Squad news


11 Apr 2009
A final for Deportivo and Atletico, both teams fight for the UEFA spots and face the last train to the Champions League. Atletico arrives as the third best offensive line in liga, while Depor is recovering Bodipo but losing Riki ahead of the game.

The numbers indicate that Atletico Madrid represents another case of a Madrilenian club struggling to survive at the Riazor, and it has been like that as the Rojiblanco squad has just been able to obtain a win in twice since the last promotion of Deportivo to Primera: 0-1 on the season 1994/1995, and 0-3 on the past campaign.

However, Atletico should be considered as a dangerous threat for Depor, and it’s that the Madrilenian team has scored 26 goals after 40 visits to La Coru?a, that’s the higher number in the history of la liga tied with Valencia. Besides, to emphasise that Atletico is the fifth best visitor in la liga with eighteen points added after fifteen visits, the best marks are for Barcelona (34), Real Madrid (24), Sevilla (24) and Racing (20).

But Depor is also strong at home, this no matter recent results. The Galicians have added twenty eight points after fourteen games at the Riazor, that’s the sixth best home record, only surpassed by Barcelona (38), Real Madrid (38), Villarreal (30), Valencia (30) and Sevilla (28). Deportivo has only lost twice in La Coru?a during the liga season: 0-3 Vs Sporting (matchday 08) and 1-3 Vs Sevilla (matchday 18). 

The game is important because both teams are currently tied with 43 points; a win will be an important boost for any side in the quest for Europe. Also, to mention that both teams are facing an irregular moment. Depor has only added one point within the last three games, while Atletico arrives after two straight defeats. The Galicians have only added thirteen points in the second round, while Atletico only twelve. Finally, the curious thing is that the referee initially programmed for the game, Carlos Delgado Ferreiro, has been ruled out due to an injury, now his substitute will be Basque Miguel ?ngel P?rez Lasa.

Coach Lotina has decided to keep Pablo Amo at the centre of the defense in order to help Albert Lopo against the third best offensive line in la liga. With Z? Castro out since Atletico is his parent club, the Basque coach has decided to keep the same duo that received three goals at Montjuic. Therefore Diego Colotto and Adri??n L??pez ?Piscu’ will be waiting for a chance on the bench. This last player surpassed during the week an ankle sprain, but Lotina thinks he is not ready yet.

The defensive formation is completed with Daniel Aranzubia at the goal, Filipe Luis on the left-back position and youngster Laure at the right side. It is a final for both Deportivo and Atletico, the winner of the game will be ?leading’ the race to Europe and will probably keep intact its chances to reach the Champions League. Depor’s hopes of been achieving a victory pass through a solid work in defence and the contention of the offensive power of Atletico, however the Galicians are not having a good moment in defence, as they have leaked ten goals within the last four games in liga. The last clean sheet for Aranzubia was held on March 1st (At Numancia, 1-0).

Midfield is also having a novelty, Antonio Tom??s is returning after surpassing a hamstring strain injury, while Sergio and Juan Rodr?guez are coming back from suspension, but only this last one will be a starter in the game. The Andalusian will team mate with Julian De Guzm??n in a very defensive duo in the sector.

Another novelty is the presence of Juan Carlos Valer??n as starter. It is just the fifth appearance as starter for the Canarian playmaker on the liga season, something occurring because Joan Verd?? is suspended. He will be supported by Angel Lafita and Andr?s Guardado on both wings.

Finally, Lassad Nouioui will be the lonely striker, the Tunisian has surpassed his muscular problems, but that is not the case of Riki, player that has been rested due to a ankle problem. At least Lotina is recovering Rodolfo Bodipo, the Guinean is coming back after a two-month absence and after surpassing a hamstring strain problem.

Right back Laureano Sanabria ?Laure’ was talking on Friday about the importance of the game, he said that Lotina as warned them about not been ?relaxed’ for the occasion, "The coach has told us that who is not focused in the game will be left out. But I can tell you that we, the players inside the squad, are feeling were involved with the cause." 

Together with Riki, the other two players at the injury room are Manuel Pablo and Mista. They still out and the doctors don’t know if they will be able to play in the remaining games of the season. One of the 19 men called for the match will be sidelined at the last minute, Lotina called one more player since he is doubtful about the condition of Piscu and Antonio Tom??s.

List of called players (19): Aranzubia, Mun??a (goalkeepers); Laure, Pablo Amo, Lopo, Colotto, Adri??n L??pez ?Piscu’, Filipe (defenders); De Guzm??n, Sergio, Antonio Tom??s, Juan Rodr?guez, Lafita, Pablo ?lvarez, Guardado, Cristian, Valer??n (midfielders), Bodipo and Lassad (strikers).

The exit of former coach Javier Aguirre was understood as a ?necessary’ solution due the rupture between the Mexican and some key players like Forl??n and Aguero, but the true is that the medicine has been worse than the disease. And it’s that his replacement, Abel Resinos, a former goalkeeper of Atletico, is presenting worse numbers than his predecessor.

