father's absence from the scene and from football matches, pointing to his age (66). He says that as his father approaches 70, he cannot make these long trips frequently.

While the statement was a lot more responsible and aimed at de-escalation, in contrast with his sister's message, it still seemed to avoid taking responsibility. There are also parts that don't add up. The spirit of working together for a common goal is nice and all, but it cannot be taken seriously be a management that has demonstrated an inability to work with or negotiate. Whether that be player contracts, coaching decisions or with regards to the stadium. Also, it should be said that the few times Lim has visited Valencia, it was a stopover or detour on his way to Manchester or Paris or some other place. It communicates a lack of interest in the affairs of the club and makes it seem like Valencia isn't a top priority. Now that this was addressed, fans can only hope that this time real change comes and it's not just empty words. Now back to the match.

Granada played out a 0-2 away win against Alaves in their previous fixture. Despite having the lesser portion of possession and chances, they still managed to walk way with a win and a clean sheet. Antonin and Soldado were the two scorers for Granada, scoring mid-way into the first half and in the first few minutes of the second respectively. Soldado will look to make a statement against his former side this game, as Alcacer did recently.

Valencia, on the other hand, suffered a 0-2 home defeat against Athletic Bilbao. It was the first defeat at Mestalla this season. Both goals for Bilbao came from Raul Garcia and were the result of poor passes from the Valencia players. Twelve minutes into the game, Kondogbia's pass was intercepted and quick passes to a wide position followed by a squared ball to Raul Garcia saw Valencia go 0-1. Jaume Costa's pass out from the back in the first few minutes of the second half would also get intercepted and 2-3 passes found Raul Garcia at the edge of the penalty area. He took a touch and shot from distance and managed to beat Cillissen. Valencia would come into the game and take over for the rest of the game with the vast majority of chances going there way. Despite that, as well as changes in personal and strategy from interim coach Voro, the team could not finish despite the quality of chances. Maxi Gomez and Rodrigo were both off their game in front of goal and it wasn't to be.

Valencia beat Granada 2-0 in the earlier match between these two teams at Mestalla. Wass scored the first goal for Valencia late into the second half, being first to react after Maxi Gomez scuffed the delivery from Gameiro's cross. Ferran would score the second, 8 minutes into injury time, capping off a solo run that exploited the space that was left behind by the Granada players in their attempt to equalize.

FORM ***all competitions

Granada: WLDLD
Valencia: LLLWL


Rodrigo has picked up an injury (partial tear in the outside collateral ligament of his right knee) during the last game that will see him miss the rest of the season with the expected recovery time being approximate 1.5 months. Rodrigo has been Valencia's main source of goal since the return of the league. Valencia will have to explore other options such as using Gameiro, Vallejo or Sobrino to fill the void. Additionally, Ferran and Guedes have also played there for Valencia in the past, there are plenty of options.

Ferran suffers from a discomfort in his inner right thigh so he's out of the squad list. There is no estimate yet on how long his absence will be.

Gaya will miss this game also as he recovers from his injury that had him miss the last game as well. Should be about a week or so until he is expected back.

Esquerdo and AdriĆ  Guerrero (left-back) join the first team in this squad list.

Starting XI features many changes. Costa continues to cover for Gaya's absence. Mangala rejoins Paulista in the center of defense, ahead of both Guillamon and Diakhaby. Wass is chosen over Florenzi. Cheryshev and Soler will play the two wide positions after proving useful last game as substitutes. Vallejo takes the place of Rodrigo in attack. Gameiro starts instead of Maxi Gomez.

