Wednesday, September 2, 2015

International break would benefit Valencia CF

Valencia CF managed to qualify for the Champions league group stage against a very difficult opponent in AS Monaco, but the team failed to win in two matches in the Spanish league, leaving the team on a somewhat bad start to the season.

Valencia CF coach Nuno Santo would be delighted the international break is now and it will last until the 12th this month, so he can work with the team for an extended period and fix the issues we've seen. Andre Gomes will also be closer to recovering fully and being called in the squad and the two new arrivals in Aderlan Santos and Aymen Abdennour would have some time to get used to the city, the club and the players before being incorporated into the team.

It will also give a chance for players who featured a lot to take a breath and recoup their energy, as well as possibly help some of the struggling players like Paco Alcacer by having him in the Spanish squad and mixing it up and learning from some of the best players in the country.
Sometimes a change of scenery and faces can really help you, refocus you and hopefully Paco will get his best form back, just in time for La Liga.

As I've already mentioned it would give Nuno some time to experiment with some players, try out the new defenders, asses their skills and play styles and gel the players together. With Mathew Ryan being injured for about a month, he can also experiment with the two goalkeepers and see who is more reliable and dependable, Yoel or Jaume.

Hopefully the defense will be rock solid so there won't even be reason for the goalkeepers to go into action, at least not often and just maintain a strong defensive line, now that we have 4 options for central defenders. It will be interesting to see who of the current central defenders Nuno decides to bench, whether he'll still prefer Mustafi over Vezo, or has Vezo impressed him enough?

What is your starting eleven team now with all the new additions and recovering players? Tell us in the comments section!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Mathew Ryan injured for over a month

Valencia CF new goalkeeper Mathew Ryan who was supposed to replace Diego Alves while he is out for over 8 months with a long term injury has been injured himself and will be out for over a month. The injury requires surgery to fix it and the recovery rate could be from 4 weeks at the earliest to over 6 weeks.

This is a huge blow for Valencia CF as he will miss crucial matches, though thankfully Valencia CF still have Yoel Rodriguez and of course the team can call up reserve goalkeeper Jaume to the bench. Considering Nuno doesn't trust Yoel too much he might even play play Jaume as the starter.

Anyways both of those goalkeepers won't make me feel safe in front of goal, Yoel has especially proven to be error prone and have poor positioning, but hopefully he can improve and prove to everyone that he has what it takes to play for Valencia CF.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Valencia 1-1 Deportivo, 3 things we learned

Valencia CF haven't had the greatest start to the season with two of its opening games ending in draws. Last night's 1-1 draw against Deportivo was disappointing to say the least, here's a few takeaways from the match.

1. Some of the summer transfers don't improve upon the squad. Quite obvious really, but it has to be said and reiterated, players like Santi Mina, Bakkali and Danilo are good to give depth to the squad and deputize for injured players, but are not good enough to compete with the established first team players. We saw this again tonight as Danilo was lost in midfield, albeit played out of position and not truly representative of his skills, with Santi Mina being completely out of his depth and Nuno not even bothering to put on Bakkali, who was quite weak in the first match of La Liga.

2. Alvaro Negredo is slowly but surely improving. Last season the capture of coveted striker Alvaro Negredo was hailed as "the bomb", a big signing that is going to take the club to the next level, but Negredo didn't really recover from his injury, he was physically fine, but just didn't seem to have the same ability as before. In fact he finished the season on a bit of a sour note, but this season he is slowly, but surely showing that he is indeed a quality striker and can make the difference for Valencia CF.

3. Sofiane Feghouli is a beast when in top form and at his best. We all know what Sofiane Feghouli can do and how he can play when he is at his best, but he's been historically very inconsistent, having a spell of few matches in top form and then having a spell of few matches in poor form and the difference is like night and day in his play. Right now he seems to be in his top form and contributing a lot to the team and the coach has to use him and use the best team around him to win until he is playing at a high level. Question is will he be consistent, can he play game in, game out on the same level or will he fizzle out?