With Aguirre the team was adding an average of 1.5 points per match, and with Resino this number has fell to 1.3. The most worrying thing is the performance in defence, with Aguirre the team leaked 33 goals in 21 matches, with Resino 14 goal in just 8 games. The numbers are clear and are digging the grave of Resinos, actually the names of Schuster, Valverde, Diego Simeone and even Juande Ramos have been mentioned as possible replacements for next season.

The main thing that worries the club’s officials is that a possible exit from the Champions League will mean a huge hit against the economy of the club, more precisely it will force the team to cut the budget in the half, from €120 to €60 million, and to sell ?Kun’ Aguero, striker that might end at Inter Milan for €60 million. Rumours say that Maxi Rodriguez will join him in the journey to Italy.

Besides, the club will pass from been buying top-players as the same Aguero to be reinforced by ?mid-level’ components like Pedro Le??n, Eliseu, Cl?ber Santana, Jurado  or Juanito. This last player already signed a deal with Atletico as his contract with Betis rules out during the summer. In other words, a huge change in the policy of the club. The massive ?earthquake’ could even cost the job to the sporting director, Garc?a Pitarch, figure that has been severely questioned due the poor performance of the squad in la liga, he ends his contract with Atletico in June and might not be renewed.

About the lineup for the game, Abel Resinos will keep playing with the usual 4-4-2 system, though there are some changes in the names of the players building up the figure. There are two modifications in defence, sector severely criticised lately due the big numbers of goals allowed in the last games (12 in the last 5 matches). Leo Franco will stay as the starting keeper, but John Heitinga is returning in order to claim a spot at the right-back position, the Dutch missed the last game due to a problem in one eye, he will be replacing Luis Amaranto Perea,who is suspended for the game. At the left side, Mariano Pern?a is retuning after been replaced in the last game due to an ankle problem. What will stay the same is the centre of the defence, because both Pablo Ib???ez and Tomas Ujfalusi are keeping their places. The Czech international has lived a tumultuous week as he resigned to the national team after been involved in a sex scandal.

In midfield, Resinos still upset with Maniche, reason why the two pivotes at the squad will be ex-Osasuna man Ra??l Garc?a and Brazilian Paulo Assun???o. Portuguese Simao will stay on the left wing, and a novelty is that Maxi Rodriguez will cover the right side. The Argentine is retuning after  surpassing a knee problem picked during the 1-6 blow with Bolivia. Finally, ?Kun’ Aguero and Diego Forl??n will be the two attackers in the formation.

If defence has been criticised lately, the attacking zone of Atletico has received all kind of positive comments, and it’s that the Madrilenians have scored 58 goals on the liga season, mark that’s the third best one at Primera Divisi??n. Actually, the best five scorers at the club have conquered 48 goals on the liga campaign: Forl??n (20), Aguero (13), Maxi Rodriguez (6), Sinama Pongolle (5) and Simao (4). That means 10 more goals than the ones scored by the whole Depor’s squad.

Sergio ?Kun’ Ag??ero was admitting during the week that Atletico is not playing well lately, something that’s the responsibility of the players, "We have no explanation of what has happened in recent games. Everyone knows that we haven’t played well and that in resume, we shouldn’t put more excuses. It isn’t the fault of the Club,  or the coaches, it's just ours. People are angry, but now we know that we must be strong and make an effort to add the three points, because we can’t lose more games. We know we made two very good matches (Barcelona and Real Madrid) and now we must think of Depor. If we play as we are doing right now, it will be impossible to win, but we're confident and we must be encouraged to win.?

List of called players (18): Coupet, Leo Franco (goalkeepers); Seitaridis, Antonio L??pez, Pern?a, Heitinga, Ujfalusi, Pablo Ib???ez (defenders); Ra??l Garc?a, Luis Garc?a, Maxi Rodr?guez, Paulo Assun?ao, ?ver Banega, Simao, Ignacio Camacho (midfielders); Forl??n, Kun Ag??ero and Sinama-Pongolle (strikers).

Deportivo: Aranzubia - Laure, Lopo, Pablo Amo, Filipe - De Guzm??n, Juan Rodr?guez - Lafita, Valer??n, Guardado - Lassad.
Atl?tico Madrid: Leo Franco - Heitinga, Pablo, Ujfalusi, Pern?a – Maxi Rodr?guez, Assuncao, Ra??l Garc?a, Simao – Forl??n, Ag??ero.
Referee: Miguel ?ngel P?rez Lasa
Kick-off: 21h00 CET (Riazor)
Record Vs Atletico: 25 wins for Depor, 17 draws, 39 wins for Atletico (Primera & Segunda)
Record at the Riazor: 20 wins for Depor, 11 draws, 9 wins for Atletico (Primera & Segunda)



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