Saturday, May 23, 2015

Almeria vs Valencia CF Match Preview

Tonight is going to be the last match of the season and Valencia CF needs to beat UD Almeria to secure a champions league spot. The team has added pressure this time around as they failed to secure the 4th spot last week, which not only would have guaranteed the 4th spot, but it would have made it possible to achieve 3rd place as well.

Now now though its possible to get 3rd place if Atletico Madrid loses and Valencia CF wins, then due to having same points, but better head to head Valencia CF would take over the 3rd spot from Atletico Madrid.

The bigger issue here is that 4th place is not secured. Valencia CF could get 4th place even with a draw, but Sevilla would have to draw as well. In fact if Sevilla loses then Valencia CF can lose too and still maintain 4th place. So suffice to say the future, the destiny is in Valencia's hands.

The team is playing away from home, something that has been problematic for the team as winning away from home has been very difficult. Good thing is that Sevilla is also playing away from home and they are facing Malaga who are a very strong team.

I had hoped that Sevilla would fizzle out as the season gets into the latter stages, since they are playing in the Europe league as well, so I thought more tired legs and more focus there would hurt them, but it turned out that their squad has depth and rose to the occasion. Hopefully Valencia CF would rise to the occasion tonight as well and win this match as the team has only had the league to focus on and has had full 6 days of training every week for over 4 months now.

All but the injured Gomes are available for selection and Nuno has even included the midfielder Tropi from the B team.

Since the premise is on a win tonight and Gomes is injured, Nuno might start with two attackers this time around and hope to score some early goals.

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

Monday, May 18, 2015

Valencia CF 1-1 Celta Vigo La Liga 17th May 2015

This was supposed to be the last meaningful game of the season but it now means we will have to wait another week to know our fate for next season.
It all started so well with Valencia on the attack and looking good in possession taking the game to Celta.
But as we all know football can be a cruel game and in the 7th  minute Celta won a corner.  Nolito puts in a dangerous cross for Pablo Hernandez to out jump and out wit the home defence to power a header past Alves in off a post. This was a major blow to Valencia and suddenly Champions League football seemed a little bit further away.  The goal boosted Celta and understandably rattled the Valencia players.  We seemed to ease off the pressure with the concern that if they got another goal it would be a mountain to climb to get the 3 goals we would have required for a win.  It really was nail biting stuff  and the atmosphere in the stadium was electric.  With Celta having nothing to play for other than their pride and win bonus they seemed far more relaxed than us.
There were chances at both ends with Feghouli, Fuego and Gomes having chances to put us back on the level but they were unable to finish. Otamendi was unlucky when his header crashed against the crossbar from a freekick. It wasn't all one way either as Celta could have made it even harder for us on a number of occasions.  Gomes had to retire before the break with a thigh muscle injury to be replaced by Enzo Perez and the teams went in at the break with the solitary goal separating them.
The news was filtering through that Sevilla were also losing at home, to Almeria but it was scant consolation really as we needed the win. De Paul replaced Piatti on 58 minutes and not before time and then Mustafi went off for Negredo for us to revert to 3 at the back. This gave an immediate boost to the team and it was not long before we were back in the game.  A free kick a long way out by Parejo was fumbled by the keeper and that man Otamendi was there to stab it home. Game on.
So all we need to do now is get another goal and Champions League is secured. Unfortunately this is the real world and news from Seville of them getting 2 goals back and our inability to finish chances mean the we have to sweat it out now for 6 more days for our trip to Almeria.

Conclusion.   Their early goal really unnerved us tonight but we played well to try to fight back for the equaliser.  I still believe we will win next week to secure our place in the Champions League. It should be an amazing tense game with Almeria needing to win to remain in the La Liga but we should prove too strong for them. Football is about tension and drama and Valencia are certainly giving us our fair share this season.  It has been a great season for us and with all the new young players still gaining experience and the new manager we have done amazing.  Lets just hope we can finish off on a high with a good win.