Bench: Domenech, Thierry, Diakhaby, Florenzi, Guillamon, Guerrero, Kondogbia, Guedes, Kang In, Esquerdo, Maxi Gomez, Sobrino


14' - Parejo with a mistake that could've cost Valencia a goal. Thankfully, Daniel Wass is there to clean up.
27' - Different free kick play from Valencia. Parejo plays it short to Wass who puts in the cross first time to Mangala. Unfortunately, he is penalized for a foul and the play goes to waste.
35' - VAR check for a potential handball by Mangala. The decision goes Valencia's way and the penalty is not given.
39' - Carlos Neva puts in a cross to the near post to find the run of Carlos Fernandez. Cillissen produces a great save to deny a very good chance for Granada.
43' - A crossfield ball to the Valecnai penalty area is controlled by Soldado under pressure from Mangala. Soldado manages to win himself some space and get a shot across the face of goal. The ball goes wide.
45' - Three minutes of time added for stoppages.
45+1' - Yellow card shown to Foulquier for a take-downon Vallejo who had dribbled past a few of the Granada players.
45+2' - Parejo plays a ball into space for Gameiro to run onto on the right flank. He manages to square the ball across and almost finds Vallejo but the keeper gets there first.


Quite an underwhelming half. Many of the most potent players for Valencia started on the bench or are injured. The ones that have played haven't troubled the Granada goal too much. In fact, yet again Valencia have failed to produce a shot, let alone a shot on target, in this half.

Granada had all of the chances in the half and caused the bigger threat in general. A save from Cillissen as well as some key tackles from Wass and Paulista have helped keep the score level thus far.

Valencia's most dangerous chance came from a Gameiro cross in the final minutes of the game, intended for Vallejo. Unfortunately, Granada got to the ball first to deny the chance.

Half-time stats. 4-0 shots, 1-0 shots on target, 54-46 %possession.


45' - First substitution for Valencia. Jaume Costa is replaced by AdriĆ  Guerrero
48' - Good chances for Granada. Cillissen commits himself to deal with the corner delivery. He gets a hand to it but Soldado gets his header on the ball and sends it towards the center. With Cillissen out of position, Domingos gets a header and hits the post. The offside flag goes up. It wouldn't have counted regardless.
54' - Machis opens up the Valencia defense with a through ball to Soldado. He strikes at goal but it's way too high.
58' - A through ball from Granada is poorly dealt with due to miscommunication between Wass and Cillissen. The Granada player carrying the ball back into the box is taken down by Coquelin and a penalty is awarded. VAR checks the decision. The penalty stands.
60' - Goal for Granada. 1-0. The penalty from Carlos Fernandez is converted, sending Cillissen the wrong way.
62' - GOAL VALENCIA! 1-1! Manu Vallejo with the equalizer, getting his second goal of the season. Cheryshev puts in a a great through ball under pressure, taking out three defenders. Vallejo, completely through on goal, quickly rolls the ball past the frozen keeper.
65' - Double change for Valencia. Vallejo and Cheryshev are replaced by Maxi Gomez and Guedes.
66' - Granada with a single change. Eteki is replaced by Vico.
68' - GOAL VALENCIA! 1-2! The corner delivery from Parejo is headed away. The ball falls to Paulista who passes back to Guedes who was waiting outside the penalty area. He hits it first time, smashing the ball into the top right corner of the net. This is the level fans expect from Guedes.
70' - Second change for Granada. Victor Diaz Miguel is taken off and Antonio Puertas is introduced.
72' - A well executed counter attack for Valencia end with a cross from Soler to Gameiro who made a run between the center backs. Gameiro goes clear through on goal and shoots it straight at the keeper. He really needs to finish from such a good position.
73' - A cross from Granada is headed down by Fernandez to Soldado. He takes a touch inside the penalty area and fires at goal from the volley but Cillissen is equal to it.
80' - Substitution for Valencia. Sobrino replaces Kevin Gameiro.
82' - Granada with their final set of changes. German Sanchez and Carlos Neva are taken off.  Jesus Vallejo and Gil Diaz come on their place.
83' - Cross from Granada is sent to the air by Parejo and falls fortunately to a Granada player in the penalty box. He plays a short pass to Soldado who is quick to shoot but he still cannot score.
85' - Goal for Granada. 2-2. Mangala conceded a free kick at the edge of the box. Fede Vico finds a gap through the wall in the space left between Coquelin and Sobrino. Cillissen cannot reach the ball as it settles into the net at the near post.
87' - Final change for Valencia. Parejo off, Kondogbia on.
89' - Yellow card shown to Guedes for dissent against the referee.
90' - Seven minutes of injury time are added by the referee.
90+4' - Yellow card shown to Herrera for a very late challenge on Guerrero.
90+6' - Yellow card shown to Wass for a shove.


