x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Problems piling up for Valencia

Valencia's financial problems have dogged the club throughout this season, but they have seldom impacted on the performance of the team.

David Villa could be sold by Valencia.
David Villa could be sold by Valencia.

Valencia's financial problems have dogged the club throughout this season, but they have seldom impacted on the performance of the team. It was to the astonishment of their fans that Unai Emery's team headed the league table in October and sat in second as recently as December. Yet what started as an economic crisis has become a sporting one and Valencia's alarming drop in form has seen the club slip to eighth.

Sunday's 2-1 defeat at a relegation-threatened Numancia was Valencia's latest nadir. They have won just one of their last nine league games and had it not been for the David Villa's 21 goals so far this season, the situation would be even worse. Villa was sidelined against Numancia with a knee injury and his teammates - who have been paid late all season - will not have been lifted by the announcement that the club will have to sell their star assets to recoup cash.

Other cost-cutting measures include suspending work on their superb new stadium. They have still to find a buyer for their Mestella home. Twice Spanish champions this decade and twice Champions League finalists, qualification to next season's premier European competition is vital to Valencia's finances, yet it looks increasingly unlikely as their dreadful form belies a talent-laden squad and a promising manager. Valencia are 19th in the form table from the last eight games - and that does not include their recent Uefa Cup elimination to Dynamo Kiev.

In the pick of Sunday's other games, Freddy Kanoute was again Sevilla's star man as they beat Andalusian rivals Almeria 2-1 at home for a fourth consecutive league win. The Malian striker scored one and set up Renato for the second as third placed Sevilla closed the gap on Real Madrid to seven points. @Email:amitten@thenational.ae