Squad news


20 Dec 2009
Deportivo and Valencia battles for a Champions League spot during the last game of 2009; both teams have several casualties due to injuries and suspensions. At Depor, Valerón returns to the starting eleven, while Villa threatens the Riazor.

Only four clubs have played at the Riazor in each one of the 39 seasons spent by the Galicians at Primera División: Real Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and Athletic Bilbao, and the team with more victories playing in La Coruña is non other than Valencia FC: fifteen (plus one win playing at Segunda). The Madrilenians added ten, the Catalans thirteen and the Basques only seven.

Besides, Valencia is the side that has scored the biggest number of goals visiting the Riazor: 49, and 32% of those goals (16) have been conquered within the last seven games played there, reason that explains why Valencia doesn’t lose in La Coruña since the season 2003/04 (1-2). During that five-year period the Valencians achieved big wins, like the humiliating 1-5 of season 2004/05 or the 2-4 of the 2007/08 campaign.

To make things difficult for Depor, to mention that, currently, Valencia is the best visiting team in la liga with the impressive mark of six victories after seven matches played in this condition. Unai Emery’s team only lost at Getafe (1-3, matchday 04), while his team added the three points in the remaining visits: 4-2 at Valladolid (matchday 02), 1-0 at Racing (matchday 06), 3-0 at Almeria (matchday 09), 1-0 at Malaga (matchday 10), 3-1 at Osasuna (matchday 11) and 2-1 at Athletic Bilbao (matchday 13).

Also to emphasise that Valencia has only lost two games on the full season, and that the win over Genoa for the Europa League (2-1) meant its 18th straight game without losing in Europe, mark that is now a new record for a Spanish club playing in European competitions. In the meantime, the defeat against Barcelona pulled Depor down to the seventh spot in terms of the home record; the Galicians have added exactly the half of its 26 points playing at the Riazor. For Depor this match represents a huge opportunity to reach the Champions League places, but for it the Galician team needs to defeat Valencia and to wait for a failure of RCD Mallorca on its visit to Malaga FC.

The injuries continues to strike Deportivo, winger Andrés Guardado is already back after surpassing a thigh problem, but strikers Lassad Nouioui and Riki (both stress fracture), plus midfielder Juca (ankle) and left-back defender Brayan Angulo (knee) still out, and on Saturday attacker Mista joined the list at the injury room as he suffered a muscular problem during the training session, the doctors took the decision of leaving him out of the clash against his former club.

Since Adrián was the only available striker for the game, coach Miguel Angel Lotina decided to pick Rodolfo Bodipo, the Equatoguinean striker was at the door out, but on Friday he told to reporters that he was wishing to stay and that for that reason he has blocked any negotiation with other clubs; however the one that will replace Mista into the starting formation will be Juan Carlos Valerón, El Flaco isn’t a  starter in liga since matchday 03 (2-3 Vs Espanyol). With the entry of the Canarian to the starting formation, Lotina is returning to the classic 4-2-3-1 scheme, draw that lately has been replaced by the 4-3-2-1 and the 4-3-3.

Manuel Pablo was in doubt during the week due to a muscular problem, he didn’t complete Saturday’s training session, but he was feeling okay and Lotina decided to include him in the list for the match, reason why it is expected that the Canarian will start at the right-back position; the rest of the defensive lineup will be the same one used since matchday 04, with Dani Aranzubia at the goal, Filipe Luis at the left side, Diego Colotto and Albert Lopo at the central positions. Catalan Lopo suffered a knee injury during Saturday’s training, but he was able to enter into the list and should start the match.

At midfield, the double pivote functions will be for Sergio and Antonio Tomás, while Juan Rodriguez will return to perform as a right winger, Andrés Guardado will attack from the left flank, Valerón will be the playmaker and Adrián will be the lonely attacker. On Saturday it was known that Asturian Adrián has been working in recent weeks in order to reinforce his hamstring muscles, he confessed to newspaper La Voz De Galicia that it is his weakest point (just like Lassad), and physical coach Eduardo Dominguez is trying to correct the problem with a special routine after each training session.

In order to complete the list of nineteen players for the match (one man will be discarded before the kick-off), Lotina had to call Juan Dominguez from Fabril, midfielder that debuted at Primera División on the past weekend, but that now will be sited on the bench.

