Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Any interested in writing for this blog?

I can't do it all by myself. The amount of time and energy and research that goes into posting even one smaller article is quite large and I just can't do it, can't keep the blog updated.

So I'm looking for one or two or three more writers who would be willing to write for the blog and keep the blog up to date. I already have two writers beside me, but they are busy as well and their contribution is limited, so if you want to help out and write for VCF, now is your chance!

Also would you guys be interested in visiting a domain and having a dedicated forum, with the outlook of possibly transferring to a website design later on if time and stuff permits it. For this to happen though I'll need small donations, since I can't afford a hosting and domain package, especially a decent one. I've looked at domain registration and the cheapest .com would be around $60 for a 5 year domain registration(with a private WHOIS option included) and around $150 for 2 years hosting plan. With my terrible salary I would literally have to stop eating for a whole month and delay my bills to pay for it.

So tell me if there is interest for that, obviously a domain would make the blog more visible over time, it will feature more in search results and a dedicated forum would allow fans to chat all round about the club.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Valencia CF 2-3 FC Barcelona

Paid referees 3-2 Valencia CF. First Uefalona goal is absurd offside, isn't whistled, everyone saw it, even blind people gained sight and saw it, the only people who clearly didn't see it were the referees. Then Parejo is brought down in FC Barcelona penalty, clear penalty, but isn't given.

Then at the score 2-2 in the final seconds of the match Aymen does obstruct Luis Suarez a bit, but at best its a 50%-50% if its a penalty, Luis Suarez was too found to just go down instantly and the referee all too eager to give FC Uefalona the victory!

People blame Real Madrid all the time for fixed refereeing decisions, well Barcelona is 10x times worse. Maybe(unlikely) they are not paid, but the bias towards Barcelona is absurd, anyone can see it, anyone can feel it, I go to FC Barcelona fansites and their fans are admitting to refereeing fraud!

Valencia CF played great today, but that good play was undone by paid refereeing. Truth is Valencia CF deserved at least a point, both teams had chances to win, but didn't take them and the end result deserved to be 2-2, but it was unfortunately undone by terrible refereeing.

Diego Alves and Daniel Parejo has especially great game, both were key to Valencia CF contesting FC Barcelona and having a positive result, while we also saw glimpses of incredible skill from Nani. Cancelo was once again a huge threat on the right wing and proved to be a constant menace for Barelona's defenders.

Valencia's equalizer came through Munir who arrived in place of Montoya and it was Parejo's pass that found him just at the edge of the box with Munir releasing a powerful show that went past Ter Stegen.

Then just three minutes later Rodrigo Moreno gave Valencia CF the lead after an amazing lob ball frm Nani found him. He timed the shot perfectly and the ball went past the goalkeeper and into the net.

On the other side FC Barcelona had several good chances to score, but Diego Alves showed once again why he is such a great keeper and that it would have been a gigantic mistake to have let go of him in the summer.

Player Ratings:
Diego Alves 8 - Couldn't do anything about the goals, but stopped plenty of other shots fired at VCF's goal.
Montoya 5.5 - Quiet defensive performance from the right back, did he job well and rarely ventured forward.
Garay 6 - Great defending and he will become a key member of the squad in short time, rarely put a foot wrong.
Mangala 6.5 - Great defending, especially in the air and had several crucial blocks to stop Barcelona from having an opportunity on goal.
Gaya N/A - injured early on and replaced by Aymen
Suarez 5.5 - Safe performance from the defensive midfielder and kid of sat at the periphery of the play.
Enzo Perez 6.5 - Good defensive display and huge determination to keep Valencia's side going strong.
Cancelo 7 - Great as a winger and was a constant menace for the Barcelona's defense.
Parejo 8.5 - Amazing game from Parejo, seems to be thriving in his new position when he doesn't need to worry as much defensively and is more forward so he can contribute more with less risk involved.
Nani 7 - Flashes of brilliance and if he can find some consistency and play like that all the time he could become a huge asset for Valencia CF.
Moreno 6.5 - Scored the leading goal and generally positioned well, causing Barcelona some trouble at the back.
Aymen 6 - I thought he had a great game up until that last second fault. Can't blame him too much as the referee was only too eager to give the penalty and otherwise he was solid, but once again 1 clumsy mistake is all it takes to ruin everything.
Munir 6 - Scored the equalizer with a powerful shot, featured in few more attacks as well, but couldn't impose himself more.
Mina 5 - Lost the ball too many times dribbling and had no final pass at all. Defensively suspect as well and didn't help out as much as Rodrigo.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Sporting Gijon 1-2 Valencia CF Match Report