Tell us your takeaways from last night's match against Deportivo in the comments section!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Valencia CF 1-1 Deportivo Match Report

Second match in the Spanish league and second draw for Valencia CF, this time at home in the Mestalla. Once again Nuno Santo decided to start with pretty much the reserve team, obviously with few first team choices put in as well to mix it up.

The match started well off for Valencia CF, the team did have more of the possession and was trying to push forward and attack, but the whole team dynamic seemed weak, the players didn't seem practiced enough with each other and I think part of the reason is that Nuno has been changing the team completely from match to match. I understand wanting to rest some of the players when it was qualification on the table and you rest them for that match, but you absolutely need to play them when they've had at least 5 days rest and is in the league.

So even though the team had a good start, it wasn't really anything to brag home about and our attack was severely lacking, most of the balls were lost at around the 25th meter mark and there were barely any crosses or passes into dangerous positions.

In fact Santi Mina looked completely out of his depths, Moreno looked like a shadow of himself from the previous match and Rodrigo De Paul lost too many balls either through needles dribbling or just erroneous passes. As pacey and energetic as he is, he is no David Silva or Juan Mata to really link up with the attack, so most of his initiations and actions failed.

Anyways RC Deportivo would actually go on to score the first goal, Lucas Perez got the ball on the left side in quite a dangerous position, ran forward and scored.

Valencia CF didn't look like scoring based on the performance so far, but thankfully Alvaro Negredo would score from pretty much an accident. Santi Mina rose the tallest to the free kick and headed the ball on the right far side where Negredo was positioned and he easily slotted the ball into the net.

The second half was pretty much devoid of anything in the first 15 minutes, it was mostly midfield battle and really terrible attacks from Valencia CF, Nuno then introduced Parejo and Feghouli together and the match changed. Parejo was far more attacking and was able to really distribute the ball around efficiently and Feghouli instantly had a huge impact on the game as he caused all sorts of problems for the Deportivo defense on that right side of the field.

Finally Deportivo's goalkeeper actually had to react on few occasions and their defense was stretched thin, unfortunately some of the attacks lacked that final pass, some lacked the accuracy, some of it bad luck and there were quite a few offsides as well.

One particularly good chance was when De Paul received a cross in a great position and he was left unmarked by any Deportivo player, but unfortunately he was marked by Moreno who literally stood directly in front of him and prevented him from shooting, forcing De Paul to move left and by the time he shot one of the defenders blocked his shot.

So yeah, Moreno was nowhere to be seen in the penalty area for basically 60+ minutes and he decided to be there when he was better off being elsewhere. So yeah, call it terrible positioning, call it bad luck, call it stupidity, but Valencia CF just couldn't seem to be able to score.

Towards the end Barragan got a second yellow card and was given an automatic red card and that pretty much killed any small chance the team had of scoring. After that Deportivo started attacking and controlling the midfield and Valencia's chances came to a premium. There was one last chance for Paco, a good lob-cross by Feghouli to him, he would find himself alone against the goalkeeper, but his shot was pathetic and went straight to the goalkeeper who had to trouble easily stopping it.

Two easy matches at the start of the season and two draws that are sure to cost us in the long term, you can't get easier opponents than this at the start and if we can't win against these teams, what teams can we win against?

Hopefully this teaches Nuno a lesson as well, he can't rely on reserve team players with barely any experience and lack of accomplishments, Santi Mina might be talented, but when you put him in a team that is all about talent, but no practical skills then he can't even learn and get better. It was clear as night and day the difference between Santi Mina and Sofiane Feghouli and this is why some of the transfers this summer perplexed me, instead of strengthening the squad and getting players who can instantly make a difference, who can instantly contribute, we bought another bunch of young, inexperienced, needing developments youngsters and are forced to rely mostly on the old established team.

Danilo seemed okay, but he is a defensive midfielder, he can play alongside Parejo, alongside Enzo, he is not a play maker, this is a coaching error, relying on a defensive midfield to be a creator, I mean he did well, but again limited by his skillset.

