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Saturday, August 30, 2014

Valencia CF 3-0 Malaga CF Match Report

Valencia CF win against Malaga CF, but the score may be a little misguiding as the team struggled against Malaga CF and were the weaker team until Malaga were reduced to 10 players. Mostly the midfield failed as they failed to contain Malaga and to keep possession, though the defense, especially Vezo had few slip ups that could have easily cost us the game.

As the match started Malaga instantly had a chance as Vezo made a mistake and the ball fly by him, forcing Alves into a weird position, but luckily it didn't results in a goal.

Diego Alves was forced to save once again, again from a mistake by Vezo, though Barragan also allowed a lot of space as they both failed to cover a shot by one of Malaga's attackers.

Valencia CF were making many mistakes and most of the players kept losing the ball or giving away possession through bad passes. There were few good moments, for example Feghouli had few good runs on goal, Gaya and Piatti were combining well on the left flank and causing problems, but it wasn't until Malaga were reduced to 10 players that Valencia CF began playing better.

I got to say I wasn't satisfied with the play even with a man advantage, as Malaga seemed dangerous and had urgency in their play, while Valencia's play was sloppy and riddled with mistakes.

The positive is that individual performance is amazing from certain players, Paco and Piatti had great solo performances, Gaya was absolute beast, not one bad cross, all his crosses were precise and dangerous and his runs always caused problems, while keeping up defensively as well.

Diego Alves was in good form once again and made several great saves, Otamendi was solid at the back and Feghouli showed signs of his old self, significantly improving over the past few matches.

The big letdown and big worry for me right now is the midfield. 3 games now(including preseason) it has been very poor and the duo of Parejo and Gomes haven't clicked together, its like they both are playing on different teams. Fuego is so bad at creating play and receiving the ball, he might as well not play when Valencia CF have possession. Sure he works hard defensively and breaks down attacks before they start, but he plays in a bubble and is never available for passes, always extremely deep at the back.

The midfield was run over by a Malaga team that finished 11th last season and even had 2 red carded players from last match, Valencia CF desperately need the midfielders to improve and Enzo Perez would be a great addition if we can still get him. I know there are major troubles now, but whether he comes or some other great midfielder, its clear as day that we need a solid central midfielder.

Overall lucky win, the red card basically secured Valencia CF the win, though I have to give it to the players individually for their performance. Gaya, Paco, Piatti and Alves were the standout performers, with Otamendi being overall very solid and secure and Feghouli showing some signs of life with a good enough performance.

Paco Alcacer 1-0, 31 min.
Daniel Parejo 2-0, 45 min.
Pablo Piatti 3-0, 56 min.

Player Ratings:
Diego Alves 8 - Made several key saves and kept Valencia CF in the game and then later on in the lead and with a clean sheet.
Barragan 6 - Some good defending and then some bad defending. Too aggressive in the penalty area and could have easily given up at least 2 penalties with his aggressive defending. Decent contribution going forward.
Vezo 4 - His weakest performance so far, was caught out of position on few occasions and misplaced a pass once that almost resulted in a goal, if not for Alve's great goalkeeping.
Otamendi 7 - The more secure of the central defenders and was forced to cover for Vezo's mistakes, though he did a good job.
Gaya 8.5 (MOTM) - Absolutely super, just fantastic performance, way above any player on the field, looks to be one of the best players in the world in the not so distant future. Amazing defending, great crosses into the penalty area, amazing work all around.
Fuego 5 - Wasn't as influential in the back as his previous games, Malaga seemed to ran ragged in the midfield and constantly threaten goal when they were with 11 players on the field.
Gomes 5 - Quite isolated performance from the former Benfica player, wasn't able to get into the game and his contribution stopped at few interceptions and passes.
Parejo 5 - Not much better than Gomes, but he stayed because he is the captain now. Missed his penalty, though luckily scored from the rebound. Not very effective in midfield.
Feghouli 6 - Positive and reassuring performance from the Algerian, found himself in dangerous positions and was always out there and ready to push a counter attack and form an attack, had few penetrating runs and provided some decent passes. Much improved performance from last few games.
Paco 8 - This is the type of performance we expect from Paco, took a poachers goal after being released by Gaya and provided the assist for Piatti's goal.
Piatti 7.5 - Had a great game, was always a threat down the left side, always a willing runner, had few good runs dribbling past 2-3 players and of course scored an amazing goal from a pass by Paco.
Zucolini 4 - Not much involvements after he came in, very anonymous performance, though to be expected. He arrived very soon in Valencia and this is his first game.
Carles Gil 5 - Had one good run, provided a decent cross and seemed like he had a decent enough contribution.
Robert N/A - No time to make an impact.

