Squad news

PREVIEW: DEPORTIVO – ZARAGOZA (LIGA)

01 May 2010
Depor will try to break its negative streak of nine straight games without a win as it faces a Zaragoza that wants to avoid problems with relegation. But Lotina sees the game more as a useful test to take decisions ahead of next season.

STATISTICS: TWO TEAMS WITHOUT GOAL
Deportivo arrives to this game after spending 359 minutes without scoring a goal, the last one was scored by Riki in the first minute of the meeting against Racing Santander (matchday 31). It’s the worst scoreless period for Depor on the season, the previous mark was 306 minutes and occurred between matchdays 14 & 17.

Neither Real Zaragoza is having a good moment against the opposite goal; the Aragonians have only scored two goals within the last two matchdays and actually the team accumulates 430 minutes without scoring a goal playing away from La Romareda. The last away goal for them was at Getafe (2-0, matchday 24), after that the team has remained scoreless in its last four visits: 0-0 at Racing (matchday 26), 0-1 at Almeria (matchday 28), 0-2 at Osasuna (matchday 31) and 0-0 at Athletic Bilbao (matchday 33).

Also, Depor is playing for nothing; the European zone is now eight points away and the only thing left for the Galicians is to try to avoid a new historical mark of ten straight liga matches without adding a victory. But things are different for Zaragoza; they are only two points above relegation and need a win in order to avoid further problems. To mention that within the last thirteen years Zaragoza has only won once at the Riazor: 3-2 on the season 2004/05.

DEPORTIVO: TESTS FOR THE FUTURE
Coach Miguel Angel Lotina is no longer thinking of the present liga tournament, right now he is only worried of the future, more specifically of the coming season. That’s why he has prepared a starting lineup with two players that still belong to Fabril, plus other two that were at Deportivo B during the past season. According to what he said at the press room, he is taking seriously the game, but at the same time he’s assuming the meeting as a test that will help him to take important decisions ahead of the configuration of the team for next season.

In this way David Rochela and Raúl Garcia will have the big opportunity to demonstrate that they are worthy of Primera División. Both have been regulars with Depor B throughout the season and are now finding an opportunity at the first team. Rochela debuted in the second-leg against Sevilla FC in Copa Depor Rey and on the past Saturday he played for 45 minutes in the liga visit to Valencia FC. Meanwhile, Raúl has been a starter within the last two liga matches at the Riazor and it seems that Lotina is seriously thinking in keeping him for next season.

Other two starters with a recent past at Fabril are Iván Pérez Maceiras and Lassad Nouioui, both started the past season at Deportivo B and later were promoted to the first team. Tunisian Lassad did first as he convinced Lotina at the end of the season with his offensive moves, while Galician Iván Pérez had to wait until the pre-season to convince the coach.

This is also a test for both of them, because there’s a sense of disappointment with both players; Lotina has always praised the skills of Lassad, but the striker spends more time injured than healthy, a lot was expected from him, but on the present liga season he has only played sixteen games (two goals scored), and only completed the ninety minutes in one opportunity (1-1 Vs Sporting, matchday 09). Meanwhile Iván Pérez has also played sixteen games, but only two as starter and in both matches he failed to impress the coach (1-0 Vs Sevilla, matchday 07 and 0-2 at Espanyol, matchday 22), while his most recent game was also frustrating as he replaced Guardado for the home match with Almeria (0-0).

In the end Lotina is presenting a 4-4-2 formation, with Dani Aranzubia at the goal, Manuel Pablo switching back to the right-back position after performing on the left against Valencia, Raúl will now cover that function. At the centre of the defence Albert Lopo is returning after missing the last two games due to a thigh problem and now his partner will be Rochela.

At midfield, Sergio and Antonio Tomás will be the two pivotes in the formation, Lotina tested with Juca on Thursday, but on Friday he changed his mind. Juan Rodriguez will continue to perform at the right wing, while Iván Pérez will be on the left. Finally, the duo up front will be composed by Lassad and Riki.

The injury room continues to be busy, there are five players out for injury reasons: Angulo, Filipe, Juan Dominguez, Piscu and Guardado, this last one is already working on his recovery in Mexico. At the same time, Lotina discarded two players for technical reasons: central defender Ze Castro and striker Rodolfo Bodipo, this in order to leave some room for the youngsters that were picked.

Daniel Aranzubia was talking of the current negative mark without adding wins, “We all want to end this negative streak and let’s see if it can be on Saturday. It’s also a complicate situation for the rival, they come to the Riazor in need, each time there’s less time and nobody likes to be down there. Zaragoza didn’t do the right things in the case of Lafita, and maybe our fans will remember that and will push us forward, that could be a benefit for us.”

Juan Rodríguez was also talking of the case with Lafita, “Zaragoza did the wrong things, if you want to but a player it must be done one week before the start, and now five minutes before the deadline. Anyhow we know that we are football players and that this is a business. In cases like the one of Lafita, in which Zaragoza had a buyout option, you are exposed to go out if they fulfill it; I wouldn’t have liked to be in his place.” 

