Squad news

PREVIEW: DEPORTIVO – REAL MADRID (LIGA)

30 Jan 2010
Two teams fighting for Europe, but struggling due to the casualties collide at the Riazor. Real Madrid searches for its first win in La Coruña after eighteen years and arrives without Ronaldo, while Depor welcomes back Riki.

STATISTICS: THE CURSE OF THE RIAZOR
The poor numbers of Real Madrid in its last seventeen liga visits (eighteen including the Teresa Herrera) are probably the most well-know legend in Spanish football history. And it’s that in that period the Madrilenians were only able to add five draws, while they suffered twelve defeats, some of them humiliating results like the 4-0 of the seasons 1993/94 and 1998/99 or the 5-2 of the 1999/00 campaign. And in the last six liga matches played at the Riazor, Depor has defeated Real Madrid in every single game with an impressive aggregate score of 12-2.

Currently, both clubs are living a good situation at Primera División, Real Madrid is second and Depor fifth; the Madrilenians have a perfect record at home (10 wins in 10 matches), but away from the Bernabéu is where they suffer the most, actually they have the same record than Depor playing in this condition: 4 wins, 2 draws and 3 defeats.  The three defeats suffered by Madrid were: 1-2 at Sevilla (matchday 06), 0-1 at Barcelona (matchday 12) and 0-1 at Athletic Bilbao (matchday 18).

Meanwhile, Deportivo will try to improve its current home record, which is currently the sixth best home mark at Primera División: 6 wins, 2 draws and 2 defeats. To remember that the two liga losses of Depor at the Riazor during this season were the 2-3 loss against RCD Espanyol (matchday 03) and the 1-3 defeat against Barcelona FC (matchday 13), plus the 0-3 with Sevilla in Copa Del Rey.

DEPORTIVO: RIKI RETURNS
A ray of light appears on the horizon for Miguel Angel Lotina after the plague of injuries that has razed his squad to the foundations: the return of Iván Sánchez-Rico Soto ‘Riki’. The Madrilenian striker has missed big part of the matches played in January due to a muscular injury sustained on the adductor of his left knee. It is expected that the ex-Getafe striker will be sited on the bench, waiting for a chance in the second half, but is still to be a positive thing after the important casualties of Guardado and Filipe suffered during the month of January.  The other players staying at the injury room are: Angulo, Lassad, Sergio and Mista

The big doubt is Albert Lopo, the Catalan suffered a thigh blow in the past game with Athletic Bilbao and has been doubtful all over the week, in the end he was picked and should led the defence, but in order to avoid further problems Lotina decided to call 19 players instead of 18, and the additional man in the list is Diego Seoane from Fabril, who made a nice job in midweek playing as right-back defender against Sevilla FC: But in any case the absence of Lopo would be covered by Portuguese Ze Castro.

Lotina plans to keep the 4-2-3-1 figure, with Dani Aranzubia at the goal, Laureano Sanabria ‘Laure’ performing as a right-back defender and Manuel Pablo switching to the left in order to cover the spot of Filipe, while Argentine Diego Colotto will join Lopo or Ze Castro at the centre.

At midfield, Juca and Antonio Tomás will keep performing in the pivote functions, while Juan Rodriguez will return from suspension to claim the spot at the rigfht wing. Juan Carlos Valerón will perform in the playmaking function, Pablo Alvarez will switch to the left wing. Finally, Adrian will be the central attacker.

List of picked players (19): Aranzubia, Manu (goalkeepers); Manuel Pablo, Laure, Seoane, Lopo, Colotto, Adrián López ‘Piscu’, Zé Castro (defenders); Antonio Tomás, Juca, Juan Rodríguez, Juan Domínguez, Iván Pérez, Pablo Álvarez, Valerón (midfielders); Adrián, Bodipo and Riki (strikers).
 
REAL MADRID: IS RONALDO SO IMPORTANT?
The main news on this week was the suspension of Cristiano Ronaldo after been sent off for hitting Malaga’s Patrick Mtiliga in the face, the competition committee banned the Portuguese star for two matchdays, and Real Madrid and the Madrilenian media have started a ‘campaign’ trying to denounce that it was an unfair call, they tried to do anything possible to lift the ban (in the end the suspension was confirmed), which invites to ask if the ex-Manchester United is so important for the performance of the team.

