Competition news


13 Mar 2011
Two teams full of casualties collide at the Cornella-El Prat, but both have different goals. Lotina has doubts with Guardado and Laure, and actually the Basque man already announced that the Mexican will not be a starter in the game.

Both Deportivo and RCD Espanyol are completing a grey start of year; the Galicians have only added thirteen points in the eleven matches played in 2011, while the Catalans have only added twelve. Those numbers are only above the ones of Osasuna (12), Atletico Madrid (12), Racing Santander (12), Almeria (12), Malaga (10), Getafe (7) and Hércules CF (7).

Depor had the same grey performance in the first part of the season, but the situation was different for Espanyol as Los Periquitos added the surprising number of 37 points in the 20 matches of the season disputed in 2010. The problem for them is that they have lost nine of the last thirteen liga matches, reason why they passed from been fourth to be sixth at the standings.

The problem for Espanyol has been in the number of goals allowed; the Catalans have leaked 35 goals on the season, but 24 of them (the 69%) have been received since matchday 15, and they only clinched one clean sheet in the period. Meanwhile, Depor has allowed 36 goals on the season, 20 of them (the 55.55%) have been leaked since matchday 15, and within the period Lotina’s side has clinched three clean sheets.

Also, the visits to Espanyol have been always difficult for Deportivo; and it’s that after 38 liga visits to Barcelona the Galicians have only achieved 7 victories, and have also suffered three straight defeats there, the last one disputed at Estadi Cornellà-El Prat (0-2), stadium that was inaugurated in 2009.

The current one is the best streak of Deportivo on this liga season; the Galicians have spent the last five matches without been defeating and, despite not displaying an attractive football, the results are approaching the goal of the permanence. But now the squad is facing a different rival, one that plays its games outside the pitch: the injuries.

And it’s that since Monday the team has been struck with a plague of casualties that wiped out the defensive zone, with Seoane, Laure and Ze Castro sustained importune injuries, while Diego Colotto got suspended after picking a fifth yellow card on the season during the game with Real Sociedad.

Other zones on the pitch were also affected by this plague, this after Antonio Tomas and Riki had to be replaced during Monday’s match at the Riazor, while Ruben Pérez also got booked and picked a suspension in the same meeting. All these problems only increased the previous list of injury cases with Manuel Pablo, Valerón and Xisco, plus the weird case of winger Javito, who still waiting for his transfer (FIFA rejected the case on Friday and now the club has appealed).

At least by Saturday the doctors were able to recuperate side defenders Morel, Seoane and Laure, this last one considered a real miracle as the player sustained an ankle sprain just two days ago. In the end Lotina is facing the game against Espanyol with seven casualties, five of them are at the injury room: Manuel Pablo, Valerón, Xisco, Ze Castro and Riki, while the other two are suspended: Colotto and Ruben Pérez.

Lotina has picked twenty players for the game, because he is doubting with Laure and Guardado, this last man played three straight games on the past week after returning from a muscular injury and according to the coach he is feeling tired. The Basque manager even suggested that the Mexican winger could be discarded before the kick-off.

It is expected that the ex-Espanyol manager will continue to use a 4-2-3-1 lineup; with Daniel Aranzubia at the goal; Laure should be the right-back defender, but if he is not able to play then the spot will be for Fabril’s Diego Seoane. Claudio Morel should be playing on the left, while Albert Lopo returns from suspension in order to play at the centre of the defense. His partner will be Aythami Artiles, who is taking the spot of suspended Colotto.

At midfield, other suspended player is Ruben Perez, and his place is now taken by Antonio Tomás, who is joining Juan Rodriguez on the pivote functions. More novelties are appearing on the wings, with Riki out of action Adrian is moving to the centre of the attack, which is opening a spot at the right wing for Pablo Álvarez, while Yves Desmarets will play on the left. To mention that this is the first match as a starter for the French winger since the 0-4 loss against Barcelona (matchday 18).

Aythami Artiles was giving his opinion on the rival, “They made a great first round, but the injuries and the transfers have affected them a lot, but still, they are playing good football and we know that our team must work hard in order to achieve a victory. I don’t believe that they are passing through a bad moment despite their latest results. We won’t go out to resuscitate Espanyol; we are going out thinking of the three points and only thinking of ourselves. On this league all the teams are playing for something and there isn’t an easy match.”

