Squad news


06 Dec 2010
Confrontation between two clubs that are searching for the tranquil zone in the table; Lotina is presenting the novelties of Urreta & Lassad, while Hércules is trusting in its lethal duo in attack: Trezeguet & Nelson Valdes.

This is the 20th season of Hércules at Primera División, the first since the campaign 1996/97; and Deportivo has dominated the club from Alicante; actually the Galicians have won the five matches disputed at home against Hércules; the only time in which Los Herculanos achieved a victory at the Riazor was on the season 1983/84, just when both clubs were at Segunda División.

Currently, both teams are just separated by one point, meaning that this is an important match in the quest for the permanence. Hércules surprised everybody as they defeated Barcelona FC in their first away game on the season (2-0), but since then they were only able to clinch two draws in five visits and are arriving to the Riazor after suffering two straight 0-3 scores away from home (at Osasuna and RCD Espanyol).

Curiously, Depor is living the opposite scenario, because the Galicians have achieved two straight 3-0 wins at home, first over RCD Espanyol (matchday 09) and then over Málaga CF (matchday 12). Those are the only two home victories of Depor on the season, but it should be mentioned that the Galicians have only lost once at the Riazor during the present season (0-2 Vs UD Almeria, matchday 05).

Spain has been in crisis within the last two days; the air controllers' walkout paralyzed air travel in Spain and the situation has affected football as the visiting teams in matchday 14 were forced to search for alternatives in order to arrive on time to their games. In the case of Hércules CF things have been pretty rough, because the Valencian team was hoping to take a plane to La Coruña on Sunday’s afternoon, but in the end it was necessary to take a bus, which meant a journey of 1,017 km and fourteen hours on the road. 

It is the longest trip made by any of the ten visiting teams on the matchday, even longer than the one of Sporting Gijón in order to play in Catalonia against RCD Espanyol –The Asturians travelled 861 km- Hercules started the long trip on Sunday’s morning (9 AM) and arrived to La Coruña around midnight.

Within the last five liga matches coach Miguel Ángel Lotina has kept the same defensive block, which has been traduced in achieving ten of the fifteen points disputed in the period. During those five matches the Galician team has only leaked two goals, which is the best mark at Primera tied with Barcelona FC. Therefore the defensive block composed by five defenders and two central midfielders can explain why Depor passed so quickly from been living in relegation to been occupying a place in mid-table.

But there’s more, because the same defensive block has also been important in attack; and it’s that five of the eleven goals scored on the liga season have been conquered by the players performing on these positions. To emphasize that four of those five goals were scored by the three central defenders used by Lotina.

This clearly explains why the Basque coach hasn’t changed anything since the day of the victory over Málaga CF, and the match against Hércules CF won’t be the exception as the defensive block will be the same; starting with Daniel Aranzubia, who will be the starting keeper. Currently the ex-Athletic Bilbao is second in the list for the Zamora trophy with an average of 0.71 goals allowed on the Primera season, just below Barcelona’s Victor Valdés (0.62).

Despite the comments related to the presence of Knut Rindarøy at the starting formation, in the end Lotina will keep playing with Manuel Pablo and Diego Seoane on the sides of his defensive scheme with five defenders. Anyhow, the Norwegian was picked for the game, which left Laure out of the clash. Meanwhile, the central positions will be for Albert Lopo, Aythami Artiles and Diego Colotto.

At midfield, Juan Rodriguez will complete his match number 200 at Primera División as he will join Rubén Pérez at the pivote positions. Both men talked before the game. Rodriguez analyzed the meaning of his personal mark, “This just cheers you up to keep training at the top and then been able to take part of the starting formations, because you always want to surpass the marks of previous seasons.” Meanwhile, Rubén was remembering that the matches at the Riazor are extremely important for Depor, ”We must seize the home encounters, because things are more complicated when we play away from the Riazor.” 

The novelties in the scheme are occurring in attack, actually since the day against Malaga CF, Lotina has always made at least one change in the sector. For this occasion the Basque is making two modifications, and it’s that in the past game at Racing Santander the two playmakers –Desmarets and Pablo Álvarez- left a poor impression. The big news is the appearance of Jonathan Urreta, who is a starter for the first time since September –the Uruguayan has been out due to an ankle sprain-

Urreta will perform on the right side, while Adrian will return to play on the left; this after the Asturian was the central attacker at El Sardinero. Now the position up front will be for Lassad Nouioui, who is another player that isn’t a starter since a while ago -October 17, against Osasuna-  Some reporters believe that, according to what was saw on Sunday’s training, Saul could have a chance in the team claiming the spot at the left. Anyhow, clearly it is a formula searching for velocity, which could be the key against the defensive line of Hercules, sector that has been described by the media as “too slow”.

