Squad news

PREVIEW: DEPORTIVO – VILLARREAL (LIGA)

13 Feb 2011
Depor searches for redemption after a complicate week and Lotina switches the system trying to conquer a refreshing victory, while Villarreal arrives in peace, despite the recent setback, because it’s completing a great season.

STATISTICS: TWO OPPOSITE STREAKS
Deportivo and Villarreal are living opposite moments in la liga; the Galicians have only added four points during the six matches played in 2011, reason why they are the second worst team in the period, just behind Hércules CF (3). Meanwhile, the Valencians have added twelve points in the start of the year, which is the sixth best mark at Primera División. And they would have been third if it was it for the latest and surprising defeat at home against UD Levante (0-1).

And right now both sides are also having very different problems; Deportivo is suffering in defense as it has allowed fifteen goals within the last six matches, which means that the Galician side is the worst defense in 2011 in la liga. And the problem at Villarreal is very surprising: the offense. Because despite having the third best offensive couple (Nilmar-Rossi) the yellow submarine has only scored seven goals in liga during the new year, and that’s just the 13th best mark at Primera División.

And it’s that for the third time on the season Villarreal has spent two straight matchdays without scoring at least two goals per match. This after defeating RCD Espanyol with a 1-0 score and losing to UD Levante by a narrow 0-1 The previous occasions were the 1-3 loss at Barcelona (matchday 11)  plus a 1-1 draw with Valencia (matchday 12), and a 1-0 win over Sevilla (matchday 14) plus a 0-1 loss at Getafe (matchday 15). Also, to emphasize that Villarreal hasn’t lost two straight games in liga since May of 2009: 1-4 Vs Barcelona (matchday 35) and 2-4 at UD Almeria (matchday 36).

At least Depor can presume of have defeated Villarreal in its two last visits to the Riazor: 1-0 on the past season and 3-0 on the 2008/09 campaign. Finally, the Valencians have only won three times after twelve visits to La Coruña, the last opportunity was on the last matchday of the season 2007/08 (2-0).

DEPORTIVO: TRYING TO CLEAR OUT THE DOUBTS It has been an intense week for Deportivo; the huge defeat before Getafe brought the pessimism among the fans and the week started with the strong messages written by the Riazor Blues at the walls of the Riazor. Then, it was rumoured that there was an ultimatum over Lotina in case of losing this match, though the ‘warning’ wasn’t confirmed by the club’s officials. For these two reasons the week was different as it was more intense for the players.

To make things worse, Lotina has been doubting on the lineup as he has tested three different squads within the last four days; the main problem is that the Basque manager was willing to count with Javito, but the transfer of the winger didn’t arrive on time and he’s out for the second straight week. The initial plan of the coach was to use a 4-4-2 figure, with three strikers on the pitch and with Javito on the right wing.

But by Thursday the coach suspected that the transfer was not going to arrive on time, so he changed the tactic and started to prepare a 4-3-1-2 figure; and on Saturday he changed the names in attack during the last training session before the game. And, in order to keep the mystery, Lotina decided to pick 20 players for the match, including Pepe Sand, one of the strikers signed at the last day of the market and that wasn’t called for the past visit to Getafe.

One of the few good news on the week was to witness that the injury room is finally getting empty, because there are only two players there: Saul (knee) and Guardado (thigh); Pablo Álvarez is available after surpassing an Achilles problem, while Antonio Tomás is fit to play after sustaining a hamstring injury in the home game with Sevilla FC, actually he is going directly into the starting team.

It also call the attention that Lotina left both Michel and Ze Castro out of the list for the clash at the Riazor; the Valencian playmaker was a starter in the last two games, while the Portuguese central defender is the main victim of the switch in the system plus the aggressive messages against him painted at the Riazor, this no matter that Lotina said that it was time to “support him”.

In the end Lotina is returning to play with a line of four men at the back zone; with Daniel Aranzubia at the goal; Manuel Pablo performing at the right-back position; Claudio Morel will do it on the left as he is reappearing in liga for the first time in three months, while the central defenders will be Diego Colotto and Albert Lopo.

At midfield, Lotina is presenting a triple pivote figure, with Ruben Perez keeping his spot at the starting team and performing alongside Juan Rodriguez and Antonio Tomás. The novelty is that Juan Dominguez is the playmaker in the formation; the Galician youngster had a poor performance against Getafe, but Lotina still trusting in him. Finally, Riki and Adrian compose the attacking couple.

Morel was talking of his return to the starting lineup, and also of the current moment of the team, ”It has been a long time. You always work in order to help the team, especially when you live a situation like the current one. I will try to match the expectations. The commitment inside the changing room will help us to move forward. Everything is easier when you win, but this is the moment when you see the real men. We must move forward no matter how.”

