Squad news

PREVIEW: SPORTING – DEPORTIVO (LIGA, 17h00)

14 Mar 2009
Depor wants to stay in the UEFA zone while it targets the Champions League. The main novelties are the return of Guardado plus the possible appearance of Colotto as starter. At Sporting, coach Preciado is only presenting one modification compared to the team that defeated Osasuna.

STATISTICS: THE WORST DEFENCE IN SPAIN
After 26 matchdays on the season, the 55 goals allowed by Sporting Gij??n represent not only the worst record at Primera Divisi??n, but also of Segunda and Segunda B. Only the bottom teams at Tercera Divisi??n have allowed more goals in Spain: Union Villalba (90), Velarde Camargo (89), Ciudad Lorca (88), Brea (76), Arta (71), Lumbreras (69), Mosconia (61), Blanes (57), Puzol (56) and Arosa (56).

But curiously, Depor is one of the three Primera clubs that haven’t scored yet against the Asturians, this since the Galicians lost the game on the first round with a 0-3 score, the other two teams that share this situation are RCD Espanyol and Almeria (in both cases Sporting achieved a 1-0 win in the first round). Another curiosity is that after four liga confrontations between Lotina and Manolo Preciado, the teams of the Basque coach have never scored a goal against the squads of the Cantabrian manager.

Sporting suffered four straight defeats between matchdays 22 and 25, but last Sunday’s win over Osasuna (2-1) has opened a five-point gap with the drop zone, reason why the Asturians are feeling relieved, at least for now.  The main problem for Sporting on this season is located at El Molin??n, because the Asturians already suffered seven defeats at home (the biggest number at Primera): 1-2 Vs Getafe (matchday 01), 1-6 Vs Barcelona (matchday 03), 0-1 Vs Villarreal (matchday 05), 1-2 Vs Betis (matchday 12), 2-5 Vs Atletico (matchday 14), 0-4 Vs Real Madrid (matchday 23) and 0-1 Vs Mallorca (matchday 25). Alongside the number of defeats, a curious thing is that Sporting is the only team at Primera that hasn’t drawn yet any game on the liga season (10 wins and 16 defeats).

Meanwhile, thanks to its the victory over Racing, Depor is now the fifth best team of the second round, this since the Galicians have added twelve points in the last seven matches.  However, Lotina’s squad has only added fifteen points away from home during the present season, that’s the worst mark among the clubs that are currently occupying the first seven spots in the table.

Finally, to emphasise that only 300 Kilometers are separating the cities of La Coru?a and Gij??n, that means the Asturian is the nearest Primera city to Depor’s hometown. Taking advantage of the situation, a big group of fans is planning to visit El Molin??n for the occasion. In the end, 3,000 fans of Depor are expected at El Molin??n, while Sporting already confirmed the game will be a sold-out (third time on the season)

DEPORTIVO: RIKI OUT, GUARDADO IN
It was speculated during the week that Lotina might use a 4-4-2 formation, this means a figure with two strikers: Lassad and Riki. But in the end, the Basque coach will keep implementing the 4-2-3-1 figure used in the last three liga matches. And the sacrificed one is Riki, because the Madrilenian will be sited on the bench after been the revulsive as he scoring twice against Racing. Therefore the lonely striker in the game will be Lassad Nouioui, man that during the week was called for the first time to Tunisia national squad.

Also, two big changes are expected in the formation. Firstly, and no matter that Lotina didn’t give a clue on Saturday’s training,  it’s expected the introduction of Diego Colotto at the centre of the defence. The Argentine was a starter in the game of the first round against Sporting and was sent off at the end of the first half, since then he hasn’t appeared in any starting formation in la liga, therefore the game could be considered as a ?revenge’ for him.

The other modification is a more sure thing: the return of Andr?s Guardado after two months out. The Mexican player was reserved in the last game against Racing Santander, and now he is going directly to the starting formation covering the left wing.