Cesare Prandelli starts off his new coaching job with a significant win as Valencia CF look to get away from the relegation zone and move closer to the middle of the table. The coach had about two weeks to prepare the team and install some of his ideas to the squad, obviously not nearly enough time to make any big difference, but enough to make some small changes.

From the minute the whistle blew it was clear that this was a much more defensively oriented side, even though Cesare Prandelli said he didn't want the side to be defensive and would focus on attacking, it was a more defensive side. First he started with Mario Suarez and Enzo Perez and both sat deep on midfield, with only Parejo slightly forward in what looked more like a 4-2-3-1 formation, rather than a 4-3-3 one.

Apart from positioning and what seems might be a formation change, we also saw more restricted movements from Enzo and Suarez, time and time again both literally stopped running forward beyond a certain position, they would pass the ball and literally stop where they were, sitting significantly deeper. Only Parejo and the three forwards were allowed to be further forward. We also saw a more rained back Gaya and Martin Montoya who both rarely ventured forward and it seemed like it was a tactical decision, they both had chances to go forward and on 2-3 occasions they did, but overall they just sat back, somewhere around the middle of the pitch.

Valencia CF scored an early goal through Mario Suarez, who had a good game tonight, considering he was playing really defensively, but managed to score both the goals that led Valencia CF to victory. For the second he caught on to a headed ball by a Gijon player and volleyed past the keeper.

Sporting Gijon equalized at 41'st minute, it was a defensive mistake, think it was Santos who sort of stumbled all over, and allowed Carlos Castro to score past him. Clearly no amount of tactics can compensate for just poor defending, but hoping these individual mistakes get ironed out eventually in time as Prandelli focuses more and more on the defense and building up the team from there.

Overall it was an average performance, Valencia CF did create several chances and overall defended decently, clearly not a polished or great performance, but as long as the team is getting results, I don't care what type of play we have, I'd rather us playing badly and winning, than playing great and losing.

So again as I've started this article several visible changes to the team, to the tactics, to the position and formation, overall all of these were much more defensive and were meant to keep the team from conceding goals, which the team failed to achieve, but thankfully still achieved victory. Overall the defending wasn't bad for most of the match, though again there are clearly some individual mistakes in defending and positioning that need to be sorted out, these mistakes can cost us goals in other matches.

Player Ratings:
Diego 5.5 - Couldn't do anything about the goal, not too troubled other than that, had one good save in the second half.
Montoya 6 - Defensively sound and didn't venture much forward.
Garay 6 - No obvious mistakes from him and had a good game overall.
Santos 5 - Had one mistake and that cost us the goal, overall did well enough.
Gaya 5.5 - Caught in a bad position few times and didn't contribute much at all in offensive sense.
Suarez 7 - Scored two goals and was much improved from his previous games. Sat back deep and recycled possession.
Enzo 6 - Some nice tackles in the middle and defensive cover, didn't contribute in attack though at all.
Parejo 5.5 6 - Slow on some passes as he lost possession few times, though he did probe and prone throughout the match in the opposition third and it was his free kick that led to the second goal.
Cancelo 6 - He was a nuisance to Gijon defenders all match long and he was a threat at times, but again in most cases the final ball was missing to have a bigger contribution.
Moreno 6 - Involved in the first goal and found himself in two good opportunities after that, but just couldn't quite score himself.
Mina 4 - Not particularly effective and it seems as if he is not comfortable operating from the left side.
Bakkali 6 - Big improvement over Mina and caused Gijon tons of problems with his direct running and enthusiastic play.
Medran N/A - not enough time

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Valencia 0-2 Atletico match report

When your best performance of the season involves losing 0-2, with the other team missing 2 penalties, you know you have problems.

