Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Getafe 2-2 Valencia post match thread

After a run of good results, it was almost back to the drawing board for Valencia with a very lacklustre and iffy performance against one of the division's worst teams. There was little to separate the teams in the first half, with, if anything, Getafe having the better chances and rattling the crossbar with a shot which had Alves beaten. In the second half, Parejo produced one of his trademark free kicks, beating Guaita with a brilliant dipping shot. Unfortunately, that was mostly as good as it got for Valencia, as we were under the cosh from then on, with Getafe looking much the better side. It was only poor finishing from their players that prevented them from putting the game out of sight. Nonetheless, they established a 2-1 lead, first after a goalmouth scramble when a lot of our defenders were standing around like dummies and secondly, after Abdennour, who had been in better form of late, produced yet another howler. Only Negredo has cost us more points this season. Speaking of which, against the run of play, Negredo, on as a sub to make a rare appearance alongside Paco, produced a brilliant assist, dribbling past 3 defenders before laying it off for Paco to equalise. 1 point gained more than 2 points lost as a Getafe win would have been a fairer result.

The team selection in this game was very questionable. Why was Barragan playing instead of Cancelo? Didn't Mina deserve his chance up front more than Rodrigo? While the defence had a day to forget, the main problem seemed to lie in midfield, with 4 midfielders seeming unsure of who was supposed to be doing what. It was almost like Gary Neville had never gone away. The result leaves us 8 points behind Sevilla with 3 games left and, while it's still mathematically possible, only a fanatical optimist would believe we could steal 7th from this position.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Valencia 4-0 Eibar post-match thread

As none of the regulars have done a write up, I'm putting this up as a placeholder for post-match comments. Unfortunately, I missed the game, but from what I've seen from the highlights, it was another solid performance, with Paco doing well and Cancelo and Rodrigo combining on the right. Also of note, this was the first time since 1 November (!) during the Nuno era, that we kept a clean sheet in La Liga.

Just some thoughts for discussion: has Pako Ayerastan done enough to get the job on a permanent basis? Is Paco Alcacer finally back to form after a goal drought? Was this Rodrigo's best game in a Valencia shirt? Has Diego Alves re-established himself as the number one choice keeper? Enzo Perez has played well recently, but should we keep him given how injury prone he is?

We're 6 points behind Sevilla, who have the better head-to-head, can we really overtake them in 4 games, as unlikely as it seems? Or should we use the last few games to give younger and b-team players a chance?

Monday, April 18, 2016

FC Barcelona 1 - 2 Valencia CF Match Report

Another fantastic evening for Valencia CF and Pako Ayesteran as they beat Barcelona in what was a very entertaining match. Sure Barcelona were on a poor run of form and missed a lot of chances but even and off-form Barca is pretty formidable. And at this point of the season, do we really care if Barca is in form or not? Probably not, we take what we can. Last time I said beating Sevilla was huge because it was one of our tougher fixtures remaining, well no doubt this one was another huge victory for us, getting maximum points from two really tough fixtures against teams who usually give us a terrible time. We have now put a big gap between us and the relegation zone, certainly a comfortable distance away and with our next fixture being against Eibar, we can overtake them with a win and climb to the top half of the table.

I've got to say Ayesteran is doing better than I expected. When I first saw the lineup without Alcacer or Negredo, I was a bit worried but more so intrigued. Barcelona had the majority of the chances in the first minutes of the game with multiple shots fired at Diego Alves's goal only for him to respond each time with a brillant save. Most memorable were the ones against Messi from close range and then against Neymar's lob after a quick free kick. Diego Alves would keep us in the game and then Valencia would hit on the counter. First it was Rodrigo who came close to scoring on Valencia's first chance but his shot fizzed past the post. Soon after Gomes found the overlapping run of Siquera on the left edge of the box and Siquera's shot was deflected into the net by Rakitic in attempt to stop the ball. I thought at first glance that Siquera was aiming for goal but I'm not sure, the camera angle never showed the shot/cross properly. Barcelona would keep hitting hard but every time thwarted by either Diego Alves or Mustafi who were both brilliant. It's good to see Alves recover to this level of goalkeeping again, we really needed it especially today. And Mustafi is back to being a rock in defense after a few poor games. Of course Abdennour had some good tackles and interceptions too but I felt Mustafi really pulled more than his own weight tonight. Approaching the end of the first half Valencia would pass the ball around near the edge of Barcelona's box in attempt to retain possession till the whistle blows. However, after an impressive set of quick passes that were very resemblant of Barcelona's own style, space opened up in their defense and Dani Parejo found the run of Santi Mina on the left who slotted the ball perfectly past Bravo. The Nou Camp was silenced at that point, nobody expected this result.

