After the debacle that was Barcelona 5 – Valencia 1 this Sunday, it’s on to greener pastures and the Mestalla, where Stoke City comes to town.
It’s Thursday night and the UEFA Europa League.
This week, Our Beloved Valencia travel to England and the Britannia Stadium to tussle with Stoke City in the UEFA Europa League.
I wrote this article for our friends at Forza Futbol previewing the match.
Please take a minute to read it and leave comments on the site.
How will we do? How will we react to the cold, wet atmosphere of the Britannia?
Find out what I think and why Stoke’s a tougher opponent than we think.
Tough, but we’re better.
What do you think the scoreline will be?
Today, a guest post from Abdul Rahman Al Ze’bi, who thinks Our Beloved Valencia needs a lot of stuff, like a new coach.
Agree? Disagree? Think Emery is over-caffeinated?
Have a read and post your opinions!
Take it away, Abdul …
What Does Valencia CF need?
Read the rest of this entry »
Well, I didn’t see the match v Racing this past weekend, but from all accounts, it was yet another shit performance from both Unai Emery and his players. Emery tried to play some nice offensive football away in Santander, starting both Tino Costa and Éver Banega in midfield, and within 2 minutes VCF was down 1-0. Not only that, but Banega had to be subbed off before halftime due to injury. The right side, featuring Sofiane Feghouli and Antonio Barragan was terrible, Víctor Ruiz and Ricardo Costa were terrible, Diego Alves was terrible… basically, everyone sucked (except for recent goal machine Aritz Aduriz).
So, that’s 3 points out of 12 in 2012. 3 draws (away v Villarreal, away v Osasuna, away v Racing) and 1 loss (home v Sociedad). What’s next for VCF? Our next 8 matches are looking rather hard: Barcelona (home, CdR), Atlético Madrid (away, Liga), Barcelona (away, CdR), Sporting Gijón (home, Liga), Stoke City (away, EL), Barcelona (away, Liga), Stoke City (home, EL), and Sevilla (home, Liga). In this writer’s humble opinion, we can kiss the Copa del Rey goodbye thanks to Barca, and the Europa League goodbye courtesy of Stoke. And to be brutally honest, I think a repeat run of 3 out of our next 12 points is a real possibility in the league.
Is there any good news? Not really. It looks like we’ll finally have a shirt sponsor, with an announcement coming on Tuesday. Super Deporte thinks the sponsor is mostly likely from either China, Qatar, or the United Arab Emirates. Can’t say I’m too excited really, because not only will the design most likely be ugly, but I also doubt we’ll be getting that much money.
I guess the other positive is that Sevilla lost and Villarreal drew this weekend. The usual suspects for 3rd and 4th place are all woeful this year, and the teams currently up there (Levante, Osasuna, Espanyol) will all at some point drop back down the table (like Levante is currently doing).
It’s always nice to know that people read your work, and when they do they take it to heart. Clearly, Pablo Hernández has a good understanding of English and reads The Offside, because just days after I called him rubbish and whatnot, he put on a blinder of a performance against Levante in the Copa del Rey. Shame though towards the end of the match he had to be subbed off due to injury.
Pablo played a part in all three of VCF’s first half goals. Assisting on the first and third goals (scored by Jonas and Pablo Piatti, respectively), as well as delivering the pass that the visitor’s defense failed to clear before Soldado struck. To be fair, I didn’t actually see the match, so if Pablo was shit except for these three moments, let me know in the comments section.
Also getting off the mark was Piatti, finally scoring his first goal for the club just before half time. He paid the price for scoring however, after colliding with the keeper. VCF’s official site said this morning that he has only a bruised knee, and no ligament damage. Again, for those who watched, how did Piatti play?
Thankfully, Unai Emery decided to abandon his beloved 4-3-3 for this match, and what do you know….. we win playing 4-2-3-1 \O/
Sadly, Valencia’s next match is against Osasuna on Sunday, in Pamplona. This guarantees a snoozer of a match, not to mention it’s the mid-day game (which for us here on the American east coast is 6:00 am). With Piatti and Pablo being questionable, it looks like a return to Feghouli and Mathieu on the wings. Ugh…
I’m back (kind of)! For those who used to visit The Offside but haven’t in a while, welcome back. For those who have never visited before, welcome. As Cesar mentioned in the previous post, it’s sad that I closed down Loco4LosChe, but I’m very excited to be a part of The Offside team now, as I think it better suits me at this time in my life to write one to two articles a week instead of daily news updates. Thanks to Cesar and Graham for making this happen!