Albert Lopo was also convinced that this is a very important game for Deportivo, "We have to win, yes or yes, or in the worst case to not lose. The important thing is to find our identity, which is to not allow goals, to be able to score and have a calm game. We must keep a clean sheet in order to have a chance to win the match. It has been a tough week, not only for the things happening now, but for the past. We have spent a lot of weeks without winning; besides you have the issue of the painted messages at the Riazor, but it’s time to raise the heads. I´ve faced worse situations. We were ten points from salvation with Espanyol and we achieved it.”

List of picked players (20): Aranzubia, Manu (goalkeepers); Manuel Pablo, Lopo, Colotto, Aythami, Morel, Seoane (defenders); Antonio Tomás, Rubén Pérez, Juca, Juan Rodríguez, Juan Dominguez, Desmarets, Valerón (midfielders); Adrián, Riki, Xisco, Sand and Lassad (strikers).

VILLARREAL: THE THIRD FORCE IN LA LIGA
Everybody has been talking of Barcelona and Real Madrid and their particular race to clinch the title in la liga, but nothing has been said of Villarreal CF, a team that has found the stability under the command of little known coach Juan Carlos Garrido. And it’s that the yellow submarine has been occupying the third place on this Primera season since matchday 09, and it even spent a full month at the second spot.

The key for this stability is a solid team with an impressive offensive power, led by the third most lethal duo in la liga: Brazilian Nilmar Honorato and Italian Giuseppe Rossi, duo that combined it already scored 22 goals in the competition, which means the 53.66% of the total conquered by the team on the current liga campaign.

For the game against Depor, Garrido is recovering Brazilian Marco Antonio Senna, who has been out during the present year due to a hamstring injury sustained in December, but the midfielder won’t be a starter. Striker Marco Rubén (stress fracture) is also part of the list, but neither will take part of the starting eleven.  It must be remembered that Villarreal has to play in midweek the round of 32 at the UEFA Europa League, visiting the dangerous SSC Napoli.

But Garrido is not thinking in reserving any man for the clash in Italy, his only doubt is who will be the right-back defender as he has two options: youngster Mario Gaspar Pérez or recent signing Cícero Joao de Cézare ‘Cicinho’; it is expected that these two players will alternate the position between la liga and Europe.

About the rest, the plan is to keep presenting a 4-4-2 figure; with Galician Diego López at the goal, Cicinho or Mario at the right side of the defense, ex-Valencia Carlos Marchena joining Argentine Gonzalo Javier Rodríguez at the centre, while ex-Depor man Joan Capdevila will perform on the left-back position.

At midfield, Madrilenian Borja Valero Iglesias and Bruno Soriano will perform on the pivote functions, Artana-born Borja Valero currently holds the second best mark of straight games in la liga with 38 presentations –only behind Cristiano Ronaldo, who has 39-

Then Santiago Cazorla will be attacking from the right wing, the ex-Recreativo winger is the third best scorer of the team with five goals in liga, while Rubén Gracia ‘Cani’ will be covering the left wing. Finally, the couple at the centre of the attack will be composed by Nilmar and Rossi.

Borja Valero was explaining what the team expects to meet at the Riazor, ”Surely it will be a complicate game. Football isn’t a fairy tale. If it was it for the pretty style that we are displaying then we would have a bigger distance with the teams coming behind, but reality tell us that the only thing that matter are the results.”

Meanwhile, Bruno Soriano was saying that Villarreal must take advantage of the situation of Deportivo, ”Depor will be nervous; their situation is delicate and it could be something positive or negative for them, because the fans will put a lot of pressure since the beginning.”

Finally, Galician Diego López was not worried of the system that Deportivo was planning to use as at the beginning of the week it was said that Depor was going to play with three strikers at the starting formation, ”From this point things will be pretty thigh. This is a complicate stadium, but we are going there in order to win and willing to overcome the defeat against Levante. We are careless on how they play. The only thing that matters is our game, and our mentality should be the one of a team going out to defeat any rival.”

List of picked players (18): Diego López, Oliva (goalkeepers); Mario, Cicinho, Marchena, Gonzalo, Musacchio, Capdevila, Catalá (defenders); Senna, Bruno, Cazorla, Borja Valero, Cani, Matilla (midfielders); Rossi, Nilmar and Marco Ruben (strikers).

PROBABLE LINEUPS
Deportivo: (4-3-1-2) Aranzubia – Manuel Pablo, Colotto, Lopo, Morel – Juan Rodriguez, Antonio Tomás, Rubén Pérez – Juan Dominguez – Adrian, Riki.
Villarreal: (4-4-2) Diego López – Mario or Cicinho, Marchena, Gonzalo, Capdevila – Cazorla, Bruno, Borja Valero, Cani – Nilmar, Rossi
Referee: Rafael Rodríguez Dominguez (12 games on the season, 9 wins for the local team)
Kick-off: 19h00 CET (Riazor)
Head-to-head Vs Villarreal: 11 wins for Depor, 5 draws, 9 wins for Villarreal (Primera & Segunda)
Record at the Riazor: 7 wins for Depor, 2 draws, 3 wins for Villarreal (Primera & Segunda)

ARCHIVE NEWS FEB/11

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