The second half started more of the same with Barcelona getting most of the possesion and Valencia striking on the counter. Santi Mina would be replaced by Alcacer who had quite a few runs that could've resulted in chances but Mascherano was having a good night and stopped every attempt from Rodrigo and Alcacer before they got to the box. Barcelona's chances would soon pay off as Jordi Alba would cross the ball in from the left for an unmarked Messi to easily slide it past Alves. The game would still continue in its same pattern and Valencia was unlucky not to have had some one-on-one chances as they were called offside when perhaps they should not have been. Regardless, Valencia would be troubled one more time as Pique would miss a shot on goal after having been left in so much space in the penalty box. Valencia would take the victory and you can see the expression on the player's faces how much that win means for their confidence and morale.

Goals:
0 - 1 (o.g.) Ivan Rakitic, 26'
0 - 2 Santi Mina, 45'
1 - 2 Lionel Messi, 63'

Lineups:
FC Barcelona (1) - Bravo, Alba, Pique, Mascherano, Sergi Roberto, Busquets, Rakitic, Iniesta, Neymar, Messi, Suarez
Valencia CF (2) - Diego Alves, Barragan, Abdennour, Mustafi, Siquera, Fuego, Perez (Cancelo, 74'), Parejo, Andre Gomes, Rodrigo (Gaya, 88'), Santi Mina (Alcacer, 60').

Ratings:
Diego Alves (9.5 - MOTM) -  simply amazing tonight, stopped all but one of Barcelona's attempts and he could do nothing about that one.
Barragan (7) - another good performance from the right back, quiet going forward but good defending.
Mustafi (9) - was helping the defense everywhere, kept Suarez quiet for the night and neutralized Messi and Neymar on many occassions.
Abennour (7) - his partnership with Mustafi today was great, they both knew what to do and covered for each other well.
 Siquera (7.5) - was more adventerous in offense and it paid off resulting in the first goal. Did leave a lot space for Neymar at times but was quick to track back.
Fuego (6.5) - his interceptions were on point today but lost possession too many times because he was trying to make passes that he couldn't do.
Parejo (7.5) - very cool and composed performance. Had the vision and the skill to pick out Mina for the second goal and kept possession very well when we did get the ball. Ayesteran somehow managed to get him some of his confidence back. Hopefully he stays this way.
Andre Gomes (7) - started out on the right wing but drifted to the center and the left at times which helped build up the first goal for us. Was unlucky not to have been in a one-on-one chance that was incorrectly ruled offside.
Enzo Perez (6.5) - didn't see too much of him but he did start some counterattacks for us when he runs the ball out from the back.
Rodrigo (6) - very active upfront but it really doesn't seem to be working for him at Valencia. Had one good chance in the first half but he rushed it and slowly disappeared from the game. Saw more of him in the second half when he would start the counterattacks when Barca commited too many players forwards but nothing resulted in a good chance. Hopefully coach will motivate him to do better.
 Santi Mina (8) - Brilliant yet again. Great work ethic, superb finishing, really wants to prove himself at Valencia.

Ayesteran (8.5) - really managed to give us some hope and what our team can do. More than tactics, he's managed to inspire some of our players who were low on confidence. His style seems to be reminescent of the Valencia of the old. Soak up all the pressure and strike decisively on the counter. We had a lot fewer chances that Barcelona but we captialized on them and made them count. 
 

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Valencia CF 2-1 Sevilla

Well first I have to mention the people on the previous blog report who were wishing  our Valencia to go down to the Segunda Division.  I can only say to you that you are not true supporters of this club and although I always respect other opinions you have spoken utter crap and I do not care how long you purport to have been supporting this club.

I have just returned home from the game and it was the most exciting game I have seen for a long time. We could and should have won by three or four goals like we have said on here many times in the past.  3 points has not saved us from relegation but they are the most welcome 3 points ever.  Not only that but the way we played all through the game was amazing in my opinion.

