Sunday, January 22, 2023

Valencia CF vs UD Almeria Match Preview

Valencia CF has been on a downward spiral in the last couple of matches, but they showed signs of life against Real Madrid and Sporting Gijon in the Copa del Rey. Gattuso played with a 4-4-2 formation in those matches, and it seems like it produced good play, though I personally think it was more of the lineup that produced those results, rather than the formation itself. We had Almeida in central midfield in both matches, something we've lacked with Nico playing there instead, we've also had Hugo Guillamon a lot in midfield, and he's been having a really bad patch recently. 
So, with the current batch of midfielders, we seem to be a lot more secure in midfield, with Yunus covering at the back and playing that more defensive role, while Almeida has more leeway to push the ball forward and he does so really well. Justin Kluivert has also been playing great on the wing and has provided a good outpost there for our team, he can solo play on the flank, or he can play with the team and create chances. 

Toni Lato completes the midfield and with him playing on the right flank we have a more secure backline, he is used to tracking back and tackling opponents, so we get better defense with him on the flank, while also offering reasonable attacking prowess. Don't forget we have Correia who can bombard more freely on the flank as well, knowing that Lata will cover for him at the back. So, we get both more offensive and defensive power on that right flank with Lato playing there.

I also like Cenk and Comert at the back, I think Cenk provides more stability at the back, he has that maturity of a much older and more experienced central defender, but he's still very young and can improve even further. Comert has also gelled in a lot better with the team since his arrival here the previous season, and in combination with Cenk they seem to work well for now.

The question now is how long will this last? Is the coach on to something with this setup or is it just a fluke? We often play much better against the big teams like Barcelona and Real Madrid and suffer to reproduce that play against the weaker opposition. So, this match to me is extremely exciting as it will show if this new formation and team composition is actually any good or just another fluke and we go back to being demoralized and searching for new solutions and blaming Meriton and wishing for better transfers and players. 

I'm sick and tired of seeing a weak Valencia CF, not even a mediocre one, I consider Valencia CF playing for that 6th position, the last position that leads into Europe mediocre, maybe we get it, maybe we don't, but that is a mediocre Valencia CF that can barely manage European competition, but for the past several seasons we've been finishing at mid table or worse. To me that is a very weak Valencia CF and each consecutive season we seem to be doing worse, rather than better. 

The rushed and weird transfers the management does don't help at all, the inconsiderate coach changes don't make sense at all, Meriton and its owner don't seem to know when we have good things going for us. There was a period of 2 years when Marcelino was coach when we were doing reasonably good, we also had a really great sporting director at the time, but Marcelino was sacked and soon after the sporting director left but was realistically forced out. 

I just want to watch a Valencia CF match and be excited and happy most of the time. I don't want to watch disappointments over and over again, where we lose matches who are certain wins on paper, we lose or draw in the last moments of matches for no apparent reason, we blunder absurd goals, etc... What does it take to have a solid Valencia CF that is able to fight for that 6th position on the table? 

Gennaro Gattuso is likely going to field the exact same squad from the Real Madrid supercup match in this match and I'm hoping that is indeed the case, because I am really curious if this setup actually has quality and if we actually win matches like this. 

Valencia CF squad: Mamardashvili; Correia, Comert, Cenk, Gaya; Lato, Musah, Almeida; Kluivert, Cavani, Lino.
Valencia CF formation: 4-4-2
Valencia CF tactics: High defensive line when attacking with two defenders covering at the back and Yunus falling back as well, serving as a defensive cover. Lato and Correia interchanging position as both can attack and defend. Mostly long crosses from the wings with generally shorter passes through the center of the field. Cavani positioned aggressively in the front, serving mostly as a static threat, while Lino running channels more and shifting position.
Match prediction: Valencia CF 3-1 UD Almeria
I think this is going to be a big win for Valencia CF, I think this setup has potential and the formation also serves these players, making it easier to defend and organize in the center. Defensively I don't think we can just improve instantly, so I still think we are likely to concede a goal, but I think offensively we are going to be much better and be able to score several goals, giving Valencia CF an easy win.

Friday, January 20, 2023

Valencia gets Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey

Valencia CF will face Athletic Bilbao in the quarterfinals of the Copa del Rey. This was the best outcome Valencia CF could have hoped for as all other opponents, except for maybe Osasuna were much better. We avoided Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Sevilla and got an opponents that we have good chances of beating and continuing in the semifinals of the cup.

The match is scheduled for 25th of January, only two days after Valencia's league match against Almeria on the 23rd of January. 

Here are all of the draws for the Spanish Copa del Rey:
Real Madrid - Atl├ętico de Madrid
Osasuna - Sevilla FC
Valencia CF - Athletic Bilbao
Real Sociedad - Barcelona FC

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Valencia CF target midfielder Sergi Canos

Valencia CF have inquired about Brentford midfielder Sergi Canos. Valencia CF are willing to purchase the player for a sum of 1 million euros. Brentford will be okay with such a low sum because his contract expires this summer and getting any sum over losing his for free is a benefit. 

Canos transferred to Brentford in 2017, for whom he had previously played on loan from Liverpool during the 2015–16 season. He's made over 200 appearances for Brentford, but has struggled for playing time this season and with his contract running out this summer he could be on his way out. He's scored over 30 goals for Brentford and has played various positions from central midfielder to attacker. 