While the first half was one to forget, the whole game picked up in the second half. Valencia showed up in this second half and made it a proper game. In the end, Valencia can only walk away with one point. However, it was great to see some signs of intent and life from this team as they came back into the game.

Granada took the lead with a penalty due to a rash tackle by Coquelin. Valencia responded quickly with Cheryshev and Vallejo teaming up to carry the ball forward in the final third and find the space for a goal. It was a good finish from Vallejo, especially having been away from the field for so long. Cheryshev did well to persevere in his attempts to pass the ball into space.

Voro strangely replaced both Cheryshev and Vallejo soon after their goal, bringing on Guedes and Maxi Gomez. Despite that, it wouldn't take long for Valencia to take the lead after that. Guedes showed real quality to strike the ball with such accuracy from that distance. He was always capable of such goals and it's good to see him grab another goal and continue to build confidence. This was his second goal since the restart and both goals were of high quality.

Granada would then go on to equalize after Mangala gifts a free kick at the edge of the area to Granada. That was the first mistake. Then, Coquelin and Sobrino allowed a space in the wall which Vico capitalized on to beat Cillissen. Another self-inflicted injury to Valencia.

Granada had the vast majority of shots and chances in the game. They almost reclaimed the lead and Valencia was very fortunate to see out the game as a draw.

Credit to Voro for making the most of the squad available to him. Despite the injury to key players, he was able to achieve an away draw and a come back into the game, all while using rotations and giving some players much needed game time.

Full-time stats. 14-4 shots, 5-3 shots on target, 56-44 %possession.

Next game is on Tuesday July 7 at Mestalla against Real Valladolid.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

La Liga Matchday #33: Valencia CF 0 - 2 Athletic Bilbao Match Thread

The team return to Mestalla to play against Athletic Bilbao in matchday 33 of La Liga. The team will play this game without manager Albert Celades on the sideline, having been sacked by Peter Lim on the 29th. Simply speaking, Lim's experiment failed and has set the team back a few years when they were on the rise for the past 2 years. Valencia will also be missing Ezequiel Garay whose contract expired today with no intention of renewal from the club. Garay has been one of the most solid and consistent players in his time at Valencia, and even with a lack of depth in the center back position, the club decided not to renew.

Voro has stepped in once again as interim coach to see out the season. While Valencia's target of qualifying to the Champions League is not yet mathematically impossible, it is very difficult at the current form of the team. There were many golden opportunities presented to the team as rivals dropped points, but the team did not capitalize on them.

Valencia played a derby against Villareal in the last matchday and suffered a 2-0 defeat away from home. It was one of the most embarrassing performances of the season with the team failing to get a single shot on target. Matter of fact, they struggled to get a shot period. Both goals for Villareal came from complete lack of focus, allowing Alcacer and Gerard Moreno the time and space to be picked out and volley the ball past Cillissen. The team failed to respond in the second half, allowing Villareal to continue to impose themselves on the game with no answer. 

Athletic Bilbao played and defeated RCD Mallorca in their last game, winning 3-1 at home. Despite being a relatively even game, Athletic Bilbao were the most effective in front of goal scoring two goals in the first 24 minutes of the game. Mallorca would get their own penalty in the 70th minute of the game to get themselves into the game before Bilbao put the game beyond them one minute into injury time. 

The last fixture between these two teams earlier in the La Liga season, saw Valencia grab all 3 points against Athletic despite playing away from home. It was one of the better performances of the team. Denis Cheryshev grabbed the only goal of the game in the 27th minute. Maxi played a brilliant through ball from midfield to Ferran Torres who then squared the ball across to the center for Cheryshev to finish.

