Squad news


28 Nov 2010
A Deportivo that’s an “expert” on set-pieces visits a team that suffers within the first fifteen minutes; Lotina is presenting the same squad of the past weekend, with the exception of Pablo Álvarez, who is replacing Dioni.

In recent year El Sardinero has become into the favourite visit of Deportivo La Coruña, and it’s that since the last promotion to Primera División, Depor has played sixteen times there and it only lost once: 1-2 on the season 1995/96. Actually, since the season 1991/92 this visit has been the most prolific one for Depor as the other fifteen matches meant nine victories and six draws for the Galicians.

Besides, both teams are living opposite moments; at one side Depor has added ten of the last twelve points in dispute, while Racing only added four in the same period; actually the last 1-3 loss at UD Levante is leaving the Cantabrian team on the brick of the abysm, just one point above the relegation zone.

At least Racing Santander is having a decent performance when it plays at El Sardinero, with three wins and one draw after six home games, although it only means the 12nd best mark in la liga. Their only two defeats were against Barcelona (0-3, matchday 01) and against Getafe (0-1, matchday 05). Meanwhile, Depor is arriving after clinching a 2-1 win in their previous visit to UD Levante, which was the first away victory for the Galicians in a full year.

Lotina’s Deportivo is the Primera club that depends the most on set-pieces; the Galicians have scored eleven goals in liga and of that number seven goals were scored in strategic actions. Three were penalties, two goals were conquered after a corner-kick, and the other two came after a free-kick, this means that the 64% of Depor’s goals were produced in set-pieces; this is the highest percentage at Primera División and clearly the main strength of Depor in attack.

And the big winners are the central defenders, because the three starters at the defensive squad of Lotina –Lopo, Aythami and Colotto- have conquered four goals on the competition, which is the same number of goals conquered by the defensive line of Real Madrid, and one goal above the mark of Barcelona’s defensive zone.

Another interesting stat is related to goalkeeper Daniel Aranzubia, since the ex-Athletic returned from his injury Depor has just allowed four goals in six matches, which means an average of 0.66 goals per match. Among the twenty-one keepers that have played at least six games in liga this is the second best mark, tied with Barcelona’s Victor Valdes and just under the mark of Real Madrid’s Iker Casillas (0.50)

However, Aranzubia doesn’t think that this is a personal achievement, “Those numbers are of the whole team. When a team allows a lot of goals then the keeper isn’t the one to blame, and it’s the same when things are in the other way. Those are good numbers, and demonstrate the improvement of Deportivo. And there isn’t any fight against Casillas and Valdés; this is just a coincidence and surely they will be above us at the end.”

For the visit to Racing, Lotina was recovering left-back defender Knut Rindarøy (hamstring), central defender Ze Castro (muscular), striker Lassad Nouioui and right winger Jonathan Urreta (both ankle sprain), but only the last two men were included in the list of twenty players travelling to Santander , though both will start on the bench. Only Michel, Guardado, Juca, Morel and Riki are staying at the injury room.

In the end the coach will practically present the same 5-2-2-1 scheme of the last four matches; the only novelty is the exit of Fabril’s striker Dioni, who returned to the B squad allowing the appearance as starter, for the first time on the season, of Pablo Álvarez. He scored the third goal against Málaga and this is a reward for it.

 The rest of the team should be the same one that achieved the last win at the Riazor; with Dani Aranzubia at the goal; Manuel Pablo playing at the right-back spot, Diego Seoane covering the left side, while Diego Colotto, Aythami Artiles and Albert Lopo will perform at the centre of the defence. At midfield, Rubén Pérez and Juan Rodriguez will cover the pivote functions; Pablo Álvarez will be the playmaker performing towards the right, Yves Desmarets will do the same on the left and Adrian will be the central attacker.

Urreta is returning into the list after been off for a couple of months, he was commenting his long absence, “I lasted a little to be fine, mainly because I never was injured before and didn’t know what it was. This is part of football and must accept it. It’s history and must be calmed. I’m feeling fine. I am calmed and not anxious at all; we must go little by little, because if I suffer a relapse, then things will be worse and don’t need to be hurried. I was making a pre-season for my own, so I am fine thanks to that, feeling involved in the dynamic of the group.”

Meanwhile, Lopo was talking of the hamstring problems that he has been dragging since some weeks ago, "You always have a discomfort throughout the season; sometimes you can train, in others don't. Sometimes the doctors don't allow you to play, but the important thing is on Sunday, and no matter I am dying I want to play. I hope the problem won’t haunt me on the rest of the season, it’s something that it’s there and must be healed with physiotherapy. "

List of picked players (20): Aranzubía, Manu (goalkeepers); Manuel Pablo, Laure, Colotto, Aythami, Lopo, Rochela, Seoane, (defenders); Rubén Pérez, Juan Rodríguez, Antonio Tomás, Juan Domínguez, Pablo Álvarez, Desmarets, Urreta, Saúl, Valerón (midfielders); Adrián and Lassad (strikers).

