Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Gaya rejects Valencia's first contract renewal offer

Spanish media are reporting that Jose Luis Gaya agents have rejected the initial offer from Valencia CF to extend Gaya's contract. Right now Gaya's contract is set till 2018, but has a very low release clause of 18 million euros, due to his great performances this season and low release clause major teams across Europe have been following the situation and are ready to step in and acquire Gaya from Valencia CF.

Real Madrid are one of the biggest admirers of the player and see him as the perfect replacement for Marcelo who isn't getting any younger and has had more and more injury problems, while Coentrao is out of favors with the current coach.

While it is not surprising to have the initial contract offer rejected, these things take a lot of time and several iterations of the contract it is worrying due to the fact that Real Madrid and other clubs are interested in acquiring Jose Luis Gaya and they have the money and prestige to lure him in.

As I've reported few times already Real Madrid are not going to reach the release clause unless they have to, the two clubs have very good working relationship and Real Madrid won't want to undo that, but if other clubs like Arsenal, Manchester City, etc... increase their interest they might be forced to react fast and swift.

Hopefully the negotiations result in agreement between the parties, Gaya himself has said that he would like to continue at Valencia CF, I think he enjoys a really beneficial position at Valencia CF, he has the support of all of the fans, the staff, he's had a system that fits him, in bigger teams he is not going to have the same luxury and he won't be given time to develop further, so he should understand and I think he does that moving even to a "big" club is not necessarily better.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Andres Guardado to join PSV

Valencia CF and PSV are very close to reaching an agreement for the transfer of Andres Guardado to PSV. Andres Guardado was loaned to PSV in the summer after failing to impress Valencia CF coach Nuno Santo, but has fit in well with the PSV side, making 29 appearances for them and helping them reach number one position at the table.

The negotiations are supposed to be almost over with small details left to be worked out and a final agreement to be announced very soon.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Elche 0-4 Valencia CF Match Report

This has to be one of the best performances of the season so far. It can be said that Elche are not one of the strongest teams in the league but neither were Deportivo when they defeated us   3-0  earlier in the season. It is plain to see for even the most ardent critics  that we have come an awful long way since that day. Right from the start Valencia took control and roared on by their large contingent of fans who had made the relatively short journey, soon began finding openings in the  Elche defence. After 30 minutes we could have been 3 or 4 goals in front when chance after chance went begging and but for bad luck or the linesman's flag it could have been all over much earlier. Alcacer had 2 chances ruled out for offside marginally and also had a goal bound effort cleared after rounding the goalkeeper.  Otamendi was also unlucky as was Feghouli and Piatti.  Elche were struggling to get in to the game with only the Brazilian Jonathas showing any actual threat or effort. Andre Gomes broke the deadlock after 44 minutes When Feghouli managed to retrieve the ball from the goal line and cross for Gomes to fire home.

The second half continued much like the first half but Valencia were now showing even more confidence with the one goal cushion. The second goal was not long coming when it was the turn of Gomez to put in a great cross from the right for Alcacer to finally have a change of fortune and stab the waist high cross home in the 56 minute. Goal 3 came when Barragan broke on the right and centered. With Negredo well placed on the penalty spot and totally unmarked the cross was too deep for him but the unfortunate Roco managed to help out by steering the ball past his helpless goalkeeper for the third goal. Possibly this is a good example of Negredo's problems in not getting the right ball.  He found oceans of space but the ball was not played to him. Arguably he could have gone deeper where Alcacer  probably would have been and claimed the goal. However, a goal is a goal.  Paco, who had replaced Negredo was taken off as a precaution over his knee problem and was seen  having ice applied to his knee.   Otamendi  rounded off the night with a powerful header in the dying seconds from a corner from the left side rounding off an amazing performance from the Argentinian and the whole team on the night. Good to see Tropi also getting on the pitch if for only a couple of minutes. A great run by him shows a glimpse of what we may see in the future .

A great team performance and nice to see the ball kept and passed around with confidence. It is much to early to make predictions on our end placing but it is looking good now for an automatic Champions League place if we can keep up our performances. Also it has to be said, just looking at the players who did not start the game: such as Orban, De Paul, Perez, Rodrigo and Vezo. The future looks really good. Also good news, no yellow cards for us

