Squad news

PREVIEW: DEPORTIVO – BARCELONA B (LIGA)

18 Feb 2012
Depor targets a new victory in liga and Oltra presents the same lineup that trashed Hércules, with the novelty of Laure. Barca B arrives strengthened by the presence of Dos Santos and Sergi Roberto, but also has big casualties at defense.

STATISTICS: THE BEST LOCAL TEAM IN LA LIGA
Deportivo has only dropped five of the thirty-six points disputed at the Riazor, reason why Oltra’s side is the best local team at Liga Adelante 2011/12. And it’s that 31 of the 51 points added on the season (61%) were conquered at the Riazor. The Galicians are menacing to break the mark of the season 1999/00, campaign in which Irureta’s team clinched 16 victories at home only losing eight of the fifty-seven points in dispute playing on this condition.

For now the Galicians are searching for their seventh straight victory at home; the last time Depor clinched this rally was at the end of the season 2007/08 with Lotina; still the mark is far from the record in liga: 14, record clinched on the Tercera season 1974/75 and the Segunda campaign 1975/76.

But Barcelona B won’t be an easy victim, the Catalans youngsters hold the seventh best mark playing on the road with fifteen points added after completing eleven visits, though the major part of their four wins were conquered against the bottom teams: 1-0 at SD Huesca, 4-1 at CD Alcoyano and 4-0 at FC Cartagena, the other was a meritorious 2-0 success at Real Murcia.

Deportivo has met eight B teams playing in a league competition: 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), Valencia CF Mestalla (Valencia B) and Villarreal 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- Finally, the last defeats at the Riazor before a B squad was precisely against Barcelona B: 1-2 on the season 1983/84 (January, 22 1984)

DEPORTIVO: RELEASING THE PRESSURE
The present Deportivo of Oltra looks different to the hesitant team that started the season; there were many mistakes at the beginning, expensive errors that cost matches and points, perhaps caused by anxiety of seeing itself playing in an unknown and scaring league. The players and the coach were criticized and the goal of the season –the promotion- was endangered.

But with the pass of the matchdays the team settled, then, at the middle of the first round, the good results started to arrive and the team gained confidence, and that confidence brought the best from the players, which was translated into the present winning streak of Depor that put the team at the top of the standings. There was even a dash of good luck as it happened before Villarreal B, match in which the rival hit the post in three opportunities to end losing with an own goal.

Now, the critics remain in silence, while the support of the public is growing up, just to mention that it it’s expected a high attendance at the Riazor, perhaps the biggest since the sellout of the Galician derby. In the end the players already released that pressure that was suffocating the team at the start of the league; the team even has a gap of five points with the second place, so the only enemy at the time is relaxation, something that Oltra is trying to counteract with his recent speeches.

Even things have been positive regarding the injuries, the old Deportivo was used to lose members for some weeks due to the endless physical problems, now the players recover almost instantly, so fast that they barely lose a match. Last week Bruno Gama made a miraculous recovery to end as a starter and scoring his first liga goal before Hércules, just when he was supposed to be out for three weeks, and this time the miracle is Andrés Guardado, who despite the muscular problem sustained on this week, problem that should have sidelined him for one week, is now taking part of the starting formation.

In the end Oltra is keeping the same starting eleven of the past matchday, with the only novelty of Laureano Sanabria ‘Laure’, who is returning from suspension in order to claim the spot at the right-back position. Dani Aranzubia is defending the goal after surpassing the back problem that kept him doubtful during the week.

The defensive line is completed with the presence of the rejuvenated Claudio Morel playing on the left, while the central defenders are Argentine Diego Colotto and Portuguese Ze Castro. At midfield, Oltra will keep playing with the Galician duo composed by Álex Bergantiños and Juan Dominguez.

Bruno Gama will keep performing on the right wing, Andrés Guardado will attack for the left flank, Juan Carlos Valerón will guide the way at the playmaking function, and Riki will be the central attacker. The Madrilenian is one of the Pichichis at the team (8) and a new goal will mean his best mark since joining the club back in 2006.

It calls the attention the fact that Ayoze Diaz hasn’t been picked for the clash, a clear sign that Oltra is now fully confident on Morel. Xisco is out despite he already joined the training sessions, but Lassad is part of the game and is the second attacker in the list. The three players at the injury room are Manuel Pablo, Bodipo and Xisco.

Ze Castro talked during the week and was trying to control the excitement after the team broke the winning streak record at the club, ”The team is winning and people are excited, but it isn’t a thing out of this world, no one will remember if we fail at the end. We are clear about our goals, things won’t change just for been winning games. Now everything is pretty, but we must accept the hits as soon as they arrive.”

