Saturday, April 18, 2015

Barcelona 2-0 Valencia La Liga 18/4/2015

There was much talk before the game that Valencia could win this one and cause an upset and for long spells during the game that certainly seemed a possibility.  However if you are going to win at Barcelona you do not give away a goal in the first minute.  All looked fine with a Valencia attack down the right and a cross from Feghouli which almost reached the oncoming Alcacer but the ball was cut out and Barca swiflty countered.  The ball was played to Messi who calmly slotted it to Saurez on the right and he easily beat Alves at the far post. Arguably Orban may have been a little more quicker off the mark but he lost his footing and that was all that was needed for the home team to take advantage.  OK, we are thinking, are heads going to drop and are we in for an embarrassing afternoon ?  The answer to that question was soon answered with Valencia picking themselves up and going straight back at them.
Barcelona were looking really rattled and chance after chance came for the visitors.  But for a little bad fortune and bad finishing something positive could have come from the pressure.  However in the 8th minute an opportunity arose when Rodrigo was floored from behind by Pique and the referee rightly pointed to the penalty spot. Captain Parejo stepped up and placed the ball to Bravo's right but the keeper guessed the right way and saved quite easily.  A chanced missed but it did not deter Valencia and they had the better of the play in the first half and Alcacer was unlucky on the half hour when he shot on the turn and his effort hit the post with Bravo well beaten. Pique was looking vulnerable on a number of occasions but Valencia were unable to take advantage.
In the second half Gaya comes on for Orban who wasn't having the best of days against Saurez and Messi, and was carrying a yellow card and looked like he was soon going to pick up another one. A good change in my opinion as we really did not want to go down to ten men. Barcelona were now slowing the game down to their tempo and taking more control of the proceedings with their neat passing mainly due to the introduction of Rakitic in place of Adriano. They themselves were also unlucky when a Messi shot hits the bar having left Alves rooted the the spot.
In the final spell of the game Valencia pushed everybody except Alves forward but could not find a way through the home defence.  Just to rub salt into the wounds Messi was picked out with a long ball and had all the time in the world to run forward unchallenged.  Alves blocked his attempt to chip him but the ball fell kindly to his feet and he was able to poke home his 400th league goal to finish Valencia off in the final seconds.

A 2-0 defeat can never be good but the team played really well and showed that they can compete with the best teams in the world. Disappointing that we dropped the pace in the second half considering we had no midweek game and they did.  I also think the performance showed yet again that we need somebody who can score goals.  We cannot keep saying we were unlucky, we need results. Also great that we can talk about the game without the referee being mentioned. I did not really notice that he was there and that is how it should be in my opinion.

Player performances
Alves 7  Not needed too many times and had no chance with the goals scored.
Barragan  7   Played OK and did what was needed, also got forward and helped out with the attack a few times.
Ottamendi  7.5   Good solid performance yet again and no fault for the goals. Had to push up at the end to help get a goal and the second goal was not important.
Mustafi  7.5   Again his usual reliable self and showed his quality against the top players.
Orban  6.5   Definitely not one of his better games and had to be taken off as his challenges were getting a bit wild after he picked a his first card.
Fuego 7.0  A solid enough performance and showed again that he is not intimidated by big name players
Parejo 7  disappointing penalty miss. Not a bad effort really and if Bravo had gone the other way it would have been a fine penalty. But the only good penalty is the one that results in a goal.
Gomez  7   Glimpses of his brilliance but not really enough  to alter the course of the game.
Feghouli  6.5  Not  really enough influence on the game and was kept quiet
Rodrigo  6.5  Looked  willing and lively and made a few chances but still looks lacking in that final ruthless edge.
Alcacer 6.5  Again, plenty of effort and unlucky when he hit the post but we need him to be more ruthless in front of goal to fulfill his full potential.

Gaya 6.5  looked a bit rusty but that is to be expected and I am sure he will soon be back to speed
Cancelo 6.5  Brings something a bit extra that Barragan doesn't seem to have but not given the chance to shine today
Negredo  N/A  not enough time.