Player Ratings

Alves 6.5   Not much to do and unlucky with the goal coming off the post but made some good saves when called upon.
Barragan 6.0  Too many mistakes but saved the day on one occasion getting back to prevent a good scoring opportunity.
Mustafi 6.5 Did his usual job without fuss but was replaced to make way for Negredo to add more punch up front.
Otamendi 8.0  M.O.M   Another outstanding performance, scoring one goal and could have had 2 more with a bit more luck. The real star of the show today.
Gaya 7.0  Got forward well and got some good crosses in but nobody in the right places to finish them off.
Fuego  6.5  Has a chance in the first half and apart from that played his usual average game.
Parejo  6.5.  Frustrating player sometimes.  At times he looks world class and other times gives away too many silly balls and gets caught in possession too much. Is he our main man next season or is he replaced. When he plays well we play well but when not, neither do we.
Gomes  6.0  Very skillful player but still lacks the killer final ball and the finishing instincts that we need
Piatti  5.5   We didn't see too much of him and it was no surprise when he was withdrawn for De Paul. The only surprise was it took so long. Definitely not one of his better games.
Feghouli 6.0  Flashes of brilliance but missed good chances and put over some poor crosses at times.
Alcacer 6.0   A player who needs the early ball put in to him but is not making his own chances at all. Also wins nothing much in the air from our goal kicks and when Gomes and Negredo are not there the ball just keeps coming back.


De Paul  7.0   Really livened things up when he came on and always links well with Negredo. Surely he and Negredo have to start against Almeria. Come on Nuno be brave.
 Perez  7.0    Also looked more lively when he came on and put some bite into the play but just needs to curb his aggression a little bit as he always looks like he is going to foul.
Negredo 7.0   Has to start next week.  He gets too much criticism  for his mistakes and misses but I would rather he play for us than against us.

  Valencia:  Alves, Barragán, Mustafi (Negredo, m.69), Otamendi, Gayà, Javi Fuego, Parejo, André Gomes (Enzo Pérez, m.34), Feghouli, Piatti (De Paul, m.58) y Paco Alcácer.
Celta Vigo: Sergio, Hugo Mallo, Cabral, Fontás, Jonny, Álex López (Sergi Gómez, m.80), Krohn-Dehli, Orellana, Hernández (Borja Fernández, m.60), Nolito y Larrivey (Charles, m.86).
Goals  Pablo Hernadez 7 mins                                                                                                                               Otamendi         71 mins 


Saturday, May 9, 2015

Real Madrid 2-2 Valencia CF Match Report

Wow what a match. This was an extremely exciting and nerve racking match at the same time, with both teams coming close to winning, but ultimately ending in a 2-2 draw.

Valencia CF had the first big chance of the match, Paco Alcacer was released by a through pass alone on goal, but unfortunately he missed the shot and headed the ball wide off goal, this could have easily been 1-0 for Valencia CF had he had a little bit more composure and perhaps a bit more experience.

After some battle in the midfield Valencia CF would go on to score the first goal of the game, with Gaya running down the left flank, going past his marker and heading a cross towards the oncoming Paco who jumped to the ball and headed it past Cassilas and into the net. Valencia CF had taken the lead in what was a solid performance all the way building up to the goal.

Real Madrid would try to stage a comeback, but an injury to Toni Kroos would have him leave the field, with Valencia CF winning a free kick on the left side. Parejo took the free kick and crossed deep into the penalty area with Javi Fuego finding himself at the right place and heading the ball into the net, making the score 2-0 for Valencia CF.

After the two goals Real Madrid tried to come into the game, managing to hit the post and bar once and getting a few saves off of Diego Alves. Just before the final whistle though, Gaya brought down Bale into the penalty area and the referee immidiately called to the spot, giving Real Madrid an easy way in to get them going.

Ronaldo took to take the penalty, but he stutter stepped before taking the shot and heading his shot in the direction Diego Alves jumped, Diego punched the ball away, but the rebound felt to Ronaldo again, but once again he missed the shot.

