Squad news


24 Apr 2010
Valencia tries to wash away all the criticism and secure the third spot in la liga as it hosts a Deportivo that still trying to break its recent poor form; the novelties for Lotina is to play with Piscu and Ze Castro at defence, while Villa threatens the Galicians.

On the present season Valencia FC presents the fourth strongest performance at home as the team has added 35 of the 48 points disputed at Mestalla (72.92%), and the team coached by Unai Emery has only lost once at home: 2-3 Vs Real Madrid (matchday 14), plus an additional defeat against Depor in Copa Del Rey (1-2). However, the Valencians have decreased their performance since February, because they only lost three times within the first twenty-three liga matchdays, while in the last ten meetings they already lost in five opportunities.

Neither Depor is living a good moment, actually the Galicians are close to tie the negative mark of nine straight liga matches without a victory at Primera. To make things worse Deportivo doesn’t win an away match since November (1-0 at Racing Santander). And to have in mind that since that day (matchday 13), Depor and RCD Espanyol are the only two teams that haven’t won any game playing away from home.

And Mestalla doesn’t seems like a good place to start, because the Galicians haven’t won there within the last four seasons, though they just did it for Copa Del Rey in January (2-1). The last liga victory of Deportivo playing in Mestalla occurred on the season 2004/05, also with a 2-1 score and thanks to the goals scored by Lionel Scaloni and Victor. But the fans should have in mind that Depor hasn’t lost on this season against Valencia, this after three meetings: 0-0 in Liga (matchday 15), 2-1 and 2-2 in Copa Del Rey (last-16 round)

Coach Miguel Angel Lotina is losing his two normal starters at the centre of the defence as Albert Lopo and Diego Colotto are out of the clash against Valencia FC. The Catalan is out due to a thigh problem and is missing two straight games for the first time since matchday 32 and 33 of the past season. He is also Depor’s field player with more minutes in la liga  (2,698). Meanwhile, the Argentine has gained the spot since matchday 04 and is missing his first minutes since that moment due to a suspension. 

For this reason Lotina is forced to trust in Adrián López ‘Piscu’ and Zé Castro for the job. The Galician has just played ten games in liga within the last two seasons, while the Portuguese has lost his starting role against Colotto, the ex-Atletico passed from twenty-nine liga appearances on the past season to just eight on the present tournament.

The combination of Piscu and Ze Castro as starters in a defensive line composed by two central defenders has been seen in seven previous opportunities: two in liga (1-0 at Numancia and 3-1 Vs Athletic) and five in Copa Del Rey (2-0 at Elche, 0-0 Vs Murcia, 2-1 at Valencia, 2-2 Vs Valencia and 1-0 at Sevilla), and the positive statistic is that Depor never lost any of those encounters, and the curious thing is that it was the same combination that Lotina used for the Copa series against Valencia FC, which led to a 2-1 win of Depor at Mestalla and a 2-2 draw at the Riazor. Therefore and despite the lack of continuity, it should be considered as a solid bet for Depor.

Piscu was saying before the game that, “It seems I am going to play as Lopo and Colotto are out, so I will try to make a good effort and break our negative streak at Mestalla. What we need to do is to try to change, to wash away our image and assume the rest of the season as a challenge. In Copa we made a good game there, let’s hope we can repeat it, we just want to remain with the idea that we can win.” 

It won’t be the only novelty in the match, because Lotina is planning to switch back to the pyramidal 4-3-2-1 scheme, this since he has eight players at the injury room, including Andrés Guardado, one of the references in attack. For this reason the coach is preparing a triple pivote figure at midfield with Sergio at the centre, Juan Rodriguez playing towards the right, and Antonio Tomas towards the left.

Daniel Aranzubia will be the starting keeper, Manuel Pablo returns to cover the right-back spot after missing the game with Almeria for suspension, while Laure will be playing at the left. Meanwhile, Lotina will present a line with two playmakers, Pablo Alvarez will perform on the right and Adrian on the left, though there’s the possibility to switch both men. Finally, Riki will be the central attacker. 

The Madrilenian talked before the game and was encouraging his team mates to fight for the victory, “We want to achieve the win, because we aren’t fine in the second round and must regain our self-esteem for the remaining fifteen points in dispute. It’s a complicate stadium, a place where they don’t give away too many points and it’s going to be a pretty game against a rival that plays for the Champions League.”

Later the ex-Getafe man was showing his confidence in Piscu and Ze Castro, “Lopo and Colotto are doing a great season, but we have a large squad and am convinced that Adrian and Ze Castro are going to play a great match. It’s also true that the injuries have prevented us to compose a solid team during the second round, maybe if we wouldn’t have had so many injuries then the story would have been different.”