Player Ratings:
Alves 7.5 Not much to do on the night but what he did what he always does with his usual brilliance
Barragan  6.5 Still looks the weak link in the chain but was not called on too many times
Mustafi   7.0 Good solid performance as usual, is always in the right place when needed
Otamendi  8.5 Fantastic all round performance culminating in a great goal at the end. It is obvious why Man Utd offered  such a high price for him .. Go away Man Utd. he is ours.
Gaya 7.5 Another solid performance, he is just so boringly good every game (I mean it as a compliment)
Parejo  8.0 Hardly put a foot wrong and his passing  sometimes devastating. Nice to see no silly wayward passes. he is just so calm and controlled and will be one of the greats in the future, I think.
Fuego 7.0 Did his job well and helped the team to another clean sheet.
Gomez   7.5 Had a really good game and blended in well with Parejo, nice goal to round off a good performance.
Feghouli  7.5 Very busy and involved in all the good moves helping set up the goals and was unlucky not to score himself.
Alcacer  7.5 Nice to see Paco back and getting on the score sheet, let's pray he stays fit as I believe he is our best chance of gaining C.L. status with his goals.
Piatti  7.5 What a revelation this season he has been. To think that people were calling for him to be transferred, what a mistake that would have been.
Negredo 6.0 for  Alcacer     67 mins  Hardly touched the ball.
Cancello 7.0  for Feghouli  82 mins  Would walk into most teams in La Liga
Tropi N/A for  Gomez       89 mins  One nice run. Good luck for the future.

Technical Details:
Elche: Tyton; Damian Suarez Lombán, Enzo Roco, Domingo Schism; Pasalic (Cristian Herrera, 59 m.), Adrian Gonzalez (Mosquera, 77 m.); Garry Rodrigues (Corominas, 74 m.), Fayçal Fajr, Victor; Jonathas.

Valencia: Diego Alves; Barragán, Mustafi, Otamendi, Gayá; Javi Fuego, Parejo (Tropi, 89 m.), André Gomes; Feghouli (gates, m. 82), Piatti and Alcácer (Negredo, m. 67).

Friday, March 13, 2015

Valencia CF vs Deportivo La Coruna Match Preview

Valencia CF vs Deportivo La Coruna Match Preview

Stadium: Vicente Calderon
Date: 13.03.2015, 20:45 CET
27th matchday, La Liga
Coaches: Nuno Santo and Victor Fernandez

Valencia CF have been in great form the last couple of weeks and after last week's draw with Atletico Madrid the team will look to secure a win at the Mestalla against Deportivo La Coruna. Deportivo have been historically a very strong team, in fact they've even challenged for the title few times, but as most teams in Spain they've been caught up with the financial reality and are now just a mediocre team at best.

Right now they are in 16th position on the table and still fighting to avoid relegation, with several clubs all within 7 points of each other. Usually 30 points have been enough to secure stay in the top flight, so they will be looking to achieve that number and tonight at the Mestalla would be looking into securing one point. 

Its worth noting that Deportivo La Coruna beat Valencia CF 3-0 at their own turf in the first half of the season and that was with Valencia CF on their 3 goals beating run, that was actually the first time Yoel featured on goal and had a torrid time, with him and Mustafi making huge mistakes and contributing to that 3-0 loss.

Anyways I think Valencia CF have this game this time, the team is more balanced in how they approach the game, they are better oiled, its a well oiled machine and not a sort of a group of various parts that do things on their own. So I'm expecting to see a Valencia CF win over Deportivo La Coruna.

Mising from the squad in Javi Fuego to to his red card from last match and Skhodran Mustafi who has accumulated 5 yellow cards and will miss out this match. In his place likely to take the defensive slot is Ruben Vezo.

Valencia CF Squad:
Goalkeepers: Alves, Yoel
Defenders: Cancelo, Barragan, Vezo, Otamendi, Gaya, Orban
Midfielders: Parejo, Enzo, Felipe, Gomes, Feghouli, Piatti, De Paul
Forwards: Negredo, Moreno, Paco

Technical Details Valencia CF (probable setups):
Formation: 4-3-3
Line-up: Diego; Barragan, Vezo, Otamendi, Gaya; Enzo, Gomes, Parejo; Moreno, Paco, Piatti.
Tactics: Medium defensive line, own third pressure, mixed passing, counter attacks.

Match Prediction:
Valencia CF 2-0 Deportivo La Coruna
I'm expecting a casual win for Valencia CF. Yeah Deportivo are a tricky opponent and they beat us before when the team was in a great form, but now VCF is playing at home and the team is overall better and more balanced. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Nuno named La Liga BBVA Manager for February

Valencia CF manager Nuno Espirito Santo has been named La Liga BBVA Manager of the Month for February. Valencia CF have been on an unbeaten streak for 5 matches, including 4 wins and 1 draw this past weekend against Atletico Madrid.

Shkodran Mustafi, Jose Luis Gaya and Daniel Parejo found themselves in the best XI of the month of February.

