Squad news


09 Jan 2011
A half-speed Barcelona crushed a Deportivo that didn’t do anything in the game; The Catalans just had seven attempts to score, but it ended up scoring four times, while Depor was just able to complete a shot on target until the stoppage time.

As it was expected; coach Lotina decided to switch back to a 4-2-3-1 system, with the novelty of seeing Juan Dominguez at the playmaking function. Aranzubia was at the goal; Laure performed at the right-back spot, Manuel Pablo was covering the left sector, while Colotto and Lopo were the two central defenders. Antonio Tomas and Ruben Perez were the two pivotes, Saul was playing on the right wing, Desmarets did the same on the left and Adrian was the central attacker.

At Barcelona, the main news was that Xavi Hernández was sat on the bench, leaving his place at the starting squad to Seydou Keita, also Daniel Alves was rested as his compatriot Adriano Correia was performing at the right-back position, but the deadly trio in attack was still intact: Pedro Rodriguez, Lionel Messi and David Villa

The Riazor was sold-out for the occasion and to mention that legendary star Luis Suárez was invited to make the kick-off. It was a symbolic act, because he played at both clubs and so far is the only Spanish player that has been awarded with the Golden Boot, something that might change on Monday as Iniesta or Xavi might follow his steps. Also, it was raining during the game; actually it was raining in La Coruńa within the last four days, however the pitch was in a good state.

Quiet first part at the Riazor; the “all-mighty” Barcelona seemed relaxed and feeling comfortable just making passes and having long ball possessions, while at the same time Deportivo was really focused at defense, enough reasons to explain why there were only a few scoring opportunities throughout the half . Barca, however, was able to find a crack and that was enough to take the lead in the scoresheet.

The first five minutes were calmed, with both Deportivo and Barcelona studying each other and without having depth in attack. The visitors were having the ball, while Depor was putting pressure at midfield, but the Galicians had problems to pass into attack as the defense was sending long passes to nowhere. The first approximation of Barca was a cross of Pedro that Aranzubia sent to corner-kick (7’).

Barca was trying to open Depor’s defense moving the ball into the sides, and also with quick and direct passes between the lines, but the Galicians were covering all the spots, for this reason the locals didn’t suffer within the first twenty minutes. But neither Deportivo was lucid in attack, reason why it never surpassed midfield territory.

The first opportunity for Depor came at minute 22; Manuel Pablo fought hard for the ball and later Desmarets sent a cross from the left, then Ruben Perez headed the ball and it went into the path of Adrian inside the box, but the striker couldn’t connect the ball properly; still he was offside, though the referee didn’t whistle anything.

The tactic of Lotina was working out… until the Catalans found the first crack at Depor’s defense; Mascherano had the ball at midfield, then he passed it to Messi at the right wing, and the Argentine star put the ball between Manuel Pablo and Desmarets leaving David Villa alone against Aranzubia, and El Guaje drilled the ball between the legs of Depor’s keeper to conquer his goal number eleven in his personal career against the Galicians.

Depor didn’t change its approach after the goal, because Lotina’s team was still more worried in blocking all the roads to Barcelona, but the Catalans were feeling more comfortable playing delayed as they were moving the ball all over the field, just waiting to find a new crack at the local defense. At that crack appeared at minute 34, it was after Abidal entered by the left to leave Villa alone against the goal, but Manuel Pablo reacted quickly and blocked the attempt.

At minute 38 Abidal found again the same crack at Depor’s right side, and he scored a goal, but it was disallowed for offside. Despite these last chances, Depor was not suffering at defense, but either was dead in attack as the visitors were easily stealing the ball each time that Depor tried to attack.

Adrian was the most active player up front, but it was unable to do anything, mainly because neither Desmarets nor Saul were plugged into the game. At minute 40 the Asturian managed to build up a play that ended with a shot of Ruben Perez that went wide. That was the lonely attempt to score of Depor during this half.

A Barcelona that played at half velocity was still too much for a Deportivo that was frozen on the pitch; the Catalans pushed within the final ten minutes and achieved a big score that leaves them at the top of la liga. Valerón entered and gave the needed guidance, but it wasn’t enough to change the course of the match.

Things continued in the same way at the start of the second part, with Barcelona having long ball possessions, and with a passive Depor that was at least trying to attack, but soon the Catalans defined the game. Ruben Perez lost the ball at midfield and had to commit a foul over Messi in order to avoid a bigger play, but it wasn’t enough because the Argentine took a perfect free-kick that passed over the wall and went directly into the top-right corner of an Aranzubia that didn’t have anything to do.