Valencia took control right from the start and chance after chance fell our way with Santi Mina and Siquiera causing all sorts of problems for the Sevilla defenders. Valencia were winning everything in the midfield and the big crowd were being treated to some of the football that we have been craving for so long now.

With a back four of Siquiera Mustafi Abdennour and Barragan. Midfield Fuego Parejo Gomes.  Rodrigo and Mina playing wide and Alcacer striker.  The first chance came to Alcacer after a great long ball from Rodrigo and  a mistake in the Sevilla defence but with no other option he shot and forced a corner from the goalkeeper.

The crowd were giving ex Valencia players, Rami and Banega booing every time they touched the ball which was fair and well deserved.  Then Rodrigo was put through but his ball to Parejo was a little too hard and the keeper made a save.  In the 41st minute the game changed when Parejo scored from a long range free kick which gave the keeper no chance.  Then Mina had a great opportunity to make it two when, after dribbling his way into the box he unleashed a shot which came off the bottom of the post and rolling invitingly across the goal. Rodrigo cleverly turned it back for Parejo to fire in a great shot which was well saved. The team went in a goal in front and it was no more than we deserved after totally dominating the first half.

In the second half we were a little fortunate when Mustafi looked to have wrestled Llorente to the ground but the ref waved play on. However, in the 86th minute the impossible happened. Gamiero was given half a chance and his powerful shot seemed to elude Alves in goal to make the scores level. The crowd was stunned. Alves had  had nothing to do all afternoon and this happens, just unbelievable the Sevilla jinx has struck again.

Perez had meanwhile replaced Rodrigo who received a big applause when leaving the field for his hard work. Feghouli came on for Santi Mina and received a very poor reception from a large section of the crowd.

The referee signaled 3 minutes added time and my thoughts were that this is Sevilla, they will now go and score another goal with their second shot to take the points from us and send us down. However, Negredo came on 4 minutes from the end and a mix up in the Sevilla goal allowed the ball to be slid through to Negredo to poke home.  The stadium erupted and I have to say I shed a tear, it was unbelievable. The impossible had happened and we had secured the points. Who in their right mind would have wanted us demoted and taken away moments like this. We not only beat Sevilla we totally outplayed them for the majority of the match. Playing like this is long overdue but in this form who is to say we cannot do the same next week at Barcelona after a weeks rest.

Player Ratings
Alves  6  Difficult to fairly judge as he had not much to do but maybe could have blocked the shot. Would Jaume or Ryan blocked it ? possibly.
Barragan 6.5  Often at the centre of my criticism but today he showed what he can do when he puts his mind to it. I thought he was tremendous today.
Abdennour 7  If I was going to put a name on my Valencia shirt it would be his. Did not put a foot wrong today and in my opinion is a really class player, especially when teamed up with Mustafi.
Mustafi 6.5  A rock today in defence apart from nearly conceding the penalty. The partnership with Abdennour needs to be retained this season for as long as possible.
Siquiera 7  Really good game today and is going to make it hard for Gaya to come back in the team in my opinion. He offers so much more in the attack than Gaya and always looking to get in shots. We must keep him for sure.
Fuego 6.0  a bit of a disappointment for me today. too many bad balls given away. I think we have seen the best of Javi in the past but I hope he can pick up. I see Perez keeping him limited to games when he isn't injured or serving bans.
Parejo 7.5  Gets so much criticism but today was the difference between the two teams. his passing and control was all that you would want from your midfield players. We need to see this more often and the goal was a typical Parejo free kick.
Gomes 6.5  So full of running and amazing ball control. His weakness to me though is how many of his final balls go astray.
Rodrigo 7  This is the Rodrigo we paid all that money for, worked so hard and caused them so many problems but just needs that final touch to make him a great player.
Mina. 7.0  So full of confidence for his age, he caused havoc every time he attacked the Sevilla defence, how we didn't score more goals is a mystery.
Alcacer. 6.5  Always works hard for the team but left a little isolated at times but never gives less than 100%.

Subs Feghouli for Mina
Perez for Rodrigo
Negredo for Alcacer
Not enough time really to be fair to the players coming on.

Manager  Pako Ayestaran 8   I criticized him last week but boy how he got it right this time. In my humble opinion.

Goals
Parejo  41 mins
Gamiero  86 mins
Negredo  92 mins

Sunday, April 3, 2016

To the players - You suck!