Valencia CF will hope to continue their good form on Match the 15th when they meet Deportivo La Coruna at the Mestalla.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Atletico Madrid 1-1 Valencia CF Match Report

The match for third place is over and as it stands everything stays the same as both teams scored a goal each and the match ended in a 1-1 draw. Very interesting, very scrappy match, not many fluidity in the play and that's pretty much what was expected, that is what Atletico Madrid style is and Valencia CF managed to pair quite well against that style at Atletico Madrid's own grounds.

The match started with a high tempo as expected, both sides clashing at midfield and as predicted Valencia CF coach Nuno Santo chose a more power based team with Enzo Perez, rather than a more flair one with Andre Gomes, this did give results in the first 10 minutes of the match with Valencia CF largely controlling the tempo of the game and having more ball possession.

Valencia CF did have some runs towards Atletico Madrid goal and some final third play, but the final ball just wasn't there and the wingers were being marked solidly, with the full backs in Gaya and Barragan preoccupied with defensive duties.

After about 20 minutes I'd say Atletico Madrid took control of the match, they love their fouls and indiscreet kicks and stuff, with Torres particularly being quite nasty and committing dirty fouls, he was pretty lucky to stay on the pitch.

Atletico Madrid would score in the 33rd minute, they took a free kick, the ball was headed from the Valencia CF penalty area just to the outside, well technically it hit someone from the Atletico players either on the hand or on the shoulder and the ball went straight to where Koke was and he shot and scored. Otamendi was in a good position I believe to block the shot, but he reacted a bit too slow and haphazardly and it was 1-0 for Atletico Madrid.

After the goal it was mostly Atletico Madrid, they had a few more chances, nothing major, but a shot here, a header there, a half chance over there, all of those add up and Valencia CF have been quite happy to avoid more goals.

Towards the end of the first half Valencia CF took control of the game once again, but a bit too little too late and they haven't been able to do much with the ball, it usually floats around the final third and then its lost.

I think the three biggest disappointments for me in the first half are Otamendi, Feghouli and Negredo. They just haven't seen up to par and I wonder if playing Otamendi was the right choice and if he is 100% fit. As for Negredo he just seems lost and isn't causing them any problems. Feghouli seems to be mostly on the periphery of the match as well and hasn't justified his inclusion.

The second half was similar to the first as Valencia CF came out as the more dominant team out of the gates, but again as time progressed Atletico Madrid took their turn and started applying more pressure and assuming control.

Atletico Madrid did attack frequently and got a lot of free kicks and corners, something which they are very dangerous at, I think over 13 goals scored from set pieces for them, but Valencia CF defense stood still and Diego Alves was always positioned well and was able to claim some of the crosses.

Atletico Madrid would have a great chance to make the score 2-0 somewhere around the mid of the second half, there was a cross from the right side that was moving towards the far post on the other side, someone from the Atletico players headed the ball towards the center and it literally fell on top of Tiago who was alone and only 2 maybe 3 meters away from goal, but managed to miss an empty goal.

As Valencia CF brought in Andre Gomes for Enzo Perez and Atletico Madrid substituted Koke the play shifted and Valencia CF once again gained a foothold in this match and started to dictate the tempo. This lead to several runs and crosses from Valencia CF, but nothing major and most of the play was very scrappy on both sides.

The break for Valencia CF would come in at the 77th minute when Parejo shot from a long range free kick, but Moya was positioned a little too far out, the ball seemed to bounce from his fists to the bar and into play again, with Valencia's Mustafi reacting really quick and heading the ball into the net to make it 1-1.

After that it was again mostly midfield battle, with Valencia CF generally looking a bit better, though Atletico Madrid were dangerous in their counter attacks and Valencia CF defenders had to constantly deal with those.

In the final moments of the match Fuego would earn himself a red card and with good reason too, it was a last ditch to prevent a dangerous Atletico Madrid attack and it was well worth the red card, it was technically a second yellow into an automatic red.

Technical details:
Atlético Madrid: Moyá; Juanfran, Giménez, Godín, Siqueira; Tiago, Gabi (Raúl Jiménez, m. 80); Arda, Koke (Mario Suárez, m. 68), Fernando Torres (Mandjukic, m. 61), Raúl García.

Valencia CF: Diego Alves, Antonio Barragán, Shkodran Mustafi, Nicolas Otamendi, José Gayá; Javi Fuego, Enzo Pérez (André Gomes, m. 67) Dani Parejo, Pablo Piatti (Lucas Orban, m. 90); Sofiane Feghouli (Rodrigo, m. 58), Álvaro Negredo.

Koke 1-0, 32 min. Assist Tiago
Shkodran Mustafi 1-1, 77 min.