Man of the Match: Gaya
Flop of the Match: Vezo
Best offense: Paco
Worst offense: Gomes
Best defense: Gaya and Otamendi
Worst defense: Vezo
Best possession: Gaya
Worst possession: Parejo and Gomes

Friday, August 29, 2014

Valencia CF vs Malaga CF Match Preview

Valencia CF vs Malaga CF Match Preview
Stadium: Mestalls
Date: 29.08.2014; 22:00 CET
2nd matchday, La Liga
Coaches: Nuno Santos and Javi Gracia

The new season is under way and Valencia CF is about to meet its second opponent Malaga CF. The first season match went relatively good, Valencia CF managed to get a draw with one man down and playing away at Sevilla against a top club that won the Europa league last season, so it was a success, though the team will be looking to get its first win today against Malaga CF.

Rodrigo De Paul is suspended for 4 matches following last match red card, very unjust ruling against Valencia CF, but there are replacements for him and Piatti was likely to be the starter anyways, while Gaya can also play as a winger, with Orban as left back covering. 

Anyways this is going to be an interesting match, I'm curious to see how the team has progressed and which team exactly will Nuno choose to go against Malga. Will we have Gomes and Parejo yet again paired in the midfield or will we see only one of them with Zuculini getting its first start? 

Malaga CF started its first season match with a win against non other than Athletic Bilbao, so they will be feeling confident having beat such a strong team who finished 4th last season and will be looking to build upon their success tonight at the Mestalla and get a win against Valencia CF.

Last season they finished 11th place on the table, actually not much further than Valencia CF, but this season its all up in the open and we are yet to see how good or bad Malaga is.

Judging from the last matches of both clubs, there is likely to be little goals, Valencia CF is having trouble scoring and creating many chances, Malaga seems to be the same, though both clubs played against strong opponents so might even see quite a few goals if the match opens up.

Valencia CF squad:
Goalkeepers: Diego Alves and Yoel Rodríguez
Defenders: Barragán, Cancelo, Vezo, Otamendi, Mustafi, Gaya, Orban
Midfielders: Fuego, Zuculini, André Gomes, Parejo, Robert, Carles Gil, Feghouli, Piatti
Forwards: Rodrigo, Paco Alcácer

Technical Details Valencia CF (probable setups):
Formation: 4-3-3
Line-up: Alves; Barragan, Vezo, Otamendi, Gaya; Fuego, Parejo, Gomes; Piatti; Paco, Rodrigo.
Tactics: Low defensive line, own half pressure, midfield triangle, short passing, offside trap, deep laying defensive midfielder.

Match Predictions:
Valencia CF 2-1 Malaga CF
This is a difficult match to predict, but I think Valencia CF will win. I think the team is going to score two goals and put the pressure on Malaga CF. I think Valencia CF is going to keep more of the possession and dictate play, but Malaga will be dangerous from counter attacks and likely to score a late 2nd half goal after Valencia players relax due to winning 2-0.

LFP reject appeal for de Paul's four-match suspension

The LFP have rejected an appeal by Valencia CF to reduce the 4 match suspension of de Paul following his red card in the game against Sevilla. They have cited drawing blood from Aleix Vidal and him having to be substituted as a result, to keep the suspension at four.

I already said how unfair this was in the last post. I listed incidents that happened in the same weekend and were given a lesser punishment. Some got away for doing even worse things with no suspension. Even the referee's report which said there was no violent intent, the testimony of Aleix Vidal himself who said it was not deliberate, and the player's clean record up to his date weren't enough to reduce the ban by any amount.

 I don't know what the issue is, the foul wasn't so serious. The season just started and the refereeing has already come into question. Hopefully, there won't be future incidents like this. Outrageous.

Valencia CF remain firm that the decision is unfair and disproportionate. As such, they have decided to take the next step and seek the CAS, the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Maybe they will bring some sense into this and sort this out.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Jonas to stay?

Jonas has been given all transfer window to look for a club of his choice. He believes he can still find a club in Europe where he wants to continue his career and is against a move anywhere outside Europe. After four months of searching, he now says that he doesn't like any of the options that was presented to him. As such, he wants to see out the one year he has on his contract.