What we saw today was a disciplined and better organised Valencia side. Compared to earlier games, there was a significant reduction in the scary moments of defensive lapses and poor marking which had gifted opposition teams goals. The midfield didn't even do that badly and there were some nice transitions from defence to attack. Voro and the players did their best, but the cold hard fact remains, even on better days, this team is far below the level required to challenge for the Europa league, let alone the Champs league.

Atletico had the better of the early period, looking dangerous, but came up against a Valencia defence that had better shape than previously and were able to hold them at bay. The problem was not there, it was further up the pitch, where we looked limp and rarely threatened. So, despite a better period at the end of the second half, it was hard to see us scoring. Gameiro, Greizmann and Correa had all come close only to be denied by combinations of Alves, Santos and Mangala. Towards the end of the first half, Nani bundled over an Atleti player in the box, who was clearly looking for the penalty. Greizmann hit it perfectly, towards the centre of the far left post, but Alves (who else?) produced a brilliatn save. 0-0 at half time.

Mina came on for the ineffective Cancelo at half time and was put through well, but an opposing defender did well to make a key tackle. That would be one of only two good chances for Valencia in the half. The half would actually be even until around the 60th minute when Atletico gained the upper hand. Torres, a player who always seems to do better against Valencia, came on and almost immediately forced a great save from Alves, who was powerless to stop Greizmann from getting his revenge after a great pull back from Gameiro.

It was hard to see Valencia getting anything from there, as we had been lacklustre up front. Shortly after the goal, a clumsy challenge from Suarez gave away another penalty. There could be no argument about this one. With Gabi now stepping up, Alves produced another great save. After that, Valencia had chances, but apart from a header for Mangala, nothing that really troubled Oblak in the Atletico goal. Munir came on for Rodrigo and Bakkali replaced the injured Nani but it was still hard to be confident of anything from this. Towards the end, on the break, Gameiro put the game to bed in injury time. Ultimately, not an unfair result, as, despite a better performance, Valencia didn't deserve 3 points today. The squad simply isn't good enough, especially in the forward line and buying a decent number 9 in January seems a must.

Another issue: that is now 5 penalties in 7 games we have conceded and while one or two of those might have been questionable, an overly aggressive approach is something that the new manager must address in training. It's great to see Alves bailing us out but it would be better if we weren't in that position to begin with.

Player ratings
Diego 8.5 - did we seriously consider selling him? Great game, possibly the best penalty saver in the world, but can't get a ten due to distribution and aerial issues.
Gaya 5 - mostly pinned back but covered well enough in defence
Santos 6 - had a better game than last, made a couple of decent interceptions and is clearly 3rd choice centre-back now
Mangala 5.5 - didn't do anything wrong, positioned well but another yellow card and missed chance up front are negatives
Montoya 5 - did ok but still looks no better than Barragan was in this position
Suarez 3 - Outclassed by his former teammates and gave away a needless penalty.
Parejo 5 - did ok but overhit several passes and his free kicks were ineffective. Definite confidence issue there.
Enzo 5 - lucky not to get booked after a couple of trademark lunges. Wasn't bad and fitness seems to have improved.
Cancelo 3.5 - better in this position than at right back but on the strength of today, that's not saying much. Poor game.
Rodrigo 3 - in previous seasons he could complain about being played out of position but now has his chance and has been found wanting. Depressing to see the gap in quality between him and Greizmann (who cost the same!)
Nani 4 - mostly anonymous in the first period. Did better in the second half but nothing major.

Mina 4 - better than Cancelo, but hardly the stellar performance to cement a starting place
Munir 4 - little improvement on Rodrigo.
Bakkali 5 - always looks threatening, maybe time to give him a starting spot

Voro 6.5 - second defeat. Deserves credit for organising the team better and stopping the rot, but can only work with the tools he's given and they're below standard.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Cesare Prandelli new Valencia CF coach?

Cesare Prandelli is supposed to be named new Valencia CF coach according to most Spanish sources. Apparently the deal has been struck, with Valencia CF agreeing to a two season contract, even though the club only wanted one season contract with a possible contract extension clause at the end for both parties.

