Squad news

PREVIEW: MALAGA - DEPORTIVO (LIGA)

07 Feb 2010
Lotina still dealing with the multiple casualties and continues improvising, this time he will put Laure at the left-back position. Meanwhile, Malaga is having problems with the large number of signings and prefers to trust in the youngsters.

STATISTICS: A VERY DIFFERENT MALAGA
The Malaga of the first nine liga encounters is a very different squad compared to the one that has faced the last eleven meetings, because the Andalusians suffered seven defeats within the first period while it only lost twice in the second. The problem is that it neither won too many games, because seven of the last eleven games meant a draw for them (Malaga is the second team with more draws at Primera División). That’s the reason why the team still in danger, only three points above the danger zone.

And it’s that on this season, Malaga has only won three matches at La Rosaleda: 3-0 Vs Atletico Madrid (matchday 01), 2-1 Vs Mallorca (matchday 15) and 1-0 Vs Getafe (matchday 18). Meanwhile, Deportivo is living a tough period, marked by the several casualties due to the injuries and arrives after suffering two defeats within the last three matches (0-2 at Mallorca and 1-3 Vs Real Madrid).

 But the good news is that La Rosaleda has been a positive visit for Depor in recent times, the last defeat there occurred on the season 1999/2000 (0-1), actually that’s the only loss against the Andalusians playing for Primera División, while the following seven matches meant two victories and five draws for Depor. To mention that five of the last six matches played there ended in a 1-1 draw. Finally, to remember that, taking in mind the results of the past weekend, neither Depor has lost two straight games nor Malaga has won two straight matches on this liga season. 

DEPORTIVO: MORE EXPERIMENTS
Coach Miguel Angel Lotina is having a tough time trying to present a proper lineup after been hit by the constant casualties due to the injuries. Guardado and Sergio are already back on trainings, but both weren’t picked for this game, while Mista will return until next week. These three attacking players, plus Lassad, Filipe Luis and Brayan Angulo, represent the six men at the injury room.

Those six casualties are the same ones had for the past game with Real Madrid, and are forcing the Basque coach to keep improvising. So far Lotina has usually covered the departure of right winger Lafita with a defensive midfielder, Juan Rodriguez -he even tried with Laure once- while he already attempted to cover the casualty of Guardado at the left wing with a side defender –Filipe- switching Pablo Alvarez from the right and even with the ‘multifunctional’ Juan Rodriguez (at RCD Mallorca, matchday 18).

Now the Basque man will continue testing alternatives; starting with the fact that Laureano Sanabria ‘Laure’ is  claiming the left-back spot. According to Lotina, the ex-Fabril will find more aids at that side, which will allow Manuel Pablo to return to the right. The defensive line will be completed with Aranzubia at the goal, and the same defensive couple at the centre used since matchday 04: Catalan Albert Lopo and Argentine Diego Colotto.

The other ‘experiment‘ is taking place at the left wing, Lotina confirmed that he will play with two of the three available strikers for the game, and that one of them will be covering the positing at the left. The two candidates are Riki and Adrián, duo that briefly have played there during this season. Riki did it as starter at Racing Santander (matchday 12), while Adrián performed there at Real Valladolid (matchday 08) and in the past home game against Athletic Bilbao (matchday 19). Meanwhile, Rodolfo Bodipo has great chances of being the starting striker.

Ex-Malaga Juan Rodríguez will continue playing at the right, and all appoints that Pablo Alvarez will be the playmaker of the formation, though it’s also possible that Juan Carlos Valerón, who played there against Real Madrid, might take the spot. The lineup is completed with the presence of Cantabrian Antonio Tomás and Brazilian Juliano Antonello ‘Juca’ in the pivote functions.

In order to complete a list of eighteen players Lotina needed to pick up a Fabril’s youngster, but in the end he decided to call two: midfielder Juan Dominguez and right-back Diego Seoane. Therefore he left out a first team member: Piscu. Dominguez already played a few games on the season, while Seoane still waiting to debut at Primera División after debuting in Copa against Sevilla FC.

Before the game, Juan Rodríguez, who began his career at Malaga FC, was remembering his old club, “I return to the stadium where I grew up. These are special games for me, because my family and friends are there, but I defend the shirt of my club and we are going there for the victory. They defeated a great rival, Atletico, and it should be a moral boost, but we need to show our game and identity.”

Meanwhile, striker Adrian, who played loaned at Malaga during the past season, was also remembering the months that he lived in the city, “I miss the people, because they treated me really well. The city is different to where I have always lived, the weather is different and also the style of life. I mainly miss the way in which they treated me.”

The striker also talked of the European chances of his team, “The situation is really complicated and we don’t know how things will end. The clear thing is that the main goal was to achieve the permanence, but the truth is that we are having a great season and since that point we can’t look back. As many points we could add and as higher we can end the season, the better.”

Finally, Diego Colotto talked on Friday and said that despite the casualties, he is convinced that Depor can repeat the performance of the first round, “We can repeat the numbers of the first round, because little by little we are recovering the people and the coaches will have now more variants.”

List of picked players (18): Aranzubia, Manu (goalkeepers); Manuel Pablo, Laure, Lopo, Colotto, Zé Castro, Seoane (defenders); Antonio Tomás, Juca, Juan Rodríguez, Juan Domínguez, Pablo Álvarez, Valerón, Iván Pérez (midfielders); Bodipo, Riki and Adrián (strikers).