This doesn't sit well with Valencia CF who wanted at least 2 million euros for him and more importantly the non-EU spot that he occupies. Valencia CF have 3 working visas available currently occupied by Jonas and Otamendi. Vinicius had one but was loaned out, and de Paul got his EU passport. Valencia CF is still looking to bring in two more players in the last days of the transfer market. If Jonas stays, only one of the two players can be a non-EU player. Jonas has one of the highest wages on the team and the club wants to get some money for him. One source suggested that this could be an attempt from Jonas to pressure the club into letting him go for free, using the EU passport and his high salary to his advantage.

Any thoughts?

Valencia CF consider Kagawa as Enzo alternative

After negotiations for Enzo took a turn for the worse, Valencia CF have been looking at alternatives. A new name that has surfaced is 25 year old Japanese International and Manchester United midfielder Shinji Kagawa.

Kagawa has fallen out of favor at Manchester United and Van Gaal does not have him in his plans this season. He hasn't impressed him and did not produce what Van Gaal required of him.

This deal could be interesting since Valencia CF could probably get him for a lot cheaper than Enzo Perez. Manchester United paid 16 million euros to bring him over from Borussia Dortmund. With him not fitting the plans of Van Gaal, and not producing anything spectacular this past season, Valencia CF could probably get him for less than 16 million euros.

While Kagawa isn't a typical box to box, more of an attacking midfielder (CAM/CF), he has been a crucial part of the Borussia Dortmund side that so famous for its counter-attacking football. As such, there is no doubt he will help in transition play and fast-paced breaks with his dribbling, vision and attacking prowess. He is capable of playing on the wings also, another versatile player, but to low effectiveness in that position with United. He is most effective playing through the center. His defensive contribution leaves a lot to be desired as well. That part needs work and I don't know if Nuno can get it out of him.

Any thoughts on Kagawa? 

Rodrigo de Paul banned for 4 games!

The Spanish FA committee has ruled that Rodrigo de Paul's penalty for his foul on Aleix Vidal in the game against Sevilla is a four game ban. Valencia CF is outraged by such a punishment calling it "disproportionate". The club is in the process of appealing the decision.

The committee has seen the action from de Paul as having a "violent" intent behind it. The referee of the game did include anything about violent intent in the report and the Aleix Vidal himself said that he didn't feel like de Paul had any intent, let alone a malicious one, in hitting him.

Honestly, I am really pissed out at this sanction. If they FA were being consistent I wouldn't mind much, but 4 matches really? Let me put this into more perspective. Here are some events that happened in the same La Liga week:

1. Cristiano Ronaldo pushes a player who was grappling him to the ground and hits him deliberately in his face -- not even a yellow card, no match ban.

2. Iniesta flails his arms almost identically as de Paul and knocks a player down -- yet again nothing

3. Elche attacker gets away and is clear to run straight at the keeper, Mascherano pulls him down -- red card and one match ban

4. Duda angrily pushes player to the floor during a stoppage of play, it was an off-the-ball incident -- red card and two match ban

5. Antunes can't catch up with a player so he slide tackles him from behind with no chance of getting the ball at all, it wasn't even close to his reach -- red card and one match ban

So what did de Paul do that deserved four matches? That's as much as all these incidents combined! Simply outrageous.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Nuno considers keeping Joao Perriera

With the arrival of Joao Cancelo, one of Barragan or Perreira was rumored to be on their way out. One week it would be Barragan in the news, the other it would be Perreira. Now, it appears Nuno wants to keep both.

Perreira already has three offers from Turkey, with the primary candidate being Besiktas. At first, Nuno was okay with letting go with Perreira. After seeing the game against Sevilla, Nuno became reluctant and has reconsidered that position. Remember, the goal started from Barragan's side. He now thinks the experience of Joao Perreira could come in handy. The Turkish club wants to have an answer soon since they are also exploring other alternatives. Perreira wants to stay in Spain or return to his homeland Portugal if he is to move.

Perreira is a good player and one of the more experience in the team, both at club and international level. However, he only has one year left on his contract and if we don't cash in now, he will go for free at the end of the year. The other option would be to renew his contract and I don't that is very likely at this point unless Barragan leaves. The club is going to have to make a decision soon since Barragan's contract also expires at the same time. So now, its back to square one with the right-back role up for grabs.

Any thoughts?