About the rest of the squad, Daniel Aranzubia will be at the goal. Laure will keep replacing Manuel Pablo at the right back-position, while Filipe Luis will perform on the left side. Albert Lopo, who was doubtful after suffering a muscle strain in the low back during the game against Racing, is totally recovered and will play alongside Colotto at the centre of the defence. The introduction of the Argentine is sending Piscu to the bench.

In midfield territory, Juan Rodr?guez and Julian De Guzm??n will be the two pivotes. The Andalusian is coming to the encounter after scoring a goal in the last two liga matches. With Guardado on the left wing, Angel Lafita is returning to his ?natural’ position at the right side, the Aragonian scored his eighth goal of the season against Racing and he still as the Pichichi of the team in la liga.

The playmaking function will be for Joan Verd??, the Catalan also scored against Racing. Meanwhile, Juan Carlos Valer??n will be waiting on the bench. Finally and as it was appointed before, Lassad will be the lonely attacker in the formation.

Lopo was assuring on Thursday that Depor travels to El Molin??n thinking of revenging the 0-3 of the first round, ?Football always give you the chance of revenge. The match of the first round was painful, it was something to forget. Now things are the opposite, now our fans are traveling there and it’s time for payback. It won’t be an easy game, they are dangerous at home. We need to take care about following the good line, which has taken us here.?

Similar was the speech of Aranzubia, ?It will be pretty to payback with a victory at their stadium, but beyond the revenge, the important thing is to add the three points. It’s a pretty game. This is the first time on the season that we will see a large number of fans traveling with us, these two groups of fans have a good relationship and we will have a nice environment.?

Meanwhile, ?ngel Lafita was targeting a victory in order to keep intact Depor’s European aspirations, ?It is a difficult game, very difficult, they showed to us at the Riazor the kind of team they are. Their fans will be supporting them and it is going to be complicated, we can’t despise ourselves, we have enough team to win. We have to go out with a winning mentality, these three points will surely keep us in UEFA, and maybe in Champions (League).?

The Aragonian was also thanking the support coming from the large number of fans that are traveling for the game, ?It will be an unconditional and needed support, it’s something to be thanked as we will see a lot of people cheering us. It will be pretty to bring them a victory since they are making the effort of traveling to Gij??n, we will try to do the right things in order to obtain something positive.?

The injury room still busy, during the week it was said that Cristian was already recovered from a muscular contracture, but in the end he was discarded because he is not totally fit. The other five men remaining out of the coach’s plans due to injury problems are: Bodipo, Manuel Pablo, Mista, Antonio Tom??s and Z? Castro.

List of called players (18): Aranzubia, Mun??a (goalkeepers); Laure, Pablo Amo, Lopo, Colotto, Adri??n L??pez ?Piscu’, Filipe (defenders); De Guzm??n, Juan Rodr?guez, Sergio, Verd??, Lafita, Pablo ?lvarez, Guardado, Valer??n (midfielders); Riki and  Lassad (strikers).

SPORTING: ONLY ONE CHANGE IN THE SQUAD
The victory over Osasuna has left a sensation of relief in Gij??n, firstly because it cut a series of four straight defeats in la liga, and secondly because it opened a gap of five points with the relegation zone. But Manolo Preciado and his players are aware the war is not over yet, and that they still have to fight in order to add the 16 points needed to reach the mark of 42, key number for the permanence. And a crucial thing for that is to improve the record at home, this since Sporting has only added 5 wins at El Molin??n after 12 presentations there.

For the game against Depor, Preciado is having the casualties of defender Rafael Sastre for suspension plus right-back Roberto Canella and goalkeeper Sergio S??nchez for injury reasons (both hamstring strain). However, the Cantabrian manager is able to present the same squad that defeated Osasuna, the only modification will be the entry of Ra??l Camara replacing Sastre at the right-back position.

