Squad news


10 Apr 2011
Lotina debuts the 4-3-2-1 in a season in which he already used seven different schemes; Xisco will be a starter, and the coach keeps the mystery with Valerón. At the other side, Malaga is facing one of its last finals at Primera.

Interesting game, not only for what is at stake, but also for the main weakness presented by each side colliding at La Rosaleda. And it’s that Malaga is the worst defense at Primera with 62 goals allowed in 30 matches, clear reason that explain why the Andalusian side is currently living inside the relegation zone. But interestingly its rival is Depor, team that’s the worst offense in la liga with only 25 goals in favour.

Another reason that explains the complicate present of Malaga is its performance at La Rosaleda, because they have only won four matches at home, actually the Andalusians have the worst home record at Primera with only fourteen points added after fourteen home encounters. Their only triumphs playing in this condition were the games against UD Levante (1-0, matchday 11), Racing Santander (4-1, matchday 14), UD Almeria (matchday 25) and RCD Espanyol (2-0, matchday 29).

But neither Deportivo is presenting good numbers when it plays away from the Riazor, actually the Galicians have the fourth worst visiting record in la liga with only 10 points added after 15 visits. The only two away victories of Lotina’s team were achieved against UD Levante (2-1, matchday 10) and Athletic Bilbao (2-1, matchday 17).

At least the good news for Depor is that after 19 meetings against Malaga, all of them playing at Primera División, the Galicians have only lost one time, it was at La Rosaleda during the season 1999/2000, a 1-0 loss with a goal scored by Uruguayan Dario Silva, same game in which Mauro Silva was sent off. It means a decade without been defeated by Malaga; the only survivor at both starting teams from that defeat is Depor’s captain Manuel Pablo.

It has been a liga season full of changes and switches in the system for coach Miguel Ángel Lotina, until matchday 30 the Basque man has used seven different schemes on the starting formations for the liga games, and for the visit to La Rosaleda he is ready to implement the eighth formation on the campaign: the 4-3-2-1, which is a draw with four defenders, three midfielders, two playmakers and a central attacker.

So far, the two schemes that have been used more frequently are the 4-2-3-1 (13 games) and the 5-2-2-1 (9), combined it means that both formations have been used in the 73%of the liga matches, in the rest Lotina used the 4-4-2 (2), 4-5-1 (1), 5-3-2 (2), 4-3-1-2 (2) and the 3-4-3 (1).

The season started with the 4-2-3-1, but Lotina admitted later that the “pretty” style that he was wishing for was an utopia and started to test with several alternatives, in this sense he passed from the 4-3-3 to the 4-5-1 without too much success, then he decided to rescue the 5-2-2-1 that allowed the resurrection during his first season at Depor. It worked out, but only for nine games, then he switched back to the 4-2-3-1 with mixed results, now the Basque man is preparing a new scheme.

The 4-3-2-1 means a squad for the counterattack, a team searching for the velocity of Adrian and Guardado, plus the skills of men like Lassad and even Valerón, who isn’t know if it will start the game as Lotina kept the mystery during his press conference.

What it’s clear is that Dani Aranzubia will keep playing at the goal; Laureano Sanabria ‘Laure’ will perform on the right-back position, Manuel Pablo will do it on the left, while the central positions at defense are for Albert Lopo and Diego Colotto. The duo seems to be living an opposite situation, on Friday it was commented that Lopo already signed a three-year deal with Getafe, while it seems that Colotto already received a renewal offer from Lendoiro –his contract expires in 2012-

At midfield, the line of three men is planned to steal and move the ball quickly enough to surprise the worst defense at Primera; for this the idea is to locate Ruben Pérez in front of the central defenders, while Juan Rodriguez will have a double task as he will also have to mark Eliseu, Mexican Guardado will be the main output for the ball and it’s expected that he will be standing at the left side of the pitch.

Then, there is a line of two playmakers performing towards the wings, it is expected that Adrian will do it on the right, while Lassad Nouioui should do it on the left. There’s the chance that Valerón could claim any of these two spots, this was even admitted by Lotina in his press conference, but journalists expect to see El Flaco once again sited on the bench, this after the controversy lived during the week about his role at the team. Finally, Xisco will stay at the centre of the attack, this after leaving a positive impression and scoring a goal against RCD Mallorca.

There was an interesting debate about what Depor should be looking at La Rosaleda, if a draw or a win, Xisco was talking of the issue, ”We are facing a series of matches against direct rivals fighting for the permanence, so it would be important to achieve the three points in Malaga, it will be a moral boost for us in order to increase the difference with the relegation zone. Then we would be able to face the next week with more calm, without the sorrow of watching you at the dangerous zone at the standings.”

 Juan Rodriguez was saying that, “We are only thinking of the victory, because if you normally seek for the draw then you end up losing.”, while Andrés Guardado thinks that a point is good enough, “I wouldn’t sign the draw against Malaga, but to achieve the draw wouldn’t mean a drama.” The Mexican winger said.

Finally, Riki was saying that, "I don't want a draw; I want the victory. We must go out for the win and it also depends on their situation. We are going to Malaga knowing that we can win, but at the same time we aren’t overconfident. We must be mentalized to score an early goal, because they aren’t feeling comfortable and with the pass of the minutes we must be more risky, because they are at home and also need to take some risks.”