List of picked players (19): Aranzubia, Manu (goalkeepers); Laure, Manuel Pablo, Lopo, Colotto, Zé Castro, Adrián López ‘Piscu’, Filipe (defenders); Sergio, Antonio Tomás, Juan Rodríguez, Juan Domínguez, Valerón, Guardado, Iván Pérez, Pablo Álvarez (midfielders); Adrián and Bodipo (strikers).

David Villa already scored six times against Deportivo playing for la liga, but only two of those goals were scored at the Riazor, the main one was the goal that gave  the victory on the season 2005/06, a beautiful long-range shot from midfield. Currently El Guaje is the Pichichi at Primera División with twelve goals scored and with an average of one goal scored every 99 minutes.

Besides, Villa is the player in la liga with more attempts to score (56) and more shots on target (31), which converts him into the mean threat for Deportivo. The Asturian striker talked on Friday about his memories facing Depor, “The Riazor brings positive memories for me, I scored there one of the most beautiful goals in my career, from midfield (season 05/06), but this match should be different due to the level of the rival.”

Other important goal-scorers at the Valencian squad are Pablo Hernandez and Juan Manuel Mata, both have scored four goals in the liga season. Mata is the player with more minutes at the squad (1,224), while Hernández is also the best assistor at Primera División (5), honour that he shares with Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Sevilla’s Jesús Navas. However Pablo is now out of the game at the Riazor after sustaining a stress fracture injury during the clash at Genoa, he should be out for three weeks.

Precisely and like the case of Deportivo, the injuries are the main problem hitting the squad at this point of the season, especially at defence; side defender Jeremy Mathieu (adductor) was the first one to fall down in the past liga game with Real Madrid, while Carlos Marchena was the last to join the list as he suffered a muscular problem (thigh) during the Europa League clash with Genoa, also central defender David Navarro is suspended as he picked his fifth yellow card of the season during the match against the Madrilenians; which means that three of the five regular defensive players of coach Unai Emery are out of the clash at the Riazor. To add more problems, wingers David Silva (knee ligaments) and Vicente (low back pain) are also out for a couple of weeks

In the end Emery will keep the 4-2-3-1 figure used against Real Madrid, but this time with four modifications due to the casualties. César Sánchez will stay at the goal; right-footed Bruno Saltor will stay in the formation, but will move to the left-back position in order to cover the spot of Mathieu, situation that’s opening a space for Portuguese Miguel Brito at the right side. At the centre Alexis Sánchez will be replacing David Navarro as the ex-Getafe is joining ex-Castellón Angel Dealbert.

At midfield, Rubén Baraja returns as he replaces Marchena joining David Albelda in the pivote functions, while Argentine Ever Maximiliano Banega will perform as the playmaker of the squad, though Emery affirms that the ex-Atletico is working more as a third pivote. Ex-Betis Joaquín Sánchez enters to replace Pablo Hernandez at the right wing, Juan Manuel Mata will keep attacking from the left and David Villa will be the central striker. 

In order to complete the list of eighteen players for the game, Emery has picked 17-year-old playmaker Francisco Román Alarcón-Izco ‘Isco’ from Valencia Mestalla (Valencia B). Winger Jordi Alba was also included in the list; the 20-year-old Catalan player has been on Lotina’s list of wishes since the past season and has only played 14 minutes on the liga campaign.

Defender Alexis Ruano was trying to minimize the casualties for the match, “We should continue with the same tranquility and confidence, we are twenty-six players and no matter who plays, it shouldn’t be noticed and the important thing is, if we want to complete a solid season, to think that on here nobody is a starter or a replacement.”
List of picked players (18): César, Moyà (goalkeepers); Miguel, Alexis, Dealbert, Bruno, Asier del Horno (defenders); Maduro, Albelda, Baraja, Fernandes, Joaquín, Éver, Jordi Alba, Isco (midfielders); Mata, Zigic and Villa (strikers)

Deportivo: (4-2-3-1) Aranzubia - Manuel Pablo, Colotto, Lopo, Filipe Luis - Sergio, Antonio Tomás - Juan Rodríguez, Valerón, Guardado - Adrián.
Valencia: (4-2-3-1) César - Miguel, Alexis, Dealbert, Bruno - Baraja, Albelda - Joaquín, Banega, Mata  - Villa.
Referee: Carlos Delgado Ferreiro.
Kick-off: 21h00 CET (Riazor)
Head-to-head Vs Valencia: 25 wins for Deportivo, 17 draws, 44 wins for Valencia (Primera & Segunda)
Record at the Riazor: 17 wins for Deportivo, 10 draws, 16 wins for Valencia (Primera & Segunda)



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