One point separates Valencia and Athletic Bilbao in the league table. Valencia sit 8th with 46 points and Bilbao a point below them at 9th. It should be said that Valencia is still undefeated at home in La Liga.


Mangala returns to the squad after serving his suspension in the previous game. Diakhaby also returns to the lineup after being cleared by the medical team. Gaya is the notable absence in this game with a hamstring injury that was picked up last game. There is an estimate of 10 days on his return to action. 

Costa starts for the injured Gaya, Florenzi is chosen over Wass, Soler is benched in favor of playing both Guedes and Ferran, and Diakhaby is restored to the team.

Bench: Domenech, Thierry, Mangala, Wass, Guillamon, Soler, Coquelin, Cheryshev, Kang In, Gameiro, Vallejo, Sobrino


12' - Goal for Athletic Bilbao. 0-1. Kondogibia's pass in midfield is poor and gets intercepted by Munain. He picks out Williams on the wing who then squares the ball to set up Raul Garcia's shot which sends Cillissen the wrong way.
19' - Valencia lose the ball at the edge of their area. The time the culprit is Ferran. Cordoba fires at goal but Cillissen just gets a touch on it with his trailing leg. Paulista almost deflects it back it into the goal.
39' - Florenzi puts out a great cross to Maxi Gomez, setting up the best chance for Valencia. Maxi Gomez gets away from his defender and attacks the ball but the header is wide. Maxi needs more of this kind of service. He should do better with the finish though.
45' - Three minutes of stoppage time added by the referee.


Well, everyone knew that just removing Celades and having Voro take over would not be enough to cause dramatic change; especially not from the first game. There is clearly plenty of work to get this side back to where they need to be. That is not to say though, that this is even Voro's responsibility. He could've simply been tasked to see out the season and get what he can from it.

As to how the players have taken it, some players, especially Kondogbia and Parejo, seem to be lacking in confidence as they play or weighed down by the stress of this week. Rodrigo seemed to be in this camp as well. Others like Guedes and Ferran, seem unaffected.

The only clear and significant change is the absence of Soler in favor of playing both Guedes and Ferran. They also have both been allowed the freedom to swap flanks whenever they wished.

After the first ten minutes or so of the game where Valencia showed intent to change things, the team very quickly lost confidence and let Athletic Bilbao take control of the game. Guedes had the best chance during that period of time for Valencia, forcing a save from the keeper.

Soon after, Bilbao would take the lead through a dispossession of Kondogbia's pass by Munain. The ball made its way to Williams who simply had to fire the ball across goal where Raul Garcia had managed to get goal-side of Florenzi and slot the ball past Cillissen.

Valencia would be pinned in their own half for the next while but slowly over the course of the half make their way back into the game. Maxi Gomez would be involved in just about all Valencia's chances that would come. He finds the spaces well, attacks them but often the delivery to him is sub-par. The one time he did get a good cross from Florenzi, the finish was poor. This was a problem that Valencia dealt with often, regardless of coach.

Valencia finished the half with the momentum in their favor and on the rise. If they carry it forward, it is very possible to get back into the game and cause serious problems for Bilbao. Voro needs to look to lift his players and instill confidence in those that seem to be lacking it.

Half-time stats. 5-2 shots, 1-1 shots on target, 52-48 %possession.