Meanwhile, Albert Lopo was explaining his feelings for been facing the club where he was born in a football sense, ”For me Espanyol is and will always be a special club, for the years I spent there and for the chance they gave me in order to grow up as a person and as a footballer. It’s always special to play against them. They are currently living a bad moment, all the teams pass through this, but for some reason they aren’t like at the beginning… but all of us would love to be living their situation.”

Later, the Catalan defender was talking of the importance of a victory, ”For us winning would be very important due to the situation at the standings. We must be ambitious; if we win everything then you see things in a different way, and seeing yourself in a situation where all the teams are just separated by a few points you might end at the UEFA zone or instead in relegation. We want the three points, but as the situation is, the important thing is to add., and a point is better than none.”

List of picked players (20): Aranzubia, Manu (goalkeepers); Morel, Lopo, Laure, Aythami, Rochela, Seoane (defenders); Juca, Míchel, Saúl, Pablo Álvarez, Antonio Tomás, Guardado, Desmarets, Juan Rodríguez, Juan Domínguez (midfielders); Lassad, Adrián and Pepe Sand (strikers).

The Catalan team has been appointed as one of the revelations for the present season; at the end of the first round they were fighting alongside Valencia for the third spot in la liga, but a negative streak of nine defeats in thirteen matches have left them now ten points below the Champions League zone; actually they are close to be left out of the European zone for the first time since matchday 07as Sevilla FC is just two points behind them.

This negative period has coincided with a plague of injuries that have wiped out the squad, and now that some key players are returning the Catalans believe that it is the right moment to get back on track and take the last opportunity to clinch a European seat, which would be a tremendous goal for a club that last year only had the 10th highest budget at Primera (€50 million) –as way of comparison, Depor was eight in the list with €55.8 million-

Still, coach Mauricio Pochettino is missing a lot of players for the meeting with Depor; more precisely he is missing seven men: central defender Felipe Mattioni (knee), striker Daniel Osvaldo (adductor muscle), midfielder Jesus Datolo (ankle), striker Sergio Garcia (shoulder luxation), central defender Víctor Álvarez (muscular), playmaker Iván De La Peña (knee), plus central defender Jordi Amat , this last one is suspended.

At least, Pochettino is recovering five men: midfielder Juan Forlín (hand fracture), Raúl Baena, striker Ivan Alonso (both muscular), midfielder Javi Márquez (hamstring) and second keeper Cristian Álvarez (toe).  But in order to fill the gaps the Argentine coach had to pick two players from Juvenil A squad: midfielders Eric López and Thievy G. Bifouma.

In the end it is expected a 4-2-3-1 lineup; with Cameroonian Carlos Kameni at the goal, Javi López Rodriguez will keep playing at the right-back position, while David García will perform on the left side. Argentine Juan Forlín returns in order to play alongside Ernesto Galán at the centre of the defense.

Catalan Javi Marquez is returning to midfield in order to join ex-Depor man Aldo Duscher on the pivote functions. In attack, another ex-Depor player, Joan Verdú, will perform on the playmaking tasks, striker Luis Garcia will attack from the right wing, José Callejón will do it from the left and the central attacker will be Álvaro Vázquez.

Álvaro is a 19-year-old striker coming out from Espanyol B that debuted at Primera earlier on this season and that already scored four goals. It is a pretty strong offensive line, because despite the casualties of Osvaldo and Sergio Garcia, this quartet combined has contributed with nineteen goals on the liga season.

List of picked players (19): Kameni, Cristian Álvarez (goalkeepers); Chica, David García, Baena, Galán, Javi López, Forlín, Raúl Rodríguez (defenders); Javi Márquez, Verdú, Duscher, Manu Molina, Eric López, Thievy (midfielders); Callejón, Luis García, Álvaro and Iván Alonso (strikers)

RCD Espanyol: (4-2-3-1) Kameni - Javi López, Galán, Forlín, David Garcia - Javi Márquez, Duscher - Luis García, Verdú, Callejón - Álvaro
Deportivo: (4-2-3-1) Aranzubia – Laure or Seoane, Aythami, Lopo, Morel – Juan Rodríguez, Antonio Tomás – Pablo Álvarez, Michel, Desmarets – Adrián.
Referee: José Luis Parada Romero (12 games on the season, 9 wins for the local team)
Kick-off: 17h00 CET (Cornella-El Prat)
Head-to-head Vs Espanyol 31 wins for Depor 16 draws 30 wins for Espanyol (Primera & Segunda)
Record in Barcelona: 7 wins for Depor 6 draws 25 wins for Espanyol (Primera & Segunda)



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