Squad news

PREVIEW: ATLETICO MADRID - DEPORTIVO (LIGA)

15 Nov 2008
A battle for the sixth spot in la liga as Atl?tico Madrid hosts Deportivo at the Vicente Calder??n stadium. The Madrilenians are facing a small ?crisis’ and Javier Aguirre is ready to play against Lotina’s squad with his best squad on the pitch, while the Basque manager will not make rotations inside his starting lineup, just the appearance of Piscu for Z? Castro.

STATISTICS: THE CALDERON, A NIGHTMARE FOR DEPOR
The Vicente Calder??n stadium in Madrid has always been a nightmare for Deportivo, it’s the place where the Galician team suffered its worst streak as a visitor at Primera Divisi??n after losing seventeen straight matches there (between the years 1947 and 1973). Besides, Depor has been defeated during five of its seven last visits to Atletico.

In resume, the team from Galicia has only achieved five wins at the Vicente Calder??n playing for Primera Divisi??n, the last time during the season 1999/2000, campaign in which Depor achieved the title and Atletico ended in Segunda Divisi??n. Statistically, the match represents an important battle for the sixth place, currently Deportivo occupies the position while Atletico is seventh, just one point behind the Galicians.

Despite the narrow difference in the table, there are huge discrepancies between these two teams. Starting with the fact that Atletico is the fourth best scorer in Primera with 19 goals, number that doubles the goals of Depor (9). But at the same time, the Madrilenians are one of the worst defenses in la liga with 16 goals allowed, while the Galicians present the second best record at Primera (only 9 goals leaked). For this reason the matches of Atletico usually ends with at least one goal scored, actually last weekend’s goalless draw at Osasuna was just the third for them within the last two liga seasons.

Also, Atl?tico Madrid is usually stronger at home while it trends to suffer more playing as a visitor. Away from home Aguirre’s team has only won once on this liga season, while at home it has won three of five matches, with the other two games ending in a defeat: 0-1 Vs Sevilla (matchday 05) and 1-2 Vs Real Madrid (matchday 07). Meanwhile, Depor’s last away win at Betis (3-0) was just the first one within the last seven months, the previous victory outside Riazor playing for la liga occurred at Osasuna (1-0 on April 20).

PISCU FOR ZE CASTRO
Lotina will not use the rotations for the visit to the Vicente Calder??n, he will keep the same squad that defeated RCD Espanyol one week ago. The only modification is the appearance of ex-Fabril Adri??n L??pez ?Piscu’ in the place of Z? Castro, the Portuguese can’t play the game due to a clause in his loan contract with Atl?tico. The rest of the defensive line will be composed by Manuel Pablo covering the right-back position, Filipe Luis on the left, and Albert Lopo alongside Piscu at the centre.

Sergio and Juan Rodr?guez will be the duo in midfield, Angel Lafita will continue on the right wing and Andr?s Guardado on the left. Riki will be once again the lonely striker. It’s a special date for Manuel Pablo, because the Canarian is fulfilling 10 years of career at Primera Divisi??n. He debuted on November 15th 1998 during the game between Las Palmas and Alav?s. Now he’s the captain of Depor and looks back to his career ?I have changed because I have less hair and a few other things (he laughs). When I came here, I never thought I would spend so many years at the squad, but time move fast when you are feeling fine in a place.? He said during an interview with AS.

Juan Carlos Valer??n, who will not be a starter and that’s returning to his previous home, was saying during the week that despite the pressure over Aguirre’s team, it is going to be a tough match for Depor "It's hard to explain, you watch the standings and see everything is fine, but the fans just see what happened in the last match and that's why Atl?tico is always pressured. Now they are forced to search a win and they will go out for it, that's why the game will be complicated." 

El Flaco was also praising the offensive game of Atl?tico ?Aguero is the key player at Atl?tico. He has growth a lot, I consider him as one of the cracks in la liga and I enjoy watching him. Up front, Atl?tico is very incisive and can score a goal against you with an astonishing easiness. That’s why they are dangerous. They possess players that can define a game.?

Meanwhile, Andr?s Guardado was appointing this is the right moment to beat Atl?tico Madrid at its own stadium ?They are in a vulnerable position due to the latest results, and this is the right moment to defeat them. If we are thinking of winning some day at the Calder??n, with the powerful players they have, I believe this is the moment to take advantage of it.?

Finally, defender Z? Castro, who is ineligible to play for contractual reasons, was describing the weakness of Atletico ?Like any big club, the defence is their weakest point. We should leave things happens little by little.?

The injury room continues to be for Julian De Guzm??n and Pablo Amo, but now Mista has joined the duo as he’s suffering a back injury that has sidelined him of the match against his former club. That’s why Omar Bravo and Rodolfo Bodipo are part of the group traveling to Madrid. Also, Z? Castro is out since he belongs to Atl?tico, while Cristian Hidalgo, Dudu Aouate and Gustavo Mun??a weren’t called for the game.

