Squad news


26 Aug 2012
Depor visits one of the toughest stadiums in the league and is dragging the doubts of last season’s away matches. Valencia is repeating the same squad that drew against Real Madrid, including ex-Deportivo Guardado.

Deportivo has been unable to defeat Valencia CF within the last twelve meetings playing for la liga, in the period the Blanquiazul outfit lost eight times only adding four draws; the last time the Galicians were able to defeat Los Ches was on the Primera season 2004/05: 2-1 win at Mestalla with goals scored by Scaloni and Víctor.

But different has been the history in Copa Del Rey, because Depor has eliminated Valencia twice within the same period clinching two wins and two draws in four matches, in this competition the Galicians were able to achieve their last victory at Mestalla: 1-2 on the campaign 2009/10 with goals scored by Guardado and Pablo Álvarez.

Last week it was explained that in recent decades Deportivo has had strong starts at Primera División, this due to the results achieved in the liga opening games, and now the same idea can be applied to matchday 02, because since the previous promotion to Primera (1991-92) Depor have only lost three of the twenty matches corresponding to matchday 02. These losses were: 0-4 at Compostela (95/96), 1-3 Vs. Osasuna (04/05) and 0-1 at Villarreal CF (08/09).

Last season Deportivo broke all the marks at Segunda División on its way back to the elite of Spanish football, but it didn’t mean that everything was a bed of roses, and it’s that if the team failed in something it was during the away meetings. Eight of the nine losses on last year occurred with the team playing on the road, some of them were really painful defeats, like the 0-4 defeat visiting AD Alcorcón; the worst part of all this was the negative impression left by a team that looked very different to the one performing at the Riazor.

This negative impression was carried back to the pre-season that just ended with Deportivo having pretty bad games like the losses at Pacos de Ferreira (0-2) and Sevilla CF (0-2). Oltra’s team looked thick and lacking ideas in attack, which recalled the disappointing performances of last year.

And now the team faces its first official away meeting and it does it visiting the team that has ended third within the last three tournaments, beyond that it’s the case of a Valencia CF that have transformed the Mestalla into a real fortress. And it’s that Los Ches have only lost 9 of the last 57 liga meetings disputed at home, an impressive mark only improved by giants Real Madrid and Barcelona.

Riki was talking of the issue and assured that Depor will go out for the win no matter where the team plays, ”We are conscious that the team needs to correct some things, also that in the game against Osasuna there were phases in which we didn’t have too many problems, while in Valencia we’ll need more regularity. We are going out for the victory in all the games; we can’t speculate; we´ve a great team and, independently of the field, there won’t be any problem in seeing us going out with the same ideas.”

A new signing, Abel Aguilar, is sharing his opinion, ”We’re going out for the victory in all the matches, we can’t speculate. There’s a solid group, a great team, and as long as there’s intensity, and if the ideas are settled, then there won’t be any problem; no matter the field we must go out having the same ideas.”

Clearly it isn’t an easy task, but Oltra is hopeful that the team will make a decent effort and is planning to repeat the same lineup of the opening day against Osasuna, which means the classical 4-2-3-1 figure. Daniel Aranzubia stays at the goal; the ex-Athletic man reached the mark of 300 liga matches on the past weekend (262 at Primera and 38 at Segunda).

Captain Manuel Pablo is covering the right-back position, Brazilian Evaldo Fabiano stays at the left sector. Carlos Marchena returns to Mestalla in order to face his former club; he played 230 liga games wearing Valencia’s shirt. The Andalusian will be joined by Aythami Artiles at the central positions.

Juan Dominguez will continue to be the only Galician player at the starting formation; he will be joined by Colombian Abel Aguilar at midfield territory. The playmaker in the scheme will be Juan Carlos Valerón; El Flaco have scored once against the Valencians, it was at the Riazor during the 2-1 win over Los Ches on the season 2003/04.

The wings will continue to be territory for the only two Portuguese players at the starting team: Bruno Gama, who will be attacking by the right, and Luis Miguel Afonso ‘Pizzi’, who will do it by the left. Finally Riki is the central attacker. A curiosity is that the Madrilenian has never scored a goal against Valencia wearing Depor’s shirt, neither in Copa nor in la liga.

Laure and Diogo Salomão are the two players staying at the injury room, Ze Castro already joined the trainings, but he lacks match fitness and isn’t part of the trip to Valencia. Once again Jesús Vázquez, Bodipo, Saul, Juan Carlos and Diego Seoane weren’t picked due to tactical reasons. Lendoiro said during the week that Vázquez and Saul are at the door out, while the club is trying to close loan agreements for youngsters Juan Carlos and Seoane.

Marchena talked before the game and commented the fact that Pellegrino is the new coach of Valencia, ”Let’s imagine how things have changed at Valencia since my departure as the new coach was my partner. He brings the character that he had when he was a player; he brings order and discipline and will try to play well. It’s a place where I spent a lot of time, they treated me pretty well, but I return wearing another shirt and defending other interests, and we need to forget all these details when we are on the pitch.”