Now, onto today’s topic, Valencia’s shocker v Real Sociedad last weekend. Well…. it was bad, to put it mildly. Lots of blame to go around, so let’s break it down:
Unai Emery - Yes, while the players failed to, ya know, play, Unai certainly didn’t help the situation with his tactical nonsense. As far as player selection goes, we are playing two games a week (Copa and Liga) so he has to rotate. Don’t blame him there, though it must be said that Pablo Hernández has been shocking awful for quite literally over one full calendar year now and should be sold immediately, and Sofiane Feghouli just isn’t VCF quality for me. I know Pablo Piatti has been poor so far, but he has yet to play in his two best positions. Unai insists on playing him wide left, when for Almería he had more of a free role, and he’s said that his preferred position is actually wide right. I’d like to see Piatti wide right instead of Pablo H or Feghouli from now on personally.
Also, Paco Alcácer finally making his Liga debut was nice, but this was the wrong time honestly. The team was failing to get the ball to Aduriz, and with Feghouli going off injured, Unai put Paco on. So, we can’t get the ball through midfield, and he puts another striker on? WTF.
Finally, 4-3-3. I know some of you will say it was 4-2-3-1, but when Parejo is suppose to be an attacking midfielder, and he is consistently dropping back behind both Topal and Banega to get the ball, it’s a 4-3-3, simple as. 4-3-3 NEVER WORKS, and no one can defend Emery for playing this way.
Pablo H - As mentioned before, he’s rubbish now. Seriously, what happened to this guy? He has Spain caps FFS.
Mehmet Topal - He’s defo having a sophomore slump as we’d say here in the United States. Complete opposite to what he did last season. Not sure what to make of him now. Disturbingly similar to what happened with Ángel Dealbert and Ricardo Costa.
Dani Parejo - Just not good enough I’m afraid.
Tino Costa - He’s already had one bust up with Unai this season. With Emery’s laughable sub of Paco for Feghouli, I understand Tino’s frustration. I laughed at the sub myself. I’m scared he’ll leave in the summer now, and we’ll be left with Banega, Albelda, and Topal as our midfield :/
Adil Rami - Shocking loss of form (same can be said for Víctor Ruiz).
Jérémy Mathieu - I’m tired of him. Why Emery keeps playing him in midfield is beyond me. He can’t run for 90 minutes, let alone 60.
I know Griezmann’s goal was iffy, but sometimes those calls go for you and sometimes they go against you (not conspiracy theories please). Sociedad deserved to win.
Now we have a derby match in midweek v Levante in the Copa, and have to travel to Pamplona on the weekend to face surprise package Osasuna. Ugh.. won’t be easy….
Like a phoenix rising in the night (or a bat rising above Mestalla), the Valencia Offside returns.
As many of you know, Kyle’s Loco4LosChe is ending as of today. That’s very sad news.
But the good news is that Kyle’s going to write articles here, IF ANYONE FROM THE OFFSIDE ANSWERS OUR E-MAILS … (Let’s hope someone from the Offside reads this) …
So while no one’s written here for about 3 months, the blog survives.
Kyle will be here, hopefully Dan’s still alive, Javier will contribute when he can (if he wants) and yours truly will pop in weekly to offer his opinion.
I know first hand how hard writing a blog can be. And all I did here was write.
Kyle managed a website and that’s an extraordinary sacrifice of time, energy and money.
So let’s give it up to the man and thank him for the contribution.
And let’s welcome him here.
We hope to see you on the blog soon.
Next game? Sunday vs. Osasuna.
I don’t know what to think after today’s 2-1 loss to Bayer Leverkusen in the UEFA Champions League in Germany.
On the one hand, we started strong, a Jonas goal in the 24th minute just reward for our early dominance.
Our defense looked solid; our offense wasn’t scoring but we were getting opportunities and Bayer didn’t look dangerous save the last minutes of the first half.
