Squad news

PREVIEW: DEPORTIVO – REAL SOCIEDAD (LIGA)

07 Mar 2011
Lotina’s Depor searches for the permanence and despite the casualties the defensive line is living its best moment on the season, meanwhile Real Sociedad arrives with big casualties in attack.

STATISTICS: FIVE GAMES UNBEATTEN?
The last 0-0 at Reyno de Navarra meant Depor’s fourth straight game without been defeated (3 draws and 1 win), which also meant to tie the best mark achieved by Depor on this season and that was lived within matchdays 09 and 12, though in that opportunity Deportivo added three wins and one draw.

Now, Lotina’s team will try to chain a fifth straight match adding points; the last precedent at the club occurred on the season 2008/09 as Deportivo spent six straight liga matches without suffering a defeat, something that occurred within matchdays 31 & 36 (4 wins and 2 draws).

Meanwhile, Real Sociedad arrives to the Riazor living it’s darker moment, with seven defeats suffered within the last twelve matches. Still, the Basques still living closer to the first positions than to the last places; and it’s that the Txuri-urdin team is just three points below the sixth place and ten above the relegation zone.

And the Riazor hasn’t been a warm place for team, because since the season 1991/92, Real Sociedad has just clinched three wins after sixteen visits made to La Coruña; their last triumph at the Galician city occurred on the season 2005/06: 0-1 with a goal scored by Garitano. 

DEPORTIVO: THE NEWEST RESURRECTION OF THE DEFENSE
It seems that coach Miguel Ángel Lotina has to constantly reinvent his defensive scheme in order to allow a reaction after passing through a dark period in la liga. For the past meeting against Villarreal, the Basque man decided to switch back to a system with four defenders, this after making a first modification early on the campaign as the Galician team played for a couple of months with a defensive line composed by five men. It worked out in both opportunities, the last switch allowed Depor to cut a negative streak of four defeats suffered within matchdays 18 & 22, and it transform it into a positive streak of four straight games without suffering a defeat.

In those four games Lotina’s side added six points and the main thing is that the team clinched three clean sheets; actually the team currently holds a mark of 223 minutes without conceding a goal at Primera División. It is the best mark on the season as it broke the one had at the start of the campaign as Deportivo spent 212 minutes without leaking a goal within matchdays 01 & 03.

But ahead of todays’ meeting Lotina has had problems to compose his defensive line; Albert Lopo is suspended, while Manuel Pablo and Fabril’s Diego Seoane are out injured. Luckily, Claudio Morel surpassed an Achilles problem and he is now fit to play. But still, Lotina only had five defenders available for the clash, reason why he decided to pick David Rochela from Depor B, who on Saturday was a starter in the derby against Celta B. Still, it calls the attention that even at this moment the coach decided to leave Ze Castro out of the list for the match.

If within the last four games the defense has been strong the opposite is happening with the offense, because Depor has only scored two goals in the period, which is the second worst mark among the twenty teams at Primera; that’s the reason why Lotina, in his press conference, was asking to his strikers to take the weight of the responsibility.

In the end Lotina is almost presenting the same starting eleven that drew with Real Madrid on the past weekend; Daniel Aranzubia will keep defending the goal; Laureano Sanabria ‘Laure’ is performing at the right-back position, Claudio Morel is on the left, while the central positions are for Diego Colotto and Aythami Artiles, the Canarian is one of the few novelties at the starting team as he is claiming the spot of suspended Lopo.

At midfield, Ruben Pérez is returning after been rested in midweek and will perform alongsideAntonio Tomás on the pivote functions; Adrian and Andrés Guardado will be the wingers on the formation, and as it happened in the last two games it still to be seen in which side they will play.

Juan Rodriguez his advancing his position in order to perform as the playmaker in the scheme; the Andalusian played as one of the pivotes against Osasuna, but acted as a playmaker against Villarreal and Real Madrid. Finally, Riki and José Sand are disputing the spot at the centre of the attack; in the last two meetings the Argentine has claimed the place.

The three players staying at the injury room are Manuel Pablo, Valerón and Xisco, while Saul Fernandez and Juan Dominguez were discarded for tactical reasons, but Yves Desmarets is returning after been out of the coach’s plan within the last month. Finally, Javito still out as his transfer hasn’t arrived yet.

Before the game, Adrian was talking of the importance of a victory on this meeting, “In order to seize the last three draws we need a victory. It is what we want and will go out for it. We play at home, knowing the importance of the match and the win means a good opportunity to pull up the team and leave the last places. You always feel more comfortable playing at home and we have demonstrated it; you always play better than doing it away from your stadium.”

Meanwhile, Pablo Álvarez was making a comparison on the situation lived by both teams, ”They are facing a placid situation and it must be noticed that we are playing for our life. The goal is to save ourselves, and if it can be done as soon as possible, the better, so we must go out in order to bite and show on the field what is at stake. They are more dangerous as they are playing without pressure, but we are playing for our life, so our team must put the intensity and the football.”