Called players (19): Aranzubia, Fabricio (goalkeepers); Manuel Pablo, Lopo, Colotto, Filipe, Laure, Piscu (defenders);  Antonio Tom??s, Juan Rodr?guez, Sergio, Valer??n, Verd??, Pablo ?lvarez, Lafita, Guardado (midfielders); Omar Bravo, Bodipo and Riki (strikers).

ATLETICO: FEAR AT MANZANARES
Coach Javier Aguirre is living his worst moment at Atl?tico after the goalless draws with Osasuna in la liga and Orihuela in Copa del Rey. Despite the good run in Champions League, the survival in Copa and the seventh spot in Primera, the fans and the papers are upset because the Mexican coach sacrificed the system with two strikers and played with a 4-1-4-1 system during the game at last place Osasuna, something that Sportpaper AS described as ?coward’.

The fans showed their disappointment in the Copa home match with Orihuela through a massive protest at the Calder??n, something that was even bigger after Atl?tico was near to be eliminated by the Segunda B club. There’s a huge pressure over Aguirre in order to achieve a title on the season or to at ?least’ finish fourth in la liga. President Enrique Cerezo had even to come out on Thursday and end the rumours of a possible destitution, this after radio Marca informed the club already has a verbal agreement with ex-Tottenham manager Juande Ramos for the next season. ?Here, there are no alarms about been firing the coach. We don’t doubt of him. I just know we will leave this mini-crisis as soon as the team starts to score the goals again? were the words of the president though only a few people believe him.

To make things worse, recent rumours are appointing that the fans’ favourite, Sergio ?Kun’ Aguero, is a target of both Inter Milan and Manchester City FC. The interest of Inter in Aguero is not new, since the Italian press had already revealed Nerazzurri chief, Massimo Moratti, recently sent his transfer wheelers and dealers to Spain in order to watch the Argentinean during his side’s derby against Real Madrid. The papers claim the negotiations speeded up now that Manchester City offered Atletico Madrid €42.5 million to acquire the player, a key member of the squad that president Cerezo affirmed is not for sale.

For the game against Depor, coach Aguirre has confirmed that he will recuperate the figure with two strikers, meaning that both, ’Kun’ Aguero and Diego Forl??n will be starters. The Uruguayan was the sacrificed attacker in the last game with Osasuna as he was left sited on the bench. The entry of Forl??n means the exit of ex-Osasuna midfielder Ra??l Garc?a. There’s another modification in the lineup: the return of Argentine goalie Leo Franco taking the place of Gregory Coupet, French keeper that shined against Osasuna.

The rest of the squad will be the same one that played at Reyno de Navara. It will be a 4-4-2 formation with John Heitinga and Tomas Ujfalusi at the centre of the defence, Mariano Pern?a covering the left-back position and Luis Amaranto Perea at the right side. The Colombian central defender is playing at the right since Antonio L??pez is not fit to play (vertigo).  The couple in midfield will be conformed by Portuguese Nuno Ricardo Oliveira ?Maniche’ and Brazilian Pablo Assuncao. Finally, Simao Pedro Fonseca and Maxi Rodr?guez will join Aguero and Forl??n in attack.

As always, all eyes will be over the attackers at the squad. Four of them have scored 14 of 19 goals conquered so far in la liga: Aguero (4), Florent Sinama-Pongolle (4), Forl??n (3) and Simao (3). This last player has been very important for Atl?tico in recent games, so much that UEFA.com recently described him as ?the motor of Atl?tico’. Antonio L??pez is the only casualty due to injury reasons, while youngsters Ignacio Camacho, Miguel de la Cuevas, Angel Bernab? and ?lvaro Dom?ngu?z were not called for the game.

Called players (18): Coupet, Leo Franco (goalkeepers); Seitaridis, Pern?a, Heitinga, Ujfalusi, Perea, Pablo Ib???ez (defenders); Ra??l Garc?a, Luis Garc?a, Maxi Rodr?guez, Paulo Assun???o, ?ver Banega, Maniche, Sim??o (midfielders); Forl??n, ?Kun’ Aguero and Sinama-Pongolle (strikers).

PROBABLE LINEUPS
Atletico: Leo Franco - Perea, Heitinga, Ujfalusi, Pern?a – Maxi Rodr?guez, Asun?ao, Maniche, Sim??o - Forl??n and ?Kun’ Ag??ero.
Deportivo: Aranzubia – Manuel Pablo, Piscu, Lopo, Filipe – Sergio, Juan Rodr?guez – Lafita, Verdu, Guardado – Riki.
Referee: Antonio Miguel Mat?u Lahoz
Kick-off: 17h00 (Vicente Calder??n)
Record Vs Atletico Madrid: 23 wins for Depor, 15 draws, 34 wins for Atletico (Primera)
Record at Vicente Calder??n: 5 wins for Depor, 5 draws, 26 wins for Atletico (Primera)

ARCHIVE NEWS NOV/08

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