He is 25 years of age and has a lot more playing time in him, he is at that age where his prime is just beginning, so maybe he could return to form at Valencia CF. He is a versatile player and can cover multiple positions. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Sporting Gijon vs Valencia CF Copa Del Rey

Valencia CF has not had the best start to the new year with loss after loss, the latest one in the Super Cup at the feet of Real Madrid, not the end of the world loss, but it still stings. Valencia CF did show way better play and gave Real Madrid a hard time, in fact Valencia CF could have won the match if the finishing was a bit more precise. 

Sporting Gijon vs Valencia CF Match Preview

I think if Valencia CF shows such play in every league game we can probably challenge for European competition, but that the issue is our team has been very inconsistent. We can lose to the worst team in La Liga and then go on to beat a Barcelona or challenge Real Madrid and just barely lose. There is no consistency, something which I'm hoping Gattuso has addressed, and we see a good Valencia CF side against Sporting Gijon. 

Sporting Gijon are 15th place in the second division, so they are coming into this match as the underdog with Valencia CF the favorite, but anything is possible. Again, I'm hoping to see a stable and effective side tomorrow that easily dismantles Sporting Gijon, after all they are playing kind of poor football even for second division. Not quite relegation level football, but they are bottom of the pack with a lot of goals conceded and average number of goals scored. 

We are likely going to see several changes from the match against Real Madrid as Gattuso is likely to give other players some playing time and keep some of the better performing players like Andre Almeida and Cavani fresh for the league match against UD Almeria on the 23rd. 

Valencia CF squad: Cristian Rivero; Jesus Vazquez, Paulista, Diakhaby, Correia; Foulquier,  Hugo Guilamon, Illaix Moriba; Fran Perez, Hugo Duro, Marcos De Sousa.

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Goncalo Guedes wants a return to Valencia CF

Goncalo Guedes is another option for Valencia CF to take on loan as Wolves have listed the player on the transfer market. They want to sell the player and recuperate some of the money they spent on him, but bidders are in short supply this transfer window as clubs have tightened their purses and are looking at cheaper options with Wolves wanting somewhere in the region of 25 to 30 million euros for Goncalo Guedes.

Another option would be for them to loan out the player in order for him to regain some of his market value and what better destination than Valencia CF where the player got his recognition from. Goncalo Guedes also wants a return to Valencia CF and Gattuso wants a winger to strengthen Valencia's attack and provide more cover for the position.

In case you haven't been following Guedes after his departure from Valencia CF, he hasn't celebrated himself at his new club, in fact it's been going really downhill for him. He started good enough for Wolves and he was a starter at the start of the season, but they weren't getting a lot of good results and Guedes had failed to provide many goals or assists and slowly but surely, he went out of favor with his initial coach. Bruno Lage was then fired due to a string of poor results, but this didn't change Guedes's fortune, he didn’t feature all that much under interim manager Steve Davis either. 

Things have become even worse under new manager Julen Lopetegui, with Guedes being substituted half time against Nottingham Forest in the Carabao Cup.  Guedes was left out of the squad for the matchday squad against West Ham United.

Diakhaby renews until 2027

Mouctar Diakhaby has renewed until 2027. His contract expired this summer and he could have left for free. There is no news on any release clause, so it's assumed it stays as it was: 100 million.

To be honest, I'm surprised. I thought he was out the door as the club had left it late. Diakhaby has had a checkered time at Valencia. On the positive side, it was in some ways his late 93rd minute equaliser against Sevilla in the 2nd Marcelino season which would be instrumental in gaining us the Champions League spot. However, the Atlanta game, where he conceded 2 penalties, turned many fans against him, there were other incidents as well, and he has errors in his game. That said, he's also improved many aspects of his game starting in the Bordalas era and suits Gattuso's high line. He's definitely someone that Valencia could improve on if we had the funds, but that's the permanent issue under Lim, with a miserable 2-3m runoured as the maximum transfer budget available, so this saves us relying on yet another loanee. 

Cadiz' draw tonight means Valencia are now just 3 points above the relegation zone and we need to start winning games, with a dismal 1-3-4 record from the last 8 games, hopes of Europe have rapidly faded and we now start looking over our shoulder again. With the next 4 games featuring 3 teams around us (Almeria, Girona and Valladolid) the next month will be critical.

Monday, January 16, 2023

Adnan Januzaj to join Valencia CF?

Valencia CF are negotiating the loan of Sevilla winger Adnan Januzaj. Adnan Januzaj joined Sevilla in 2022 as one of the many reinforcements that was supposed to create a new era of success at the club, but it's been nothing short of disaster. Now they are cleaning house and one of the targets is Adnan Januzaj who's barely featured at all since his arrival at Sevilla FC.

Adnan Januzaj had the most success at Real Sociedad where he featured over 130 times and managed to score 15 goals for them. He's also played 15 times for the Belgium representation and scored one goal for them! 

Gennaro Gattuso want the club to bring him another winger and even though central midfielder Nico was injured and will be out for 3 months, Gattuso still thinks the team lacks offensive options and wants another winger to join the team. 

Certainly not the most exciting option that has been rumored, he's also barely played in an official match since joining Sevilla and there are questions about his fitness and form. What do you think about Adnan Januzaj joining Valencia CF on loan?