Competition news


29 Aug 2010
Debuting game in la liga for Deportivo; Lotina is rescuing the 4-2-3-1 and it’s allowing the debut of Morel, Saul and Michel, while Zaragoza arrives to the Riazor having problems at the attacking line.

Neither Deportivo nor Zaragoza left a positive impression at the end of the past season; the Galicians wasted the whole second round as they went from the fifth to the tenth position in a blink of an eye; meanwhile the Aragonians suffered until the end in order to achieve the permanence and they depended in other results as they only picked a point within the last two matches in the competition. Now both sides want a positive start in this new liga edition.

But Depor has had problems during the pre-season; the injuries and the fact that the team only achieved two victories in nine friendly games are creating a lot of doubts about the newest version of Depor’s team. Neither Zaragoza can presume of completing a great pre-season; because despite the latest three straight victories (1-0 Vs. Celta, 2-0 Vs. Numancia and 2-1 Vs. Villarreal) the media in Aragon is not impressed at all by the performance of the players, mainly for the defensive attitude displayed against rivals from lower leagues.

This is the 29th visit of Zaragoza to the Riazor playing for Primera División, and Los Maños were only able to succeed in seven opportunities, though the last time was on the past season (1-0). To mention that Zaragoza was the sixth worst visitor on the past liga campaign, with only 3 victories, 5 draws and suffering 11 defeats. 

The season 2010/11 starts with a Depor that wants to bring hope to its fans and trying to erase the negative image left on the second round of the past liga campaign. For it coach Miguel Angel Lotina  will rescue the traditional 4-2-3-1 after deciding that’s the optimal scheme for his team. There are six novelties compared to the team that disputed last season’s matchday against Athletic Bilbao: Laure, Colotto, Guardado and new signings Saul, Michel and Claudio Morel.

The most surprising case is Paraguayan Morel, who just joined the trainings on this week, but that’s going directly into the starting lineup as Lotina trusts in him. The ex-Boca Juniors told to reporters that he is not surprised at all by his presence at the starting team, “I am always mentalised to play, later the coach is who decides and you have to be adapted to it. If he chooses me, then I will give my best. I am not surprised if I´m a starter, maybe because I had been training each day in Buenos Aires.”

Meanwhile, other new signing in the starting lineup is Michel, he was commenting the reason why the 4-2-3-1 was selected before the 4-3-3 tested by Lotina during the pre-season, “We’ve tested both systems and, between the players and the coaches, have decided that the best is the 1-4-2-3-1; the players are content for using it, and I believe it’s the perfect choice to display our best football.”

Goalkeeper, Manuel Fernandez ‘Manu’ will play his fourth game at Primera División as Aranzubia still injured, the line of four defenders will be composed by Laureano Sanabria ‘Laure’ at the right spot, Albert Lopo and Diego Colotto at the central positions and veteran Claudio Morel debuting in la liga occupying the left sector, though Lotina gave some options to Diego Seoane during his press conference.

At midfield, Lotina will present one of the couples for the pivote functions that he used the most during the past season: Antonio Tomas-Juan Rodriguez. The other new signing that will debut on the opening game of the season is right winger Saul Fernandez, while Mexican Andres Guardado will be covering the left sector.  Michel will be the playmaker and Adrian the central attacker.

There are four players that are starting the season at the injury room: Aranzubia, Juan Dominguez, Juca and Lassad, but Jonathan Urreta is returning after missing the last part of the pre-season due to a muscular problem. Manuel Pablo is also in after been doubtful due to a thigh problem, but the Canarian isn’t at 100%. Ze Castro and Pablo Alvarez were left out of the game since the club was negotiating their exits, while Norwegian Rindarøy is also out after joining the club during the week. The only Fabril’s player on the list is right-back defender Diego Seoane, who was picked to cover any possible problem with Manuel Pablo.

It’s known that Deportivo is searching for a goal-scorer during the last days of the transfer market, but it isn’t something that worries Riki, the last Pichichi of the team that’s starting the season on the bench, ”If the club is thinking in signing a central attacker is because Adrian, Lassad and I aren’t natural strikers, so the new arrival will be welcomed. In past season we had a central attacker and I was playing behind him, and that was a benefit for me. But recently I’ve been playing as number nine and have corrected the errors and already added other characteristics that I didn’t have before.” The Madrilenian said.