It is true that Ronaldo has scored fifteen goals in the sixteen official games that he has played on this season, but there are other numbers that invites to think that his contribution is sometimes exaggerated by the media, starting with the fact that the Portuguese has only played in 55% of the total matches of the season (16 of 27), he missed several games for an ankle injury and for a previous red card saw against UD Almeria. And Madrid has survived without him as the team still fighting in la liga and is already qualified to the knockout-stage of the Champions League.

Pellegrini’s team was humiliated in Copa Del Rey without Ronaldo, but it also clinched important results without the Portuguese international star, starting with the 3-2 win at Mestalla against Valencia FC and the 1-0 victory over Racing Santander at the Bernabéu, this last result gave the leadership in la liga (matchday 11). These proofs invite to think that there are other players that can carry with the team during the crucial moments.

Starting with Gonzalo Higuaín, the Argentine striker has scored eleven goals in fourteen liga matches and currently is the Pichichi of the team. In recent weeks another important name has been Rafael van der Vaart, the Dutch took command of midfield after the injury of Kaka and led Madrid to clinch 16 of the 18 possible points disputed between matchdays 11 and 17, performance that included three goals scored.

The problem is that these two men fell down injured in the liga game against RCD Mallorca, Higuaín sustained a muscular problem, while Van der Vaart had a stress fracture. Both just returned to train on this week, but weren’t picked for the game at the Riazor.

If Deportivo is having six casualties for the game, Real Madrid is having seven. In the end Pellegrini is forced to present a lineup without Ronaldo, Higuaín, Van Der Vaart and also without Lassana Diarra (thigh), Mahamadou Diarra, Pepe (both knee) and  Ezequiel Garay (hamstring) for injury reasons, plus Fernando Gago, who is at the door out. For this reason the coach has picked four players from Real Madrid Castilla in order to complete the list of 18 players: defender David Mateos, midfielder Pedro Mosquera and strikers Rodrigo Moreno and Raúl Ruiz

The possible lineup is a 4-4-2, with Iker Casillas at the goal, Sergio Ramos performing at the right-back position, ex-Depor Alvaro Arbeloa on the left side, while Christoph Metzelder and Raúl Albiol will be playing at the centre of the defence. José María Gutiérrez ‘Guti’, who shined in the last game with Malaga participating in both goals, will play alongside Xabi Alonso at midfield.

Ex-Getafe Esteban Granero will be attacking at the right wing and Brazilian Marcelo Vieira will do it on the left. Ricardo Izecson dos Santos ‘Kaka’ will perform as second striker and Karim Benzema will be the central attacker.

Ezequiel Garay, who was discarded to play the game, said before the encounter that “I don’t think we are playing the liga title at the Riazor. We still have to play the whole second round, this means that a lot of points still in dispute. It is an important and complicate game, but we all know that a lot still ahead. Five points is a difference that can be surpassed. Obviously we can not fail and must wait to see Barcelona missing some points. We know they have to visit complicate stadiums, including the Bernabéu.”

What called the attention were the declarations of keeper Jerzy Dudek, “No matter if we lose at the Riazor, we can not assume that la liga is lost. Everybody knows that Real Madrid has spent a lot of seasons without winning at the Riazor, but history is there to be changed. Barcelona hasn’t lost too many points during the first round, that’s why we need to win order to keep putting pressure.”

List of picked players (18): Casillas, Dudek (goalkeepers); Ramos, Albiol, Metzelder, Arbeloa, Mateos (defenders), Xabi Alonso, Granero, Guti, Kaká, Mosquera, Marcelo, Drenthe (midfielders); Benzema, Raúl, Rodrigo and Raúl Ruiz (strikers).

PROBABLE LINEUPS
Deportivo: (4-2-3-1) Aranzubia – Laure, Lopo, Colotto, Manuel Pablo – Juca, Antonio Tomás, - Juan Rodríguez, Valerón; Pablo Alvarez - Adrian
Real Madrid: (4-4-2) Casillas – Ramos, Metzelder, Albiol, Arbeloa  - Granero, Xabi Alonso, Guti, Marcelo – Kaka, Benzema
Referee: Miguel Angel Ayza Gamez (8 games on the season, 6 wins for the local team)
Kick-off: 22h00 CET (Riazor)
Head-to-head Vs Real Madrid: 18 wins for Depor, 18 draws, 43 wins for Madrid (Primera)
Record at the Riazor: 16 wins for Depor, 13 draws, 10 wins for Madrid (Primera)

ARCHIVE NEWS JAN/09

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