Finally, Pizzi was praising the level of the rival, “Valencia has a strong team, with big players and an attacking line that’s pretty strong. It will be difficult to win or draw there, but we are traveling with the intention of repeating the good job we did against Osasuna. We´ll try to win and bring joy to our fans.”

List of picked players: (18) Aranzubia, Lux (goalkeepers); Manuel Pablo, Roderick, Marchena, Aythami, Ayoze, Evaldo (defenders); André Santos, Álex Bergantiños, Juan Dominguez, Abel Aguilar Bruno Gama, Pizzi, Camuñas, Valerón (midfielders); Riki and Nélson Oliveira (strikers)

Things are becoming boring in Valencia; within the last three seasons the team has been trapped in the middle of two worlds. Unable to catch giants Real Madrid and Barcelona, Los Naranjeros have had to content themselves with the fact of surpassing the other seventeen teams in the league, which for a large part of the public is no longer enough.

With this in mind it wasn’t surprising to witness so many protests against former coach Unai Emery, who left to Russia in the middle of the indifference of the public opinion and despite been the architect of the team that has escorted the two giants in the league. He was replaced by Mauricio Pellegrino, a veteran player that’s just living his first experience as a head coach.

Despite not been considered a real candidate to the title, the true is that Valencia have built up a very competitive squad. It opened the door to the player that didn’t count for Emery, but kept importance pieces like Roberto Soldado, while it completed the final transfer of playmaker Sergio Canales. It reinforced the attack with the arrivals of Nelson Haedo Valdez and ex-Depor Andrés Guardado, but also strengthened the defense with the capture of right-back João Pereira and left-back Aly Cissokho.

Definitely it’s a team strong enough to continue with the ‘tradition’ of the third place and perhaps to reach the final stages of the UEFA Champions League, the question is if the fans will continue accepting this situation or if they will continue protesting as it happened throughout the era of Emery.

Striker Jonas Gonçalves was commenting the issue during this week, ”We are working hard in order to make one step forward and surpass what we did last season; we are hopeful that things will work out and are wishing to go until the end. The president –Manuel Llorente- spoke to us regarding the goals for the season and he was pretty content after the draw with Real Madrid.”

For the visit of Depor, Pellegrino will name an unchanged team compared to the one that drew with Real Madrid; it’s a 4-4-2 figure. Brazilian Diego Alves defends the goal, new signing João Pereira defends the right side; he will have a duel with his compatriot Pizzi. Jeremy Mathieu performs at the left-back position; the Frenchman scored a goal in the last visit of Depor to Mestalla.

The central positions at defense are for Portuguese Ricardo Costa and former Espanyol man Víctor Ruiz. Argentine Alberto ‘Tino’ Costa will join new signing Fernando Gago at the pivote positions. The former Real Madrid cost €4 million to Valencia.

French Sofiane Feghouli attacks from the left wing, while ex-Depor Andrés Guardado is facing his former team for the first time. He will attack from the left wing. Finally, the couple in attack is composed by Jonas and Roberto Soldado. It’s an interesting couple called to make important things on this season.

28-year-old Jonas arrived to Valencia two seasons ago; on his first year he only scored three goals in thirteen matches, but last season he netted ten goals in 34 presentations and also scored the goal against Real Madrid. Soldado, meanwhile, has scored ten or more goals in each one of the last five Primera seasons. The Valencian also scored three goals in the EURO 2012 and has netted four goals against Depor: two with Osasuna, one with Getafe and one with Valencia, this last one on the day of Deportivo’s relegation to Segunda.

Pellegrino will release the list of picked players until Sunday; there are two doubtful players due to injury reasons: left winger Pablo Piatti (tonsillitis) and centre back Adil Rami (foot knock). Meanwhile, winger Pablo Hernández will probably skip the clash as he’s negotiating his exit to Swansea City, the same goes with striker Paco Alcácer, who is close to join Getafe CF.

Guardado talked before the game and assured that he won’t celebrate any goal against Deportivo, “I wouldn’t celebrate a goal; I respect them and they respect me. I spent five wonderful years there and it would be nasty to celebrate. It’s going to be special; I wasn’t expecting to face my former partners so early and it’s going to be pretty for me, because I left many friend over there, my last year at Depor was cool, but now I defend other colours, other entity, so our goal is to obtain a positive result against them.”

List of picked players: It will be released until Sunday.

Valencia: (4-4-2) Alves – Pereira, Ricardo Costa, Victor Ruiz, Mathieu – Feghouli, Gago, Tino Costa, Guardado – Jonas, Soldado.
Deportivo: (4-2-3-1) Aranzubia – Manuel Pablo, Marchena, Aythami, Evaldo – Juan Dominguez, Abel Aguilar – Bruno Gama, Valerón, Pizzi – Riki.
Referee: Carlos Velasco Carballo
Kick-off: 23h00 CET (Mestalla)
Head-to-head Vs. Valencia: 26 wins for Depor, 17 draws, 45 wins for Valencia (Primera & Segunda)
Record at Mestalla: 9 wins for Depor, 7 draws, 28 wins for Valencia (Primera & Segunda)



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