The Journeyman | Vamos Valencia: Part 9 – Season 2 Reflection

A second season in Valencia saw us lead Los Cules to an unexpected second place finish, only behind an increasingly ridiculously good Real Madrid. We’ll take a quick look back at the season just gone and our key players throughout the campaign.

Key performers

Amazingly, 34-year-old Son Heung-Min was our top scorer again this season with 19 goals in all competitions. However, 19 goals and 4 assists in 48 matches isn’t a great record for the lead striker of a team finishing second in La Liga! Son’s contract expires in the summer and I think we’re going to let him move on. Cabral chipped in with an impressive 13 goals and 11 assists, but he is worryingly hot and cold.

But looking back on this season, two of our key men have two of our key team leaders. Vice-captain José Gaya scored 11 goals and got 4 assists in 42 games from left-back, while captain Carlos Soler scored 8 and got 9 assists from 47 matches.

Other top goalscorers were young winger Juan Martín Sancho with 7, Naci Unuvar, who was really poor in the second half of the campaign, on 6 goals, and centre-back Itamar Junges with 5.

Central midfield was an area I was surprised by as Soler and Vedran Cula, who’s shown progress towards the end of the season, got 16 assists between them. Sancho, however, only got 2 assists in 43 appearances, which is a real concern.

Cabral was our best performer rating-wise with an average rating of 7.28, followed by Soler and the quietly reliable Marco Kana on 7.26 and Gaya on 7.22. Of course, our number one goalkeeper Antonio de Lima had the lowest average rating with 6.78 despite keeping 22 clean sheets and 147 saves in 40 games.

La Liga stats

Son finished as the third top goalscorer in La Liga with 19 – 4 behind top scorer Kaio Jorge and 3 behind Kylian Mbappé. That’s pretty impressive for a 34-year-old! He was also our only player to play in every league game and had the highest shot conversion rate in the entire league with 26%.

Interestingly, the player with the best goals-per-minute ratio in the league was a 19-year-old Lithuanian at Espanyol, who has a £20 million minimum fee release clause.

Cabral’s 10 league assists was the third most in La Liga, only bettered by Real Madrid’s Bernardo Silva (18) and, bizarrely, Nathan Ake (11). Cabral also created the second most chances in La Liga with 19, only beaten by Silva’s ridiculous 36, and second most dribbles with 6.30 per 90 minutes. Silva also had the most key passes in the league, 32 clear of anyone else on 121, while Soler was 7th on 74 and Kana was 16th on 61. So yeah, he’s pretty good.

de Lima had the second-most clean sheets with 19, behind Thibaut Courtois’ 24.

Award winners

Interestingly, Carlos Soler won the fans’ player of the season with 34% of their vote, ahead of Kana (28%) and Gaya (23%). Kana was of course signing of the season, seeing as we got him on a free from Man City, and the young player of the season (although at 24, that seems a bit dubious).

Unsurprisingly, Cabral won the goal of the season with this absolutely ridiculous effort against Levante.

A look around Europe

Elsewhere in Europe, Chelsea won the Premier League for the first time since 2017, finishing 8 points clear of Man United. Liverpool finished down in 5th having won three of the four previous titles.

There was change in Italy too, as AC Milan won their first title since 2011, winning Serie A by 1 point from Juventus. PSG won Ligue 1 for the first time in three seasons with 100 points, finishing 21 clear of Monaco, and Bayern won a 5th straight Bundesliga at a canter 13 points clear of Dortmund.

Join us next time as we navigate a third summer in Valencia with a bit of rebuilding to do during the transfer window.

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