I mean the guy is semi successful, he's led Fiorentina to several top 4/6 finishes in difficult times, he led Italy to the finals of the Euro 2012, but the most recent he's coached a club was in 2014 with Galatasaray where he was sacked duo to poor results. Since then he's been two years on the sidelines. Essentially the last true team that he had coached was Fiorentina in 2010, since then he's had no club experience and for the past two years he's had no coaching job either.

As far as I know he doesn't know Spanish, he's never coached outside of Italy apart from his short sting in Turkey and his last real club coaching was in 2010.

I'm not excited at all about this appointment if it turns out to be true and in all likelihood its true. I mean I still believe there are few better options, especially Spanish ones or at least ones who know the Spanish language.

I mean Cesare Prandelli is very experienced coach, but in Italian football, he's been 99.9% coach of Italian clubs, as a player only played in Italy as well, so very experienced Italian coach, but zero credibility outside of Italy, which is a huge worry.

What do you guys think about Valencia CF appointment of Cesare Prandelli as a new coach, do you think this is our best option right now?

Monday, September 26, 2016

Leganes 1-2 Valencia match report

It's another hard fought win from Voro's boys, what a great caretaker that man is.

As with the Alaves game, it didn't come without its fair share of drama, controversy and perhaps, sheer luck. Little happened in the first 15 minutes. Neither team threatened and Enzo picked up yet another silly booking for retaliating against a guy who had fouled him earlier. Leganes' tactic was clearly to play high intensity football, not allow us time to settle and they seem to have identified our right back position as the weakest link as they were targeting that. Sure enough, they took the lead on 21 minutes and it came, indirectly, a result of defensive mix-ups. A couple of minutes earlier, a dangerous attack had developed, with Mangala and Alves both chasing the ball. Poor communication between the two resulted in Alves slamming his attempted clearance into Mangala's face. With Mangala stunned and off the field for treatment, Leganes took advantage of our shortage in defence, swung in a cross and scored.

As in the previous game, the goal seemed to galvanise us and a nice move between Montoya and Cancelo shortly after provided a chance for Nani and Rodrigo, but both were beaten to the ball by the Leganes defence. They'd have their revenge shortly after. An awful back pass from a Leganes player was well chased down by Rodrigo. The goalkeeper looked to have got there first but Rodrigo was committed, knocked the ball out of the keeper's hands and Nani finished well.

There was controversy about the goal, yes it was a foul on the keeper, but I think many missed an important point: the keeper shouldn't have been handling a backpass at all. Usually, denying a clear goalscoring opportunity like that in the penalty area would result in a sending off and a penalty, but due to a loophole in the rules, if Rodrigo had jumped over the keeper, all that would have happened would have been a yellow card for the keeper and an indirect free kick, which Leganes would almost certainly have crowded out. So, in a way, justice was done.

Valencia continued to dominate the game. Possession had been 60/40 in Leganes favour when they scored and by the end of the half it was all Valencia. Nani had been anonymous in the first 25 minutes, but now he was everywhere. Rodrigo was making decent runs and Cancelo and Montoya were threatening down the right.

When the second half started, a number of Leganes players were clearly poking Enzo, obviously trying to get him to react and get a second yellow. Fortunately, he kept his cool. In the 52nd minute, we got the goal that our play deserved. From a corner, Nani cut inside well and put in a dangerous cross, which Suarez poked in, for what would turn out to be the winner.

I'd like to say it was comfortable from then on, but that would be far from the truth. Leganes missed a couple of good opportunities which a better side would have finished more clinically.

In the 65th minute, Alves showed his main strength and weakness. Flapping at a cross and then getting tangled with a Leganes player, with the ref pointing to the penalty spot. The decision looked very questionable, almost like the ref was trying to balance things out after the iffy decision making around our first goal. Step up the penalty legend again, as Alves saved his 17th penalty out of 35 he's faced, to break the record held by Zubizaretta (another former Valencia keeper.)

After that there was some shaky defending on both sides, with Parejo, Gaya and Nani all having chances to put the game to bed for us. Towards the end, Voro brought on Abdennour for Rodrigo to close things down and Bakkali in injury time, just to waste a bit of time. The tactics worked and Valencia now climb to 14th.

In conclusion, the team looked better overall than the previous game, though still with issues: missing chances up front and looking suspect at the back, though this was one game where I felt the midfield did do their job for a change. We're still far from out of the woods. Better teams than Leganes would have beaten us on today's display and this stage, we really would've needed to be on at least 13 points if we had serious champs league ambitions. All we can do is keep winning, as top 6 is still doable.