Technical Details:
Valencia CF: Ryan, Barragán, Mustafi, Vezo, Gayà, Javi Fuego, Danilo (Parejo, m. 62), De Paul, Santi Mina (Feghouli, m. 62), Rodrigo, Negredo (Alcácer, m. 75).

Deportivo: Lux, Laure, Arribas, Sidnei, Navarro, Mosquera, Borges, Juanfran (Jonathan, m. 70), Fayçal, Luis Alberto (Luisinho, m. 29), Lucas.

Lucas Pérez 0-1, 38 min.
Alvaro Negredo 1-1, 45 min. Assist Stanti Mina

Player Ratings:
Ryan 6 - Didn't actually have much to deal with, made some casual saves, he is also improving his handing out of the ball and he passed the ball to the back line more, rather than kick it.
Barragan 4 -Wasn't particularly good on the night, failed time and time in attack and always comited fouls when defending, I guess he was still tired from last match, Improved a bit offensively when Feghouli came in and combined well few times, but then got himself sent off with one of his terrible fouls.
Mustafi 6 - Dealt with most that came his way, but did have few fails and could have been more proficient in marking and blocking.
Vezo 6.5 - Had a good game, was caught out of position for the first goal, but hardly his mistake as the team completely failed for that one.
Gaya 6 - Had a decent match, better defensively than recently and went forward to a good extent as well, didn't have any kind of understanding with Moreno though.
Fuego 6 - He did okay defensively and passed the ball from the back to midfield, kept it simple and mostly stayed out of the attacking play.
Danilo 5.5 - He is a more defensive player, that is just his style, his skillset, so it was surprising to see him put as a playmaker. Completely failed in that department and even though he did have some nice passing, he couldn't really control the game.
De Paul 5.5 - I like some of his contribution and hate the other, he positions well and pops up all over the place, is active and energetic, but his final ball, his pass accuracy is severely lacking.
Santi Mina 4 - Just completely ineffective, was unable to penetrate on the wing, was disposed easily off of the ball pretty much every time and failed to combine with Barragan.
Negredo 7 - I liked his play, he seemed really active, was positioning good and his good positioning paid off in the 45th minute when he was able to score a goal. Unlucky to be subbed instead of Moreno.
Moreno 4.5 - Shadow of his former self, looked half the player from the previous match and was unable to do anything, except block De Paul from shooting and possibly scoring.
Parejo 6.5 - Instantly changed the game, was way more offensive, spread the ball way more efficently than Danilo and was able to create play.
Feghouli 7 - Great contribution, made countless passes and crosses into the penalty area and caused Deportivo's defense all sorts of problems.
Paco 5 - Had one great shot just after he came on that forced Dario Lux into action, but later on he whiffed a good opportunity to give Valencia CF the lead and likely victory. Needs to improve a lot if he wants to start any games anytime soon.

Valencia CF vs Deportivo Match Preview

Valencia CF vs Deportivo Match Preview
Stadium: Mestalla
Date: 30.08.2015 20:30 CET
2nd matchday, La Liga
Coaches: Nuno Santo and Víctor Sánchez

Valencia CF players would be coming into this match feeling really good after securing Champions league qualification against AS Monaco in what was a thriller of a game. The team has had more rest than in the previous match in La Liga, so I'm expecting Valencia CF coach Nuno Santo to start with the core players this time around with maybe one or two changes in order to mix it up.

The first match in La Liga was against Rayo Vallecano which ended in a scoreless draw, but Nono was forced to rest most of the starting players since they just played a match against AS Monaco 3 days ago and were going to play the second leg in few days as well, so he decided to field the complete reserve team with only few players starting from the first team.

Deportivo La Coruna first match was against Real Sociedad at home and that was also finished in a scoreless draw. They will be coming to the Mestalla in the hopes of securing a point.
Deportivo had an eventful summer transfer market with a ton of players arriving and leaving the club. They had Helder Postiga the former Valencia CF attacker leave on a free transfer, Barca's youth player Isaac Cuenca also left their team with a host of other names leaving as well.

They had a ton of new arrivals as well, among them Cani from Villarreal arriving on a free transfer, Fernando Navarro from Sevilla on a free transfer and of course Valencia's own Federico Cartabia on a one year loan deal.

