Squad news

PREVIEW: DEPORTIVO – BETIS (LIGA, 17h00)

21 Mar 2009
Crucial game for two sides fighting for different goals. Deportivo targets Europe while Betis searches to avoid the abysm. Lotina is presenting the same team that lost at Gij??n, while Chaparro is sending Mark Gonz??lez to the pitch, plus Oliveira and Sergio Garc?a.

STATISTICS: BETIS WAS THE STARTING POINT
Real Betis is the rival against whom Deportivo started its ascension in the first round, because after the 0-3 achieved at the Luis de Lopera, Lotina’s side added a positive streak of seven victories in nine matches (Espanyol, Athletic Bilbao, Almeria, M??laga, Recreativo and Getafe), results that are the main explanation why Depor is currently fighting for a European spot.

It is true that Betis has only won three times in La Coru?a playing for Primera & Segunda Divisi??n, but it’s also true that Deportivo has just clinched one victory against the Andalusians within the last six confrontations disputed at the Riazor (1-0 on the past season), fact that demonstrates that Betis will be a tough team to beat. Besides, The Verdiblanco side is one of the four teams in Primera that have added more points away from home (17 against 12 at the Luis De Lopera). The other three are Racing, Sporting and Athletic Bilbao.

And it’s that Betis already added five victories away from home on this season: 2-0 at Osasuna (matchday 08), 4-2 at Numancia (matchday 10), 2-1 at Sporting (matchday 12), 3-1 at Valladolid (matchday 19) and 2-1 at Sevilla (matchday 22). This last win against the ?nemesis’ occurred on February 7th, and represents the last victory of Betis on the season.

Deportivo, however, continues to be one of the strongest teams at home during the current liga tournament. And it’s that Depor already added 27 points after 13 matches at the Riazor, that’s the third best record at Primera Divisi??n. Mark only improved by Barcelona FC and Real Madrid (both with 24 points in 14 games disputed at home).

DEPORTIVO: REPEATING THE SQUAD
As it was appointed during the week, coach Miguel Angel Lotina will repeat the same starting lineup in straight matches for the third time on the season, but it’s the first time the Basque is doing this after losing a match. What happens is that despite the setback in Gij??n, Lotina was satisfied with the performance of the team, actually he referred to this last game as the ?best away match of Depor on the season? at least for the intensity showed by the players.

It is an important match for Deportivo, because it’s one of the six encounters still to be disputed at the Riazor (Betis, Atletico, Almeria, Valladolid, Getafe and Barcelona), and Lotina is basing the hopes of reaching the European places in adding those eighteen points, number that will put Depor up in the table with 60 points, the target for the UEFA zone.

The lineup will be a 4-2-3-1 with Dani Aranzubia at the goal, Laure continuing at the right-back position in defence, Filipe Luis at the left side, while Diego Colotto will complete for the first time two straight appearances as starter in liga, the Argentine will perform alongside Albert Lopo at the centre.

A surprising thing knew on Saturday was the latest scan made to Laure, he was discarded for the game against Racing due to a tear in a muscle of his right leg, but in the end the Madrilenian defender played the game. On Friday a new scan was made and the surprise was that the exam revealed the damage was bigger than everybody was expecting, because the tear is of eight centimeters. However, the player is fit to play, basically because the part of the muscle that is damaged is not used when the player is on the pitch.

The same Laure was discarding any problem to play the game, ?Because it doesn’t hurt me, if it was the opposite, I wouldn’t be able to walk.? Later he was defending the defensive work done on the season no matter the squad has allowed five goals within the last two games, "Lotina trains defense a lot. The true is that we are having a good line despite the recent goals. Against Racing, we were launched searching the comeback, and we got distracted through their counterattacks. In the trainings the work is collective, but if there is any doubt about a player, he calls us in an individual way. The concepts are known in advance, we know them since the beginning and are always the same, but it is convenient to insist on them"

Daniel Aranzubia was also trying to explain this behaviour in recent games, ?We have had some crazy games, especially the one against Racing. The line we have had throughout the year has been good, and if we do a new effort, we will end the season with a number of leaked goals that can be considered as acceptable. And it’s that we started both games losing (Racing and Sporting), and those are weird circumstances that do not happen too often. And when you go out searching for the equaliser, you always end opening up at the back.?