 Barcelona: Bravo; Alves, Piqué, Mathieu, Adriano (Rakitic, min.46); Mascherano, Xavi (Sergio Roberto, min.80), Sergio Busquets; Messi, Luis Suárez (Pedro, min.65)  Neymar.
 Valencia: Alves; Barragán, Mustafi, Otamendi, Orbán (Gayá, min.46); Parejo, Javi Fuego, Feghouli (Joa Cencelo, min.67), André Gomes, Rodrigo  Alcácer (Negredo, min.74)
Goals 1-0, m.1: Luis Suárez, .   2-0, m.93: Messi.

Attendance  92,000

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Valencia 3-0 Levante 13th April 2015

I guess when you are fighting relegation, two nil down with 20 minutes to go, the last thing you want to see is the sight of Negredo coming on, but more on that later.  Despite the word coming out of the Valencia camp that there was no talk of revenge I don't think too many people actually believed that after the 3 points dropped in the away game earlier in the season.
The game started off lively enough for the home side and a pinpoint cross from Feghouli on the right finds Paco Alcacer to slot home.  Amazingly, Valencia are once again cheated by the officials when the goal is ruled out for offside.  When is this injustice going to end ?  Fortunately soon after Alcacer puts things right heading in from another great cross from the right from Parejo to make it 1-0 in the 16th minute.
The next goal was not long coming and in the 36th minute a fine cross from Orban on the left was headed in by Feghouli to make the score look a bit more respectable. I like to try to be unbiased and it has to be said that this goal should have been ruled out due to Orban being in an offside position when he took the pass but I guess it just proves that the officials are not biased, just bad.
Vezo was filling in for the suspended Otamendi and surprisingly Cancelo was in for Barragan at the right back position and with Parejo back and Orban in at left back givng the team an exciting attacking look.  Feghouli and Cancelo were working together really well and giving the Levante defence nightmares with their interplay. Also on the other flank, Rodrigo and Orban were working really well together and with Parejo and Gomez bossing the midfield the team looked very balanced.
Alves was called upon a number of times in keeping out a number of long shots that certainly would have troubled lesser goalkeepers more. Levante could not get through the solid home defence and resorted to long range efforts.
After 65 minutes De Paul and Barragan came on for Gomez and Fehouli with Barragan taking right back pushing Cancelo forward.  On 73 minutes Negredo comes on for Alcacer.
Then comes possibly the highlight of an evening with many other high points for Valencia when a great ball from the right finds Negredo on the edge of the box with 2 players marking him. He brushes them off, shielding the ball before unleashing months of pent up fury by firing past the hapless Marino to end a great evening. He hardly celebrated the goal, as if to say to everybody,  'This is what I can do when given the right ball'.

Summary.  A great night for Valencia but another nail in the coffin for our brothers up the road who now look in serious trouble. To be fair, apart from a few long shots they looked as if they did not believe they had any chance of winning and the scoreline could and should have been more emphatic.
Unfortunate bookings for Negredo and Mustafi for dissent and Parejo the only downers to the night.

Player ratings.

Alves 7.5  Always difficult to rate when he does not have much to do but made some great saves when called upon and never really looked like he would concede.
Cancelo  8.5  My man of the match and I am pleased that Nuno has been reading my opinions on here and finally seeing how much better than Barragan he is. An amazing performance and looks worth the fee being asked
Vezo  8.0  A high mark, I know but I thought he also fitted in well and made some great interceptions.  He has never let the team down and talk of him going out on loan next season from some people seems to me ridiculous, he is Valencia and must stay here.
Mustafi  7.5   Another solid performance from the BMW who seems like a veteran despite his young age.
Orban  7.5   Great performance again and is covering well for Gaya in his absence.  A really versatile player who could play almost anywhere and not look out of place
Fuego  7.0  A player that is not always noticed as he does the simple things without fuss and hardly makes a mistake, very underated player.
Parejo  7.5  Forming a great midfield partnership now with Gomez.  Some critism earlier in the season with people saying they can't play together but that has certainly been shown to be wrong now. He always seems to be able to find his passes effortlessly.
Gomez  7.0  Another great game and such a skillful player, just needs to get a few more goals.
Feghouli  7.5  A fine game and ran the opposing defenders ragged interlinking with Cancelo and left the field with a well deserved ovation when substituted. Good to see him score
Rodrigo  7.0  Certainly a player with no shortage of skills, in my opinion we have not seen the best of him yet with his finishing and he will definitely improve and be a top player for us I am sure. Needs a bit of luck in front of goal.
Alcacer  7.5   Great goal and good to see him on the scoresheet again always works hard for the team and causes panic when he is anywhere near the opponents goal.

