Eurowatch: Valencia 3 Villareal 0 Match Report
Yokerbhoy has been keeping an eye on our next opponents in the europa League…and it makes for interesting reading..
Campeonato de La Liga Española January 26th
Valencia 3 Villareal 0
Por lo visto el conjunto valencianista ya ha empezado a jugar con criterio, y va cosechando los éxitos necesarios para aspirar a los puestos europeos.
Last night’s encounter between two local rivals was an entertaining and action-packed affair with the home side producing what was arguably their best performance of the season so far. The Chés became rampant in that second half and it was only thanks to the Villareal goalie Sergio Asenjo, who pulled off quite a number of breathtaking acrobatic sabes, that the tally was somehow kept down to only three. I shit you not.
The Yellow Submarine’s nightmare season continues and their main problems lie with their misfiring forward line and their leaky defence. Their midfield, on the other hand, looks strong and competitive and is captained by that fine veteran pro and former-Spain international Santi Cazorla, whose footballing skills are a delight to watch. In fact, despite being on the end of a serious beating yesterday, the Castellón side enjoyed 55% of the possession. This defeat takes them down to 2nd bottom position with the clear threat of relegation staring them in the face. Worse than that, they couldn’t even beat the huns over two legs in the EL qualifying group a couple of months ago. 🙂
What struck me most about Valencia’s display last night was that for once they had continuity in their play and kept very high concentration levels from start to finish whereas, in the previous games which I have viewed recently, their quality only showed in patches and they tended to fade from the game during lengthy spells. Whether last night’s super show of clinical excellence was a one-off or another evident sign that they really have turned the corner after a very mediocre first half of the season remains to be seen. It’s not all that easy to guage this progress as they have chopped and changed their team a lot and utilise mostly squad players and young prospects in their mid-week cup games but there were some tell-tale signs of serious improvement in last weekends away match to Celta in which they came from behind to win in spectacular fashion.
Last night their first goal came from a wonderful free-kick delivery by nº10 Parejo into the box, which was head-flicked on by French midfielder Francis Coquelin into the path of massive fellow countyman Mouctar Diakhaby, who bulleted in an unstoppable header. The second came midway through the 2nd half due to a clamorous defensive error in which the ball was cheaply given away to set up the Russian Chéryshev, who had been denied in the first half by an unbelievable stop from Asenjo, to fire into the corner of the net. The third was the fruit of an exquisite diagonal cross ball into the box by highly-gifted youngster Ferran Torres, who had recently entered the field of play, onto the head of stiker Rodrigo Moreno, who made absolutely no mistake.
Conclusions and Observations:
Worryingly, the chés appear to be growing hugely in confidence and are starting to become much more clinical in front of goal. Although they have been without their most naturally talented player, Portuguese wide-left midfielder Gonçalo Guedes, who is likely to miss both legs against us, this team is now looking very solid and efficient throughout. I’ve already reported on some of the players so I’ll describe a few more. Brazilian keeper Neto is very competent and capable of pulling off wonder saves. I was surprised to see mainstay Brazilian central defender Paulista left out last night (maybe he’s carrying a knock) but his deputy, man mountain Diakhaby was very solid throughout and demonstrated what a huge aerial threat he represents with that spectacular headed goal. French midfielder Francis Coquelin chiefly plays in a defensive central midfield role and in previous games was guilty of drifting out of the game and being almost invisible but last night he was very much involved in a hotly disputed tussle against very good players to gain control in the middle of the park and displayed some exceptional moments of skill on the ball and precision passing. The Russian (wide left midfield) can be a bit hit or miss but never hides while right-sided midfielder Carlos Soler is highly experienced and quietly effective. The Valencia team also has a wealth of young talent in their squad and these young players usually get their chance in cup ties but I’m not sure if they’d be risked in European competition. Their two hottest prospects are 17 year old South Korean wide left midfielder Lee Kang-In who can do amazing tricks with the ball, can deal with the physical side of things but is still lacking in positional sense while 18 year-old right sided midfielder Ferran Torres is probably the most exciting prospect of all. A fine all-rounder, he is now providing serious competition to occupy the berth held by Soler.
Overall, based on what I witnessed last night, our men in green & white will really have to be on top form and pull something special out of the bag to live with these guys next month.
Yesterday’s team: 4-4-2
Piccini Diakhaby Garay Gayà
Soler Coquelin Parejo Chéryshev
Subs used: Waas on for Chéryshev, Lee Kang-In for Mina and Torres for Soler