Player ratings
Diego 6 - we definitely saw the best and worst of him in this game. Very suspect with crosses and corners and not that good with distribution, but made a couple of key stops, especially the penalty.
Gaya 5.5 - saw less of him in attack in this game, mostly confined to a defensive role, which he largely covered.
Mangala 5- average game, looks like he's still finding his feet in the team and poor communication with the keeper led indirectly to the goal. Does add physicality and an aerial presence, though.
Santos 5 - largely did his job, but could have done better for the goal
Montoya 5 - caught out for the goal, though in fairness, we were a man down
Suarez 6 - much better game than before and good to see him score
Enzo 6.5 - generally had a decent game, but needs to rein in his temper, else we'll see more red cards for him this season
Parejo 6.5 - Mostly solid game I thought, was passing well for the most part
Cancelo 6 - is far better off as a winger than a defender, but needs to be better with the crosses
Rodrigo 6 - ran his heart out, but needs to put his chances away
Nani 7 - was invisible for the first quarter of the game but was lively after that. Needs to play that was more often.

Munir 4 - in fairness, was brought on when the team was leading and was in a defensive mindset, but needs to do better than this if he doesn't want to be 6th choice striker at Barca next season
Abdennour N/A - not enough time.
Bakkali N/A - deserves more game time

Voro 8 - Got it right again. Unlikely he'll be given the job, but can return to his day job with his head held high.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Valencia CF 2-1 Alaves Match Report

The resurrection begins now. Voro is the man. Sure the win was kind of lucky, the penalty was 50-50%, I mean it wasn't a strong case for a penalty and some referees won't give such penalty, but luck for once was on Valencia's side. Parejo stepped in to take the penalty and his shot went in the opposite direction the goalkeeper went, securing Valencia CF their first win on the season.

As I mentioned in the preview, this was a hard fought win, it wasn't going to be easy for the team and for Voro having only held 1 training session as a coach, but he did it.

For the match itself Valencia CF first goal came from an own goal by Victor, it was another lucky goal for Valencia CF, but as I said I felt like a curse has lifted off of VCF when Pako left (he did blame bad luck on all of his losses, mind you) and now luck has returned to Valecia CF, allowing the team to win.

The play was mediocre, I didn't see much that I liked, same issues, same problems, bad passes in the final third, too much space between midfield and attack, very little cohesion, so it wasn't a good playing display, but it was enough against the mediocre Alaves as well. Neither team really played better, with both teams having better spells, with Valencia CF having the best spell of the match between the 70th and 90th minute, before some alarming play in the final few minutes before the end.

As far as Deportivo Alaves goal it come from a header, Toquero was left unmarked essentially and his header was quite powerful and precise beating Diego Alves and equalizing the score.

Lets hope this is the beginning of the turnaround in what I'm willing to be great season that we are going to finish top 6.

Player Ratings:
Diego 5 - Not much to do, suspect positioning for the goal, though I doubt few goalkeepers would have done better.
Montoya 5 - Good defensively, covered his position well, rare forward moves though.
Santos 6 - Good defending, made some proper tackles, came out higher when needed and generally a good assured performance.
Mangala 5.5 - Did well, he had two particular markings that made the difference and stopped attacks towards goal, stood down for Alaves goal, though not sure if he was supposed to be covering Toquero.
Gaya 6 - A little improved performance from previous matches, was a lot more concentrated when going forward, provided some good crosses from deep and was generally a menace going forward. Okay display at the back.
Enzo 5 - Had ups and down's all game. At certain points he was great, at others not so much, Sat back deep for most of the match and broke up Alaves attacks.
Medran 5.5 - Some nice intelligent passes, always available in the midfield, but was tightly marked in the midfield and couldn't make a difference.
Parejo 6 - Woke up in the second half from the 70th up till the 90th minute, but the rest of the match he was ineffectual. Good thing that he scored from the penalty spot to give VCF the win.
Moreno 4 - Rarely visible in the first half, replaced at half time for Mina.
Munir 4.5 - Didn't see anything of notice from him, made some decent runs here and there, but that was it.
Nani 4 - Don't see why he is included on the form and play he is on, maybe he just hasn't gelled, but he offers nothing.
Mina 4 - More visible than Moreno, but failed to make a difference.
Cancelo 6 - Good offensive play, he provided several crosses and caused trouble on the right wing for Alaves.
Bakkali N/A - Fell for the penalty, so that counts for something, right? 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Valencia CF vs Deportivo Alaves Match Preview

