Squad news


29 May 2009
Depor plays its last option to enter Europe while Barca celebrates the treble in La Coru?±a. Lotina recovers Lassad but will use the same lineup that lost to Sevilla. Meanwhile Guardiola will present a squad full of substitutes.

There is no any single statistic that Barcelona FC hasn’t been able to dominate on this liga season. The Catalan side has clinched 86 points in 37 matches, that’s a record in the history of Primera Divisi??n. Besides, the club has already added thirteen victories playing away from home, another mark without precedents in the history of la liga.

What’s still to be broken is the number of goals scored in the competition; so far the Catalans have scored the astonishing number of 104, that’s just three goals less than the historic mark imposed by Real Madrid on the season 1989/1990. At leas the three main strikers at the club, Leo Messi, Thierry Henry and Samuel Eto'o already washed away all the marks as together they have conquered 71 goals, five more than the mark conquered by Real Madrid's legends Ferenc Puskas (28), Alfredo Di Stefano (21) and Luis del Sol (17) on the season 1960/1961. Although Eto’o (29) is losing the race for the Pichichi and the Golden boot against Diego Forl??n (31)

At Depor’s side, the team of Miguel Angel Lotina is finally recovering the strength of the Riazor. And it’s that Deportivo has clinched 35 of the 54 points disputed at home (65% of the total), that’s the highest mark within the last five years. It’s an important match for the Galicians, a victory plus a defeat of Valencia against Athletic Bilbao will qualify the team to the Europa League, the replacement of the UEFA Cup starting next season. Any other result in both games will leave the team at the seventh spot, though a win of Malaga FC at RCD Espanyol combined with a defeat of Depor will pull back the Galician team to the eighth position.

Depor hopes that Joaqu?­n Caparr??s and his Athletic Bilbao could defeat Valencia FC at Mestalla. But Lotina knows that the main thing is to achieve a victory in this game, that’s why he has tried to keep all the attention of the players in this confrontation, something difficult as main things are passing through the players’ mind at this point of the season. Actually three of the starters could be playing their last game at Depor since they haven’t renewed yet their contracts: Sergio, Pablo Alvarez and Verd??.

The novelty for the game is that Lassad Nouioui has been picked for the match after missing the last three games due to a muscular contracture, while Antonio Tom??s was ruled out of the squad after a new complicating (hamstring problem). Despite his presence in the list, Lassad won’t be a starter since Lotina is trying to protect him as the striker is not fully recovered.

Therefore the system to be used in the game will be a 4-2-3-1 figure, actually all appoints it will be the same squad that has played the last three liga confrontations, but there’s a doubt: the name of the playmaker in the formation. Joan Verd?? has been the usual starter in this position during the whole season, but Lotina is seriously thinking in giving a chance to Juan Carlos Valer??n, El Flaco has only appeared five times as starter on this liga campaign.

If the Canarian is able to play the game, it will meant his appearance number 210 wearing Depor’s shirt at Primera Divisi??n, in this way he will be tying the mark of V?­ctor and will be entering into the top-ten list of Depor’s players with more games at Primera Divisi??n, though he’s far from the historic leaders of this list: Fran (435), Mauro Silva (369), and Donato (303)  Valer??n was expressing his happiness with the achievement, â€?It’s a pride to be entering into the list of the top ten players, and let’s hope I will be able to complete more with Depor.â€?

Daniel Aranzubia will close a very solid season appearing at the goal, the Basque keeper is the leader on the voting for RCDLC.com player of the season award. In defence, Manuel Pablo will appear at the right-back position, while Albert Lopo and Z?© Castro will play at the centre. Filipe Luis will perform on the left side and will complete the mark of 38 appearances as starter. The Brazilian is the only field player in la liga with a similar mark, and the twelfth player of Deportivo that has been able to perform as starter during all the matches of a single liga season.

At midfield, Sergio and Juan Rodr?­guez will play on the pivote functions. Pablo Alvarez , who could be signing his new contract with Depor on the next week, will perform at the right wing, while Andr?©s Guardado will play on the left. Finally, Rodolfo Bodipo will be the lonely striker.

