Squad news


16 Sep 2012
Deportivo target to remain undefeated; Ze Castro returns though Oltra could keep playing with the same lineup of the first three matchdays. Granada CF is living its second straight year at Primera and search for its first win on the season.

Deportivo is staring its best Primera start since the season 2006/07; that was the last season of Caparrós in a Coruña –the year of the so-called Baby Depor- with the Galician team adding seven of the first nine points in dispute: 3-2 Vs. Real Zaragoza, 0-0 at RCD Mallorca and 2-0 Vs. Villarreal CF.

Now, Depor is also undefeated and has added five points within the first three clashes. Firstly defeating CA Osasuna at the Riazor (2-0), later clinching a meritorious 3-3 draw visiting Valencia CF after been down by two goals at half-time and finally adding a new draw against Getafe, this time at home (1-1).

The Galicians are also the second best offensive line with six goals scored, just behind Barcelona CF (8). This is the sixth best scoring start for the team as only in five previous opportunities Deportivo scored more than six goals within the first three matchdays: 1955/56 (8), 1944/45 (8), 1992/93 (7), 1954/55 (7) and 1949/50 (7).

Another stat to have in mind is that Deportivo haven’t achieved a victory visiting Granada within the last 57 years. The Galician outfit has won three times after eighteen liga visits plus another one playing for Copa Del Rey; precisely the last away win over the Andalusians was conquered in this competition (1-2; April 25, 1965). The last visit of Depor to Granada was a huge loss: 0-5 (Segunda season 1987/88).

In case of repeating the lineup of the first three matchdays, Oltra will be matching  what Arsenio Iglesias did twenty-two years ago, because the last time that Depor presented the same starting eleven in the first fourth matchdays of a liga tournament was on the Segunda campaign 1990/91;Arsenio presented a 4-4-2 draw  within the first five matches of that season: Yosu - Antonio Doncel, Lasarte, Albístegi, Sabin Bilbao - Gil, José Ramón, Kanatlarovski, Fran - Joaquín Villa, Uralde.

Another stat related to this situation was provided by La Voz de Galicia; the Galician paper pointed out that, if Oltra repeats the lineup, then it will be the first time in twenty years that Deportivo repeats a squad at any moment of a liga season. Again it was with Arsenio as the Bruxo de Arteixo used the same lineup between matchdays 17 & 22 of the liga campaign 1992/93. That squad was: Liaño, López Rekarte, Albístegui, Djukic, Ribera, Nando, Mauro Silva, Aldana, Fran, Claudio, Bebeto.

But there’s a doubt at the starting formation that will play at Los Cármenes: the companion to Carlos Marchena at the centre of the defense. Ze Castro was picked for the first time after surpassing the hamstring injury that sidelined him since the past season. Aythami Artiles has been the starter and now Oltra has to decide who will claim the spot.

The rest of the team should be the same one of the first three games; with Daniel Aranzubia covering the goal, Manuel Pablo performs at the right side of the defense, Evaldo Fabiano plays at the left and Marchena is the other centre back.

Colombian Abel Aguilar and Galician Juan Domínguez will direct the traffic of the ball at midfield; Bruno Gama surpassed a muscular problem and covers the right wing, Pizzi stays at the left, Juan Carlos Valerón is the playmaker in the formation and Riki is the central attacker.

The two players staying at the injury room are Laure and Salomão. The latest signing to join the club, left-back Tiago Pinto, wasn’t picked due to tactical reasons. The same goes for right winger Saul Fernandez, striker Rodolfo Bodipo, centre midfielder Jesús Vázquez and right-back Diego Seoane.

Álex Bergantiños spent some months loaned at Granada when the Andalusian team was at Segunda; he explained that the rival is eager to face the game, ”Granada will be pretty motivated as they want to obtain their first victory at home, this since they have the need to add the three points. It’s a tough pitch and we play at 4PM, so the heat could affect the players.”

Juan Dominguez was warning of the rival’s potential, "They have just added one point, but at this stage of the season it isn’t so exaggerated to think that the pressure is affecting them. They play at home and I don’t know how they are. What I care is of my team and we can’t think this is going to be an easy game, but must rely in our playing style. Last year they completed a great season despite been a recently promoted team; they are keeping good players and all the games are going to be tough.”

Dani Aranzubia was cautious towards the recent performance of the team, ”Things have been fine so far, but there are things to improve. If we lost with Granada then everything will be different. The most positive result so far was the draw with Valencia, but to defeat Osasuna and to draw with Getafe isn't a big deal. We must keep both feet on the ground, because we haven't made anything yet."