In midfield, Juan Rodr?guez and Sergio will compose the line of two pivotes. It is the liga game number 28 for the Andalusian, meaning that he and Filipe are still the only ones that have appeared in all the liga matches of the season. Joan Verd?? will be the playmaker on the formation, Andr?s Guardado will stay on the left wing, while Angel Lafita will play on the right.  Finally, Lassad Nouioui will be the lonely attacker.

Betis is a rival that brings positive memories to both Guardado and Lafita, because the Mexican scored his first goal at Primera against the Andalusian team, while the Aragonian scored for the first time two goals in single Primera match during the 3-0 win of the first round (he repeated this against Villarreal a couple of months later). Other Depor’s player living a good moment is Riki, the Madrilenian has scored three goals within the last two games, but it isn’t enough to be part of the starting squad as Lassad will stay as Lotina’s preferred option. A curious thing was that Riki didn’t train on Saturday, because his wife was giving birth. But he was called to the game as he joined the squad on the evening.

Meanwhile, Verd?? was warning about the potential of the rival, "The teams playing for the permanence are the most dangerous ones at this point, because they play for their life, they play for the whole work done during the year, and perhaps they are more dangerous than the big teams. Looking from midfield to the attacking zone, Betis possess a high level and at anytime they can decide the game, so we need to be very careful. We must try to do our game, this means to take the ball and tighten things up front."

The only novelty in the list of picked players for the match is the return of Cristian. The Catalan said during the week that he’s not happy with his situation at the club, and he left an open door in case the situation is repeated on the next campaign. The injury room still busy with the presence of five players: Bodipo, Manuel Pablo, Mista, Antonio Tom??s and Z? Castro. The major part of them will be available for the next liga game at Espanyol.

List of called players (19): 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, Cristian, Valer??n (midfielders); Riki and Lassad (strikers).

BETIS: CRISIS & SHEIKS
The season at Real Betis has been a real disaster; the Andalusian club spent €31.7 million in new signings during the last summer, amount that represents the third highest mark at Primera Divisi??n. But so far the investment is not paying dividends as the team is just three points above the drop zone. Situation that has just created tension between the fans and that has left the coach, Francisco Chaparro, at the edge of destitution. He even had a fight with a ?socio’ at the start of the week. Actually, it has been rumoured that former Betis coach Serra Ferrer might replace Chaparro if he loses at the Riazor.

And from the pessimism of the present to the optimism for the future, because another thing that has called the attention during the week is the supposed offer of an Arabian sheik, Humaid Bin Rashid Al Nuaimi, in order to buy the club. He is the emir of Ajmān (one of the seven emirates of the United Arab Emirates federation). Betis’ authorities recognised that they have had contacts with an intermediary that was offering €90 million in order to buy the club, while some sources like Sportpaper AS were speculating the sheik is planning to invest €600 million in the club.

About the lineup that will be used at the Riazor, all appoints that Chaparro will make a couple of changes compared to the grey team of the goalless game with Osasuna. The first one is the return of Mark Gonz??lez after the Chilean surprisingly surpassed a quadriceps problem, the other is the return of German David Odonkor to the starting eleven. This two men have barely appeared on the season due to injury reasons, Gonz??lez has only played nine games on the liga tournament while the appearances of Odonkor have been reduced to three games.

It is a 4-4-2 figure with the same defensive line of recent occasions. Portuguese Ricardo will continue to be the goalkeeper, his compatriot Nelson Augusto Tomar will cover the right-back position, the central spots will be for Juan Alberto Andreu ?Melli’ and Juan Guti?rrez ?Juanito’, while Fernando Vega will stay at the left sector.