Meanwhile, Valerón was interviewed by the official website of Barcelona and he admitted that the arrival of Oltra has been a benefit for him, "It's possible. With the new manager the proposal is to want to play well, take the initiative, with combinations and possession. Personally, I’m enjoying it very much. The
arrival of Oltra has helped me"
.

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

BARCELONA B: PROMISING BUT INESTABLE
“The factory” of La Masía seems to be an endless source of talent, each year Barcelona extracts something positive from this magic kingdom, from Leo Messi to Pedro, for the present season the Catalan giants have promoted midfielder Thiago Álcantara and striker Isaac Cuenca , and for next season the club already announced the promotion of defenders Marc Muniesa and Marc Bartra.

And the endless fountain of virtue continues flowing out, for this season everybody’s eyes are on two players: French attacker Gerard Deulofeu Lázaro and Brazilian/Spanish playmaker Rafael Alcántara do Nascimento. The first made his best match of the season in the past meeting with FC Cartagena, scoring a brace and reaching five goals on the season, while the second is becoming into an important piece in attack, actually he is one of the current Pichichis at the team with six goals in favour.

Despite this virtuosism the team has been unable to find the stability under coach Eusebio Sacristán, actually Barca B can be described as the most irregular team in the league. The team began the season earning six of the first nine points in dispute, then it spent six straight matches only adding two points, later the team went up again adding four wins and two draws in the following six games, only to go down again only adding two of the next fifteen points, then things changed again as more recently the team won three of the last four meetings in liga.

Perhaps this lack of maturity is coming from the fact that this is a B squad, basically a U-23 team, with the only exceptions of 27-year-old central defender Armando Lozano and 24-year-old centre midfielder Carlos Carmona. Now, Barcelona B arrives to the Riazor continuing with the learning process of the kids, but also trying to regain the stability they had on last season, tournament in which they surprisingly ended third.

For the meeting at the Riazor Eusebio has been boosted by the fact that Mexican Jonathan Dos Santos and Sergi Roberto were sent back to the team; both youngsters has spent the last month at the first squad replacing Keita and Ibrahim Afellay, but now they are back at Guardiola’s team; however the problems are now located at defense. The first team has the casualties of Dani Alvés and Mascherano for the meeting with Valencia CF, so Guardiola has picked three usual starters at Barca B: right-back Martin Montoya, plus central defenders Marc Bartra and Marc Muniesa; besides second keeper Rubén Miño has been ruled out for three months due to a knee injury, so the defensive line to be presented at the Riazor is a total novelty.

Eusebio is trying to spread the philosophy of the first team, that’s why he is using a 4-3.3 scheme, at the Riazor it’s expected to witness a very different lineup to the one that trashed FC Cartagena (4-0), with 22-year old Oier Olazábal defending the goal; 20-year-old Ivan Balliu Campeny will cover the gap at the right-back spot; the Catalan has only made six liga appearances on the season; 20-year old Carles Planas defends the left sector, while the central defenders are veteran captain Armando Lozano and 19-year-old Sergi Gómez.

At midfield, there’s a trivote composed by 21-year-old Dos Santos, 19-year-old Rafinha and 20-year-old Sergi Roberto. Up front, 17-year-old Gerard Deulofeu, the youngest player at the starting formation, is joined by 21-year-old Kiko Femenía and 21-year-old Rodrigo Ríos ‘Rodri´. Femina is the former attacker of Hércules that has scored two goals on the season, while Rodri is the other Pichichi at the team with six goals in favour, half of those goals scored within the last four matches in liga.

List of picked players (18): Oier, Masip (goalkeepers), Oriol Rosell, Sergi Gómez, Armando, Planas, Balliu (defenders); Carmona, Dos Santos, Sergi Roberto,Lobato, Riverola, Espinosa, Rafinha (midfielders), Rodri, Kiko Femenía, Deulofeu and Jean Marie Dongou (strikers).

PROBABLE LINEUPS
Deportivo: (4-2-3-1) Aranzubia – Laure, Colotto, Ze Castro, Morel – Álex Bergantiños, Juan Domínguez – Bruno Gama, Valerón, Guardado – Riki.
Barcelona B: (4-3-3) Oier - Balliu, Armando, Sergi Gómez, Planas – Dos Santos, Sergi Roberto, Rafinha - Deulofeu, Femenía, Rodri.
Referee: Mario Melero López (5 games on the season, 3 wins for the local team)
Kick-off: 18h00 CET (Riazor)
Head-to-head Vs. Barca B: 7 wins for Depor, 4 draws, 8 wins for Barca B (Segunda)
Record at the Riazor: 5 wins for Depor, 2 draws, 2 wins for Barca B (Segunda)
Head-to-head Vs. B Teams: 34 wins for Depor, 15 draws, 29 wins for the B teams (liga)
Record at the Riazor: 27 wins for Depor, 6 draws, 6 wins for the B teams (liga)

ARCHIVE NEWS FEB/11

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