Squad news


07 Nov 2010
Match for the permanence at the Ciutat de Valencia, both teams will practically use the same lineups of their last match in liga. At Depor the only novelty is the appearance of Seoane for injured Rindarøy.

Depor’s last victory in liga playing away from the Riazor occurred on November 29 of the past year, it was during the visit to Racing Santander (1-0), since that day the Galicians have disputed seventeen away games with a terrible record of just four draws and suffering nine defeats. Actually, of the current twenty teams at Primera Depor is the only one that hasn’t won yet an away match during the year 2010. At least the victory against Espanyol has injected some self-stem into the squad.

The rival, meanwhile, is Levante UD, side that is just one point above Depor and that’s coming to the meeting after suffering two straight defeats. To mention that Levante has only won once at home during this season, it was a 2-1 victory over Real Sociedad (matchday 7), in the other three matches at the Ciutat de Valencia they were only able to pick up a point: 1-4 Vs. Sevilla (matchday 01), 1-2 Vs. Villarreal (matchday 03) and 0-0 Vs. Real Madrid (matchday 05).

Finally, Depor has visited Levante in eleven opportunities playing for Primera or Segunda and it only clinched three wins, but two of those victories occurred within the last four visits, the last one conquered on the season 20007/08, curiously  the scorer of the goal was Sergio González, who is now playing for Levante.

The major part of Depor’s statistics are a disaster, and it’s that the Galicians are the second worst visitor and home team in la liga, the worst scorer at Primera, plus another marks that explains why Lotina’s team is currently living in relegation. But there’s a distinguishing factor that invites to optimism: the number of clean sheets.

Deportivo has clinched four clean sheets after nine liga encounters, a number only matched by the first three places at the standings: Real Madrid, Barcelona and Villarreal. The big difference between Depor and those three teams is that the Galicians haven’t been consistent within the remaining games as they allowed fourteen goals in those five meeting, in the end Depor is just the 13th best defence at Primera División.

That’s why Lotina is emphasizing the defensive solidity as the way to leave the pit, specially taking in mind that Depor is facing so many problems to score some goals in the opposite goal; it explains why the Basque man decided to return to the system with five defenders, because he knows that the closest path to victory is to not allow goals, and so far the formula is working as Deportivo has only leaked one goal within the last two official matches, exactly the games in which the team used the ‘new’ system.

Deportivo still dealing with several casualties in order to prepare the games, and in the end seven players remain at the injury room: Michel, Guardado, Antonio Tomás, Urreta, Laure, Ze Castro and Rindarøy . Yves Desmarets is already recovered from the thigh problem that sidelined him from the last two official games, but in the end the French was left in La Coruña, but Brazilian Juca is part of the trip after surpassing a muscular problem. Pablo Alvarez is also part of the list after sustaining an adductor problem during the week.

Despite the casualties Lotina is able to repeat the lineup that played against Espanyol, with the exception of Rindarøy; it is a 5-2-2-1 scheme; with Daniel Aranzubia at the goal, Manuel Pablo performing at the right-back position, Fabril’s Diego Seoane on the left, while the trio at the centre of the defence will be composed by Albert Lopo, Aythami Artiles and Diego Colotto .

At midfield Rubén Pérez and Juan Rodriguez will be the two pivotes, Saul Fernandez and Adrian will perform as the two playmakers playing towards the wings, while Riki will be the central attacker.

Diego Seoane was talking of the importance of the meeting, ”They are in need, just like us, and we can’t allow to lose points in this match. It is a key match for Deportivo, because a victory will pull us outside of relegation and will mean a moral injection for the team. It is a chance to leave the bottom places, and as soon as we can surpass these positions the better for us, but if we can’t win the game then the team can’t lose the patience, because the main thing is to follow the same path.”

A former player of Levante, Saul, was remembering his stage at the Valencian team, “After the debut in Malaga it was important for me to play at Levante, because it was a team that was at Primera División. I was young and the true is that it was matching my expectations, but everything was complicated due to the financial problems and a lot of players left the club, then we went down to Segunda and I left to Elche.”

The Asturian winger was admitting that he feels more comfortable using the system with five defenders, ”Up front we have more freedom of movement and the whole team feels more secure at the moment of been defending. Besides, everything was fine within the last two games, but we should wait more time in order to make more conclusions.”

Diego Colotto was also remembering the importance of the meeting, “Tomorrow it’s a day in which the team should demonstrate positive things, besides we have the chance to surpass a direct rival and it should be motivating. In any case the team must keep showing the same characteristics of the past weekend. We could end winning or losing, but no matter what we must put things difficult to the rival.”

List of picked players (19): Aranzubia, Manu (goalkeepers); Manuel Pablo, Colotto, Lopo, Aythami, Rochela, Seoane, Morel (defenders); Juan Dominguez, Juan Rodriguez, Ruben Pérez, Juca, Pablo Álvarez, Saúl, Valerón (midfielders); Riki, Adrian and Lassad (strikers).