Player Ratings:
Diego 6.5 - Very secure, handled free kicks and corner kicks superbly and dealt with what little came towards him easily.
Barragan 7 - Quite secure at the back, tried to get forward and did send several crosses, but his crossing accuracy was terrible. Was very active both at defense and offense though.
Mustafi 8 - Really solid at the back, held his position very well, dealt with the attacks that came his way securely and to top it off scored the goal for Valencia CF.
Otamendi 6.5 - Started off shaky, several mistakes from the Argentinian, but improved in the second half and made several crucial tackles.
Gaya 7 - Had to deal with a lot at the back and did so in a good fashion, was beaten two or three times, but nothing came out of it. Moved forward at every opportunity and was very dangerous, few nice crosses.
Fuego 6.5 - Usually a red card automatically qualifies for a -1 points in my ranking system, but since this was a crucial tackle to prevent a dangerous attack it cancels itself out. Was generally good in his defensive duties, provided some nice safe passes in the midfield which were good in this type of match.
Enzo 6 - Probably the weakest of the midfielders, ran a lot and covered a ton of ground, involved in few attacks as well, but could not bring something substantial and was taken off for Gomes.
Parejo 7 - Was the main man in midfield, controlled possession well at certain times, spread the ball well and did end up doing a lot of defensive duties as well. His shot from a free kick lead to the goal for Valencia CF.
Feghouli 5.5 - Mostly anonymous and when he got the ball there was nothing of quality, he mostly lost it. He needs improve significantly, since the competition is fierce and he won't be a starter with these type of performances.
Negredo 5.5 - Not very involved in the game, when balls came his way he was slow to react, lost many of his air duels as well. Should be doing a lot more for the team.
Piatti 6 - He was mostly kept quit by some good defending, did had several runs and tried to get things going, but nothing panned out.
Moreno 5.5 - Didn't add anything over Feghouli. He did have better link-up with Barragan and didn't lose the ball as much, but was also safer in his dribbles and forward runs.
Gomes 6 - Provided different type of style in midfield and when he came in Valencia CF did start to control the match, but that was more from Koke leaving at the same minute, than Gomes having a huge impact.
Orban N/A - Last minute substitution after Fuego's red card.

Atletico Madrid vs Valencia CF Match Preview

Atletico Madrid vs Valencia CF Match Preview
Stadium: Vicente Calderon
Date: 08.03.2015, 21:00 CET
26th matchday, La Liga
Coaches: Diego Simeone and Nuno Santo

Last time these two teams faced eachother Valencia CF were victorious in what was a convincing 3-1 beating of defending champions Atletico Madrid. This time though I suppose things won't be the same and I'm expecting a lot more opposition from Atletico Madrid. They are playing at their home turf, and unlike the start of the season when they were adjusting with the changes in their squad, now they are settled and have been in good form. 

With that said Valencia CF were adjusting to changes in their squad as well and still managed to beat Atletico Madrid handily, though of course I'm not that brazen as to expect another such convincing victory, especially at the Vicente Calderon, but Valencia CF has settled as well and have been in great form recently, so I do expect a good showing. I'd like to see Valencia CF win against Atletico Madrid though a draw won't be that bad either.

Good news for Valencia CF is that Nicolas Otamendi has returned to the team and is available for selection, Paco Alcacer is also back in training and available for selection and there aren't any major injuries across the full team. Nuno Espirito Santo has been trying out different teams in training, especially changing the midfield and trying different combinations, seeing what works and which midfield combination can exert most pressure and influence in midfield.

Atletico Madrid are known for their relentless pressure in midfield and physical play, so they have to be countered at their own game and really shut down in midfield to prevent their attacks, while Valencia CF can and should take advantage of their weak defensive wide areas with players like Piatti and possibly Feghouli running at their fullbacks at pace and creating counter attacking chances.

Valencia CF Squad:
Goalkeepers: Alves, Yoel
Defenders: Cancelo, Barragan, Vezo, Mustafi, Otamendi, Gaya, Orban
Midfielders: Fuego, Parejo, Enzo, Felipe, Gomes, Feghouli, Piatti, De Paul
Forwards: Negredo, Moreno, Paco

Technical Details Valencia CF (probable setups):
Formation: 4-3-3
Line-up: Diego; Barragan, Mustafi, Otamendi, Gaya; Fuego, Enzo, Parejo; Feghouli, Negredo, Piatti.
Tactics: Medium defensive line, own third pressure, mixed passing, counter attacks.

Match Prediction:
Atletico Madrid 2-2 Valencia CF
This it will be firecracker match. Both teams are capable of scoring goals, Atletico Madrid are vulnerable on the counter with speedy flank attacks, while Valencia CF have usually been weaker in the midfield and teams catching the defense a bit out of position and things like that, something that Atletico Madrid can exploit.
Ultimately I think both teams will score 2 goals and the match will end in a 2-2 draw.