47' - Goal for Athletic Bilbao. 0-2. Jaume Costa tried to play the ball out from the back and sees his pass to Parejo get intercepted. Two quick passes from Bilbao to find Raul Garcia, who looks up, takes a touch and fires from distance, striking it well enough to beat Cillissen. More self-inflicted misery by Valencia.
52' - Williams plays a one-two at the right edge of the Valencia penalty area and sets himself up for a good chance at goal. Jaume Costa puts in a sliding challenge to deny the shot.
54' - Voro needs to make a change soon. Athletic Bilbao are carving out the Valencia midfield and defense with ease time and time again.
61' - Double substitution for Valencia. Ferran Torres and Guedes are both replaced. Cheryshev and Soler are introduced to replace them.
63' - Both substitutions for Valencia have put the ball into the box on their first few touches of the ball. The message must've been: more service into the box.
65' - Athletic Bilbao introduce their own double change. Unai Lopez and Inaki Williams are both replaced. Villalibre and Vesga come on in their place.
67' - Another chance for Valencia gets squandered due to a poor final pass. Cheryshev had spotted the run from Maxi Gomez but overhit the pass.
69' - Cheryshev with a curling cross to the far side and this time it's spot on, finding the head of Maxi Gomez. The header is tame and off target. Needs to do better there.
70' - Cheryshev with another cross with Rodrigo as the target. He finds him but Rodrigo had stepped into an offside position.
72' - Florenzi puts in an early cross to the far post and finds Maxi Gomez. He heads the ball down to Rodrigo who takes a shot and misses. These wasted chance could've had Valencia level already.
74' - Third change for Valencia. Maxi Gomez is replaced by Kevin Gameiro.
81' - Second set of changes for Athletic Bilbao. Munain and Raul Garcia are taken off to be replaced by de Marcas and Sancet.
82' - Yellow card shown to Diakhaby for tripping up the opposition player who had passed him.
84' - Last set of changes from Voro. He replaces both Parejo and Florenzi, bringing on Vallejo and Wass. There is a change of formation to a 4-3-3 to match. Captain's armband is given to Rodrigo.
89' - Final change for Bilbao, Cordoba off, Balenziaga on.
90' - Four minutes of time added by the referee for stoppages.
90+1' - Soler delivers a free kick into the penalty area. Diakhaby contest the keeper for the ball and earns himself a punch as the keeper comes out to deal with the ball. It falls to Gameiro at the edge of the box with the keeper still out of place. He cannot hit the target as the effort is high and wide.


Valencia's 17 game unbeaten run at Mestalla is put to an end by Athletic Bilbao. Valencia failed to carry forward the momentum from the latter part of the first half and suffered a second a few minutes into the second half.

This was another self-inflicted goal as the pass out from the back from Jaume Costa was intercepted. A few passes found Raul Garcia who fired from distance and found the goal.

Valencia would remain on the back foot in the game for a while after. This would change after a double substitution from Voro, introducing both Cheryshev and Soler with clear instruction to increase service into the box.

Over the remaining time in the half, cross after cross would be put in, mainly from Cheryshev, with some from Florenzi as well as Soler. The quality of the delivery was varying but mostly positive, however the finishing could not match. It is fair to say that there were enough chances to tie the game, and even further to go for the win. The team still struggles with the finishing though.

It should be said that there was nothing special really about these substitutions, as we have seen similar changes at similar times come from Celades. The difference, however, in their impact came from the instruction to do something different. Substitutions were made to address a problem rather than making changes for changes sake. Replacing Maxi with Gameiro was a result of the poor finishing despite the good supply. The final two changes saw Vallejo and Wass come in, and even a change in formation. This was more of a last-ditch effort to change the tide of the game.

The difference in coaching experience has shown. There were still many aspects of the game that were very poor, especially the finishing. However, it would be unfair to expect these to happen from one game or for these changes to come from Voro in general. He is there simply as an interim coach. If he manages to bring about change, then the next manager can have something to build on. If he doesn't then the manager should have no problem starting from scratch. Heck, they might even do that anyway depending on the changes that come with the transfer market as well as their own vision for the team.

This result sees Athletic Bilbao leap-frog Valencia in the league standings, now sitting at two points ahead at 48 points. The gap to 4th place is now 11 points for Valencia with 6 games remaining in the season. Still not mathematically impossible is what the message will be from the team and management, yet it certainly seems impossible based on form and how many events have to go Valencia's way for it to happen.

Full-time stats. 9-7 shots. 1-4 shots on target, 51-49 %possession.

Next game is on Saturday July the 4th, played away against Granada who, with their result today, are level on points with Valencia.