Finally, Guardado is optimistic about the potential of the team, "On the past first round, when we were fine, the team demonstrated that’s able to battle at the same height than Atletico and Valencia. Let's hope we will be strong enough to fight against the big teams in la liga. The hope is to end again in Europe. Our expectations are always high: to improve what we did on the past year.”

List of picked players (20): Manu, Felipe Ramos (goalkeepers); Manuel Pablo, Seoane, Laure, Colotto, Lopo, Aythami, Morel (defenders); Antonio Tomás, Rubén Pérez, Juan Rodríguez, Saúl, Urreta, Guardado, Desmarets, Michel, Valerón (midfielders); Riki and Adrián (strikers).

The newest version of Real Zaragoza is having an important problem in attack, and it’s that the players that scored the half of the forty-six goals conquered by the team on the past liga season are now gone: Adrian Colunga (7), Suazo (6), Abel Aguilar (4), Arizmendi (3) Eliseu 2, Ewerthon (2) and Pulido (2) All of them were transferred or returned to their clubs after ending their loan contracts.

To make things worse coach José Aurelio Gay will miss Nigerian Ikechukwu Uche for the whole first round due to a knee injury. For this reason the club has been urgently seeking for reinforcements, Colombian Marco Jhonnier Pérez joined the team on the past month and a big name was sought in the market, several attackers appeared on the spotlight and in the end the chosen one is Florent Sinana-Pongolle, the ex-Atletico Madrid that’s returning to Spain after a failed period in Portugal. He just joined the team on Friday, but didn’t manage to enter into the list of picked players, so in the end the starter in attack will be Marco Pérez; he is 19 and is just playing his first official game in Europe. And in order to fill the gap at the bench, the coach picked 18-year-old Kevin Lacruz Coscolín from Zaragoza B.

Another thing that characterizes this Zaragoza is the large list of countries represented at the lineups. And it’s that the defensive line will be composed by five players from five different countries: Argentine Leo Franco will be the starting keeper, Brazilian Carlos Diogo will perform on the right-back position, Czech Jiri Jarosik and Italian Matteo Contini will play at the centre and Serbian Ivan Obradovic will do it on the left.

The only three Spaniards at the formation will be located at midfield, with Gabriel Fernández ‘Gabi’ as one of the pivotes, Jorge López attacking from the right wing, and Ander Herrera in the playmaking function. The trio will be joined by the Argentine couple Leonardo Ponzio and ex-Palermo Nicolas Bertolo. Finally, Colombian Marco Pérez will be debuting in la liga as he will be the central attacker.

Ex-Depor Angel Lafita was able to enter into the final list after surpassing a knee problem (tendonitis), but he’s not totally fit and will be sited on the bench. Who wasn’t picked for the confrontation was Jermaine Pennant as Zaragoza is trying to get rid of him during the remaining days on the summer window. New signing Adam Pinter is also part of the team; the Hungarian central defender was hired on Thursday.

Keeper Leo Franco was emphasizing the importance of starting the season with an important result, “It’s always important to start well despite the competition you are facing, and that’s what we all expect from ourselves. Our team knows how to play and already assimilated the concept of the coach and that’s a big advantage. The group is strong.”

Nicolás Bertolo was also appointing to the unity at the team as one of the keys for the new season, “On this team everybody is pulling in the same direction. We are humble and hard workers, and it’s a formation without big stars, because we don’t have a single player capable of winning a game, but I believe that things will work if we do what the coach wants.”

List of picked players (18) Toni Doblas, Leo Franco (goalkeepers); Diogo, Contini, Goni, Jarosik, Pintér, Obradovic (defenders), Edmilson, Jorge López, Ander, Nico Bertolo, Ponzio, Gabi, Braulio, Lafita (midfielders); Marco Pérez, and Kevin (strikers).

Deportivo: (4-2-3-1) Manu – Laure, Colotto, Lopo, Morel – Antonio Tomas, Juan Rodriguez – Saul, Michel, Guardado - Adrian
Zaragoza: (4-2-3-1) Leo Franco - Diogo, Jarosik, Contini, Obradovic - Gabi, Ponzio - Jorge López, Ánder, Bertolo - Marco Pérez.
Referee: Fernando Teixeira Vitienes
Kick-off: 17h00 CET (Riazor)
Head-to-head Vs. Zaragoza: 23 wins for Depor, 16 draws, 21 wins for Zaragoza (Primera & Segunda)
Record at the Riazor: 14 wins for Depor, 9 draws, 7 wins for Zaragoza (Primera & Segunda)



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