Sunday, October 17, 2021

FC Barcelona 3-1 Valencia CF Match Report

1: Match starts. It will be an interesting game as both teams have good chances to win tonight!

4: GOOOOOOAAAALLLL!!!! Valencia CF scores through Jose Luis Gaya! Valencia CF gets a corner, the corner kick gets deflected few times and ultimately goes towards Gaya who was standing just outside the final third and send in a powerful shot and scores a goal.

9: Good chance by FC Barcelona, a cross goes towards Jordi Alba, he rushes towards the ball, but Gaya just reaches before him and send the ball into corner

10: Counter action developing for Valencia CF on the other side, but Maxi is dispossessed from the ball.

12: Barcelona gets an equalizer, Depay send a pass to Fati and this one with a powerful long range shot beats Cillessen. 

17: FC Barcelona having the initiative in the past 5-6 minutes, Valencia CF need to take control of the ball and start bullying Barcelona.

21: Valencia CF with a big chance as Guedes send in a pass into the penalty area, unfortunately no player from Valencia CF is there to take advantage of it. 

24: Counter attack for Valencia CF, Maxi gets handles a long range cross, brings the ball down and send a through pass to Guedes, he dribbles past one player and shoots, but his shot goes wide off goal. 

32: Barcelona attacking, dangerous cross from the right side, but Paulista clears

35: Another dangerous attack by FC Barcelona, trying few shots towards Valencia's goal, but VCF players covering good and blocking the shots.

38: Penalty for FC Barcelona after a minor contact between Gaya and Fati, there was barely any contact, but its Barcelona the refs have to help them.

40: Memphis Depay scores from the penalty spot, Cillessen had no chance. The penalty was completely weak, 9 out of 10 times in other circumstances that wouldn't be a penalty! 

49: Great save by Cillessen after a powerful shot towards goal by Fati, Valencia CF need to step up in this second half.

52: Amazing chance for Valencia CF as Guedes play Soler on in a good position, he shoots but hits the post. 

57: Goncalo Guedes shoots from outside the box, but Marc-Andre ter Stegen saves

60: First change for Valencia CF, Hugo Duro leaves for Marcos Andre 

66: Chance for Barcelona as Coutinho tries to shoot from the side, but he is covered and the threat neutralized.

83: Good goal kick taken by Maxi Gomez, but goes just wide.

84: Goal by Barcelona, poor marking and tracking by our players allowing Dest to send a cross to Coutinho who found himself alone at goal and easily slotted into the net.

85: Match is over, kind of an easy win for Barcelona as Valencia CF did not took its chances and allowed Barcelona too much space!

93: Final whistle, Barcelona wins against Valencia CF at the Camp Nou. 

This is it ladies and gents, Valencia CF lost against FC Barcelona, I said that a draw doesn't benefit either side and we would likely see a winner and we did, unfortunately for us it is Barcelona, they just seemed to want it more tonight. Valencia CF had its chances, we had few good chances in the first half and then also few more good chances in the second half and almost equalized, but luck was not with us. I also think that loose penalty turned the game around, up to that point the game was equal and FC Barcelona didn't seem like they are able to score, but putting them on top just before the half time just negatively affected Valencia CF players. 

It was a fairly close game, both teams had their chances, Barcelona were just slightly better and had more of the initiative, but looking at the performance and statistics it was a fairly close match. I think our lack of depth really hurts us, okay you can put in Cheryshev in for Hugo Duro, but who else? Helder Costa has barely featured and even tonight didn't get much minutes, so we have no clue of his performance, but overall our substitutions did not add anything, in fact they seemed to weaken the team. 

Worse Valencia CF teams have beaten a much stronger Barcelona, so its a big shame that we could not beat them, this leaves us in a difficult position as we are now cemented in the middle of the table and the great start to the season seems like a distant memory. Thankfully we have some easier matches coming our way and we should be able to make some progress there and acquire some points.

FC Barcelona vs Valencia CF Match Preview

La Liga matches continued this week after the international break, and Valencia CF will be visiting FC Barcelona in what will most certainly be an eventful match. Neither team has looked particularly great, Valencia CF started off really good, but then after the loss to Real Madrid the team faltered and we had plenty of injuries, while FC Barcelona have been faltering since the start and they don't look too hot!

