Squad news


02 Mar 2011
Confrontation between two clubs that search for the permanence; Lotina has the doubt of who will be the playmaker in the formation, while Osasuna has problems with its central attackers.

Osasuna is the eighth best home team in la liga thanks to its six wins and five draws after twelve matches played at the Reyno de Navarra. Their only loss at home during this season was the 0-3 setback against the all-mighty Barcelona (matchday 14). And it’s that 23 of the 25 points added on the liga tournament have been conquered at their stadium. Besides, they are the home team that has allowed the lesser number of goals: only six.

Meanwhile, Deportivo is the seventh worst visiting team in the liga competition, with only nine points added after thirteen matches played away from the Riazor. The Galicians are also the eighth worst visitor in terms of conceded goals: 23

But there are a couple of stats that invites to the optimism. Starting with the fact that Deportivo has survived in recent times during its visits to Pamplona, because within the last thirteen years the Galicians have only lost three times at the Reyno de Navarra: 2-3 (season 2003/04), 1-4 (season 2006/07) and 1-3 (season 2009/0).

Besides, Deportivo hasn’t been defeated within the last three liga matchdays (one win and two draws), and during the present season only once Lotina’s team has spent four straight matches without suffering a defeat; it was within matchdays 09 and 12: 3-0 Vs. RCD Espanyol, 2-1 at UD Levante, 0-0 at RCD Mallorca and 3-0 Vs. Malaga CF.

Lotina’s Depor has only scored 21 goals after 25 matchdays in la liga; it now means the worst mark among the twenty teams competing at Primera División and is also the lowest mark at this point of the season for Lotina since his arrival to La Coruña. And it’s that Deportivo has remained scoreless in 13 of the 25 liga games disputed so far.

It isn’t a new problem as the Galicians have faced a drought of goals that has been bleeding the club since the years with Caparrós. Without forgetting the fact that the strikers at the team have only scored the 38.1% of the goals, which is the worst percentage in la liga; actually the strikers at Depor (Adrian 4, Lassad 3, Riki 2) have only scored one more goal compared to the defensive line (Aythami 2, Lopo 2, Colotto 2, Laure 1 and Aranzubia 1).

And curiously, Depor is now visiting the team that has allowed the lesser number of goals at home, which invites to think that it won’t be easy to score a goal at the Reyno de Navarra. To make things more complicated, Lotina is facing new problems with the injuries, because he is losing midfielder Ruben Pérez (knock on the foot) and side defender Diego Seoane (Gastrocnemius), while other three players were already at the injury room: Valerón, Manuel Pablo and Xisco.

Another casualty is right winger Javito, who still missing his transfer, while central defender Ze Castro and left winger yes Desmarets still without entering into the plans of the Basque coach, also right winger Saul Fernandez is out of the game, this despite he already surpassed his knee injury.

At the same time, both Juca and Michel are returning into a list after been out from the last match; actually Valencian playmaker Michel has been out from the last three games for tactical reasons and now he has a good chance of going directly into the starting eleven claiming the spot of Ruben Pérez.  It is one of the two modifications that Lotina has planned for the match compared to the previous meeting with Real Madrid.

Michel was talking to reporters and expressed his feelings after been going out and in of the squads, “I realized that on this season anything can happen, but I’m glad of been able to enter into the team and staying at the hotel with the rest. If in the end I stay out of the team then I will cheer my team mates from the outside, and if I am in then I will do my best. It’s strange that after four months out I was a starter in two straight matches and later was left out for the next three games, but am thankful with the coach and the club for been trusting in me. I can’t say anything just because they left me out for these three games.”

It is a 4-2-3-1 lineup; with Aranzubia at the goal; Laureano Sanabria ‘Laure will keep playing at the right-back position, Claudio Morel will do the same on the left and the duo at the centre of the defense will be composed by Diego Colotto and Albert Lopo. Juan Rodriguez is delaying his position on the pitch in order to join Antonio Tomas at the playmaking function.

 Adrian and Andres Guardado will play on the wings and still to be seen if Lotina decides to switch them back after the Asturian played on the left and the Mexican at the right for the clash with Real Madrid. The doubt is who will be the playmaker in the formation; Lotina said that Miguel Alfonso Javaloyas ‘Michel’, Juan Dominguez and Juliano Roberto Antonello are the three choices, but it seems that only the first two players have a real chance of been a starter, while the other modification in the lineup is the return of Riki at the centre of the attack after José Sand was the starting choice against Real Madrid.

Before the meeting, Juan Rodriguez was commenting the situation at the relegation zone, ”The latest results are bringing confidence to the squad; to see Almeria losing its games is a great thing for us. Also important is to not allow Osasuna claiming the three points in the next game.”

