Squad news


23 Sep 2009
Depor tries to clear out the doubts after a poor start as it visits CD Xérez, recent promoted club that’s the only team that haven’t added points or scored a goal on the Primera season. The big novelty at Depor’s lineup is the return of Sergio.

The game represents the first confrontation between Deportivo and CD Xérez at Primera División, but these two clubs already met each other at Segunda División. Totally, Depor and Xérez have played twelve confrontations and six took place at Chapín, the last one for the season 1990/91 and it meant a 3-0 win for the locals. The last time that Deportivo won at Xérez was on the season 1988/1989 (1-0).

Both clubs have had a slow start on this liga season; firstly Depor has only added three points in three matchdays, which is the worst start of the club since Lotina’s arrival three seasons ago. At least the Galician squad has scored at least one goal in each one of the three matches played so far, those five goals represent the sixth best offensive mark at Primera, only surpassed by Real Madrid (11), Barcelona (10), Valencia (8), Mallorca (7) and Sevilla (6); an unusual thing taking in mind the recent seasons of Depor.

Meanwhile, Xérez CD is the worst team at Primera after three matches, at least statistically. The club from Andalusia is the only one in la liga that hasn’t added yet any point, it’s also the only team that hasn’t scored any goal, while it represents the second worst defensive line with eight goals allowed, only Atletico Madrid has leaked more goals (9).

One of the main debates on these days has been the composition of Depor’s midfield. Coach Miguel Angel Lotina has repeated the same couple of pivotes in the first three matchdays: Juca and Juan Rodriguez, several analysts have been suggesting a change for a more ‘dynamic’ duo, and now that change is occurring, but it’s caused for injury reasons since Juan Rodriguez (gastroenteritis) is a casualty for the match.

Therefore the new partner of Juca in midfield will be Sergio, the Catalan hasn’t debuted yet on la liga season and now is ready to be the link with Valerón, a vital connection that has failed in recent matches and that has been appointed as one of the causes for the two defeats against Real Madrid and Espanyol. Sergio has played 270 games at Primera wearing Deportivo’s shirt and is now chasing the third best mark at the club, which belongs to Donato (303 games in liga with Depor).

It’s considered as an important substitution in order to solve the midfield problems at Lotina’s team, because it has been said that Brazilian Juca and Andalusian Juan Rodriguez are just two players covering the same function, which is to defend. On Tuesday Juca was defending his work, "I'm feeling integrated to the team and the club. I am not having any problem. When we lose, we all lose, and the responsibility is divided between all of us. I feel adapted to the environment at the changing room and also to my team mates."

At first sight, defense seems to be the only sector that won’t have any modification ahead of the game, because Aranzubia will stay at the goal, Laure could keep playing at the right-back position, Filipe Luis will cover the left sector and the couple at the centre could be the one composed by Catalan Albert Lopo and Portuguese international Zé Castro. Despite this, Lotina announced changes for this game and he might have reserved a couple of surprises. Starting with Manuel Pablo, who might return to replace Laure, while some journalists even appoint that Argentine Diego Colotto could enjoy of a chance replacing Zé Castro.

The sector with the biggest doubts is the attacking line, Andrés Guardado seems to be the only one having a secure place in the starting squad as he will play on the left wing. But the other positions are uncertain. Juan Carlos Valerón could be appearing again on the playmaking function, but Lotina could surprise with Lassad performing on that role. Against Espanyol the coach surprised with the appearance of Adrian in attack and Riki on the right wing, but now Pablo Alvarez might regain his place. What’s clear is that Lotina is still insisting that both Lassad and Adrian are not ready to play for the fully ninety minutes.

Together with Juan Rodriguez, the other player at the injury room is Mista. Antonio Tomas and Iván Pérez are taking their spots on the list, while Piscu was left out in order to give some room to Colotto. Also, Angulo and Rodolfo Bodipo are once again out of the list for a liga match.

For Dani Aranzubia the game represents a good chance to return into the path of the victory, "Xérez is one more team at Primera División and we must go out for the victory. There are some stadiums in which you could go out predisposed to defend, but in Jerez we must go out for the win since the kick-off."

List of picked players (18): Aranzubía, Manu (goalkeepers); Laure, Manuel Pablo, Lopo, Zé Castro, Colotto, Filipe (defenders); Juca, Antonio Tomás, Sergio, Pablo Álvarez, Valerón, Guardado, Iván Pérez (midfielders); Adrián, Lassad and Riki (strikers).