The second half was really bad for Valencia CF, Carlo Anceloti made two changes with replacement of the two full backs, opting for more offensive power and it worked. Valencia CF were shut down on the flank, mostly due to Real Madrid constant attacks and Gaya and Barragan having to sit most of the time deep in defense.

Real Madrid would have several big chances, but fortunately Diego Alves had one of his best matches in a Valencia CF shirt and was able to save Valencia CF several times with astounding goalkeeping.

Unfortunately the good luck and amazing skill of Diego Alves wouldn't be enough and after a barrage of constant attacks by the Madrid side they scored a goal in the 56th minute, with Pepe outjumping the Valencia CF defense and heading the ball into the net, giving Real Madrid a lifeline.

I think Nuno needed to make a change about this time, I think Piatti was quite ineffective, Feghouli wasn't doing much better either, remove one of those and bring in Enzo Perez, establish more control in the midfield as Real Madrid were dominating possession and were able to use and abuse their possession dominance to create constant chances.

Unfortunately he waited until the 70th minute to bring in Negredo for Paco, which made sense, but didn't change the dynamic of the match. Before that though, Paco had one more chance to score, again on a cross from Gaya, Parejo and Gaya both had a shot on goal as well and Mustafi did come close as well from corners to scoring.

Real Madrid would score again unfortunately in the 84th minute as Isco was dribbling around the 25th meter mark, he escaped Barragan for a second there and decided to shoot, releasing a powerful shot that went into the top corner of the net, with Diego Alves having no chance of reaching it.

Until the end Negredo actually had two wonderful chances to score, both times alone against the keeper, one was a failed shot and the other a failed header, he really seems terrible, lacks confidence, lacks practice, he should have scored twice, possibly even scoring a hat-trick.

He had one more good chance, but he decided to pass to De Paul, who was in a good position as well, but his shot was terrible and basically just passed the ball to Casillas who had no problems scooping it in easily.

Exciting match, both teams could have won it, for Valencia CF Diego Alves was man of the match and the reason why Real Madrid didn't win, but Negredo, Paco and De Paul will be kicking themselves for their huge missed opportunities.

Technical Details:
Real Madrid: Casillas; Arbeloa (Carvajal, m.46), Pepe, Sergio Ramos, Coentrao (Marcelon, m.46); Kroos (Illarramendi, m.26), Isco, James; Cristiano Ronaldo, Bale y 'Chicharito'.

Valencia: Diego Alves, Barragán, Mustafi, Otamendi, Gayà, Javi Fuego, Parejo, André Gomes (De Paul, m.77), Feghouli, Piatti (Orbán, m.89) y Alcácer (Negredo, m.69).

Paco Alcacer 1-0, 20 min. Assist Jose Luis Gaya
Javi Fuego 2-0, 26 min. Assist Daniel Parejo
Pepe 2-1, 56 min. Assist James Rodriguez
Isco 2-2, 84 min.