As you know FC Barcelona sold Lionel Messi in the summer and they can not over rely on him anymore to bail them out of tight situations! Ronald Koeman has been their coach for the past two seasons and he's probably part of the reason they are doing so poorly right now, as many of you remember he coached Valencia CF for one season and this terribly, almost coached VCF out of the first division.

So Valencia CF has a great chance to get away with a win on this visit against FC Barcelona and we have some of our players returning from injury, so that is a big boost to the team and we had plenty of time during the international break to prepare for this match. 

Both Valencia CF and FC Barcelona are sitting on 12 points on the table and next to each other, so a win for either team would be a big boost, considering the difference on the table is still quite small and just 3 points can change the whole table and jump a team several places on the table. 

FC Barcelona are also struggling with injuries and thus Pedri, Martin Braithwaite, Ronald Araujo, Ousmane Dembele and Sergio Aguero are out for this match. For Valencia CF most of our injured players have recovered and should be available for selection, the only injured player we currently have is Piccini and Omar Alderete has accumulated a total of 5 yellow cards so he is suspended for this match!

Barcelona has a 13.6% shot conversion rate in La Liga their lowest since 2007-08 (13.5%), they are also very leaky at the back as well, and they've lost to very weak teams so far in La Liga, so they are not the powerhouse they once were and Valencia CF should be looking at this Barca just as any other team and looking to win.

Valencia CF Squad: Cillessen, Correia, Paulista, Diakhaby, Gaya; Soler, Hugo, Wass, Cheryshev; Gomez, Guedes

Winning Probability: FC Barcelona 45%, Draw 15%, Valencia CF 45%

Result Prediction: Most betting sites and preview predictions are saying that FC Barcelona is the clear favorite and that they are going to win, but I think Valencia CF also has a big chance to win tonight, FC Barcelona are leaky in the back, they also don't have proficient scorers right now without Aguero, so where are they better at than Valencia CF? They are still relying on Jordi Alba and Pique in defense and the slow Busquets in the middle. Both teams need a win here, so I think the chances of a draw are slim and don't work in anyone's favor, but I'm going to give the nod to Valencia CF here and say FC Barcelona 2-3 Valencia CF. 

Saturday, October 2, 2021

Cadiz CF 0-0 Valencia CF Match Report

This match was supposed to be Valencia's turnaround to make a course correction over the past few bad results, and get back on winning ways, but unfortunately we have a serious lack of depth. I wrote it in the match preview that our squad depth is thin, but that we should have enough to beat a weak Cadiz who have one of the worse defenses in the league, but I guess even that is a high order.

Without Correia and Gaya bombarding on the wings and Soler with his creativity and technique we don't seem to be creating many chances and even the ones we create there is no person who can finish them consistently. This match was supposed to be Marco Andre's time to shine, but we saw why he isn't highly valued and why is was a bargain sale, albeit a bit more expensive than his actual market value.

The start of the match was back and forth between the teams with each side taking turns and attacking on the opposition half, with neither team having more control. As the match was progressing Valencia CF started asserting more and more control and the team has some small chances mainly through Guedes to score, but nothing major. Most of the attacks ended in lost balls and futile dribbles, with lack of vision and creativity in Valencia's play. Omar Alderete had a chance later in the first half, but his header went wide. Just before half time Valencia CF had a penalty claim and after the VAR check the play was continued and no penalty was awarded.

Second half started a bit more positively with Valencia CF being more assertive, aggressive, and a bit more lively resulting in two long range shots from Daniel Wass early on and these were good efforts, but both were saved by Cadiz goalkeeper. 

Valencia CF would have a big chance in the 58th minute when a dangerous pass from Yunus Musah on from the right flank almost found Hugo Duro, but you'd be excused if you think Andre and Duro conflicted with each other and basically prevented themselves from scoring. 

The next big chance for Valencia CF would come in the 81st minute when Goncalo Guedes play a perfect chipped pass for Hugo Duro, but his shot was saved by Ledesma. Goncalo Guedes several minutes later would also come close to scoring, but his shot just went wide. 

Overall Valencia CF did have few good chances to score, but no one pounced on those opportunities and ultimately the game ended in a draw. I think overall the play was good, but there just wasn't enough attacking quality to score goals or create more opportunities. I think the team today lacked both. 