MALAGA: THE STRANGE CASE OF THE SIGNINGS
Malaga is the Primera club with more arrivals during the transfer market (14 in the summer and 2 in the winter window), but curiously coach Juan Ramón López Muñiz has always preferred to play with the promoted kids from Malaga B (Atlético Malagueño). As a simple demonstration of this strange scenery, to mention the fact that ten of the eighteen players picked for the last liga match against Atletico Madrid were B squad members or first squad players that started their careers at Atlético Malagueño.

This curious situation has been denounced by the Andalusian media, which considers that Malaga FC is wasting resources in unnecessary signings coming from lower leagues and that should have been covered with the promises emerging from the youth teams. And it’s that only five of the fourteen signings made in the summer have played at least 900 minutes in liga (the half of total on the season): keeper Gustavo Munúa (1,800 ), winger Duda (1,475), midfielder Juanito (1,354), striker Victor Obinna (1,063) and central defender Patrick Jan Mtiliga (989).

The rest, including ex-Depor Albert Luque, had a discrete performance and have been going in and out from the lineups, the exception is right winger Jordi Pablo, who sustained a serious knee injury in the pre-season and hasn’t been able to debut. In the other hand, defenders Jesús Gamez (1,685 minutes in liga), and Manu Torres (768), who were formed at Atlético Malagueño and later promoted to the first squad, are having an unexpected staring role on the season

Also, Muñiz already gave a chance to six youngsters from the youth teams: midfielders Daniel Toribio (270) and Javi Lopez (279), who were starters against Atletico Madrid, plus defender Iván González (900), midfielder Francisco Portillo (20), and strikers Pedro Pareja ‘Pedrito’ (74) and Juan Miguel Jiménez López ‘Juanmi’ (45), this last one is a 16-year-old player from Juvenil A that even scored a goal in Copa Del Rey, which converted him into the youngest scorer in a Spanish official competition. He also holds the record as the youngest player to have performed at Primera División.

And the whole situation can be noticed again for the match against Depor, because summer signings Valdo and Xavi Torres plus ex-Depor winger Albert Luque were left out of the encounter, while Muñiz picked four youngster from Atlético Malagueño, and even three of them will be starters in the game: Toribio (shirt number 27), Iván González (32) and Javi López (35).

During the week the main concern has been the composition of the defensive line, because right-back Jesús Gamez (adductor injury) and Weligton Robson Pena de Oliveira (suspended) are out of the clash, but at least Patrick Mtiliga (nose fracture) was included, against all odds, in the list for the game. The Danish was hit in the face by Cristiano Ronaldo and it was expected that he will be out for three weeks, but he retuned during the week wearing a special mask. Coach Muñiz preferred to rest him, but the player insisted and now he will be a starter.

In the end Manuel Gaspar ‘Manolo’ will replace Gamez at the right side, while Mtiliga will play on the left. 21-year-old Iván González will be one of the central defenders, and the doubt is who will be his partner replacing Weligton. All appoints it will be Juan Jesús Gutierrez ‘Juanito’, but Serbian Milan Stepanov and even youngster Manuel Torres ‘Manu’ might claim the spot. Stepanov was at the door out, but Malaga wasn’t able to get rid of him during the winter window and now he might even go directly into the starting eleven.

The rest of the team should be the same one that outplayed Atletico Madrid at the Calderón; with ex-Depor Gustavo Munúa at the goal; ex-Betis Fernando teaming with 21-year-old Daniel Toribio at the pivote functions, while youngster Javi López, who scored one of the goals against Atletico, will cover the right wing, Portuguese Sergio Paulo Barbosa ‘Duda’ will be attacking from the left, and French-Tunisian Selim Benachour will be the link with central attacker Felipe Salvador Caicedo, the Ecuadorian came loaned from Manchester City on the past week and already played 59 minutes against Atletico.

Striker Nabil Baha, who will start sited on the bench, talked before the game and analysed the potential of the rival, “To clinch two straight wins will be great, the permanence means to win almost everything at home, though Deportivo is a tough rival, they won almost all the games by 1-0 or 0-1. They defend pretty well, allow only a few goals and it represents a very competitive squad.”

The other striker on the bench, Victor Obinna, was explaining that he is fit to play, “I am a little tired, it was a long trip and had to take four flights, it was a very long journey. But I hope to play and give everything for Malaga, which is my goal. I am a professional and it won’t be difficult to find the pace of the team. I am fine and it all depends on the coach.”

List of picked players (18): Munúa, Arnau (goalkeepers); Manu Torres, Stepanov, Mtiliga, Manolo Gaspar, Juanito, Iván González (defenders); Fernando, Benachour, Duda, Toribio, Portillo, Javi López (midfielders); Baha, Forestieri, Obinna and Caicedo (strikers).

PROBABLE LINEUPS
Málaga: (4-4-1-1) Munúa – Manolo, Iván González, Juanito, Mtiliga - Javi López, Toribio, Fernando, Duda - Benachour - Caicedo
Deportivo: (4-2-3-1) Aranzubia – Manuel Pablo, Colotto, Lopo, Laure – Juca, Antonio Tomás – Juan Rodríguez, Pablo Álvarez or Valerón, Riki or Adrián – Bodipo.
Referee: Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz (9 matches on the season, just one win for the visiting team)
Kick-off: 17h00 CET (La Rosaleda)
Head-to-head Vs Malaga: 10 wins for Depor, 6 draws, 1 win for Malaga (Primera)
Record at La Rosaleda: 2 wins for Depor, 5 draws, 1 win for Malaga (Primera)

ARCHIVE NEWS FEB/09

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