The big problem for Valencia CF so far this season seems to be a sort of second half weakness in which the whole team starts playing worse and the team losses control and the problems start happening. Now whether this is happening due to a tactical decision to really push in the first half and mark up high on the pitch and go all out battling in the first half and then the team losses energy in the second half or whether it is because of lack of fitness, where most of the players are not fully ready for a high energy 90 minutes or something else entirely is up for debate. 

Whatever the problem may be the coach and the players need to work it out and fix it, tomorrow night is crucial that Valencia CF win the match against Deprotivo and secure the three points, since slacking at the start of the campaign is never good and catching up later on is always an uphill battle, plus Deportivo have made tons of changes to their squad, they are still not gelled together, they are realistically a weaker team and Valencia CF is playing at home turf at the Mestalla, so a win is a must.

Valencia CF squad:
Goalkeepers: Ryan, Yoel, Jaume
Defenders: Barragan, Mustafi, Vezo, Orban, Gaya
Midfielders: Javi Fuego, Enzo Perez, Danilo, Parejo, Feghouli, Bakkali, De Paul, Piatti
Forwards: Negredo, Paco, Santi Mina, Moreno

Technical Details Valencia CF (probable setups):
Formation: 4-2-1-3
Line-up: Ryan; Barragan, Mustafi, Vezo, Gaya; Parejo, Enzo; De Paul; Feghouli, Paco, Moreno.
Tactics: High defensive line, all round pressure, mixed passing, counter attacks, attacking square.

Match Result:
Valencia CF 1-0 Deportivo La Coruna
I'm expecting a win tomorrow and anything else would be a big disappointment, but I'm also cautious about the result, we don't really know Deportivo's play and Valencia CF have had a slow start in the league so I'm predicting a modest 1-0 victory for Valencia CF.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Official: Valencia CF sign Aymen Abdennour

Aymen Abdennous joins Valencia CF
Its almost a done deal, AS Monaco central defender Aymen Abdennour joins Valencia CF after the two clubs reached an agreement of 25 million euros for the player. Valencia CF had hoped to acquire the player for cheaper, but a last minute complication in the way of Chelsea FC put a dent in those plans as they bid 20 million euros for the player, with reports from England suggesting that Aymen Abdennour personally preferred Chelsea FC over Valencia CF, but Valencia CF improved their bid to 25 million euros, reaching an agreement with AS Monaco and thus leaving Aymen Abdennour no choice but to join Valencia CF.

Aymen Abdennour knew about Valencia's interest for quite a while and he did initially agree to a move to the Mestalla, but when Chelsea FC went calling in he changed his tune as English clubs can pay players a lot more money and Chelsea FC are last years Premier league winners as well, luckily Valencia CF staff worked quickly and were able to reach an agreement with AS Monaco securing the deal.

French reports even suggest that the player is already in Valencia, about to take the medical exam and officially sign a 5 year contract that would have the player stay till 2020. The release clause is rumored to be about 60 million euros, so even bigger than the Otamendi's release clause and with good reason too, with today's inflated market and absurd financial power of clubs like Chelsea, PSG, Manchester United, Real Madrid, etc... you need absurd release clauses to keep players.

Tell us what you think about this turn of events in the comments section and what do you think about the player, is he on the same level as Otamendi and can he do a proper job replacing him?

Friday, August 28, 2015

Paco Alcacer called up to Spanish national team

Okay, so its not just Paco Alcacer that has been called up to their national teams, Jose Luis Gaya and Santi Mina have been called up to the Spanish U-21 team, obvious Paco receiving a call up to the main Spanish squad, while Rodrigo Moreno who was called up few times to the Spanish team in the past was omitted this time.

Shkodran Mustafi has been called up to the German national team, he's become a regular since the last World Cup, hopefully he can be more consistent for Germany and become a starter.

Andre Gomes has been dropped from the Portugal squad, but he's been injured for over 3 months, so its only natural he's been left out until he starts playing for Valencia CF and recovers his fitness and form.