In midfield, Chaparro will present a line with two men in contention: ex-Fenerbahce Mehmet Aurelio and French Achille Emana, this last player has been one of the pleasant surprises on the season as the ex-Toulouse already scored seven times in la liga, actually he is one of the two Pichichis at the Andalusian squad. The wings will be for Mark Gonz??lez (right) and David Odonkor (left), this duo will be replacing ex-Barcelona Dami?? Abella and Arturo Garc?a ?Arz??’, men that were starters against Osasuna.

In attack, all the hopes are in the duo Ricardo Oliveira- Sergio Garc?a. The Brazilian has scored three goals in the six games he has played since his arrival during the winter window, while Garc?a, pretended by Depor in the past summer, already took his tally to seven goals in the liga campaign.

A thing that has called the attention is the presence in the list for the Riazor of two Betis B players: defender Alex Ortiz and midfielder Jos? Ca?as Ruiz. Meanwhile Mariano Pavone (muscular), Luis Eduardo Schmidt ?Ed??’ (unfit), Jes??s Capitan ?Capi’ (ankle) and Juanma (knee ligaments) are missing the game due to injury reasons.

It has been commented before that Betis is a squad that plays better away from the Luis De Lopera, and central defender Melli explained during the week the reasons for this behaviour, ?At home we play with a lot of pressure at our side, pressure that’s coming from the fans. It is normal because they have spent three years suffering. The true is that when we are at our own pitch, we notice this pressure and that affects the squad.?

Meanwhile, right-back Nelson was showing his confidence in the achievement of the permanence, ?People are afraid of relegation, but I trust in my team mates. We want to see people, no matter they are sad, alongside us. We all need to be together in order to achieve the best for Betis.?

Similar was the speech of Juanito during a press conference held on Friday, "We must think about the present and Depor. Of course I am worried about everything, but we all are trying to work and pull out the team from the last positions. The sooner we enter into the skin of what we are playing for, the better. Now we have to count on the present and I know we can carry out with the situation using our potential. In a general sense, the environment is expressing its regret for been down there and that we have enough team to be up in the table, but the fact is that we are there. ?

Finally, striker Oliveira was saying that Betis must use its game based in counterattacks at the Riazor, ?Depor will attack more and we, due to our own characteristics, will be able to counterattack.? He was also remembering a goal that he scored during a previous visit to La Coru?a, ?I scored through a cross of Joaqu?n, but we could only draw. Riazor is a large pitch and I like it, though I don’t care if I score or if Sergio (Garc?a) does it, what matters is to win.?

List of called players (18): Ricardo, Casto (goalkeepers); Melli, Fernando Vega, Juanito, Arzu, Dami??, Monz??n, Nelson, Alex Ortiz (defenders); Alberto Rivera, Eman??, Mehmet Aurelio, Odonkor, Mark Gonz??lez, Ca?as (midfielder); Sergio Garc?a and Ricardo Oliveira (strikers).

PROBABLE LINEUPS
Deportivo: Aranzubia - Laure, Lopo, Colotto, Filipe - Sergio, Juan Rodr?guez - Lafita, Verd??, Guardado - Lassad.
Betis: Ricardo - Nelson, Melli, Juanito, Fernando Vega – Mark Gonz??lez Mehmet Aurelio, Eman??, Odonkor – Oliveira, Sergio Garcia
Referee: Miguel ?ngel Ayza G??mez (13 matches on the season, 5 wins for the local team)
Kick-off: 17h00 (Riazor)
Record Vs Betis: 21 wins for Depor, 16 draws, 18 wins for Betis (Primera & Segunda)
Record at the Riazor: 14 wins for Depor, 10 draws, 3 wins for Betis (Primera & Segunda)

ARCHIVE NEWS MARCH/09

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