One year ago nobody thought that Xérez CD would be playing at Primera División, the Andalusian club ended the season 2007/2008 with an important debt with its players and was near to go relegated to Segunda B. At the time the players sued the club and it was near to be technically relegated, but the efforts of the board of directors cleaned the debt two days before the deadline. The rest was the well know Cinderella story, because a team full of loaned players and zero-cost arrivals (there was no money left to pay transfers) was able not only to achieve the promotion, but to even end as the champions of Segunda.

 Now the team is living a dream come true, playing for the first time at Primera and enjoying of an historic budget of €18 million. However the club suffered two blows in recent months, first it lost its president, Joaquín Bilbao, who had to resign after been involved in a shooting. Then, at the start of this campaign, it lost the architect of the project: coach Esteban Vigo, who resigned after a mysterious fight with the club’s officials and that is now coaching Hercules FC at Segunda. ‘Cuco’ Ziganda, who is known for his work with Osasuna, took the job and the responsibility of achieving the permanence.

Of course the main goal for the season is to keep the “Cinderella dream” alive, but the start has been discouraging. Xérez has the worst statistics in this start of season, but the true is that the numbers could be deceiving, because Ziganda’s team has deserved more, especially in the home defeat against Athletic Bilbao (0-1), besides the team has been affected by suspensions (Calvo, Gioda and Mendoza). For this game Ziganda will have new casualties as Alex Bergantiños and Aythami Artiles can’t play the game due to contract reasons. Both were loaned by Depor and Xérez won’t pay the needed €300,000 contemplated in their contracts as the condition to face their parent club.

Xérez trained on Tuesday, but the list of picked players won’t be released until this day as the team will complete a last training session. However, the lineup seems to be defined (4-4-2) and the only doubt is who will be the lonely attacker. The options are Venezuelan Giancarlo Maldonado and Cantabrian Mario Bermejo. Ex-Atlante Maldonado is the historic goalscorer of Venezuela with 19 goals, and has played 165 minutes on this season, while Bermejo has only completed 72 minutes on the campaign.

Brazilian Renan, who has been appointed as the best player of Xérez in this start of season, will be the starting goalkeeper. In defence Francisco Pérez ‘Francis’ will be the right-back, captain Jesús Mendoza will cover the left side and the duo at the centre will be composed by Argentine Leandro Gioda and Sevilla’s youngster David Prieto. Gioda is taking the place of Aythami in the formation.

In midfield, there are three changes compared to the team trashed by Real Madrid, Abel Gómez is replacing Depor’s Alex, while veteran Vicente Moreno is taking the place of ex-Depor Viqueira. That will be the pivote duo. Another familiar face for Deportivo’s fans, Jerónimo Figueroa ‘Momo’ is returning in order to cover the left wing, while Carlos Calvo will keep playing at the right sector. Calvo was the hero that scored the goal that gave the promotion to his club during the past season. Another player returning to the starting eleven is Víctor Sánchez Mata, player loaned from Barcelona FC and that will perform as second striker.

Before the game, Emilio Viqueira was remembering his former club, “It’s always pretty to play against Deportivo. I will be eternally grateful, because it’s the team that gave me the opportunity to play at Primera. If I have made a career in football is due to Depor. The first coach that trusted in me was Arsenio, but the ones that bet on me were Toshack and Corral. Still, it was difficult to play at that team. We had people like Mauro Silva, Rivaldo, Djalminha... and I had to search for a career elsewhere. It was a pity, but it’s the reality.”

List of picked players: not released.

Xérez: Renan - Francis, Leandro Gioda, David Prieto, Mendoza, - Carlos Calvo, Vicente Moreno, Abel, Momo - Víctor Sánchez, Maldonado or Bermejo.
Deportivo: Aranzubia – Laure or Manuel Pablo, Lopo, Zé Castro or Colotto, Filipe Luis - Sergio, Juca - Pablo Álvarez, Valerón or Lassad, Guardado - Adrián or Riki.
Referee: Alfonso Pérez Burrull
Kick-off: 20h00 CET (Chapín)
Head-to-head Vs Xérez: 6 wins for Depor, 3 draw, 3 wins for Xérez (Segunda)
Record at Chapín: 2 wins for Depor, 1 draw, 3 wins for Xérez (Segunda)



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