Player Ratings:
Diego Alves 10 - One of the best games in a Valencia CF shirt, made couple dozen astounding saves. Goalkeeping of the year.
Barragan 6 - Was okay in defense, its expected to lose some battles, but he gave the ball away one too many times and his forward contribution was severely lacking.
Mustafi 7 - Solid defending, good headed clearances, was a threat going forward on set pieces and one of the better players tonight for Valencia.
Otamendi 6 - Some good defending, some not so good. Went down way too easily in few challenges, leaving the Valencia defense vulnerable,  was not that strong in the air as he was beaten by Pepe and Ramos several times.
Gaya 7 - Average defending, had way easier time in the first half against Arbeloam found it way more challenging in the second half. Provided an assist though and was dangerous going forward.
Fuego 6 - Did well enough defensively, organized the midfield pretty good and tracked back fine, but was lacking when going forward, missing several passes under pressure.
Parejo 6.5 - Overrun in midfield, had some decent passed in midfield and involved in one or two chance, but overall didn't contribute too much in midfield and mostly relegated to defending. Did provide the assist to the second goal though.
Gomes 5.5 - Ran a lot and covered defensively, had some counter attacking moves initiated, but his final ball was lacking.
Feghouli 6 - Non threatening in attack, slow on the ball and his major contribution is his defensive cover. He needed to do more though and provide some threat going forward.
Piatti 5.5 - Again mostly defensive play, the few times he did get forward his final ball was lacking and he wasn't his usual speedy, fighting self.
Paco 6 - Scored the first goal, was generally in decent positions, had several opportunities, unfortunately he missed two great chances to score.
Negredo 3 - Wat a miserable performance. He could have had a hat-trick if he wasn't afraid to shoot, but he seems to lack confidence and doesn't seem sharp at all in front of goal. On this performance he is worth more like 2.5 million, rather than 25 million.
De Paul N/A - Didn't have enough time to influence the match, though he did have an amazing miss to give Valencia the victory.
Lucas Orban N/A - Not enough time.

Real Madrid vs Valencia CF Match Preview

Real Madrid vs Valencia CF Match Preview
Stadium: Santiago Bernabeu
Date: 09.05.2015, 20:00 CET
36th matchday, La Liga
Coaches: Carlo Ancelotti and Nuno Santo

Valencia CF will be facing Real Madrid tonight at the Santiago Bernabeu in what is a crucial match for both clubs, with only several more matches to go before the end of the season. Valencia CF is currently 4th place on the table, 4 points behind Atletico Madrid and 3 points ahead of Sevilla. Right now the club is in a good position, but losing to Real Madrid could threaten all of that, with the club's hopes for 3rd place tarnished and possibly dropping to same points as Sevilla, meaning even Champions League football is in question.

Tonight Valencia CF has to overcome all odds and win against Real Madrid at their stadium and end once again their win streak, this time a smaller win streak, but a streak nonetheless.  Good thing is that Real Madrid just lost to Juventus in the Champions League so Nuno Santo has the blueprint of how to beat Real Madrid, he's already done it before and could do it again.

Valencia CF is weakened by the vacancy of Rodrigo Moreno, he has recieved a 3 match suspension for an altercation with another player in the previous game and thus won't feature against Real Madrid. Other than him the squad is at full force, with all the key players available for selection, with Nuno Santo having to make an important decision to play Pablo Piatti who's not in the best form after his second long term injury this season or the in form De Paul who is in good form, but hasn't been consistent.

Another interesting decision will be if he starts with 2 attackers this match, with Paco and Negredo both playing from start, that could be another possibility or will he put in an extra midfielder and possibly try to control the game and don't give Real Madrid any space to operate.

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

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

Friday, May 8, 2015

Gaya Signs....Rodrigo Out For the Season

Jose GAYA today officially signed a 5 year deal with Valencia the week before his 20th birthday keeping him at the club until 2020.
After much doubt and worry for the fans the player put pen to paper to complete the deal.
Good news for the players and fans and let's hope he does not get bothered by other teams now with a buyout clause of between 40 and 50 million euros. Let's hope all players are signed soon the we will not have all the close season speculation on who is going or not.

Not such good news for Rodrigo Moreno who's appeal against his 3 match ban for kicking out at the goalkeeper last week was turned down.  Seems a rather harsh ban to say the least after other players have been treated far less harshly for what seems much worse.

This ban means that his season is over as he will not be able to participate in any more matches now until next season. Therefore he misses the games with Real Madrid, Celta Vigo and Almeria. Not all bad news though as we have all other players fit and it will give Rodrigo De Paul a chance to show what he can do.                                                                    

Monday, May 4, 2015

Valencia CF 3-1 SD Eibar La Liga 3rd May 2015

Possibly not as exciting as last weeks game against Rayo Vallecano but at this stage of the season it's the points that come before the entertainment most would agree.
Valencia started like they meant business raiding the Eibar goal but the visitors were getting men behind the ball in numbers and making it difficult for us to break through.  Patience is what Nuno had asked from the players and it also applied to the fans. With Rodrigo De Paul getting a start at last and his namesake sitting this one out, it was time for him to show what he could do. It wasn't long before a rasping long range shot skimmed the Eibar bar to show that he was up to take his opportunity. Soon after Feghouli dispossessed a defender to set up Paco Alcacer but his shot was just wide of the far post. On 25 minutes a corner led to the ball falling to Gaya on the left after a nice touch from Alcacer. His pinpoint cross was met by Otamendi, who had stayed up to power a header past the hapless Irutera in the away goal.  Half time came round with the crowd becoming restless with the single goal against very poor opponents.
The second goal though was soon coming and in the 56th minute  Feghouli found Parejo who's deflected shot gave the keeper no chance to make the score 2.0 after De Paul had rattled the cross bar. Gaya then seemed to pick up a problem and had to limp off to be replaced by Orban.  Another goal was inevitable Paco  had a goal disallowed for offside before finally sealing it with a goal after a great freekick from Parejo from outside the area, hits a post and he was able to tap it home to make it a more respectable 3-0.
Unfortunately as is often the case in football there was to be a final twist. Andre Gomes plays a lazy ball to Mustafi which he had no real chance of reaching. However it was seized upon by the Eibar player and with three players running to close him down he slides it in the middle to Arruabarrena to easily beat Alves to make it 3-1.  It has to be said that it could easily have been avoided. Firstly an obvious poor ball from Gomes. Then Otamendi,  who I do not like to criticize,  does what he sometimes does and charges to the ball without looking around him.  I would suggest, had he had stood back he could easily have cut out the cross, or maybe he was expecting Orban to have got back but unfortunately he was still on the halfway line.   The only threat Eibar gave was in crosses and corners which caused a worrying amount of problems for our defenders. A thing that will need to be worked on for next weeks visit to Real Madrid.


Not the most entertaining game of the season and at times really frustrating but 3 points is what matters at this stage of the season.  Too many balls given away by the midfield but with such poor opponents we got away with it. Also the danger from crosses. Two wins from the final 3 games will seal it therefore it is in our own hands now.  We should not be finding fault when we win 3.1 but I guess we are all expecting a lot now as the team has shown what we are capable of.

Player ratings

Alves 6.5  Looked a bit shaky on a couple of crosses but we got away with it and he had no real chance with the goal
Barragan  6.5  Did Ok had a steady game.
Otamendi  7.5  Maybe could have been more aware on the away goal but another solid performance as expected and a great goal
Mustafi  7.0  Usual solid performance and was not really responsible for the goal against but sometimes loses a bit of concentration
 Gaya 6.5  Had a good game again but had to go off. Maybe he is not quite back to his best yet after his layoff
Gomes 6.5  Terrible mistake at the end and gave the ball away a couple of times but had some good touches and showed his class
Fuego  6.5  Did a good job but was not called upon too much
Parejo  7.5  Had a really good game and always involved in the positive things up front but gave the ball away a few times when a pass was on.
De Paul  7.5  Surely he has now convinced Nuno that he should be starting games every week. Just needs to get over his shots a bit and will be getting some important goals.
Alcacer 7.0  Took his goal well in a position where he seems to sniff out which is the mark of a good goalscorer
Feghouli 7.0   A good game this week but needs to find the consistency to do it regularly. Put some good dangerous balls over to make the chances.

Orban 6.0  Covered well in the absence of Gaya but possibly should have been able to have got back to prevent the goal.
Piatti   6.0  Didn't really show much while he was on.
Negredo N/A  One chance but not enough time

Otamendi 25 mins
Parejo 56 mins
Alcacer 71 mins
Arruabarrena 85 mins

. Valencia: Alves, Barragan, Otamendi, Mustafi, Gayà (Orbán, M.60)Fuego (Negredo, m.78), André Gomes, Parejo; Feghouli, De Paul (Piatti, m.67)  Alcácer. 