The Cantabrian club is close to the nervous breakdown, it has been written that Racing reported a loss of 14.7 million Euros for the past season and for that reason the club’s authorities are planning an emergency increase in the club’s capital of 7.8 million Euros for the coming days. To make things worse neither are things working inside the pitch, because the team is just one point above the relegation zone, and was already eliminated from Copa Del Rey by Segunda club Córdoba FC (Depor’s next rival in that competition).

What calls the attention is the fact that in five of the seven liga defeats suffered so far by Racing, the first goal of the rival came before the 16th minute, which indicates a lack of concentration at the Cantabrian team.  It happened since the first matchday as Messi scored the first goal of Barcelona at minute 3 (0-3 at the Camp Nou), then on matchday 05 Victor Sánchez scored the lonely goal on the game for Getafe (15’). The situation was repeated on the following liga encounter as Nilmar scored the first at minute 7, and four minutes later it was Rossi who replied for a Villarreal that ended up with a 2-0 win at El Madrigal.

Then, on matchday 08, Real Madrid crushed Racing with a 6-1 score, and the first goal –scored by Higuain- came at minute 9, with Cristiano Ronaldo doubling the advantage at minute 15. Later, on matchday 10, Real Sociedad won its encounter against Racing with a solitary goal from Joseba Llorente, which was scored at minute 7. In the end seven goals allowed before the sixteen-minute mark, and all after just twelve liga matchdays. 

And it seemed that Racing was surpassing this rare syndrome in the latest visit to UD Levante, but suddenly Ecuadorian Felipe Caicedo scored two goals within minutes 23 & 27 to lead his team to a comfortable 3-1 victory. For all this situation coach Miguel Ángel Portugal is at the door out, though president Francisco Pernia has denied the rumors, but it has been said that the Burgos-born coach could be sacked if he loses this match against Depor.

Despite the problems, he is practically keeping the same starting eleven that left a negative impression in the last 1-3 defeat at UD Levante; the only two novelties are caused by the suspensions of left-back Domingo Cisma and Senegalese midfielder Papakouly Diop, their spots are now claimed by Christian Fernández and French Madhi Lacen.

It is a 4-2-3-1 scheme, with Antonio Rodríguez ‘Toño’ at the goal; ex-Xérez Francisco José Pérez will cover the right-back spot, Christian will be on the left and the central defenders will be Brazilian Henrique Adriano and ex-Espanyol Marc Torrejón. At midfield, veteran Gonzalo Colsa will join Lacen on the pivote functions.

Swedish Kennedy Bakircioglü will attack from the right wing, ex-Depor Pedro Munitis will do it on the left, striker Iván Bolado will perform as the playmaker in the formation and Markus Rosenberg will be the central attacker. The player that was loaned by Werden Bremen is the top scorer at the team with three goals, but his performance has been disappointed as he has been accused of wasting too many scoring opportunities

Munitis has been appointed as the best player of Racing on this season; he was giving his opinion on the current state of Racing, “Our team isn’t achieving good results playing away from home, but it’s a solid rival at home. Now we host a team that’s growing up, and I think that the key is to play with patience, without any hurry; we must clinch a clean sheet in order to gain confidence and materialize our opportunities at the opposite goal. We are creating chances, but aren’t finalizing the plays.”

Ex-Depor Pablo Pinillos will be on the bench, the defender was confessing that he never defeated Deportivo playing for Racing, “I never defeated Depor before; it seems they know what to do against us and is a team that has its own characteristics. It’s very hard and always tries to seize the counterattacks and set-pieces. They are improving, and we have been strong in defence.”

Finally, keeper Toño was giving his impression on the game, “I could say that it is just a game, but don’t see it like that. It´s time to react. Now it’s time to face matches on our league and must be prepared. Deportivo arrives living a good streak and we don’t defeat them on here since a while ago. It will be difficult, because Lotina knows what he does and the defense of five men is working very well. We will need a lot of speed and people who can play between the lines. Hence, the best is Munitis. He’s in a superb form. He's doing very well on the left. We are very strong at home, but the slump is impressive when we play away, maybe because we don’t feel the pressure from our fans. We are the first concerned by this situation and the first trying to solve it immediately.”

List of picked players (18): Coltorti, Toño (goalkeepers); Pinillos, Francis, Torrejón, Henrique, Osmar, Ponce, Christian (defenders); Colsa, Lacen, Edu Bedia, Kennedy, Adrián, Munitis (midfielders); Bolado, Rosenberg and Ariel.

Racing: (4-2-3-1) Toño - Francis, Henrique, Torrejón, Cristian - Colsa, Lacen – Kennedy, Bolado, Munitis - Rosenberg.
Deportivo: (5-2-2-1) Aranzubia – Manuel Pablo, Colotto, Aythami, Lopo, Seoane – Rubén Pérez, Juan Rodriguez – Pablo Álvarez, Desmarets – Adrián.
Referee: Carlos Clos Gómez
Kick-off: 17h00 CET (El Sardinero)
Head-to-head Vs Racing: 33 victories for Depor, 15 draws, 22 wins for Racing (Primera & Segunda)
Record at El Sardinero: 15 victories for Depor, 10 draws, 10 wins for Racing (Primera & Segunda)



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