Finally, Bruno Gama expects to witness a tough game for Deportivo, “It’s going to be a difficult game; they are strong at home and surely they want to win the game. It’s going to be a tough match for us, but also for them. If we do the right things then we can end picking up the three points.”

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

Quique Pina is the current president of Granada CF and marks the new reality of football. This former midfielder is also the agent of all the Udinese’s players and the sporting director of Cadiz CF; and thanks to these connections he was able to build up a team that grow up quickly at the Spanish football. Many people have criticized the procedure of Pina as he practically converted the team into a subsidiary of Udinese Calcio, but the true is that the results have been impressive.

Granada spent thirty-five years exiled from Primera División and when Pina arrived it was playing at Segunda B, and in only two years the team clinched two straight promotions that put Los Nazaríes back at Liga BBVA. Last season they were close to suffer the relegation, but were saved by the defeat of Villarreal in the last matchday hosting Atletico Madrid. Perhaps the main problem is the adaptation of the players after so many modifications; for the present season they lost ten players just due to the loan spells signed with Udinese; actually Granada is the Primera club that suffered more exits during the winter window: 17

So, the Andalusians had to hire thirteen new players, including Moroccan attacker Youssef El-Arabi, who is the most expensive transfer in the history of the club (€5 million), plus Chilean Darwin Machis, for whom they paid €3 million. This large number of changes explains why the team has had a slow start, only adding one point in the first three games, because the team still searching for an identity and to assimilate the ideas of new coach Juan Antonio Anquela, who made a name in football working for AD Alcorcón.

For the game against Depor, the Andalusians are having six casualties, the last one is substitute keeper Roberto Fernandez, who sustained a knee sprain on Thursday, In any case Anquela is able to repeat the lineup of the past week, with the exception of centre back Borja Gomez, who’s suspended after been sent off in the match against Real Madrid. His substitute will be Madrilenian Diego Mainz; he’s making his first appearance as starter on this season.

Also, Anquela is preparing a couple of modifications in the 4-2-3-1 figure according to what was witnessed during the training sessions. Ex-Racing Antonio Rodriguez ´Toño’ defends the goal; the first novelty could be at the right-side of the defense; French Allan Nyom has been the starting choice, but during the week the coach has tested with ex-Almeria man Juanma Ortiz; any of them will claim the spot.

Former Alcorcón Iñigo López joins Mainz at the centre of the defense, while Guilherme Siqueira performs at the left; the Brazilian was close to join Valencia CF during the summer, but ended signing a two-year renewal with Granada. Ex-Celta Iriney Santos and Basque Mikel Rico performs at midfield, this last player is the one that scored the lonely goal of the team on the current liga tournament.

The second modification in the formation is the entry of Gabriel Torje; the Romanian is in-form after scoring twice with his national team during the liga break. He will be the playmaker in the formation. Youssef El Arabi attacks form the right wing, Fabian Orellana, who scored against Depor on the past season performing for RC Celta, will cover the left wing and the central attacker is Floro Flores. He’s a veteran Italian attacker that scored 76 goals in 330 Serie A matches before landing in Spain.

On Thursday it surprised the comments of Gabriel Torje as he seemed pretty convinced of defeating Depor, ”Beyond worried of Deportivo La Coruña I am worried of seeing the team playing as we can. Because we can easily beat Deportivo if we can do the right things; because we must target the victory as we play at home and the fans demand the victory.”

More cautious were the comments of midfielder Mikel Rico, ”Deportivo is not a recently promoted club; it is an historic club in Spain and it’s a pleasure to meet teams like this at Primera. This is a rival of whom you should be worried, in every aspect. As example Valerón; it seems he isn’t there, but suddenly he makes a pass and ends screwing you.”

List of picked players: It will be released until Sunday

Granada: (4-2-3-1) Toño – Nyom or Juanma Ortiz, Íñigo López, Mainz, Siqueira - Iriney, Mikel Rico - El Arabi, Torje,  Orellana - Floro Flores.
Deportivo: (4-2-3-1) Aranzubia – Manuel Pablo, Marchena, Ze Castro or Aythami, Evaldo – Abel Aguilar, Juan Dominguez – Bruno Gama, Valerón, Pizzi – Riki.
Referee: Jesús Gil Manzano
Kick-off: 16h00 CET (Los Cármenes)
Head-to-head Vs. Granada: 10 wins for Depor, 14 draws, 12 wins for Granada (Primera & Segunda)
Away mark in the series: 3 wins for Depor, 6 draws, 9 wins for Granada (Primera & Segunda)



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