List of picked players (18): Aranzubia, Manu (goalkeepers); Manuel Pablo, Rochela, Raúl, Lopo, Colotto, Laure (defenders); Antonio Tomás, Juca, Iván Pérez, Juan Rodríguez, Sergio, Valerón (midfielders); Mista, Lassad, Adrián and Riki (strikers).

ZARAGOZA: MISSING SUAZO?
A few times a winter signing becomes so vital for a team, but that’s the case of Humberto Suazo, the Chilean international has scored six of the last ten goals of Zaragoza, which served to secure eight points; an important number taking in mind that Los Maños are just two points above the relegation.

The problem is that he will no longer play on this season after sustaining a shoulder problem (inferior glen humeral ligament) during the home defeat against Real Madrid (1-2), actually probably he won’t wear again the shirt of Zaragoza since the loan deal with Mexican club Monterey rules out in the summer and the Aragonians don’t have the money to pay his buy out clause (ten million Euros).

It’s an important casualty, especially taking in mind that Zaragoza has only scored two goals within the last four liga games and accumulates a negative mark of 430 minutes without scoring a goal playing away from home. His spot will be covered by Adrián Colunga, who has scored four goals in 488 minutes on this liga season. And there are more casualties for the game, because defenders Carlos Diogo and Víctor Laguardia (both knee ligaments) plus winger Jermaine Pennant (Soleus) are out for injury reasons, while Italian central defender Matteo Contini and Portuguese winger Eliseu are suspended.

At least coach José Aurelio Gay has recovered ex-Depor winger Angel Lafita (tendonitis) Nigerian striker Ikechukwu Uche (muscular), midfielder Gabriel Fernández 'Gabi' (hamstring) and ex-Depor striker Javier Arizmendi (knee adductor), though this last one is not at 100%, that’s the reason why the coach has traveled to La Coruña with 19 players.

It was speculated that Aurelio Gay would opt to play with a 4-1-4-1 figure as he did in the previous visit to Athletic Bilbao (0-0), but the same coach gave the hint that he will use a 4-2-3-1 figure against Depor. With Roberto Jiménez at the goal, Leonardo Ponzio performing at the right-back position, Jiri Jarosik and ex-Depor Pablo Amo will cover the centre of the defence and the left sector will be for Serbian Ivan Obradovic.

The big doubt is at the right wing, two ex-Depor players are the candidates for the job: Javier Arizmendi and Angel Lafita, but both men aren’t totally fit and the coach will decide who will play until Saturday. The probable presence of Arizmendi is considered an important thing as he’s the second best scorer at the team with five goals scored, while Lafita has added three to his tally. Meanwhile, Ander Herrera will cover the left sector and Colombian Abel Aguilar will be the playmaker. Finally, Colunga will be the central attacker.

Two ex-Depor’s players were talking before the game, first it was Pablo Amo, “This is going to be one of the more emotive games on my career; Deportivo is living a tough moment, but already achieved its objectives and the final balance is good. Against us they will surely want to change their dynamic, though our need is bigger. We know for which we are playing, we just must go there in order to win and take advantage of their negative streak, for that we need to be a solid team, then we will have options to add the three points.”

Later Angel Lafita was talking of his first comeback to the Riazor after all the “drama” lived at the start of the season, “Evidently, it won’t be a normal comeback, after all I spent two years there. I feel a special love for Deportivo, the city and their people. You will never hear me talking bad things of them, because it will be a lie. It was a pretty stage for me, wonderful. Deportivo gave me a lot, I gave them back all I could and defended that shirt as I could.”

Finally, the winger analysed the poor moment lived by his former club, “Truly I wasn’t expecting to see this downward spiral. I wasn’t expecting to see them at the Champions League, but to see them fighting for Europe, as we did in the previous two years. No matter what, I’m sure they will be fighting for Europe on next year.”

List of picked players (19): Carrizo, Roberto (goalkeepers); Paredes, Jarosik, Pulido, Ponzio, Obradovic, Pablo Amo, Goñi (defenders); Ander Herrera, Abel Aguilar, Jorge López, Edmilson, Babic, Lafita, Gabi (midfielders) Uche, Arizmendi and Adrián Colunga (strikers).

PROBABLE LINEUPS
Deportivo: (4-4-2) Aranzubia – Manuel Pablo, Rochela, Lopo, Raúl – Juan Rodríguez, Sergio, Antonio Tomás, Iván Pérez – Lassad, Riki. 
Zaragoza: (4-2-3-1) Roberto - Leo Ponzio, Jarosik, Pablo Amo, Obradovic – Edmilson, Gabi – Arizmendi or Lafita, Abel Aguilar, Ander Herrera – Colunga.
Referee: Alfonso Alvarez Izquierdo (16 games on the season, 9 wins for the local side)
Kick-off: 18h00 CET (Riazor)
Head-to-head Vs Zaragoza: 23 wins for Depor, 16 draws, 20 wins for Zaragoza (Primera & Segunda)
Record at the Riazor: 14 wins for Depor, 9 draws, 6 wins for Zaragoza (Primera & Segunda)

ARCHIVE NEWS MAY/10

ZAPPING

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