Squad news


21 Jan 2012
Depor targets the winter championship as it faces a U-23 team, i.e. Villarreal B. Oltra relies on his magic quartet as Valerón returns to the starting formation. Riki and Lassad dispute the spot at the centre of the attack.

Deportivo will end the first round at the first place if it’s able to obtain a victory on this game; it means to be the winter champion at Liga Adelante 2011/12. For many people it doesn’t mean anything, but statistically it’s a powerful thing, because since Segunda División is composed by 22 teams –season 1996/97- 11 of the 14 winter champions ended clinching the promotion to the elite of Spanish football (79% of the total); the only three teams that failed were Xérez CD (season 2005/06, ending seventh), Sporting Gijón (2003/2004, ending fifth) and Salamanca UD (1999/2000, ending fourth)

And the stats are in favour of Depor in order to achieve a victory on this game; the Galicians are the leaders in the competition and are also the best local team, with 25 points added after ten matches at the Riazor, while Villarreal B is the second worst visiting team in the competition, with only six points after ten away matches; their only win on the road was achieved before the other B team in the league: Barcelona B (2-0, matchday 02).

Besides, Deportivo is the third best scorer at Liga Adelante, with 33 goals in favour after 20 matches, mark only below Elche CF (37) and RC Celta (35). Villarreal B, meanwhile, is the worst defense in the league with 35 goals allowed in 20 games, reason that explains why they are just one point above the pit; actually the only time in which they clinched a clean sheet playing away from home was in the mentioned 2-0 win at Barca B.

Finally, Villarreal B is the eighth “B squad” that Deportivo is meeting in a league competition; the previous seven were Barcelona B, Real Madrid Castilla, Atlético Madrileño CF (Atletico Madrid B), Bilbao Athletic (Athletic Club B), Deportivo Aragón (Real Zaragoza B), Las Palmas Atletico (Las Palmas B) and Valencia CF Mestalla (Valencia B). The last time Depor lost an official match before a B squad was 20 years ago: 1-3 at Bilbao Athletic (Athletic Club B) –Sept 23, 1990-

Oltra’s Depor is finally at the top of the standings, and is doing it scoring goals; the return of Riki has meant the return of the ‘magic quartet’ as he is part of a group of four men that are virtually monopolizing all the offensive stats: strikers Iván Sánchez-Rico Soto ‘Riki’, Lassad Nouioui left winger Andrés Guardado and playmaker Juan Carlos Valerón. This quartet has scored or assisted in 27 of the 33 goals conquered by Depor on the present Segunda season, which means an amazing 82% of the total.

Guardado is the current top-scorer at the team with eight goals added to his tally, plus five assists; Riki scored on the past weekend and has now five goals in favour; Lassad has seven goals plus three assists, while Valerón, who rested in the past matchday, has one goal in favour and five assists.

However, Oltra never plays with these four men at the same time on the pitch, because usually he only performs with one striker, which means that Riki or Lassad end on the bench; at the same time Oltra has always used at least two of these four players in his starting lineups, and usually he plays with three of them, actually in three of the five defeats on the season the coach was only using two of the members from the magic quartet (0-1 Vs. Hércules, 0-2 Vs. Alcoyano and 2-3 at Elche).

On Thursday Oltra left an open window to the choice of playing with these four determinant players at the same time, this since he admitted the possibility of playing with two strikers, but the general consensus is that he will keep playing with a 4-2-3-1 figure. In this sense it’s expected that Dani Aranzubia will be a the goal, Laure will return to the right-back position as Ayoze Diaz returns from suspension in order to play at the left side, while Diego Colotto and Ze Castro keep playing at the centre of the defense.

Juan Dominguez and Álex Bergantiños perform at midfield, Juan Carlos Valerón returns in order to claim the role of playmaker, Bruno Gama will attack from the right wing, Andrés Guardado stays at the left and the big question is who will be the central attacker, Lassad or Riki, both men seems to have the same chances.

For the meeting with Villarreal B, Oltra only has the casualties of Manuel Pablo and Rodolfo Bodipo; the first is the only player at the injury room, while the second is preparing the African Cup with Equatorial Guinea. Right winger Saul Fernandez is a novelty as he is returning after been sent off in Copa before Levante UD, while it calls the attention the fact that there won’t be any central defender on the bench as Aythami and Rochela are out of the game, the other discards for tactical reasons are Jesús Vázquez and Pablo Álvarez.

Riki talked before the game about the chance of been the winter champion in the league, ”It will be important to end the first round at the first place, especially taking in mind that for some people the first round was irregular. We will try to not allow goals as we’ve leaked at least one goal in the previous home meetings. We will also try to score, it’s true that on the past game I scored the goal that brought calmness, but I also had other opportunities to score more goals; the important thing is to have continuity in order to show your best stuff. The coach hasn’t talked with me, so I don’t know if I will play, we should wait for tomorrow.”

Meanwhile, Ayoze said that he doesn’t know if he will be a starter in this game, “I don’t know if I will be a starter; it’s a decision of the coach and not all the players that were suspended before have return to the starting formation. I just have to work at the top and the coach is who decides, there are other partners that can perform at the left-back position; it’s true I am the only left-footed, but there are others that can play there.”