Then, it all fell apart.
Read the rest of this entry »
Humblest apologies for my scarcity. Unfortunately Final exams are taking me to bed each night too exhausted and stressed to really have anything to offer. And this looks set to continue in the next few months, but hopefully 1) i’ll find to post as often as possible and 2) valencia give me something to grin about tonight.
Some of my early optimism, since that near-win against Barca, has slipped since then, due to a few reasons.
1) Valencia have slipped to a few disappointing displays, including throwing away 2 points last weekend. Sure, the game may have been close, but we have better quality and going into the last stages of a game we NEED to develop the fortitude to close out wins, if we are going to have any chance of keeping up. We have started well, but we need to get that big-team, Man U-esque we DO not concede leads mentality. and we CERTAINLY do not lose.
2) Even now, in October, we JUST DON’T KNOW where this season is going. No-one has clearly pulled away or shown themselves to be another class…consistently (sure Real and Barca have shown glimpses) plus we don’t know who is the real deal yet, Malaga, Sevilla, even Betis and HOW ABOUT LEVANTE. Who will last and prove their quality? I simply can’t tell, and that’s worrying.
3) The 2-week international break is a perfect dampener on any built up momentum and excitement.
4) This is similar to the first point, but separate too. We need to be more clinical and show a greater ability to kill off games in front of goal. The tight spot that we are currently in in the champo league is simply due to our inability to beat Genk, a side who we were markedly better than. The root is simply this. We rely to heavily on San Sol. Against Genk, they forced him wide to be an outlet while the midfield moved up into attacking positions, and so we had no target or mischief-maker in the box. We were positively impotent. Even with him in he game, we aren’t scoring enough goals. Despite our markedly improved defence (I love Adil Rami!), we are still putting ourselves under too much pressure.
5) I’m writing exams.
Despite all this, we have started well. But tonight will be a huge marker in terms of how we bounce back from a let-down like the late goal against Mallorca that would have kept us within a point of Barca. And we need this win against a strong neverkusen side, who are our direct rivals in the group for the second spot in the knockouts. And boy do we need the money!
Bayer have made an average start to the season, sitting 8th with 4 wins from 9 games in the Bundesliga. They’ll provide a tough test though. They gave Chelsea a rough ride at stamford bridge. Don’t expect too many goals. Bayer have scored 12 and conceded 13 in 9 games. Not stellar numbers in either case. They did however manage a good draw with Borussia Moenchengladbach last time out, who are the closest to keeping up with Bayern Munich at the top, so they’ll be feeling good, especially at home.
Fingers will be crossed.
So Ricardo Costa is miffed that he isnt being played. He recently had an interview in Portugal here is the jist of it translated to english.
The Portuguese international, 30, said about a news article about him being offered to Español.
“I didn’t want to believe it when I saw it [the story]. It is ridiculous. It is a lie and I think Valencia will deny it. What`s more, I hope they do so before I go back after the international break because it will show they don’t say one thing to me and another to other people.”
“If this news is true then he would have offered Espanyol the chance to buy me and that didn’t happen. He is the same person who stopped me going to Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus a month ago. He said then I was an important player for the squad and that I was one of the captains. It is him I believe and not ridiculous and sensational news.”
He later added when asked about his lack of playtime sice being subbed off at halftime in Valencia’s first match.
“Firstly, you must remember I was substituted when the team had let in two goals with me on the pitch, so when Racing scored their third I wasn’t there. Secondly, I remember the game well and don’t remember playing alone.
“Was it Valencia that let the two goals in or was it Ricardo Costa? I played in the first half and Racing continued to create chances in the second. Also, there have been games when we could have let in as many if not more than we did against Racing, and I wasn’t on the pitch.”
When asked if he beleived Emery has lost confidence in him:
“I honestly don’t understand this story and don’t believe the Coach has lost confidence in me. In fact, I’ve don’t know if he has confidence in me or not because I’ve not spoken to him about it to ask him, “he added.”
So there ya have it. Ricardo calling the Whaaambulance.
But really what did he expect. After all sincehis has been benched the Defence has clicked. Why would Emery throw a wrench into the machine once its finally working and risk the wrath of this blogs readers.
Javier De Roque