Its a shame because Cadiz CF is one of the weakest teams in La Liga and dropping points against such teams will cost us in the end. I still think we lack a high quality striker who is able to score more goals and even create opportunities for himself. I think Guedes did well today, he had few shots towards goal, he provided some good passes and crosses, even a key pass to Hugo Duro which should have resulted in a goal, but but again we lack a true goal scorer. 

Cadiz CF vs Valencia CF Match Preview

After a solid start to the season Valencia CF had its first stumble against Real Madrid in what was a demoralizing loss after the team played well for most of the match and only lost in the final stretch of the match. Disappointing loss when a draw was in Valencia's hands, but okay even a loss was acceptable as it was Real Madrid and no one would have expected anything anyways before the start of the season, but then came a devastating loss at the hands of Sevilla FC in what was the first very poor performance by the team. The goals conceded were all individual mistakes, but even the whole team play was weak and we saw the chinks in Valencia's armor. 

Valencia CF had a chance to make things right at the Mestalla against Athletic Bilbao, but the team stumbled once again and only managed a dull draw. Seems to me like the losses of our key players has proven extremely difficult and we've not been able to replace them accordingly. Gaya, Soler and Correia contribute a ton to the team and its been difficult few weeks without them. 

Cadiz have scored seven league goals this season but conceded 11, which is among the poorest defensive records in the league so far and as such sit at 15th place on the table. This is the kind of team Valencia CF should be looking at to take points, even if we lose to the big 4 teams we can still place high on the table if we are able to beat the lower level teams than us. 

Cadiz will again be without the services of Jon Ander Garrido and Fali this weekend through injury, while Jose Mari remains a doubt due to a thigh problem.

For Valencia CF we are still without Gaya, Soler, Cheryshev and Correia and Maxi Gomez won't feature either due to a red card. The last one not playing is actually good news as he's been ineffective this season as well. He's shown small glimpses here and there, but I think its safe to say that after 2 seasons and now this one with several different coaches he hasn't produced much and chances are he won't. So Marcos Andre would probably get the chance to start and we'll see what he's made of. So far he's looked decent when coming on as a sub, so it will be interesting to see what he can do when playing a full match.

Valencia CF Squad: Cillessen, Foulquier, Paulista, Alderete, Lato; Musah, Hugo, Wass, Duro; Andre, Guedes

Winning Probability: Cadiz CF 20%, Draw 30%, Valencia CF 50%

Result Prediction: This should be a comfortable win for Valencia CF even if we are still without our key players, we have just enough depth and quality at the reserves to be able to win this match and others like this, so I'm expecting a comfortable 2-0 win over Cadiz CF. 

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Valencia - Bilbao match thread

After a couple of defeats it's a crunch game today. The early results raised hopes that perhaps, just maybe, we'd be able to mount a top four challenge this season but the injuries to Gaya and Soler (and not to forget Cheryshev and Thierry who had good starts to the season) exposed the weaknesses and lack of squad depth. Prior to the season none of us seriously expected top four and this week's results confirmed we don't have the players for now to go up against them. However, European places remain a possibility. For those we need to continue what we're doing: beat the other teams. Our rivals for 5th to 7th are probably Villarreal, Sociedad, Betis and Bilbao, not to mention wild cards like Rayo and Mallorca. It's Bilbao we face today and that means a reunion with our old coach Marcelino in front of a Mestalla crowd for the first time since he was idiotically sacked in 2019. 

Bordalas has only made two changes and neither of them is a surprise. After Mamardashvili's recent errors, Cillessen starts for the first time this season. I guess part of the coach would have been tempted to keep faith with Giorgi but if he'd fumbled again it would not have looked good. The other change sees Musah start for the first time instead of Jason. No one will complain about that. It's hard to predict this one, but I'm hoping for a one goal win.

Half way through the first period. We've looked shaky. Lato has been the biggest problem, with some iffy decisions, but Cillessen so far hasn't done himself any favours. He hasn't come to claim balls that he should. Due to that, Bilbao look to me the more likely to score. We've had some possession around their area but without creating much. A shot from Musah which was going wide and was saved by the keeper was as good as it got. 

At the break, even overall, though I think we've struggled in several areas. We haven't created clear chances, have been overrun in midfield at times and struggled in defence especially against the pace of Inaki Williams. 0-0 but I'm hoping for a better performance in the second half.