De Paul  7.0  Unlucky not to start after his performance last week but a very important part of the squad and has shown what he is capable of.
Barragan   7.0  Did  a good job covering for Cancelo allowing him to get forward but to me should be second choice.
Negredo  7.5  I really believe we are going to start seeing the real Negredo now in the later part of the season. It has been a long time coming but he looks a real beast when he comes on and the goal would have done wonders for his moral and confidence.

 Valencia: Diego Alves, Joâo Cancelo, Mustafi, Vezo, Orban, Javi Fuego, Parejo, André Gomes (De Paul, m.65), Feghouli (Barragán, m.65), Rodrigo y Paco Alcácer (Negredo, m.73).

 Levante: Mariño, Morales, Vyntra, Ramis, Toño (Iván López, m.46), Simao, José Mari, El Zhar (Uche, m.58), Víctor Casadesús, Ivanschitz (Rubén, m.73)  Barral.

Goals: 1-0, m.16: Paco Alcácer. 2-0, m.36: Feghouli. 3-0, m.92: Negredo.

Yellow cards Mustafi, Parejo y Negredo
 Levante  Ivanschitz, José Mari y Simao.

 Attendance  45.000 

Saturday, April 11, 2015



No updates for the last couple of games but I will try to catch up with what has been happening.
Firstly the Valencia CF v Villareal game on Sunday 5th April.  A rather disappointing result as we all expect to win the home games against lower placed teams, which fortunately at the moment includes most of the other teams.
This was a game with few openings in the first half with neither side seemingly being able to construct any decent opportunities.  The only incident of note was the booking of Parejo which puts him out of the next game against Athletic Club Bilbao. Negredo makes a late appearance and shows glimpses of what he is capable of and why we are paying the large fee for him.  All in all though an easily forgetable game and the only consolation is the one point we gained. It could have been worse when Otamendi hesitated on a bouncy through ball which almost allowed Giovani Santos in for a gift goal but he handled the ball and was rightly booked.

Athletic Club Bilbao v Valencia CF  Thursday 9th May
Starting the game without Parejo, who was replaced by Rodrigo it was almost a rerun of the previous game.  Very scrappy first half with few chances and seeing Piatti retire with a muscle injury being replaced by De Paul. To make things worse Andre Gomez picks up a head injury after an elbow from his team mate Otamendi which required him to be turbanised.  As for De Paul, for the first 20 minutes he looked like a player who had not played in the first team for a long while until suddenly finding his feet and putting in an amazing performance, He certainly looked like the best midfielder on the pitch and compounded it with a well taken goal after a pass from Orban.  Again Negredo makes a late appearance replacing Alcacer and again played an important part in livening up the proceedings with his powerful runs.
Just when it looked like we would be coming home with the three points secure, the referee decided that he would like to gain some of the attention from the game.  Otamendi going in for a fifty fifty ball was adjudged to have kicked the other player Mikel Jose on the leg.  It seemed that both players went in with their feet high but because the Athletic players surrounded the referee he sent off our player.  It was a strange situation in all ways because the ref had his red card out and waving it in front of an Athletic player whilst Otamendi was still on the ground and at first I thought he was sending him off. It is unusual for a ref to wave a card at a player who is still down.  A very harsh decision and no doubt he was intimidated by the players and crowd.  Also the 2 keepers were booked in the melee.
If that was not bad enough,  a minute from the end Artitz Aduriz grabs an equaliser when he stabs the ball home from an obvious offside position denying Valencia the extra two points.  Replays show that the linesman was in a perfect position to see the infringement and it has to be asked why the goal was not disallowed.  We can all come up with conspiracy theories some say he is an Athletico Madrid supporter and born in Santander, isn't that in the Basque region,  I am sure that has nothing to do with the fact that Athletic Bilbao is a Basque club. I am certain there are going to be more on this story in the coming weeks and even friends of mine in England have commented to me what a disgrace the offside goal and sending off was,

Please if you read this entry leave a comment.  It takes over an hour to write and I like to think that people have a view and want to share it. I will continue to write match reports if I know people are interested enough to leave a comment.

Amunt Valencia

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.