List of picked players (19);Aranzubia, Manu (goalkeepers); Laure, Colotto, Lopo, Manuel Pablo, Morel, Aythami (defenders); Rubén Pérez, Antonio Tomás, Juan Rodríguez, Juan Domínguez, Andrés Guardado, Valerón, Pablo Álvarez (midfielders); Riki, Adrián, Lassad and Xisco (strikers).

Modern football is full of cases of millionaires –sometimes billionaires- that end buying clubs for business or pleasure, unfortunately the major part of those teams end in a dead end road, and Malaga CF is clearly one of these cases. Since June of 2010 Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Abdullah Al Ahmed Al Thani is the owner of the Andalusian club and his arrival increased the expectations of the enthusiasts fans of Los Malagueños, but ten months later the team is more close to Segunda División than to any aspiration of greatness.

And all taking in mind that the budget of Malaga CF is the sixth highest in la liga -€70 million- without forgetting the €20 million spent in the signings of players like Venezuelan Salomón Rondon, who is the most expensive signings in the history of the club -€3.5 million- But things didn’t work since the beginning and veteran coach Jesualdo Ferreira was fired after just nine games.

His substitute was ex-Real Madrid trainer Manuel Pellegrini, who was joined by a wave of new signings during the winter window that included Argentine defender Martín Demichelis, Brazilian playmaker Julio Baptista, midfielder Ignacio Camacho plus keeper Sergio Asenjo, but there was no reaction and the Andalusian team has spent the last twelve matchdays inside the relegation zone, so the “exciting” project is about to fall apart after just one season.

The atmosphere is so tense in Malaga that Pellegrini already told twice the club’s officials that he would accept his dismissal, so the club is at the brink of the abyss, but this is a double-edged sword for Deportivo, because the Andalusians are now facing each game as a final, which means that they are pretty dangerous.

Despite the disappointing performance in the latest 1-3 loss against Levante, it is expected that Pellegrini will keep the same 4-4-2 lineup of that game. With Wilfredo Caballero at the goal, the Argentine veteran has claimed the goalkeeper’s role after the serious knee injury of Asenjo and also after the poor performance of Catalan veteran Francesc Arnau.

At defense, Weligton, the player with more minutes on the liga season, is suspended, therefore Danish Kris Stadsgaard will join Demichelis at the centre of the defense, it is considered a weak defensive line as the Andalusian team is currently the worst defense at Primera, Pellegrini has been so desperate that he is even using Portuguese winger Eliseu Pereira on the left-back position, which will occur again against Depor.

Another phenomena at the team is that despite the signings Pellegrini is preferring to play with the youngsters from Atletico Malagueño (Malaga B, currently at Tercera División) For this reason men like Ignacio Camacho or Edinho have spent more time on the bench than on the field. Against Depor it is expected that 20-year-old José Luis García Del Pozo ‘Recio’ will be joining Antonio Galdeano ‘Apoño’ at the pivote functions. Recio debuted in Copa Del Rey with a goal and it is a usual starter since then.

Another youngster having a big participation in the games is right winger Ricardo Portillo, the 20-year-old player will also be a starter against Depor. Meanwhile, Portuguese Sergio Paulo Barbosa ´Duda will attack from the left flank, while the two strikers will be Uruguayan Sebastián ´Seba’ Fernandez and Rondón, the Venezuelan is one of the few pleasant surprises for Malaga on the season as he already scored 12 goals in 24 liga presentations

Duda was talking before the meeting with Deportivo, ”It is a team that’s down there with us; we know of their quality and the players they have, but they are also playing for their life, just like us. We must work hard and avoid any surprise on Sunday. This is a war and the important thing is to continue solid at home and to achieve the three points, if we add the win then it will be an important step toward the salvation.”

Defender Jesús Gámez was also talking of the importance of this match, ”We are in the final phase and on Sunday we have one of the most important games that still left. Depor is a direct rival and if we win then we will put them in the same group than us, and that is interesting. As the more teams we have there, the better, we will see who the weakest team is. Deportivo is coming after an important away victory, which gave them confidence, but here they will meet a Malaga that’s willing to achieve the victory.”

List of picked players (19) Caballero, Arnau (defenders); Jesús Gámez, Demichelis, Kris, Malagueño, Gaspar, Sandro Silva (defenders); Apoño, Maresca, Duda, Eliseu, Camacho, Portillo, Recio (midfielders); Seba Fernández, Quincy, Rondón and Juanmi (strikers).

Malaga (4-4-2) Caballero - Jesús Gámez, Demichelis, Kris, Eliseu - Portillo, Apoño - Recio, Duda - Seba Fernández, Rondón
Deportivo: (4-3-2-1) Aranzubia – Laure, Colotto, Lopo, Manuel Pablo – Juan Rodriguez, Ruben Pérez, Guardado – Adrián, Lassad – Xisco.
Referee: Miguel Ángel Pérez Lasa (14 games on the season, only 3 wins for the visiting team)
Kick-off: 17h00 CET (La Rosaleda)
Head-to-head Vs. Malaga: 11 wins for Depor, 7 draws, 1 win for Malaga (Primera)
Record at La Rosaleda: 2 wins for Depor, 6 draws, 1 win for Malaga (Primera)



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