Then Lotina moved the bench and Juan Carlos Valerón entered for Saul, move that pushed Juan Dominguez to the left wing allowing the appearance of the Canarian as the playmaker in the formation. El Flaco brought fresh air to a Depor that was finally trying to be more offensive, though without creating scoring opportunities. At minute 57 Valerón took a free-kick that Colotto found at the box, but his finals hot went wide.

Barcelona was playing relaxed after the second goal; the Catalans were just spending the time moving the ball over the grass and just waiting to find a new crack at Depor’s defense, while the impulse gave with the entry of Valerón was fading with the pass of the minutes. A new muscular problem affected Depor as Desmarets had to leave the match due to a thigh problem, and his place was taken by Knut Rindarřy, who unusually was covering the spot of left winger. The Norwegian barely appeared on the game.

As it was expected, Depor didn’t have any depth in attack, but the strange thing was that neither Barcelona had it, because despite the final score they just completed seven attempts to score, which was strange due to the potential of the squad. Maybe it was for the busy calendar in the month, the true is that Barca was feeling better moving the ball all over the field, just to mention that they attempted the biggest number of passes sawn on the season at the Riazor: 888. The double of the ones attempted by Deportivo (374).

For the final ten minutes Pablo Alvarez entered and replaced Juan Dominguez; the former Fabril’s midfielder made a decent game, mainly after the entry of Valerón; and it’s that after the entry of El Flaco he started to give some glimpses of his talent with quick and short passes that were impressive, but at the same time ineffective, because still Depor never found the way to the goal of Victor Valdes.

It seemed that the end of the match was going to be calmed, but somehow the visitors pressed the accelerator and scored twice within two minutes. The third goal was a great play of Bojan as he assisted Iniesta on the left wing; then the scorer of the goal that gave the final victory to Spain in the World Cup eluded two rivals and fired a crossed and precise shot that entered by the far post of Aranzubia; Depor’s goalie reacted late as he thought the ball was going to be deflected by someone.

And just one minute later Pedro scored his ‘traditional’ goal in an away match, it was a confusing play at the edge of the area in which Manuel Pablo fouled Messi, still the Argentine was able to drill the ball into the area, and the Canarian arrived on time and chipped the ball to avoid the defensive attempt of Aranzubia

Messi was even able to score the fifth, this after a combination with Bojan, but Aranzubia cleared the danger with the elbow (87’). And the lonely shot on target of Depor in the whole match came in the stoppage time, it was a counterattack that ended with Valerón drilling the ball to Adrian, but the Asturian couldn’t score from close range as his attempt was cleared by Victor Valdes to corner-kick (90+2’)

The true is that Barcelona didn’t press the accelerator, but still was able to clinch a big score, which actually is the biggest defeat at the Riazor for Depor since the 2-5 suffered against Recreativo de Huelva back on the season 2006/07.  Despite the four goals the defensive line composed by four men was looking focused, and Adrian was the only man in attack that tried to do something, while Valerón came out from the bench to give a couple of good passes.

Depor still living in mid-table and will now close the first round at Primera División with a visit to Mestalla in order to face Valencia FC (Sunday, 17h00 CET). But first the Galicians will visit UD Almeria playing the first-leg on the quarterfinals of Copa Del Rey (Thursday, 20h00 CET).

Deportivo: (4-2-3-1) Aranzubia – Laure, Colotto, Lopo, Manuel Pablo – Rubén Pérez, Antonio Tomas – Saúl (Valerón 60’), Juan Domínguez (Pablo Álvarez 75’), Desmarets (Rindarřy 73’) - Adrián
Barcelona: (4-3.-3) Valdés - Adriano, Piqué, Puyol, Abidal - Mascherano, Iniesta (Thiago 82’), Keita – Pedro (Afellay 82’), Messi, Villa (Bojan 70’)
Goals: 0-1 (25’) Villa, 0-2 (52’) Messi, 0-3 (79’) Iniesta, 0-4: (80’) Pedro
Referee: Carlos Delgado Ferreiro. He showed yellow card to Ruben Perez (50’)
Venue: Riazor (33,350)
Other statistics: Ball possession (33% - 67%); Total shots (7 - 7); Shots on target (1 - 7); Saves by the keepers (1 - 1); Corner-kicks  (4 - 7); Offsides (2 - 2); Fouls committed (9 - 6); Accuracy in the passes (81.55% - 92.34%)




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