Finally, Guardado was saying that the only thing that matters is the salvation, ”If you ask any fan, it will tell you that they prefer to win than to play pretty. The ideal thing is to play well, to score a lot of goals and win the game, but only a few teams can do that. We aren’t living a good situation and therefore it isn’t the right moment to take risks and gave things for free. We just need to add the points.”

List of picked players (18): Aranzubia Manu (goalkeepers); Laure, Aythami, Colotto, Rochela, Morel (defenders); Rubén Pérez, Antonio Tomás, Juan Rodríguez, Guardado, Pablo Álvarez, Desmarets, Míchel (midfielders); Lassad, Riki, Adrián and Sand (strikers).

REAL SOCIEDAD: WHAT IS THE GOAL OF THE TEAM?
It is the debate on the street and on the newspapers in San Sebastián; with twelve matches remaining in the schedule the Basque team only needs seven more points in order to clinch the permanence, which is always the main goal of any club that was playing at Segunda División on the previous campaign. But the team coached by Martin Lasarte has made a solid season and it’s closer to the European zone as it’s only three points below the sixth place at the standings.

Therefore the debate is between a euphoric sector that wants to play the UEFA Europa League and a more cautious group that prefers to focus on the salvation. Truly the European zone is closer than the last three places, but it must be reminded that Real Sociedad has lost seven of the last twelve matches in liga, and some people believe that to be dreaming with major goals might end affecting the performance of the team and subsequently its results.

Mikel Aranburu, the captain of the team, was giving his opinion on the issue during the week, ”We now have 35 points, and are keeping the distance with the bottom places and at the same time we still living close to the top positions. So, we are on our way to secure the permanence and will search until the end in order to add the maximum number of points, therefore the fans should be aware that we won’t relax, because we still have to play a lot in la liga.”

But Lasarte is more worried of more “terrestrial” things, starting with the injuries affecting his squad, defender and captain Mikel Aranburu is out with a hamstring problem, and the biggest difficulties are in attack as Raúl Tamudo (toe) and Joseba Llorente (back) are also out of the clash, in the end the Uruguayan coach  has Imanol Agirretxe as the only fit striker at the team. Although Diego Ifrán was also included in the list, the Uruguayan was signed during the summer and hasn’t debuted yet in liga due to a serious knee injury.

Also, Lasarte is missing midfielder Gorka Elustondo (stress fracture), but a key point is that he has recovered other three important midfielders: playmaker Xabi Prieto, right winger Antoine Griezmann and playmaker David Zurutuza, trio that combined has scored twelve goals in liga. Precisely, that trio will be the leading force for Real Sociedad at the Riazor.

It is a 4-2-3-1 lineup; with Chilean Claudio Bravo at the goal; Daniel Estrada will cover the right-back position, Alberto De La Bella will do the same on the left, and the central positions at defense will be for Jon Ansotegi and Latvian Vadim Demidov.

Diego Rivas and Markel Bergara will cover the pivote positions, Griezmann will perform on the right wing, Zurutuza is moving to the left flank and Xabi Prieto is the playmaker in the formation.  Imanol Agirretxe will be the central attacker, the 24-year-old attacker formed at the youth teams of the club has only played 71 minutes on the liga campaign, though he already scored one goal.

Before the game, Antoine Griezmann was saying that he would like to score again against Depor, ”My first goal on the season was against them, and I have spent a lot of time without doing it, so I would love to do it on this Monday.” He also gave his opinion on the debate of the club’s goal for the rest of the season, “I always look at the top, it would be a dream come true to play in Europe, but first we must clinch the permanence.”

List of picked players (18): Bravo, Zubikarai (goalkeepers); Carlos Martínez, Dani Estrada, Mikel González, Labaka, Ansotegi, Demidov, De la Bella (defenders); Xabi Prieto, Sarpong, Markel, Rivas, Illarramendi, Zurutuza, Griezmann (midfielders); Ifrán, Agirretxe (strikers).

PROBABLE LINEUPS
Deportivo: (4-2-3-1) Aranzubia – Laure, Colotto, Aythami, Morel – Rubén Pérez, Antonio Tomás – Adrián, Juan Rodriguez, Guardado – Riki or Sand.
Real Sociedad: Bravo - Estrada, Ansotegi, Demidov, De la Bella - Rivas, Bergara - Griezmann, Xabi Prieto, Zurutuza - Agirretxe.
Referee: Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz  (11 games on the season, only 4 wins for the local team).
Kick-off: 21h00 CET (Riazor)
Head-to-head Vs. Real Sociedad:  31 wins for Depor, 14 draws, 22 wins for Real Sociedad (Primera & Segunda)
Record at the Riazor: 20 wins for Depor, 9 draws, 5 wins for Real Sociedad (Primera & Segunda)

ARCHIVE NEWS MARCH/11

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