I can't stand this anymore, I can't stand to watch this team, its an exercise in torture trying to watch this team play right now.

There is ZERO passion in you, zero motivation, zero effort, it feels like you arrived for a soft ballet session the way you play on the field.

Honor your contracts if anything, you are all getting paid millions of euros, honor the contracts that you signed and are failing to fulfill. I mean seriously guys, I've watched and followed Valencia CF for over 15 years and I don't remember a spell worse than this and players looking and playing so disinterested.

I'd remove them all from the field and field a mix of the B team and the younger players. If they can't play right why play them over and over again? Field a younger and more enthusiastic squad, we have few decent B team midfielders and just give them a chance.

Get rid of Mustafi in defense, he's been the only constant in defense and we've failed every time, its time for a new partnership, I'd give Santos and Vezo the nod in central defense, bring in Villalba from the B team and field him, build a new look team that puts the "veterans" to shame.


Saturday, April 2, 2016

Las Palmas 2 - 1 Valencia --La Liga




Just at a time when we were looking forward to a new era with the new man in charge,  players returned from international games and recovering from injuries we get this.  I am trying to think of the right words to describe the performance I have just witnessed but these are first first that come to mind, disgraceful. pathetic, embarrassing, scandalous,   I am sure you will add a few more.

The start could not have been better.  The worst goalkeeper by a mile in La Liga rolls the ball to a defender and Rodrigo sticks out a toe to intercept before tapping home.  This is minute 2,  now all we need to do is add to it.  But this is Valencia and that is not how it works for us.

Even after the gift start we make hard work of everything.  Paco Alcacer has numerous chances put through on his own with a clear chance of a goal but he keeps getting pulled up for offside.  Some of the decisions looked a bit suspect to say the least, however a quicker ball or more aware Paco may have reapped better rewards.

When I looked at the team and saw Piatti playing instead of Gomes and Barragan playing I just knew it was going to end in tears. Some of the players out there today, Piatti, Barragan were an absolute disgrace to the team and they were not the only ones.  As I mentioned the worst keeper in the league and he was hardly troubled by the ineptness of the pathetic excuse for footballers wearing white shirts.  Only Piatti, from my memory gave him anything to do when he turned away a long shot which deserved a goal.

It all started to go wrong in the 50th minute when Vierra was pulled back in the area by Javi Fuego and the ref had no hesitation in pointing to the spot.   How Fuego didn't get sent off having already been cautioned we will never know. Alves with his skill at saving penalties was unlucky when he got a foot to the poor shot but only saw it fly into the top of the net to make the scores even.

Las Palmas now saw their opportunity and pressed forward causing  all sorts of panic in the Valencia defence.  However it was another bizarre goal that put them in front.  A wild clearance by Santos cannoned off the back of Mustafi putting the home team in front.  It was a lucky goal but we cannot keep on saying how unfortunate we are. They deserved it for their more forceful football and eagerness to win the loose balls.

Valencia were struggling to put passes together and looked like a team who had given up.  Las Palmas could and should have made it even worse for Valencia but with Alves coming to the rescue, poor luck and poor play the score remained the same.

On 62 mins Feghouli replaced Danilo and soon after Gomes came on for Rodrigo.  It made no difference as we never really looked like we have any belief in scoring another goal.  Then Paco was inexplicably removed for Negredo, Paco being the only one looking likely to score.

The score remained the same and Valencia are now staring the drop in the face.  It is going to require a big change of attitude and a bit of luck now to keep us up and this was a must win but the chance has gone.

Player Ratings
Alves 6.0  Saved the day on a number of occasions and was unlucky with the penalty one of the few who can hold his head up tonight
Barragan 1  Looked like a man who didn't give a toss about his club. The sooner he is out of here the better. How was he picked today, we all know how useless he is.
Santos 3.5  Unlucky with the clearance that caused the goal. Under a lot of pressure but battled better than some.
Mustafi 4.5  Another who can hold his head up for his commitment to the club. Why is he not the captain I do not know. He is the leader.
Siquiera  4.0   Had a reasonable game compared with some of his team mates.
Fuego 3.5   Too many missed placed passes and lucky to stay on after his foul for the penalty
Danilo 3.5  Did not do enough in my opinion but I could be wrong as I cannot remember what he did today.
Parejo 4.0  Did OK today but that is not enough in these circumstances, put in some telling passes but not at his best and that reflects on the team.
Piatti 1  A total waste of space again today, what is he doing to justify being chosen. One really good shot and that is a it. He has been the same all season
Rodrigo 2.5   Did well to win the early goal and did plenty of running but looks not good enough for this team.
Alcacer 5  Unlucky  really but has to be more aware of getting caught offside so often. Had he been onside would have won the game for us for sure. Always full of running and effort.

