Out of ideas. Three words that summed up Valencia minus David Villa and David Silva in this weekend’s fixtures. Friday evening saw Unai Emery’s men take on Aston Villa at Villa Park. In the entire 90 disappointing minutes of play the Valencianistas only mustered up two efforts on the Villains goal in a 0-0 stalemate. A lack of creativity in the final third was obvious to everyone who took the time to watch the encounter with Aston Villa – creativity that was abundant in the side last season. Vicente Rodriguez and new signing Aritz Aduriz offered a few positives for Emery but these positives were heavily outweighed by the negatives.
Last season Valencia could rely on the combination of Silva and Villa to unlock defences but without them, the cutting edge has all but vanished. Juan Mata who was missing from the side due to injury may well be the man to provide the missing spark but it remains to be seen if the youngster can step up. Another new signing Sofiane Feghouli was particularly disappointing. The highly rated 20-year-old Frenchman struggled to get into the game from deep in midfield which will be a worry for the coach who may well have been looking to the former Grenoble midfielder to partner the experienced David Albelda when the season starts.
Saturday’s fixture at the City of Manchester Stadium supplied a repeat performance from Valencia as they took on Manchester City – where they were re-united with the much missed David Silva. Goals from England international Gareth Barry and Brazillian striker Jo were enough to condemn the Murcielagos to a 2-0 pre-season defeat following losses to Marseille and Slovenian outfit NK Celj. With a changed side the Valencianistas were much more adventurous in the final third but to no avail, with Roberto Soldado missing a good chance for the travelling side. However the backline which was so impressive at Villa Park looked much shakier as Hedwiges Maduro and Ricardo Costa were replaced Angel Dealbert and David Navarro in the centre-back positions.
Big spenders Manchester City gave home debuts to £80 million quartet Yaya Toure, Jorome Boateng, Aleksandar Kolarov and David Silva. In the pre match press conference Unai Emery appeared to be very envious of his counterpart Roberto Mancini’s spending power. “On a world-wide scale Manchester City are being viewed as the only other team to be compared finance-wise with Real Madrid,” he conceded. “They might have even have gone beyond Real Madrid in terms of their transfer budget and who they have signed. I think they are really looking to become among the biggest top three clubs in the world according to the investments they are making.”
The 38-year-old coach went onto back the Eastlands clubs chances of a successful league campaign: “That investment is leading them to get a squad together of really great players. They have basically creamed off the best players from around the world and they are clearly on their way to being a clear candidate to win the title here in England.” However when asked how long it will take Manchester City to win a domestic or European honour emery seemed sceptical: “A lot more goes into winning titles and the Champions League than just investment in players. They are getting the best players and are on the right road. There are other factors, obviously you need to gel those players into a team, but certainly potentially, they are on the same level as Manchester United and Chelsea in this country.”
The inevitable questions arose about Silva’s chances at his new club and his former coach gave a positive response: “As a guy he will have no problems settling into the dressing room atmosphere. He is a pleasure to train and on the field he will have absolutely no problems settling in.
“If things are going well on the field, what happens off it is less important, adapting to a different culture and lifestyle. On the field he will make an immediate impact.”
Emery’s Valencia will be in action next against Palermo where they will be looking to produce a much more creative performance, from there they will play host to Fiorentina at the Mestalla.