Squad news

PREVIEW: DEPORTIVO – BARCELONA (LIGA)

20 Oct 2012
Depor return to the Riazor and it do it in order to host one of the best teams in the world. Oltra has a plan, but won’t make too many changes at the lineup. The Catalans arrive with big problems at defense and with the doubt if Messi will be a starter.

STATISTICS: FOUR YEARS WITHOUT DEFEATING BARCA
The Barcelona’s team of the last five years has been a steamroller crashing and sometimes humiliating the rivals in la liga. In this sense Depor has been unable to defeat the Catalan outfit within the last four years, and with a shocking 5-18 aggregate score within the last eight liga meetings between both clubs.

Actually, the last visit of Barcelona ended up with a 0-4 score; it was the only opportunity within the last five years in which Deportivo has allowed four or more goals at the Riazor. The last victory at home before the Catalan giant occurred on April 26, 2008 as Lotina’s Depor clinched a 2-0w in over a team that was playing with several substitutes as it was focused in the Champions League semifinals.

This new Barcelona with Tito Vilanova on board has continued with the legacy of Guardiola; been the leader at Primera División with six victories and one draw after seven matches, being the best offensive in the process netting 19 goals.

Meanwhile, Deportivo arrive to the meeting living inside the relegation zone for the first time on this season and after suffering three straight defeats. Not even in the campaign of the relegation -2010/11- