Thursday, November 26, 2015

Possible Winter Transfers

Alvaro Negredo  Bought for 28 million euros from Man City August 2014.
In my opinion at the time it was an exciting purchase even though the price seemed high for a player of that age, however, if he was going to start getting goals for us it may have turned into a wise investment. Unfortunately as we all now know it has been a disastrous waste of money.  Now he is out of favour and looking to be offloaded in the winter, the worst possible thing  has to happen is that he has had to go to hospital for an operation and is now sidelined for a couple of months. Will anybody shell out any decent money for him in January ?  It remains to be seen.  Anyhow, I see the club losing a lot of money over this deal but in the long term good for both sides if he goes as I feel that at the moment he has no future here with the current set up.  Of course in the event of Nuno himself going that could all change and who would bet against that at the moment. The latest is that Olympic Marseille may be interested in him and that a possible move for us to take Michy Batshuayi, although there would be a big payment for us as apparently they are looking for a ridiculous 50 million for him and I don't think we will get that for Negredo.

Rodrigo De Paul  Bought from Racing Club for 4.5 million euros in July 2014.
A player who, in my opinion, and I know many others, has just not been given enough time in the team. We are a team devoid of strong powerful players who are willing to go and do the unexpected and here is a player who can do that. How Piatti is being chosen before De Paul has left many of us perplexed.  What is the reason for his exclusion ?  We have to appreciate that even though we all want to know, the manager cannot go to the press and criticize the players and say why they are not playing.  That would be the easy way out but it is a thing that managers are often reluctant to do.  The latest is that Villareal and Marseille are interested in his purchase so we will have to wait and see on that one.  I really hope he is given time and stays.

Nicolas Orban  signed from Bordeaux for 3.5 million euros August 2014.
A player I have always liked despite being error prone on occasions. He is a player who wants to win and who gives his all on the pitch. Versatile, in that he could be used as left back or central defence if needed and I am sure would also be comfortable as a defensive midfield player.  It is no surprise that teams like Celta Vigo, River Plate, Boca Juniors and Borussia Monchengladbach have taken an interest in signing him.  I wonder if Nuno has stopped to think that he might have missed something. Of course if he does go he will need to be replaced by another quality left back to cover for Gaya.  I do not understand why Gaya has not been given a rest recently and Orban used, I foresee Gaya getting another injury soon by being overplayed.

If it was down to me, players that would be leaving in the winter providing we could find somebody to buy them, would be  Piatti and Barragan.  I think we need a replacement right back to cover or replace Cancello and maybe another left midfield player.

Many players have been mentioned as possible signings but I think that is all just down to paper talk. Of course there will be new faces but I think they may be surprise purchases and may depend on us getting into the next round of the Champions League as to how much we spend.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Zenit St Petersburg 2 - 0 Valencia CF Champions League

Another disappointing night for Valencia in a freezing St Petersburg.  The big story of the night was the surprising inclusion of youngster Rafa Mir making his debut first the first team. Was this going to be a master move or a reckless gamble, well, although he tried hard and was willing, he failed to score or make any impact on the game therefore we can all make our own minds up on that one.

With Vezo stepping in for the injured Mustafi Valencia were enjoying slightly more of the possession without causing the home side any real problems. After his late inclusion on Saturday for the injured Vezo I was expecting good things from the young Portuguese however it was going to be one of those nights he and the rest of the team will want to soon forget, twice being at fault for failing to clear the ball gave Zenit the lead after 15 minutes.

Things went from bad to worse in the second half when Zenit got their second goal after 74 minutes waltzing through the Valencia defence to put the game out of reach. Despite the dominance of the home team Valencia had more of the ball possession but were unable to make many chances of note with Hulk again running the show with his strength and power.

Just to cap a bad night Vezo gets himself a red card for ploughing into Shatov, who the ref adjudged was through on goal when he had his legs taken away on the edge of the penalty box in the 80th minute.  To be fair Zenit deserved the win which gives them 5 out of 5 now.

Conclusion    We were well beaten by a far better side on the night. Zenit had the experience with age and they also had Hulk, who made all the difference.  The Valencia side are a team for the future and it showed tonight up against the big boys. There will need to be changes in the playing staff and probably the manager. With Gent winning tonight it puts our chance of proceeding in the competition on a knife edge now.  It also means we have only two central defenders for the next game against Lyon which we must win and hope that Zenit beat Gent.

Jaume 6.5   Not at fault with either goal and had a reasonably quiet night although made a couple of good saves
Cancello 6.5  Had a decent performance but the whole defence looked a bit like strangers for the goals.
Vezo  4  Really disappointing evening after his good late performance on Saturday. A night to forget for him.
Abdenour 6.5  Looks a bit off the pace after his long lay off but still a class player in my opinion. We need him back to speed soon.
Gaya 6.0  The guy needs a break, he is looking off the pace and not up to his old high standard. Have we given up on Orban, I thought he might have played tonight.
Perez  7  I thought he had a good game and was busy all over the pitch and failed to get a yellow card so that is a huge plus.
Parejo 7  Was busy and a major improvement on his dismal performance against Las Palmas but no telling shots or decent through balls
Gomez 6.5  Is really grafting hard to try to get the team going but failed to make much impact tonight.
Feghouli 6  I am sure he should not be playing with his injury. I think the problem is lack of quality depth in the squad. Tried hard but with little impact
Alcacer  6  Not his fault but looked isolated yet again but tried to link up with new boy Mir but it didn't really work.
Mir  6  I guess this one is a player for the future. Tonights game would have been a great experience for him as not many players debut in the Champions League, for obvious reasons.
Santi Mina 6.5 for Mir 56 mins     Had a good game for the short time he was on
Barbosa for Perez  73 mins   N/A
De Paul  for Cancello 78 mins   N/A

We need writers and people who can contribute!

Hi there ladies and gentleman, I've read the comments and I understand we are slacking a lot lately, but the facts are that we need more man power. Its just me and Mick for 99% of the time currently, with Amunt.Valencia focusing on his studies and we just can't do everything.

I wish I could write more and be more active, but I have like 20 things to do on the back end, but I can't just never write anything, so I decide to juggle the work and I end up failing on both ends. There is so much work that needs to be done for the statistics, player ratings, goals/assists, I was working on new design for the New Year, but ultimately everything overwhelmed me.

So we need people to help us, writers, people to help me with social media and contribute on our twitter and facebook(which Shakhawathas been doing a good job) and also back end stuff with updating a lot of the stats for the blog.

We can't do it all with just two people, if you want to contribute, if you want to write for your favorite team and help us this is your chance! I've been continuously doing this for over 5 years, I can't be active all the time and if you want a place to read and discuss about VCF you are going to have to step up and help us.

I know we lose a lot of readers when the blog is not constantly active and the discussions get lost, but I'm afraid there is nothing I can do. Its up to you guys and gals to volunteer and become a writer for this blog or help me with the statistics or social media.

If you are interested in contributing to this blog email me at: slickr12345@yahoo[dot]com

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Time To Step It Up

                                                                   RAFA MIR

I think like most other people we will be glad to be back to La Liga football after the international break.
I think what is on my mind is that the time has come for the players to forget about all the hype about 'Nuno Out' and all that stuff and get on with doing what they do best and that is play some good football, give maximum effort and get 3 more points.

We proved last time out with the 5.1 win against Celta Vigo, that we can give anybody a good game but now it is time for the players to up their game tonight and give us the maximum points.

It looks like Barragan and Piatti are out so that is a positive in my opinion and maybe the new boy Rafa Mir will get a runout.  Also Orban should get a run to give Gaya a rest so he is fit for the trip to Zenit on Tuesday.  Also Adbenour will return to partner Mustafi in defence which I am looking forward to seeing again as they are by far our best 2 central defenders.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Yoel loaned out to Rayo Vallecano

Valencia CF goalkeeper Yoel Rodriguez is officially loaned out to Rayo Vallecano until the rest of the season. He arrived as a backup to Diego Alves and possibly even challenge for the spot, but since his first game where he conceded 3 goals if I remember correctly he was basically doomed.

Every other time he played after that he didn't show much either and ultimately this season he fell even more down the ranks, losing out to B team goalkeeper Jaume. With Jaume, Ryan and Diego he wasn't going to get any playing time and Diego could return to play in two months time, leaving Valencia CF with 4 goalkeepers.

Its going to be interesting to see though if Valencia CF continue with 3 goalkeepers once Diego Alves returns. Of course we'll have to wait and see if Diego gets back in full form and is reliable as he used to be, but it will be interesting to see how we manage 3 goalkeepers.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Celta Vigo 1-5 Valencia CF Match Report

Valencia CF reacted after the extremely poor showing against KAA Gent in the Champions league and managed to comfortably beat Celta Vigo by five goals to one on their home ground. Celta Vigo were in superb form coming to this match, they were the favorites to win and they've generally shows really great football so far in the season, but Valencia CF managed to overcome them and secure a big win over Celta who are a direct rival for the Champions league this season.

While the score is great and shows a level of dominance by Valencia CF, the reality of the match wasn't quite that. Truth be told Valencia CF only had 5 shots on goal and scored from all 5 of those. Basically one chance, one goal for Valencia CF today, but that won't always be the case and Valencia CF need to create more chances and have more ball possession. Celta Vigo had most of the ball possession, in fact about 60% of the possession, they had more overall shots, created about equal amount of chances I'd say, but they didn't manage to score from them.

I wouldn't say Valencia CF were just lucky and that is how they won, the defending was overall good, though with big room for improvement, the team pressured higher and more aggressively so that made Celta lost the ball more often than usual for them and we had Paco Alcacer and Daniel Parejo who just had amazing contributions. These two players won the match for Valencia CF, the others contributed and played okay, but it was Paco and Parejo who won this match for Valencia CF no doubt about it. Of course we need these type of wins and these type of players, Barcelona have Messi, Real Madrid have Ronaldo, Bayern have historically relied on Robben and Ribbery a lot, most quality teams have one or two players who do make the difference in a lot of the matches and Valencia CF needs more of it and I can only hope that Paco and Parejo have such great games every time, I wouldn't care if we rely too much on them as long as we are winning comfortably.

I won't go into detail about the goals and play as I normally do, you can watch highlights for that, I'll talk about some of the things that Valencia CF could improve. One of these things is mobility, a lot of the times players are just way too fixated to their positions and way too static, in many cases against many teams it feels like we are playing with 9 or 10 players against 11 players of theirs and this is because the players are not mobile and flexible enough. They also don't move as a team, they are not synchronized, so when one or two players are more forward, everyone else is still way back, instead of the whole team moving forward and being available to play and receive the ball.

Another issue is that we are not covering the defensive flanks fast enough, there is always space on the flanks for the opposition to exploit, there needs to be faster cover, especially since the team is generally sitting quite deep even when attacking, so it should be easier and simpler to get cover to the flanks and prevent the sort of easy penetrations we see very often.

Finally Nuno should stick more with one team and not make any changes, we should have a stable starting eleven that is rarely changed, we shouldn't be seeing Piatti start one game on the left, another one Bakkali, another one Mina, another one Moreno, etc... We shouldn't be seeing changed in the midfield either, keep the same trio game in and out and only make changed when tactically required or when injuries strike. We need more consistency in the starting eleven and then give chances to the rest in the upcoming cup games and games with weaker opponents when there is a Champions league match ahead.

Finally the team should work on improving build-up play and just team movement, the team needs to feel as a whole, as one unit, more cohesive defensive movement, midfield movement and attack movement,  the whole team should move and add numbers in a smaller area of field, this will give us more ball possession, more control and allow the players to pressure faster and recover the ball faster. From this match on the team should look to improve and become better, this should be a minimum performance, performance that wins us matches even without a great play, but there should be a better play overall, there should be more dominating performance.

Player Ratings:
Jaume 6.5 - Very good goalkeeping, stopped few shots at goal and was generally very secure.
Barragan 6.5 - Some good defending, found himself in good positions several times to clear danger.
Mustafi 6.5 - Mixed play, some good movement and marking, but wasn't always 100% secure. Scored the 5th goal for VCF though.
Vezo 6 - Similar to Mustafi, was generally positioned well and made few interceptions, but not feeling 100% confident in his skills.
Gaya 5.5 - At fault for the Celta goal, he played Vigo onside as all VCF players were setting up offside position. Was overall decent after that, though quite a few attacks came from his side.
Fuego 6 - Generally good play, was solid defensively and made one key tackle to stop Celta's attack.
Parejo 9 - Perfect game by Parejo, provided the assist for the first goal, scored the second from a free kick and basically secured the game with his third, before providing the assist for the 5th goal.
Gomes 6 - Had an okay game, made some decent forward runs and contributed a lot defensively, but it wasn't some accomplished performance, an okay one.
Cancelo 6 - Was okay in an attacking sense, managed to beat his marker few times, lost the ball quite a few times as well, wasn't particularly dangerous going forward.
Paco 8.5 - Paco was in full form today, scored the first goal, scored the third goal and provided the assist for Parejo's 4th goal. Was very active and combative throughout the match.
Bakkali 6 - Okay match, did well defensively and was very active throughout the pitch. Taken off early in the second half.
Santi Mina 5.5 - Didn't contribute much, today was mostly the Parejo and Paco show and those two pretty much won us the game.
Piatti 5 - Didn't see much of the ball, but was running channels when in attack and being a nuisance to Celta's defense.
Danilo N/A - Not enough time

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

KAA Gent 1-0 Valencia CF Match Report

This was one of the worst games Valencia CF has ever played, at least in the past year or so, in fact the play was so bad that I think the first half ended without any sort of shots towards Gent's goal. The first half was completely dominated by KAA Gent, they had absolute control, they were the ones attacking all the time and Valencia CF could not even reach their goal.

KAA Gent had few chances to score, they had one early powerful shot that Jaume impressively saved, though the shot ultimately didn't matter as there was a foul called against them or something, don't understand what the call exactly was. Later on they had few shots in a row where they hit the post once and Jaume saving twice.

There is not much else to say, it was basically pure luck that Valencia CF didn't concede any goals in the first half and went on to half time with the scoreline of 0-0. Realistically though Valencia CF deserved to lose at that point, every metric, every statistic showed how dominant and better Gent were.

As soon as the second half started Gent would get their goal and it was thanks to a penalty that Barragan conceded. Sven Kums would step on to take it and his shot would find the back of the net.

Valencia CF coach Nuno had made a substitution to replace Santi Mina for Pablo Piatti, but that change had little difference and it wasn't until Nuno brought on Andre Gomes that Valencia CF started playing better and having a little bit more control and initiation in the midfield.

Valencia CF would manage two shots at goal in the second half, both of them blocked, one by Parejo and one by Paco. Those were the only chances that Valencia CF could muster up in basically 90 minutes. Sure the play was better in the second half once Gomes came in for Fuego, but it wasn't leaps and bounds better, it was a little bit better and chances were still at a premium.

Most of the play until the final whistle was sort of midfield battle and both teams losing the ball after few passes when trying to attack and back and forth like that until basically the end.

Normally I'm very supportive of the coach and coaches in the past as well, but this type of play is hard to watch and I can understand why so many fans want the coach out. It really looked like the team had no plan, no strategy, no tactics, no understanding on how to play, how to deal with Gent, how to approach the game. They all relied on individual skill and sort of basic instinctual football, but I did not sense any organized football, any tactical play. It seemed to me that Nuno fielded a squad to basically challenge Gent in an attacking sense, try and create as many chances, but once that failed there was no plan B to go to.

KAA Gent played way too aggressively and I think the referee was atrocious, I never mention referees unless they are obviously paid to make VCF lose and I've called out those referees all the time, but other than those cases I never mention it, its never been big enough deal, but tonight it was a big deal. KAA Gent were allowed to be as aggressive as they wanted, no warnings, no yellow cards, heck most of the challenges even went unpunished, as if that is normal football.

I love free flow and combative football, I find it most exciting, most interesting, most skill realistic and hate it when every touch is given as foul as if players are playing ballet and not football, but Gent players were playing Rugby tonight, they weren't playing football and the referee couldn't care less. They just rammed in all of the Valencia players and got away with it, but on the opposite side Valencia CF players were punished for just looking at the Gent players in an aggressive way. It was one of the most atrocious refereeing I have ever seen, paid referees aren't this terrible, that is how bad this referee was.

Ultimately instead of guaranteeing our move to the next round of the Champions league the team made it 10x times more difficult and actually gave Gent of all teams a chance to be the team that can move forward. Its just unbelievable how big of a failure this match was.

Player Ratings:
Jaume 6 - The only decent player tonight
Barragan 4 - Conceded the penalty and was seriously tested at the back, having quite a bad night.
Mustafi 5 - Had some good interceptions, but was beaten once for a header and once in a challenge, lucky they didn't result in goals.
Santos 6 - Marginally better than Mustafi and actually bailed him and his other defensive partners few times with good blocks and interceptions.
Gaya 5.5 - Relegated mostly to defending and coped okay, was caught out of position few times as he tried to push forward at times, though was dangerous when moving forward.
Fuego 3.5 - Don't really see his contribution in this match. Gent had several chances besides him and didn't provide any sort of attacking outlet at all.
Parejo 5 - Not really effective at controlling the midfield, had little help from any of the players though and the only other players he could find relatively frequent were Feghouli and Barragan.
Enzo 4 - Zero control in midfield, almost never available to receive a pass, didn't contribute anything of value.
Feghouli 6 - One of the few decent players this match, interplayed well enough with Parejo and Barragan, but was basically alone most of the time trying to penetrate the Gent midfield and defense.
Paco 5.5 - Can't fault him when he literally had zero opportunities created for him, the one shot he had he created for himself. 
Mina 4 - Added nothing of value.
Piatti 4.5 - Maybe slightly better than Mina since he was able to hold to the ball better, but didn't add much more than that.
Gomes 6 - Added a bit more ruggedness and drive in the midfield, was able to better play with Parejo and the others and in general a big improvement over Fuego.
Cancelo N/A - Not enough time.