The Valencian team is the second oldest squad at Primera División, a fact that shouldn’t be a surprise as it has been the common strategy of Levante UD on this decade: to bet in veteran players. An ‘old’ formula that has never worked in order to clinch the permanence, because and despite trusting in the experience, Levante has suffered two relegations within the last ten years.

The average age of the starting team that was defeated by RCD Mallorca on the past Monday is 29.11 years, just barely surpassed by the average of the Osasuna team that was trashed on last weekend by Racing: 29.43 years. And it’s that of the eleven starters at Levante just two are below the 25’s: striker Stuani and midfielder Miguel Pallardo.

And what should be a surprise is the fact that Levante has the second youngest coach at Primera División: Luis Garcia Plaza, who is 37 and has only directed one season at Segunda before clinching the promotion to Primera. In the end an exotic combination of experience over the grass and inexperience on the bench, formula that’s trying to extend the record of Levante to six seasons at the elite of Spanish football.

Despite losing the last two liga matches the intention of Luis Garcia is to repeat the 4-2-3-1 lineup that was defeated in Majorca, it could be possible as the Madrilenian coach is recovering five of the seven men that were injured during the week, the only ones that were sidelined were midfielders Vicente Iborra and Miguel Pérez (both muscular), but some men like b>Xavi Torres (adductor) were included in the list and remain doubtful, for that reason the coach picked twenty players for the clash, therefore the final lineup could experience one or two changes.

Ex-Depor keeper Gustavo Munúa is fit to play after surpassing an adductor problem, but the idea of the coach is to still playing with Manuel Reina at the goal, ex-Villarreal Javi Venta will perform on the right-back position, ex-Mallorca Sergio Ballesteros and ex-Betis man Victoriano Rivas ‘Nano’ will perform at the centre, this last one was replaced during the past game with Mallorca due to a back problem and now seems to play. Meanwhile, ex-Chelsea Asier Del Horno seemed fit enough to play on the left after sustaining an Achilles problem during the week. If in the end the Basque is not ready then David Cerrajería Rubio ‘Cerra’ will claim his spot.

Another doubt is located at midfield, Luis Garcia likes the skills of on loan player Xavi Torres, but his physical problem might take him out of the starting formation, just like it happened on the past weekend, in that case the place will for another player on loan, Miguel Pallardó. Any of these two young players will be performing alongside veteran Sergio Gonzalez, who is facing his former club for the first time after spending nine years in La Coruña.

Valmiro Lopes Rocha ‘Valdo’ will continue covering the right wing, former Osasuna man Juan Luis Gómez ‘Juanlu’ will do the same on the left, while Asturian Rubén Suárez will be the playmaker in the formation, he is used to perform as an attacking midfielder and as a second striker. Finally, Uruguayan Christian Ricardo Stuani will be the lonely striker, the ex-Reggina has scored twice on this liga season, same number of goals than Sergio, both players are the top scorer at the team.

Precisely ex-Depor Sergio was talking of his feeling after nine years at Deportivo, ”The words Deportivo and Coruña are major words for me. The city deserves my best words, because I played there at the highest possible level. My experience there was great, and the only negative thing was the way in which I left. In terms of titles I prefer the Copa Del Rey at the Santiago Bernabéu, but also the comeback against AC Milan in Champions League. I have great friends there, but I want to win, because now I play for Levante. The situation is ugly, because whoever loses will stay down there, and we must win because we don’t’ have other choice.”

In his own style, the Catalan midfielder tried to explain to the fans that it wasn’t his fault the fact that he left Deportivo by the back door, "I tried for a year to leave in the best possible way, and I want people in La Coruña to know that, at no time, I tried to ‘fuck’ anyone, but always sought the best for everyone."

Meanwhile, midfielder Valdo was remembering that Levante needs the three points, "We must try to get the three points, put some distance with the bottom and leave Deportivo there. It is particularly important that they can’t grow after winning at home and we must try to leave them where they are now. So we can increase the difference a little more. It is also important for the goal average ahead of the season’s end; you never know what could happen. "

List of picked players (20): Reina, Munúa (goalkeepers); Cerra, Nano, Robusté, Del Horno, Venta, Ballesteros (defenders); Pallardó, Xisco Nadal, Xisco Muñoz, Larrea, Xavi Torres, Sergio, Juanlu, Valdo (midfielders); Rafa Jordá, Caicedo, Rubén and Stuani (strikers).

Levante: (4-2-3-1) Reina - Javi Venta, Ballesteros, Nano, Del Horno - Sergio, Pallardó or Xavi Torres - Valdo, Rubén Suárez, Juanlu – Stuani.
Deportivo: (5-2-2-1) Aranzubia - Manuel Pablo, Colotto, Aythami, Lopo, Seoane - Rubén Pérez, Juan Rodríguez - Saúl, Adrián - Riki.
Referee: Fernando Teixeira Vitienes
Kick-off: 17h00 CET (Ciutat de Valencia)
Head-to-head Vs. Levante:  > 12 wins for Depor, 1 draw, 9 wins for Levante (Primera & Segunda)
>b>Record in Valencia: 3 wins for Depor, 0 draws, 8 wins for Levante (Primera & Segunda)



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