Captain Manuel Pablo talked to reporters after Friday’s training, the last one on the season, he was saying that Depor is aware of the difficulty regardless to achieve the qualification to Europe, �The UEFA is not too far, but it will be hard to achieve. We depend on other results and we must be focused in our game, to achieve the three points and leave with a good taste in the mouth, to offer the victory to the fans and later to wait. We’ve fought for things that maybe we didn’t have in mind at the start of the season.�

Together with Antonio Tom??s, Mista is the other player that will end the season at the injury room. Meanwhile, Julian De Guzm??n, who’s ending his contract in June, already left the club in order to join Canada’s national team, while Pablo Amo wasn’t picked for the game. The Madrilenian central defender will be out of contract  in June and won’t play anymore with Depor, neither who is also leaving La Coru?±a, the Uruguayan will be sited on the bench.

List of called players (20): Aranzubia, Mun??a (goalkeepers); Manuel Pablo, Laure, Lopo, Z?© Castro, Adri??n Lopez â€?Piscu’, Colotto, Filipe Luis (defenders); Sergio, Juan Rodr?­guez, Verd??, Valer??n, Lafita, Pablo Alvarez, Guardado, Cristian (midfielders); Bodipo, Lassad and Riki (strikers).

It’s an unforgettable season for Barcelona FC, the treble and the good game practiced during the whole campaign is something that already entered into the books of European football history. And the game at the Riazor is precisely the moment selected to celebrate the biggest triumph in the history of the Catalan club. And it’s that coach Pep Guardiola has decided to travel with all the available players for the game, he even picked several of the youngsters from Barcelona B that have joined the first team throughout the season.

What happens is that Barcelona achieved the three titles of the season in matter of just 15 days and the squad didn’t have the time to celebrate it, therefore, and as the coach and the captains of the team decided, La Coru?±a is the city selected to celebrate the achievements of the campaign and the coach thinks that everybody must be invited to the party.

However, this doesn’t mean that Barca will play at the Riazor will all its â€?starters’. The true is that Guardiola will present a formation full of substitutes, Messi, Xavi, Henry, Iniesta and Puyol (ruled out by an injury) won’t play, not even Samuel Eto’o will be part of the match, the Cameroonian international is still fighting for the Pichichi trophy and the European Golden boot, but he will be reserved ahead of the FIFA World Cup qualifiers. 

Of the expected 4-3-3 formation at the Riazor, only Daniel Alves has been a regular starter on the liga season (34 games). The Brazilian right-back missed the Champions League final due to suspension and was doubtful for injury reasons, but he’s now fit to play. The rest are players that have been going in and out of the lineup.

The ex-captain of .Celta, Jos?© Manuel Pinto, will be at the goal. Alves will cover the right-back position, while Eric Abidal and Silvio Mendes â€?Sylvinho’ are disputing the spot at the left. At the centre of the defence, Uruguayan Jos?© Mart?­n C??ceres is ready to make his eight appearance as starter, while Alberto Bot?­a will be his companion, it’s the debuting match at Primera for the Barcelona B defender.

At midfield, Guardiola will play with ex-Sevilla Seydou Keita in contention, while Eidur Gudjohnsen will responsible for the offensive game. Sergio Busquets could also be appearing after playing as starter in the final of the Champions League, but Guardiola has the option to play with Xavi Torres, another Barcelona B youngster that already performed twice in la liga.

In attack, Guardiola is mixing the experience of ex-Arsenal Aliaksandr Hleb with the youth of Bojan P?©rez and Pedro Rodriguez Ledezma â€?Pedrito’. Of this trio, only Bojan has scored a goal on this liga season (2 goals so far).

Depor hopes that Barcelona will arrive to the Riazor disoriented after all the celebrations for the treble, but an interesting stat is that the Catalans have only lost one of the four games disputed in liga after achieving a European title. The match was in 1979 against Real Sociedad (0-3) after winning in mid-week the UEFA Cup Winners Cup against Fortuna D??sseldorf (4-3).

Deportivo: Aranzubia - Manuel Pablo, Lopo, Z?© Castro, Filipe Luis - Sergio, Juan Rodr?­guez - Lafita, Valer??n or Verd??, Guardado - Bodipo.
Barcelona: Pinto - Alves, C??ceres, Bot?­a, Abidal or Sylvinho - Keita, Gudjohnsen, Sergio Busquets or Xavi Torres - Pedro, Lev, Bojan.
Referee: Luis Median Cantalejo (15 matches on the season, 8 wins for the local team)
Kick-off: 21h00 (Riazor)
Head-to-head Vs Barcelona: 15 wins for Depor, 14 draws, 43 wins for Barcelona (Primera)
Record at the Riazor: 17 wins for Depor, 9 draws, 12 wins for Barcelona (Primera)



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