Finally, Pablo Alvarez is hoping that the result achieved in Copa Del Rey at Mestalla, a game in which he scored one goal, could be repeated, “We made a solid game in Copa and let’s see if we can repeat that, but it won’t be easy, because Valencia is the third team of Spain and won’t put things easy. I believe there’s a pressure in order to change this negative streak, to change the dynamic and end la liga in the best possible way. Now we play in a tough place and against a great rival. Although we still have chances to enter into Europe the true is that it will be difficult to do it.”

List of picked players: (18) Aranzubia, Manu (goalkeepers); Laure, Manuel Pablo, Adrián López ‘Piscu’, Zé Castro, Rochela, Raúl Garcia (defenders); Antonio Tomás, Juan Rodríguez, Sergio, Pablo Álvarez, Iván Pérez, Valerón (midfielders); Adrián, Lassad, Riki and Mista (strikers).

Currently, Valencia FC is the third place at the Spanish la liga and has an advantage of four points over fourth place RCD Mallorca, all appoints that the Valencians will easily get a spot for the coming season of the UEFA Champions League, which means a comeback after missing the current tournament. A victory against Depor will approach the goal, but the media is more worried about the current performance of the team rather than by Depor’s game.

And it’s that Valencia has lost five of the last ten liga encounters and has also lost in four of the five visits to the other clubs living in Europe: 2-3 at RCD Mallorca (matchday 31), 1-2 at Sevilla FC (matchday 20), 0-2 at Rea Madrid (matchday 33) and 0-3 at Barcelona (matchday 26). Plus a humiliating defeat at the Vicente Calderón against Atletico Madrid (1-4, matchday 24), All of this has awaken a hard criticism towards the team and coach Unai Emery, who ends his contract in June. Emery still waiting for news since the club’s officials haven’t decided yet his future. A recent pool showed up that the 60% of the fans are against his continuity.

Even striker David Villa seems to be out of shape, El Guaje has scored 20 of the 52 goals of Valencia on the liga season (38% of the total), but has only scored three within the last seven liga matches. An interesting stat about Villa is that twelve of his twenty goals in liga were scored at Mestalla, and to have in mind that he already scored seven times against Depor (six in liga and one on Copa), and six of those seven goals were scored at Mestalla, four of them within the last four liga visits of Depor.

The other two top scorer at the team are David Silva and Juan Manuel Mata, each one with seven goals added to their tally. It’s expected that the three of them will be starters against Depor. Emery will release the list of players until Saturday’s morning, but it’s already know that side defenders Bruno Saltor and Miguel Brito aren’t totally fit, so the coach will have to search for alternatives.

The right-back position should be for Alexis Ruano, while Jordi Alba should return to play on the left, this last one is a 19-year-old left winger that Depor pretended on the past summer and that already played there during the past game at Real Madrid (0-2). The defensive line should be completed with César at the goal, while Carlos Marchena and Hedwiges Maduro will perform at the centre.

At midfield the big doubt is who will join David Albelda on the pivote functions, the options are for Rubén Baraja and Argentine Ever Maximiliano Banega. Ex-Betis Joaquin should be attacking by the right wing, this no matter he criticised Emery during the week saying that the coach has “cut his and Pablo Hernandez’s growth due to the rotations.” Meanwhile Mata will cover the left sector, David Silva will be the playmaker and Villa the central attacker.

Pablo Hernández was asking his team mates to remain focused in the competition and secure the third place, “We have a slight advantage over the other direct rivals fighting for the Champions League, but there’s no room for relaxation. It’s important to keep the advantage, therefore this is an important game; we are playing to be in Champions League on next season and must fight as it was a final.”

Finally, Portuguese Miguel Brito didn’t have an explanation for the latest performance of the team, “I don’t understand the change, because in the first round we were fine and now everything has changed. I don’t know why. The away games are harder, but at home we have the support of the fans and that’s very helpful. It isn’t a lack of attitude, but it’s true that when we receive a goal the team lowers its arms.”

List of picked players: Not released (Emery will release it after the last training that will take place on Saturday’s morning, 11h00 CET).

Valencia: (4-2-3-1) César - Alexis, Marchena, Maduro, Jordi Alba - Albelda, Baraja or Banega - Joaquín, Silva, Mata - Villa.
Deportivo: (4-3-2-1) Aranzubia - Manuel Pablo, Zé Castro, Piscu, Laure - Juan Rodríguez, Sergio, Antonio Tomás - Pablo Álvarez, Adrián - Riki.
Referee: David Fernandez Borbalan (16 games on the season, 4 wins for the visitor)
Head-to-head Vs Valencia: 24 wins for Depor, 17 draws, 45 wins for Valencia (Primera & Segunda)
Mark playing at Mestalla: 9 wins for Depor, 7 draws, 29 wins for Valencia (Primera & Segunda)



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