Squad news


21 Nov 2010
The worst defense at Primera visits the Riazor, but Lotina is having problems with his strikers and will allow the debut of Dioni as a starter. Meanwhile, Malaga has injury problems and Pellegrini is also allowing the debut of a player at Primera.

The Riazor is the nightmare of Málaga FC as the Andalusian squad has never won there after nine visits to La Coruña; the city of Málaga has had a professional football club since the year 1904, but this new ‘version’ of the club only exists since the year 1992, and Los Boquerones have only managed to clinch a draw at the Riazor playing for la liga (2-2, season 2001/02), since then the Andalusians have suffered seven straight defeats, four of them with a narrow 1-0 score, including last season’s match. To mention that in the overall record Málaga has only achieved one victory over Depor after eighteen confrontations.

But this Málaga, despite their current standing in la liga -16th- is a dangerous rival playing outside of La Rosaleda, and it’s that the Andalusian team is the sixth best visitor at Primera División with seven points added in five games, only below Barcelona (15), Real Madrid (14), Valencia (9), Sevilla (9) and Villarreal (8). Meanwhile, Depor is only 16th in terms of points achieved at home adding six points in five matches, only above Zaragoza (5), Almeria (4), Levante (4) and Málaga itself (3).

A curious stat is that Málaga has scored fifteen goals on the liga season, almost the double than Depor (8), but to mention that five of those fifteen goals (the 33%) were scored at Zaragoza (matchday 02), while in the last four games the Andalusian squad has only scored twice, while Depor scored five of its eight goals (the 63%) within the last four matchdays in liga.

Finally, the clearest weakness of Malaga is its defensive sector, and it’s that Los Albiazules are the worst defense in the competition as they have allowed twenty-two goals in ten matches, actually Málaga has leaked at least one goal in eight of the ten matches played so far. Depor, meanwhile, is just the 11th best defensive line in liga, but at least the Galicians already clinched five clean sheets on the liga campaign, including two within the last three encounters.

The plague of injuries continues to strike Deportivo; and for that clash against Málaga it is particularly affecting the striking zone, just at the moment when the strikers at the team seemed to be regaining their aim. And it’s that Adrian, Lassad and Riki have scored at least one goal within the last fifteen days, and suddenly two of them are missing this clash due to injury reasons.

The Madrilenian was operated on Friday due to appendicitis and the doctors informed that he will be out for at least three weeks, which means that he will probably miss the rest of the games on this year, while the Tunisian wasn’t able to surpass an ankle problem dragged since the match at Mallorca. Even Adrián was doubtful at the start of the week after suffering a knock during Wednesday’s training, but at least he surpassed the problem.

Riki and Lassad are now joining Guardado, Juca, Rindarøy, Michel and Morel at the injury room; this means seven casualties for the match, two less than in the previous meeting against Mallorca. All because Antonio Tomás (thigh), Jonathan Urreta (knee), and Ze Castro (quadriceps) are already training. None of them, however, will play against Málaga; actually the trio was left out of the list and will probably return until next visit to Racing Santander.

In order to cover the problems in attack, Lotina is relying in French winger Yves Desmarets and Fabril’s striker Dionisio Emanuel Villalba ‘Dioni’; the idea to keep using the same 5-2-2-1 system, with the novelty that b>Adrian will be the playmaker performing towards the right, while Desmarets will do the same on the left and b>Dioni will be the central attacker. The Fabril’s striker already accumulates sixty minutes at Primera, but this will be his debut as starter in la liga. He is also the Pichichi at Depor B with seven goals scored so far.

Dioni was confessing to newspaper La Opinión A Coruña how he received the call from Depor’s first team, “I was sleeping and Tito Ramallo phoned me a quarter past ten and he told me that I had to train with the first team. The true is that I’m living a perfect moment as every ball that I’m touching is going  in.”

The striker, who was born in Málaga, is anxious to be a starter in the game, “I’ve been in various moments at the first team, so it isn’t anything new for me. I just wish to be able to be a starter and demonstrate that I’m worthy of it. I believe that as long as I have minutes I will be more confident. It is more complicated to do something going out from the bench, and it’s that when you do it you try to do a lot of things in a few minutes. But if you are a starter, then you will have more minutes and are able to do something more.”

Meanwhile, Desmarets was saying that this is not a test for him as this is just his fifth appearance as starter on the liga season, the first one since the switch in the system, "This is not an exam for me, so I am not scared. I will do my best and then the coach will decide if I should stay at the starting eleven. Málaga is like us and if we win, then we will put some distance. Right now the only idea passing through our head is to win this match."

The rest of the lineup is the same one of the past two liga matches, with Dani Aranzubia at the goal, Manuel Pablo on the right-back spot, Diego Seoane on the left, while the trio composed by Albert Lopo, Diego Colotto and Aythami Artiles will perform at the centre of the defense. Rubén Pérez and Juan Rodriguez will play at midfield; and as it was said before Desmarets will be the playmaker on the left side, Adrian will do it on the right and Dioni will be the central attacker.

Saúl Fernández is the one going out of the starting squad, he was remembering his past stage at Málaga FC (2006/07), “I have pretty good memories from Málaga, for the fans and for the club. It was the team that allowed my debut as a professional as I played with Malaga B, besides I had the chance to debut with the first team. They treated me really well as I was formed at the B squad, but later things got twisted as I didn’t renew and as we had a problem with my agent.”

He was also saying to be living a good moment with the switch in the system, “I’m feeling pretty comfortable having the ball possession and also without it, because I feel more free to move around the centre and at the wing. I’m improving and know that can do things better. I’m currently working in the strategic plays, which is an aspect that has giving lot of points to Deportivo. And I still can gain more things, like to be more aggressive in one-on-one actions.”

