Before receiving FC Barcelona at Mestalla, FC Valencia is experiencing a bipolar 2021-2022 season. Stuck in the soft underbelly of La Liga and already sidelined in the race for the Champions League, the Ches seem to concentrate their vital forces on a victory in the Spanish Cup. What to remain perplexed and to note that the roller coaster defines more than ever the opaque presidency of Peter Lim.
At a time when health restrictions are beginning to gradually evaporate and give way to the famous “world before”, Netflix users during confinement will be able to remember the Spanish series lostknown in France as The Disappearance of Soledad, and partially shot in 2019 in the autonomous community of Valencia. Coincidence or not, it was precisely during this same calendar year that FC Valence got lost on the way. At the end of the 2018-2019 season celebrating the club’s centenary, the Bats won the Spanish Cup, finished fourth in La Liga to qualify for the C1 for the second time in a row and even paid the head from DC Comics explaining that ” when this club was already playing with a bat on the jersey, the United States was still hunting bison » . But since the departure of coach Marcelino García Toral in September of the same year, this euphoria seems very far away.
Marcelino, Longoria, Alemany: the collapse of the pillars
Perceived as a major historical force in La Liga, Valencia is currently struggling in the general classification. Before starting the twenty-fifth day and facing Barça this Sunday at Mestalla, the Blanquinegros occupy an anecdotal twelfth place, six points ahead of the non-relegation first team (Granada) and nine units behind Barça, holder of the last qualifying ticket for Europe via the preliminary round of the Europa League Conference. As a consolation, the men of José Bordalás can still cling to a semi-final second leg of the Spanish Cup in Mestalla against Athletic Club trained by … Marcelino. A beautiful irony of fate when three years ago, Peter Lim asked the Asturian to overuse the King’s cup, not lucrative enough for his taste.
The dismissal of Marcelino following non-compliance with instructions from above, combined with the successive departures of Pablo Longoria the following week and Mateu Alemany in November, put the club in a perilous sporting situation. To leave room for his ego, Peter Lim has decided to take over command of operations, even if it means alienating the locker room. Albert Celades and Javi Gracia tried in turn to find the upper echelons of La Liga, without success. After a 2020-2021 season marked by the pandemic, Bordalás arrived from Getafe with a sulphurous reputation. For four consecutive seasons in La Liga, the coach of azulones led the team with the highest number of fouls committed in the whole championship: 673 in 2017-2018, 642 in 2018-2019, 706 in 2019-2020 and 631 in 2020-2021. And this year with Valencia? The Murcielagosare at the top of the standings with 411 fouls for eighty-two warnings and five expulsions, just ahead of…Getafe (371).
” Without Europe, Valencia cannot retain all its assets»
Beyond this disciplinary observation, Valence has undeniably lost its luster, and in particular in its workforce. Dani Parejo, Francis Coquelin, Geoffrey Kondogbia, Ferran Torres or the nugget Kang-In Lee are all talents who have left to wander elsewhere. ” Without Europe, Valencia cannot retain all its assetsexplains Roberto Ferriol, journalist forSports Plaza.Parejo took around 7 million euros, Kondogbia or Coquelin were also big salaries. Valencia could not assume that, they had to be sold. The team has lost a lot of talent, that’s for sure. The team is more limited, but we must keep the European objective.Recently, new sporting inconsistencies have disturbed Bordalás in his season. The departure of Daniel Wass to Atlético de Madrid during the winter transfer window was not in the technician’s plans, and despite the loan of Ilaix Moriba from RB Leipzig for six months, the absence of the Dane could weigh in the balance. “Ilaix is an 8 or a 10, not a 6confided Bordalás in a press conference.Wass left and we couldn’t find a replacement. I will try to bring the team to maximum performance. Even if some boys lack experience, they will help us.Otherwise, there will be faults to be assumed.
By Antoine Donnarieix
Words collected by AD except where noted.