The Canarian also talked of the winter championship, “It will be pretty to end as winter champions; it’s pretty and means that we are doing the right things, but the game is complicated and we must work hard in order to achieve the three points. What we want is to win tomorrow, the fact of been winter champions is a secondary thing.”

List of picked players (18): Aranzubia, Lux (goalkeepers); Laure, Seoane, Ze Castro, Colotto, Ayoze (defenders); Álex Bergantiños, Juan Dominguez,, Borja Fernandez, Bruno Gama, Guardado, Salomão, Saul, Valerón (midfielders); Riki, Lassad and Xisco (strikers).

Villarreal CF is living its worst crisis in nine years; the yellow submarine was considered as part of the elite at the Spanish La Liga, always among the top eight teams, at least within the previous eight seasons, but this year is different; the injuries, the poor signings and the inevitable end of a cycle has dragged this Valencian club into the abysm, currently penultimate at Primera División with only one game remaining in the first round.

The B squad, which surprisingly reached Segunda División three years ago despite only existing since 1999, is also passing through difficult times; it’s a crisis that started last year. On the season 2009/10 the boys ended 7th and last year was called to be the same, but a terrible second round almost cost the relegation, now the Valencian youngsters are following a downward spiral as the team is only one point above the pit.

The point is that, on this season, the crisis of the first team is complicating the things for the second squad; in order to save the spot at Primera the club promoted Francisco Molina to the first team, leaving inexperienced Julio Velazquez Santiago on charge of Villarreal B, then players like striker José Luis Moreno ‘Joselu’ and keeper Diego Mariño has been also used to cover the empty spots at the first team, sacrificing the B squad in the way. On Friday another example was giving as the club announced that centre midfielder Gonzalo Castellni has been promoted to the first team on a permanent basis, which means that he will no longer play with Villarreal B.

 So, the “little submarine” must not only fight to avoid the relegation to Segunda B, but also has to put its grand of sand in order to save the spot at Primera, and that could be a deadly weight for a ship that basically is a U-23 squad. On Saturday Villarreal B received another hit as it was confirmed that Joselu has been reserved for the crucial meeting of the first team before Sporting Gijón. Joselu is the top-scorer at the team with 10 of the 27 goals on the Segunda season (37% of the total).

In this sense, it’s also surprising to realize that Canarian Airam López Cabrera wasn’t picked for the game; the striker is the second best scorer at the team (4) and was left out due to tactical reasons. For this reason striker Juan Tomás Ortuño 'Juanto' from Villarreal C has been picked for the first time.

It’s expected that Julio Velazquez will present a 4-4-2 formation, even with two players from Villarreal C at the starting eleven. Diego Mariño (21) returns to the goal after been the replacement of the first team on the past weekend, Catalan Pere Martínez Sastre (21) returns from suspension in order to perform at the right side of the defense, while Jaume Costa (23) is covering the left sector. The central positions are for French Florian Lejeune (20) and Andalusian Francisco José Olivas ‘Kiko’ (23).

Captain Marcos Gullón (22) will attack from the right wing, Fernando Llorente Mañas (21) is one of the pivotes in the formation; the curiosity comes next with two players coming from the C squad appearing in attack, something that shouldn’t be a surprise as new coach Velazquez brought them: Manu Trigueros (20) and Moi Gomez (17). The first is a striker that has been performing as a left winger, and the second is a talented playmaker that represents the youngest player at the team.

Finally, the couple in attack is composed by Catalan Lucas Porcar Teixidó (21) and Enrique ‘Kike’ López Delgado, this last player is the oldest one at the team and represents the only one that already turned 24. The Salamanca-born attacker hasn’t scored yet on this season, while Lucas has three goals added to his tally.

During the week it called the attention the declarations of goalie Diego Mariño, who was born in Vigo, regarding the promotions of both Celta and Deportivo, “If Celta can’t achieve the promotion then I want Deportivo to stay at Segunda. I already received some calls from Vigo asking me to make a great game at the Riazor.” He told to Radio Coruña.

Central defender Joan Truyols, who will be on the bench, knows that the match at the Riazor is almost a utopia for them, but he is optimistic about the chances of his team, ”We play before the leader and want to add the points. We are going there for the victory, because we need the points, though we know that it will be complicated. At the Riazor we had nothing to lose, and we had everything to gain. We are young and it’s tough to compete against youth. We are willing to play, because we face a club from Primera División”

Deportivo: (4-2-3-1) Aranzubia – Laure, Colotto, Ze Castro, Ayoze – Juan Dominguez, Álex Bergantiños – Bruno Gama, Valerón, Guardado – Riki or Lassad
Villarreal B: (4-4-2) Mariño – Pere, Lejeune, Kiko, Jaume Costa - Marcos Gullón, Llorente, Moi, Manu Trigueros -  Lucas Porcar, Kike López.
Referee: Pedro Sureda Cuenca (32, 2nd season at Segunda)
Kick-off: 16h00 CET (Riazor)
Head-to-head Vs. Villarreal B: First meeting between both teams
Head-to-head Vs. B Teams: 33 wins for Depor, 15 draws, 29 wins for the B teams (liga)
Record at the Riazor: 26 wins for Depor, 6 draws, 6 wins for the B teams (liga)



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