List of picked players (19): Aranzubia, Manu (goalkeepers); Manuel Pablo, Laure, Colotto, Lopo, Aythami, Seoane, Rochela (defenders); Juan Rodríguez, Juan Domínguez, Antonio Tomás, Rubén Pérez, Pablo Álvarez, Valerón, Saúl, Desmarets (midfielders); Adrián and Dioni (strikers).

The club has been in the spotlight since the summer after Abdullah bin Khalid Al Thani decided to buy the club, he is Minister of the Interior of Qatar and member of the House of Al-Thani, the Qatari royal family. Former shareholder Fernando Sanz was searching for fresh money and it called the attention of the sheikh, who ended paying thirty-six million Euros for the Andalusian club. Everybody was happy and even Sanz stayed at the club as one of the presidents due to his connections.

The sheikh explained that he wasn’t going to invest a lot of money, at least within the first seasons, however the expectations were high and the fans were hoping for a tranquil season.  And things have been totally different as Málaga has been flirting with relegation, reason why ex-Porto coach Jesualdo Ferreira was fired. He had a three-year contract and his exit after just five months meant to spend three million Euros, which awoke the debate about the football knowledge of the new management structure.

Besides, there are several rumours appointing that the club is making the moves in the winter market in order to sign one new player for each position on the pitch, which means that at the same time a current player at the squad must be released. This is creating an environment of uncertainty inside the changing room.

At least the arrival of new coach Manuel Pellegrinihas brought fresh air and some stability to the team as he achieved the qualification to the next round in Copa plus a reassuring victory over Levante. Actually, the idea of the Chilean coach was to repeat the starting eleven of the past weekend, but a last-minute injury of midfielder Antonio Galdeano 'Apoño' (adductor) is leaving the player out for a couple of weeks, therefore Pellegrini is deciding to make two changes.

The first is the appearance of José Luis García ‘Recio’ at the starting eleven; he is 21 and is making his debut at Primera after debuting in Copa on the past week. The defensive midfielder was talking of his debut in liga, “I am pretty happy for still counting for the coach, but at the same time I have both feet on the ground. We are facing the game trying to keep the line of the past matches and hoping to pick the three points. It is going to be tough, because Depor had a slow start and is now improving.”

The other novelty is the appearance of Quincy James Owusu-Abeyie on the formation; Pellegrini wants to use his velocity as a weapon against Manuel Pablo, for this reason the Arabian and fast winger will perform on the left attacking side of Málaga, while Eliseu Pereira is switching his position to the right.

About the rest of the lineup, it’s the same 4-4-2 figure, with Francesc Arnau at the goal, Jesús Gámez covering the right-back spot, Danish Patrick Jan Mtiliga will play at the left side and the central positions at defense will be for Kris Stadsgaard and Robson Wellington. Recio and Brazilian Sandro Silva will perform at midfield; as it was said before Eliseu and Quincy will cover the wings and the attacking duo will be composed by French Nabil Baha and Uruguayan Sebastián Fernández.

It calls the attention that young attacker Juan Miguel Jiménez ‘Juanmi’ wasn’t picked for the match, he is 17 and is one of the Pichichis at the team with three goals scored, but is staying with Atletico Malagueño, but midfielder Francisco Portillo from the B squad is part of the list. To mention that ex-Depor Albert Luque wasn’t picked for the encounter at the Riazor.

Defender Robson Weligton was explaining why the meeting at the Riazor is so important for them, “There are a lot of teams that currently are very close to each other, with a small difference in terms of points added. If we want to aspire to something we must go out for the three points, starting at the Riazor. We must exploit the counterattacks and still working like the past game in defense. But we must agree that Malaga still has to improve, as our presentation against Levante wasn’t too good.”

Meanwhile, winger Eliseu Pereira was analyzing the match against Depor, “Both teams are gaining confidence and for that reason this Sunday’s game is going to be really pretty. We are talking of two direct rivals and must go out in order to win. The team needs to win and maybe our need is bigger. Malaga is growing little by little.”

Finally, striker Nabil Baha was assuring that he feels more comfortable with the arrival of Pellegrini, “Now, with the arrival of the new coach, everything is better and different for me, because he relies more on me than Jesualdo. Usually I’m part of the lists and for that reason I am happy and more focused in every training session. Now we are all motivated, if you watch the games you will realize that the intensity has changed, and in order to win the matches you need intensity and not just to play with the ball. Now we will face Deportivo and Mallorca, two direct rivals. Mallorca is in a better position, but a victory against Deportivo is important, because they just have one more point and we  want to pass them in the attempt to be in a more comfortable position.”

List of picked players (19): Arnau, Galatto (goalkeepers); Jesús Gámez, Weligton, Stadsgaard, Malagueño, Mtiliga, Gaspar (defenders); Fernando, Quincy, Sandro Silva, Juanito, Duda, Eliseu, Portillo, Recio (midfielders) Baha, Edinho and Seba Fernández (strikers)

Deportivo: (5-2-2-1) Aranzubia - Manuel Pablo, Colotto, Aythami, Lopo, Seoane - Juan Rodríguez, Rubén Pérez – Adrián, Desmarets - Dioni.
Malaga FC: (4-4-2) Arnau - Gámez, Weligton, Stadsgaards, Mtiliga - Eliseu, Recio, Sandro Silva, Quincy – Fernández, Baha.
Referee: Alfons Xavier Álvarez Izquierdo
Kick-off: 17h00 CET (Riazor)
Head-to-head Vs Malaga: 10 wins for Depor, 7 draws, 1 win for Malaga (Primera)
Record at the Riazor: 8 wins for Depor, 1 draws, 0 win for Malaga (Primera)



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