Finally, Lopo was talking of the importance of the meeting, “These are direct rivals that sometimes are despised and then it happens that we only go out to see them coming. It is more important than Real Madrid. We play to have more tranquility and have a more calmed situation at the standings. They are also living a similar situation and it is difficult. We must demonstrate a strong character and must be at 100%. Let’s hope our attitude will be the same than against Real Madrid or Villarreal.”

List of picked players (19): Aranzubia, Manu (goalkeepers); Laure, Morel, Aythami, Lopo, Colotto, Rochela (defenders); Antonio Tomás, Juan Rodríguez, Juca, Juan Domínguez, Guardado, Pablo Álvarez, Míchel (midfielders); Lassad, Adrián, Riki and Sand (strikers).

The away campaign of Osasuna has been more than terrible; actually the negative streak is coming from the past season as the Navarrans have only achieved two draws within their last twenty-one visits in la liga. And it’s that their last victory playing outside the Reyno de Navarra occurred on January 31st, 2010 during a 1-0 win at Villarreal CF. It is the main reason why former coach Jose Antonio Camacho was fired a fortnight ago.

It also invites to think that Osasuna’s key to survive is to clinch the 21 points that still to be disputed at the Reyno de Navarra. The problem is that those seven meetings can’t be considered as easy matches, because in the next two home games the Navarran team is facing two direct rivals for the permanence (Depor and Racing), but in the last five they are having confrontations against clubs aspiring to the European positions: Atlético Madrid, Athletic Bilbao, Valencia, Sevilla FC and Villarreal FC.

It means that Osasuna will probably need to add some points playing away from home in order to clinch the permanence; it is one of the concerns of new coach Jose Luis Mendilibar, though he already failed in his first away test after losing against UD Levante on the past weekend (1-2).

The bad news for Mendilibar is that he is losing his two strikers with more minutes on the liga season: ex-Depor Walter Pandiani and Carlos Aranda. The Uruguayan suffered a hamstring injury on Tuesday’s training session; while former Albacete man Carlos Aranda was already out of the clash due to an adductor problem; this duo combined as has scored seven goals in la liga. Other two casualties for the match are defenders Roberto López ‘Rúper’ (knee) and Oier Sanjurjo (nose fracture).

Despite the recent setback against Levante, Mendilibar is thinking in using the same 4-2-3-1 squad that lost at the Ciutat de Valencia, with the only novelty of the starting striker. Ricardo will be the starting keeper; Cape Verdean Nelson will perform on the right-back position, Ignacio Monreal will cover the left sector and the central positions at defense will be for José Romero Josetxo and ex-Sevilla man Manuel Jesús Ortiz ‘Lolo’.

The two pivotes will be Francisco Puñal and Iranian Javad Nekounam; his compatriot Masoud Shojaei will be attacking from the right wing; Javier Calleja will do the same on the left and ex-Recreativo man Javier Camuñas will perform as the playmaker in the formation. The only novelty is the presence of Serbian attacker Dejan Lekic at the centre of the attack. The former Red Star Belgrade attacker has only disputed 648 minutes on the liga season and has only scored once.

Defender Nelson said before the game that the players believe in Mendilibar after he signed for the Navarrans a fortnight ago, ”We believe on his job; we are content with his work. On Wednesday we will correspond to him and will win the game. Each week passing means more important games and now we are facing a direct rival. We need to face the game with naturalness and confidence, because this team always responds when it plays at home.”

List of picked players (18): Ricardo, Riesgo (goalkeepers), Nelson, Damia, Josetxo, Sergio, Lolo, Monreal (defenders), Nekouman, Puñal, Soriano, Cejudo, Masoud, Calleja, Camuñas (midfielders); Lekic, Kike Sola and Corominas (strikers).

Osasuna: (4-2-3-1) Ricardo - Nelson, Lolo, Josetxo, Monreal - Puñal, Nekounam - Masoud, Camuñas, Calleja - Lekic.
Deportivo: (4-2-3-1) Aranzubia – Laure, Colotto, Lopo, Morel – Juan Rodriguez, Antonio Tomás – Adrian, Michel or Juan Dominguez, Guardado – Riki.
Referee: Carlos Delgado Ferreiro (12 games on the season, 5 wins for the visitor)
Kick-off: 20h00 CET (Reyno de Navarra)
Head-to-head Vs. Osasuna: 28 wins for Depor, 11 draws, 18 wins for Osasuna (Primera & Segunda)
Record in Pamplona: 8 wins for Depor, 5 draws, 15 wins for Osasuna (Primera & Segunda)



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