. Eibar: Irureta, Vault, Borja, Añibarro, Didac; Boateng, Dani Garcia (Errasti, m.78), Cape, Manu (Angel, m.68), Saul Berjón and Piovaccari (Arruabarrena, m.46). 

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Rayo Vallecano 1-1 Valencia CF La Liga 30th April 2015

Usually I like to chill out a bit after watching the game and write it up after reflection, however needs must means it is now or never. So Rayo win the toss of the coin and choose the end for their keeper that is not still in the sun.  Usually not an important issue, I say usually.
Valencia go on the attack right from the kick off and unlike previous games recently look really lively and batter away at the Rayo defence.  It would be no exaggeration to say we should have had 3 goals in the first 10 minutes.  Time after time the Rayo goal was threatened but time after time shots went wide or were miss kicked.  Negredo and Piatti were in the starting eleven giving a change look and it seemed to be working well with Rodrigo on the right flank looking really dangerous cutting in on his favoured left foot.  However the unbelievable happened on the 19th  minute when a harmless looking shot from Embarba  looked to be an easy catch for Alves but with the sun in his eyes he allowed the ball to squirm through his hands for the easiest goal Rayo will score in many seasons.
This understandably seemed to rattle  Valencia and for a while the passes were going astray and players were being caught in possession.
Eventually though Valencia started to find the form that has taken us to the top part of the league and the difference in class began to tell.  The game could not be criticized for incident and excitement with both teams going all out for the three points.
In the second half Feghouli replaces Piatti  and things would take a turn for the better in the 62nd minute for Valencia when Morcillo was sent off for taking the legs away from Andre Gomez when he was clean through on goal to give Valencia a free kick on the edge of the area.  The way the game had gone for us Gomez would probably not have scored anyway so the free kick was welcome. Danny Parejo steps up though and blasts the ball through the wall to put the game back on level terms 4 minutes later. Game on now.
Valencia continued to dominate but it was not all one way and the home team had a few opportunities. Parejo was then unlucky when his low shot hits the bottom of the post and bounces off the keeper for a corner.  In the 70th minute Parejo replaces the injured Mustafi to partner Negredo up front.  Then it was the turn for Rodrigo to come to the attention of the referee.  After clattering with the keeper and being elbowed in the face he decides to trip him up. The foul looked hardly deserving of a red but that was what he got. Disappointing as this ref, I have noticed is very lenient in letting play continue without using cards but on this occasion again we seem to get the harsh decision when he could have also sent off the keeper.
In the final stages Valencia continued to attack but the home team held out for a point and it was the home fans whistling for the final whistle to be blown as they knew they were fortunate to earn anything from the game.

Conclusion   A really entertaining game but a disappointing final result. Still leaves us 4th above Sevilla on goal difference

Player Ratings

Alves   6    Unfortunate with the slip that ultimately cost the points but made a good save to keep us level
Barragan  6.5 Showing signs of improvement and stability
Mustafi  6.5   Picked up an injury but looked solid when called on
Otamendi  6.5 His usual solid self and made some telling tackles
Gaya  6.5  Relatively quiet game and seems to have things on his mind
Perez   6.0   Really quiet game tonight
Gomes    Earned the free kick for the goal but not at his best
Piatti   6.0   Needs to get his sharpness and fitness back
Parejo  7.0  Good game tonight and was the most busy in the midfield and took his goal well and unlucky when he hit the post
Negredo 6.5  Missed some good chances early on and faded a bit in the second half. But at times showed his class.
Rodrigo 7.0  Really lively in the first half and unlucky a few times, but we say that every week

Feghouli  6.0   Largely inefective
Alcacer    6.0   Didn't really get in the game
De Paul   6.5   Looked the best of the subs and deserves a start


Rodrigo   RED