Minute 64 and it's got a bit scrappy. Neither side really creating much. It's been a fairly dull stalemate overall, if we're honest.

Minute 66, for goodness' sake another injury. Hugo Duro, who's been one of the better players today pulls up. Marcos Andre and Jesus Vazquez will come on. We hit the post earlier through Wass but it's still Bilbao who look more likely to get a goal here. Hold up, they just have. That's been coming. 0-1. I was just about to type before the goal that our marking has sucked and we saw it there.

70: Unlucky for Marcos Andre who tried to lob the keeper but it's just over.

75: cooling break. We look flat and out of ideas here, restricted to mostly tame shots from distance which Unai Simon has easily dealt with. Without Soler the creativity just isn't there.

81: bad to worse. Second yellow for Maxi after an idiotic pull on a Bilbao player who was nowhere near goal. The first yellow card on him was harsh it has to be said, but risking a pull when you're on a yellow is stupid. Also looks like Musah may have got injured. Our season unravelling bit by bit. Jason on for Musah, Vallejo for Wass.

90: seven minutes added on but right now, it looks like they could add on seventy minutes and we still wouldn't score, we've created next to nothing this game. Crossing from Foulquier and Jason has been very poor.

94: MARCOS ANDRE! I think it was Guillamon who chipped it over, Guedes sent it back across and Andre finished well.

95: Super save from Cillessen. We need to focus here.

FINAL: 1-1 a tough game and in the end given how we fell behind and ended with ten men, a point rescued. Losing three on the trot would have set alarm bells ringing but we saved it. The performance was still uninspiring and hopefully we can do better next game in Cadiz. (I'll be unavailable for that, by the way, so someone else will have to do the write-up.) The main lesson this week is that this team is a work in progress and we're lacking in decent replacements. I hope there'll be patience with the coach and the squad as the Mestalla public return.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Sevilla vs Valencia match thread

After a relatively easy run of fixtures, we entered our difficult period this week, falling at the first hurdle with a loss against Real Madrid. Despite the result, the performance was encouraging though soured both by the manner of defeat and a growing injury list. Gaya is expected to be out for 3-4 weeks, Thierry about 3 and Soler 2-3 weeks. 

Today's opponents Sevilla are, of course, the main rivals we need to overcome if we have any dreams of top four. They've had a reasonable enough start: a 3-0 home win over Rayo, win at Getafe and draws at Sociedad and Elche. All in all, I'm hoping for a win, but would gladly settle for a draw from this game.


Bordalas, as ever, has gone with continuity in the line up. The major surprise is Jason starting on the right instead of Musah, who had a good game last time. Helder Costa or Racic starting in the middle with Wass on the right were other options. Obviously, given Jason's underwhelming performances previously, this is a bit of a mystifying decision, so we can only hope the coach has got it right.

I think I'll leave you all to comment on this. 15 minutes in and this is one of the worst performances in a while. The first goal was bad enough: awful decision by Wass trying an over-ambitious crossfield ball which got easily intercepted. The midfield and defence were all over the place and Mamardashvili stood there like a statue as it went in. The second was much worse, what on earth was the goalkeeper doing, just standing there as it bounced over his head. As I was typing this, Sevilla scored a third, didn't see it due to writing this. The goal on twitter also looks bad, Mamardashvili getting lobbed like an amateur. His honeymoon and Bordalas' is finished. Over and out from me.

Post-match comments: switched off just before the third goal, so based on quick highlights and match reports: awful from Mamardashvili, Alderete, Lato, Jason (no surprise) and Maxi. Hugo Guillamon also said to be weak. Wass dubious. Well taken goal for the second game in a row by Hugo Duro. Effort at least from Guedes. 

After the positive emotions generated by the decent start, we've come crashing down to reality in the last 2 games. The lesson, as we saw last season, is that while our main XI is good enough, there's a significant drop in quality once we get to replacements, leaving us very vulnerable to injuries. I wouldn't give up on Mamardashvili, who does show promise, but I think a spell gaining experience with the reserves would quicken his adaptation to Spain. Right now he looks like he's been promoted too quickly. It's hard to see how Bordalas can persist with him now after mistakes 3 games in a row and with Cillessen available. Some of the selections also look dubious: Jason? What does Maxi have to do to be benched? Why don't players like Musah, Racic and Vallejo feature more? A reality check this week for sure.