Valencia CF vs Alaves Match Preview

Stadium: Mestalla
Date: 22.09.2016 22:00 CET 
5th matchday, La Liga 
Coaches: Voro and Mauricio Pellegrino

Valencia CF is in a world of turmoil as Pako Ayesteran has been sacked due to a series of poor results and the club is trying to find a new manager, with the first option being Marcelino, but he is supposedly forbidden from managing another La Liga club in the same season he has already managed one and even though he terminated his contract with Villarreal before the first official match of this season, supposedly the rules state that after a certain date he is coach of said team, which is absurd. I think he can win in a court of law, because that rule doesn't make sense if he hasn't lead a team in any official match, but that would take long time, time which Valencia CF doesn't have.

The Spanish league overlords are going to give VCF a hard time on this, if this was an issue with their masters FC Barcelona or Real Madrid, their owners, then it would be a non-issue, but since its Valencia CF, they will make it extremely hard to get our way. 

Either way Valencia CF current temporary coach is Voro, he's coached Valencia CF before several times, so he is no stranger to the position, in fact our results under him are actually impressive, considering the terrible times he's taken over the position. So to tell you the truth I'm expecting more from him than I would have expected under Pako. Voro also has a knack for picking just the right team and saying the right things to get them fired up for those few matches he leads them, so actually I'm optimistic about tomorrow's match.

Valencia CF opponent is Deportivo Alaves who are coached by former Valencia CF player and later coach Mauricio Pellegrino. After being sacked by Valencia CF he's had a modest coaching success and has now taken over Alaves and we'll see how he does with them, so far they have 6 points from 4 matches, so decent result for them, certainly much better than Valencia CF.

To be honest I have great feeling about Valencia CF and our chances to get top 6 spot, I know I've said its going to be a relegation battle, but now that Pako is gone I feel like a curse has been lifted off of the club, and not to say Pako was an unlucky charm(though he did blame bad luck in all of the lost matches), but in my spirit, in my gut I have a feeling this is going to be a turnaround for us. Its still only 4 matches so far, there are 34 more matches and we could even go on to lose 4-5 more, its not the end of the world, as long as we can win 16/17 matches and then its all good again.

Lets turn this around guys, lets all inject positive energy into the club, positive thinking, lets all support and cheer and pray or whatever to help the team go on to compete for top 6. We have Garay one of the best defenders in Spain, he will return from injury, we have Garay who was bad at City, but he was also really good before and thus he reached at the time a record price for a defender. Santos was also a good defender, talented and promising player before he came to Valencia CF, Gaya has been amazing for us he can reach his potential and if not we have an even better option in Lato.

I think we are going to have a turnaround and it might be tomorrow or in the coming weeks, but its coming. 

Valencia CF Squad:
Goalkeepers: Diego, Jaume
Defenders: Cancelo, Montoya, Mangala, Santos, Lato, Gaya
Midfielders: Suarez, Enzo, Parejo, Medran, Soler, Fede, Nani, Bakkali
Forwards: Santi Mina, Moreno, Munir

Technical Details Valencia CF (probable setups):
Formation: 4-3-3
Line-up: Diego; Cancelo, Santos, Mangala, Gaya; Enzo, Parejo, Medran; Mina, Moreno, Munir.
Tactics: Low defensive line, own half pressure, slow tempo pressing, crossing style passing, winged attacks, counter attacks

Match Prediction
Valencia CF 3-2 Deportivo Alaves
I expect Valencia CF to achieve its first win this season and its first win in over 7 matches since last season, but I don't expect it to be easy. I think our defense will leak again, like always, but I think we'll be more efficient up front and this would probably turn into an open game with lots of goals. I think we are going to try and play more defensively in order to prevent goals on our end, but will end up playing a more direct and open match.