It is finally over. A stormy season that initially promised so much has ended with Los Che in mid-table. But there are still positives to take heart in. While the team’s performances have often been found wanting, the displays of certain individuals have left fans wanting more.
A few Bats have soared against the turbulent winds. From breathing life into the team’s attack to helping the defence become Fort Knox, their contributions have been immense. Batzine presents the goliaths of this season.
Player of the Year: Goncalo Guedes
There’s no doubt that the Valencia’s No. 7 is one of the squad’s most talented players since arriving from Paris Saint-Germain in 2017. But inconsistent displays have often marred his massive potential. Not this season.
Clearly aware of the talent he has, Jose Bordalas has liberated the winger by allowing him to roam the pitch. No longer confined to the flanks, Guedes has staged frequent incursions into the opponents’ penalty area in search of action. And the team has been duly rewarded.
With 13 goals in all competitions, the Portuguese dynamo is the club’s top goalscorer. Eleven have come in LaLiga, accounting for a fifth of Los Che’s goals in the league. “Now I look for the goal more often and I have more confidence shooting,” he revealed in an interview for Spanish sports publication Diario AS.
This confidence has led to monstrous displays – Guedes has been responsible for many of Valencia’s greatest moments this season. Who can forget his 30-yard piledriver that fired us to the Copa Del Rey final, or the scintillating display that saw us edge out city rivals Levante in a 7-goal thriller?
With 6 assists also in the bag, the winger is clearly one of the few X-factor players who elevates the team. His goals have propelled Valencia, and for that, Guedes deserves to be Batzine’s Player of the Year.
There are also others who have been colossal on the pitch. Notable mentions go to Carlos Soler and Hugo Duro.
Soler, our Mr Consistent, has continued his fine form from last season. He sits alongside Guedes as joint top-scorer for Valencia in the league this year, oozing leadership and class.
Duro has been the club’s signing of the season, with 10 goals and 4 assists in all competition. No wonder Valencia have elected to turn his loan permanent. His tireless running and combative nature fits perfectly into Bordalas’ style of play. We cannot wait to see what he does next season.
Most improved player: Hugo Guillamon
At the other end of the pitch, Hugo Guillamon has also captivated many with plenty of composed performances this season that belie his youth.
Bordalas has moved the 22-year-old defender up the pitch to become a holding midfielder. The academy product has flourished despite the unfamiliar role, using his astute tactical awareness and adroit reading of the game to snuff out danger.
It is clear that Bordalas placed great trust in the Valencia No. 6, who has played 2,786 minutes this season – the 4th highest in the squad. But the Valencia boss is not the only manager Guillamon has impressed.
His cultured displays have also caught the eye of Spain’s head coach Luis Enrique, who gave the young Valencian his national debut this year.
Guillamon’s stock has rapidly risen this year, and he will be looking to land a spot in Spain’s World Cup squad in November. Continue playing like that next season, and he most definitely can.