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Valencia CF vs Real Madrid Match Preview

Valencia CF has had a great start to the season with the expectations of the team being very low and basically finishing in the top 10 side of the table though of as success for this season. Now that the team has had a very impressive start to the season the goal has shifted a little bit, with the possibility of playing European football being a real possibility. I think its still highly unlikely for Valencia CF to end up in the top 4 positions to play Champions league football, but top 6 positions seems plausible. 

Tomorrow will be a big test for Valencia CF as they are going to welcome Real Madrid at the Mestalla. The tickets and seats for this match have been increased to I believe 29.000 and the Mestalla will be half full. These past few seasons we've done well against the big clubs like Real Madrid and FC Barcelona, so that doesn't really show anything, because we've struggled against all other clubs, so even if we lose to Real Madrid tomorrow it won't be a big deal, as the key will be winning against the smaller clubs and drawing with our direct rivals like Sevilla, Getafe CF and Villarreal CF. 

Real Madrid had a mid week match against Inter, one which they just barely won, but considering their standard starting eleven played the whole match and only 3 substitutions were made, I'm hoping that they are a little bit tired from that match and we can possibly use that to our advantage, especially with Bordalas as the coach who is very demanding in a physical sense, so hopefully he'll demand extra physicality in this match and for our players to press high and hard. 

I think that is our best chance to win, press high and hard, abuse the fact that they played a match in mid week and force their players to tire sooner, allowing us to dominate more of the play and create chances. Another key would be to not make any mistakes in the back and close down Real Madrid players really quickly before they are able to create any dangerous chances. This is also not the Real Madrid of 3-4 years ago, they are much weaker and do not posses the same level of talent. Some of their key players are also in an advanced age so we are not dealing with prime time Real Madrid, we are dealing with a Madrid side that is on the end years of their success. While Valencia CF also has a lot of shortcomings and we are still questionable in attack, Maxi Gomez is still a big question mark and our midfield can still quite often cede control of the ball for much of the match, we are better prepared physically this season, we have some of the fastest players in the league and our defense this season seems to be performing much better which will be crucial to getting good results.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Valencia versus Real Madrid and Barcelona in La Liga since year 2000

 It's that time again. Valencia, after an impressive start to the season, face Real Madrid, who have had a similarly good start. If history tells us anything it's that these games are filled with drama. A dubious injury time penalty in early 2004 when both Valencia and RM were battling for the title denied us 3 points at the Bernabeu. Another controversial penalty was awarded against Abdennour at home to Barca to steal a morale boosting point at one of our lowest ebbs.

Valencia's performances against the El Clasico two usually seem to defy form and logic. In one of our better periods, when we were constantly finishing third, we lost all 4 games each season. Conversely, in one of the worst seasons this century, 2015-16, Neville's Valencia was a last minute Negredo miss away from beating Real Madrid, while Neville's successor, the otherwise inept Pako Ayestaran, beat Barcelona at the Nou Camp. (Ayestaran's account of how he did it is worth a watch.) So here's the table since the year 2000 in La Liga

From that, it's clear that our best years against the big two were the first half of the 2000s. The 2005-6 season remains the only one where we were unbeaten by both of them, taking 8 points from 12. That along with the title winning seasons were the only ones when we managed to beat both the big two in the same season.

Our worst period was 2009-2013, much of that coinciding with Unai Emery's tenure. In fact Emery's poor record against the big two, despite having a squad which contained peak-level Villa, Silva and Mata, was one of the main reasons why the Mestalla faithful turned against him. 

Our overall record against both is similar: 36 points from a possible 126 against Barcelona and 37 points against Real Madrid, but this is markedly different depending on where we play. Against Barcelona, weirdly we've done as well in the Nou Camp as we do in Mestalla: 4-6-11 is our record in both stadiums. Against La Real however, there's a marked difference. In Mestalla we're 7-4-10 while in Madrid it's been mostly barren ground: 2-6-13. We've also done quite a bit better against Madrid in recent times: our home record is 4-2-1 over the last seven seasons. On the other hand, our last win in the Bernabeu was in 2007-8.

Sunday will continue the journey and the hope is we can continue our recent home streak against them.