Manager Pako Ayesteran  2    A disasterous start for his first game and why play Piatti, why play Barragan, why take off Alcacer. He says he is proud of the team and that they showed character. I can only assume he was watching another game.  Things can only get better.

Yellow cards for  Piatti, Fuego, Mustafi and Barragan.




Wednesday, March 30, 2016

NEVILLE Sacked


It has been announced today that the Valencia interim manager has been sacked.   Not before time many will say and Pako Ayestaran is to take full control forthwith.

I think this decision was inevitable considering the situation we are in at the moment and even though we can all criticise Peter Lim for some of the decisions he has made since his take over at the club, he has to be applauded for this one.

He record shows him to have been one of the worst managers in the history going on results alone. However,  he was unfortunate to have taken over a ship that if not sinking, it was certainly taking on a lot of water.  His job was to bail us out but unfortunately he has sunk us even lower.
                             
It is now up to Pako to get us the points as soon as possible to steer us away from the dreaded bottom three places. I think there will be fresh enthusiasm now in the team and the break to allow players to get back from injury will certainly help the cause.

I certainly feel a lot more confident now of our survival now that Pako has taken over.  It is now up to the players to give the extra effort that has been sorely missing to get us out of this mess.

Good luck Gary and now you can go back to Sky Sports and tell the viewers what managers should be doing to not lose games as you are now an expert with hands on experience.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Peter Lim sign Manuel Pellegrini

Peter Lim you have a historic chance here to sign Manuel Pellegrini, the kind of coach Valencia CF has always needed and wanted, but its been unable to do so because of monetary reasons. Now we have the chance, you brought in the capital and you could invest a little bit more money into a top quality manager.

One top coach is worth more than 5 top players, players without a good coach are just single individuals, they could contribute the most, but still not enough if the team is not playing as a team. Manuel Pellegrini is a proven coach, he knows fluent Spanish, he's lived in Valencia in the past, its where his family is, so he would want to come back to Valencia, its your job to make sure he works for Valencia CF as well.

I know there are other coaches being mentioned around and some are decent coaches that I think have potential, but none of them are proven on the level of Pellegrini, he's also shown he's great with younger players and has always given them plenty of chances, at Malaga he groomed several young players, including our own Isco which the team made the mistake of not tying him up with a good and long term contract.

Pellegrini is also a team builder, most of his teams have been the sort of mid table clubs that he's build up from the ground, he lays strong foundations and builds upon them, while in Manchester City he has experience dealing with a lot of egos and superstars.

In the summer we are going to be letting go of quite a number of players, especially costly ones like Alvaro Negredo, Daniel Parejo, Pablo Piatti, Sofiane Feghouli, etc... so we can afford to hire a more expensive coach like Pellegrini and I'm sure that at his age he is not interested as much in salary as he is interested in being in a stable club and close to his family, which is Valencia. I'm sure he would take a little smaller salary to coach Valencia CF, rather than take a higher salary to coach some mid table English club, most top clubs in England already have managers and his choices are limited to mid table clubs.

You need to make this happen, you are the owner of the club and you need to order our sporting director to go after Pellegrini, period. We need have the full club trying to get Pellegrini and the sooner this decision is made the better. Creating a strategy, ironing out the details, having more time to convince him will be to our advantage.

This is the manager we need, this is the manager fans want and every single fan can get behind Pellegrini and support him long term. He is not even going to cost much in the long term, because his benefits will outweigh the costs and if he can get some of our young players to perform consistently week-in, week-out then we'd save money on reinforcements and expensive player purchases with expensive salaries, so in the long terms we are actually going to gain money from him, rather than lose.

And again he is a proven manager at the highest levels and all round, he has the experience for everything, he will be available in the summer and his agent has REPEATEDLY said he'd be interested in joining Valencia CF. DON'T SCREW THIS UP PETER LIM!!!!