The rest of the squad will be the same, a 4-2-3-1 figure with I?aki Lafuente at the goal. The ex-Athletic arrived as an emergency back-up for long-term injured Iv??n Cuellar and after Sporting failed to sign Aouate. The defensive line is completed with ex-Valladolid Iv??n Hern??ndez playing alongside Francisco Borja ?Neru’ at the centre.

Meanwhile, the left-back position will be occupied by Jos? Angel Vald?s, youngster that’s replacing injured Canella He’s just 19 and actually, he was fulfilling his first season at Sporting B after been playing with Sporting Juvenil A on the previous campaign, but his work has been so impressive that the papers in Asturias are already pointed to him as a future start of the squad.

In midfield, ex-Racing Sergio Matabuena and ex-Sporting B Miguel Marcos ?Michel’ will occupy the pivote positions. Luis Mor??n will perform on the right wing and Diego Castro at the left. Ex-Las Palmas Carmelo will be the playmaker and ex-Real Madrid Castilla David Barral the lonely striker.

The offensive power of Sporting is something to be emphasised, the Pichichi at the squad is Croatian Mate Bilic with eight goals on the liga season, he will be sited on the bench, but the trio Barral-Carmelo-Castro is something to fear as combined, they have scored the 50% of the goals conquered by Sporting on this liga season (17 of 32).

If on the past weekend Depor was facing a Galician striker currently living a good moment –Jonathan Pereira - this time the situation is repeated. Because Pontevedra-born Diego Castro is passing through a sweet moment as he has scored six times in la liga season. Actually, he’s a Depor’s supported, as he confessed during the week, ?When I was a kid, I lived the big moments of the club. It was huge when they won la liga, but I was marked when they lost due to Djukic’s penalty. I remember that in Pontevedra, they have put a giant screen to watch the game, I was there watching with some friends. When the penalty was missed, everybody started to cry. The fact of seeing a city that it wasn’t A Coru?a so affected is something that impressed me. It was a special moment, very sad and pretty at the same time.?

Midfielder Michel was talking about the challenge of Deportivo, ?It is a tough and complicate rival. They are in the UEFA zone and one game away from the Champions League. They are there for their own merits. Depor will demand a lot from us and we must be focused and careful, because it won’t be like the first round. They have quality players, dangerous midfielders that are a link with the strikers. Sergio, Valer??n or De Guzm??n are important due their style of game. It will be important to prevent them to move freely, because they organise things very well and seize the fact of having quick strikers.?

Meanwhile, Jos? ?ngel, youngster that’s replacing Canella in the lineup, was assuring that Sporting will fight until the end in the quest for the permanence, ?Last weekend’s win over Osasuna was an important step forward. The win in Pamplona brought tranquility, but not totally. We must keep fighting. If we follow this line, I believe we won’t have problems to achieve the permanence.?

Finally, Carmelo, Canarian players that scored in the game of the first round, is dreaming about becoming the ?Valer??n of Sporting ?, as he said to a Asturian paper: ?I have been following him since I was at Las Palmas. He has a great vision and style, something that makes him different to the others. I watch Valer??n trying to improve and look like him, though all the players are different.?

List of called players: not released.

PROBABLE LINEUPS
Sporting: Lafuente - Sastre, Iv??n Hern??ndez, Neru, Jos? ?ngel - Matabuena, M?chel - Luis Mor??n,  Carmelo, Diego Castro - Barral.
Deportivo: Aranzubia - Laure, Lopo, Colotto, Filipe - Juan Rodr?guez, De Guzm??n - Lafita, Verd??, Guardado - Lassad.
Referee: Juli??n Rodr?guez Santiago (11 games on the season, 0 wins for the visitor).
Kick-off: 17h00 CET (El Molin??n)
Record Vs Sporting: 29 wins for Depor, 15 draws, 19 wins for Sporting (Primera & Segunda)
Record at El Molin??n: 8 wins for Depor, 7 draws, 16 wins for Sporting (Primera & Segunda)

ARCHIVE NEWS MARCH/09

ZAPPING

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