Andrés Guardado is already recovered from his hamstring problem, but wasn’t picked for the match as the doctors want to rest him allowing his return until next week’s game against Atlético Madrid. For the game at the Riazor the only three men staying at the injury room are Michel, Juca and Riki, while Morel had permission to go to Paraguay and solve a personal issue –he returned on Sunday’s night but still was left out of the match-

Before the kick-off, Colotto was talking of the game, “When you can't add points in the away matches, then you need to do it at home; and especially against this kind of rivals as they are alongside us in the table. The idea is to win and leave Hércules behind.”. The Argentine also remembered that the most dangerous part of Hércules is it’s attacking line, “Both Valdez and Trezeguet are pretty good; they even played the World Cup and is a very powerful couple, one of the best asides from the ones at the big clubs.”

Finally, Aranzubia was talking of the current situation of Depor at the standings, “We don’t discard to end up upper, but for now we are looking down. It’s complicate to leave the bottom places and not even with our good streak we were able to avoid all the problems, because we still four points above the relegation zone. We are ending the first round against Hercules, then Sporting and finally will face complicate matches against Athletic, Valencia and Barca; therefore it is tough, so we will have to wait.” 

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

Few small clubs in Spanish football can presume of having the same power in attack than Hércules CF, and it’s that the duo composed by Paraguayan Nelson Haedo Valdez and French David Trezeguet have scored thirteen of the fourteen goals of Hércules on the liga season. It’s the fourth most lethal couple in la liga, just behind Barcelona’s Villa & Messi (23 goals), Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo & Higuaín (23) and Villarreal’s Nilmar & Rossi (16). Without doubt it’s the main worry of Lotina, but it must be emphasized that Hércules is the worst scorer at Primera during the away matches as they have only conquered three goals outside the Rico Pérez–the three scored by Valdez-

And it wasn’t easy to put together these two players; the secret for this achievement is president Enrique Ortiz, a rich businessman that made his money in the construction sector and who is appointed as the main responsible for the present project of Hercules. He recently left the role of president, but still attached to Hercules. And it’s that the club from Alicante has a surprising budget of €43 million –Depor’s budget for the present season is €53million- which allowed to buy Valdez for €3.8 million, plus to pay his salary calculated in €1.8 million. Meanwhile, Trezeguet and Real Madrid’s Royston Drenthe -the other Hercules player that has scored a goal in liga- arrived on loan, but are the best-paid men at the squad as combined their salary cost €4 million per season.

To explain that the major part of the budget wasn’t used to buy players, but to pay salaries and other rewards, because apart from the case of Valdes, Hercules only spent around €2 million in buying players. And of this amount president Ortiz spent €1.5 million in just one player: Colombian midfielder Abel Aguilar.

For the game against Depor it’s expected that coach Esteban Vigo will keep playing with a 4-2-3-1 scheme, with the only novelties of goalkeeper Juan Calatayud  and left-back Royston Drenthe, this compared to the squad that defeated Levante on the past weekend. The Andalusian goalie is returning after been sent off in the previous match with Malaga, while the Dutch player is returning after surpassing an ulcer problem, the player on loan from Real Madrid usually performs on the left wing and this time it won’t be the exception as he is replacing French Olivier Thomert.

The rest of the team will be composed by ex-Getafe David Cortés performing on the right-back position, Francisco Peña will cover the left sector, and the spots at the centre of the defence will be for former Cádiz player Abraham Paz and ex-Portsmouth Noé Elías Pamarot, the French is the only man at Hércules that has played all the possible minutes on the liga season (1,170).

At midfield, Colombian Abel Aguilar and Portuguese Tiago Filipe Gomes will perform on the pivote functions; ex-Real Madrid Jorge López Marco ´Tote´ will play on the right wing, Drenthe will do it on the left, Nelson Valdez will be the playmaker and David Trezeguet the central attacker.

There are two familiar faces at the squad of Hércules: right winger Cristian Hidalgo and central defender Sergio Rodriguez ‘Rodri’. Both were included in the list for the game but won’t be starters; Cristian was talking of his sensations before the match, ”It will be very special as I will meet several friends; it will be hard to surpass their line with five defenders as it’s difficult to create scoring opportunities against Deportivo.”

List of picked players (19): Calatayud, Unai Alba, Velhtuizen (goalkeepers); David Cortés, Pamarot, Sergio Rodríguez ‘Rodri’, Abraham Paz, Peña (defenders); Matías Fritzier, Sendoa Agirre, Abel Aguilar, Drenthe, Tiago Gomes, Cristian Hidalgo (midfielders); Tote, Kiko Femenía, Nelson Valdez, Portillo and Trezeguet (strikers).

Deportivo: (5-2-2-1) Aranzubia – Manuel Pablo, Colotto, Aythami, Lopo, Seoane – Juan Rodríguez, Rubén Pérez – Urreta, Lassad or Saúl – Adrian.
Hércules CF: (4-2-3-1) Calatayud - Cortés, Abraham Paz, Pamarot, Peña - Abel Aguilar, Tiago Gomes - Tote, Valdez, Drenthe - Trezeguet.
Referee: David Fernández Borbalán
Kickoff: 21h00 (Riazor)
Head-to-head Vs Hercules: 12 wins for Depor, 2 draws, 10 wins for Hercules (Primera & Segunda)
Record at the Riazor: 10 wins for Depor, 1 draw, 1 win for Hercules (Primera & Segunda)



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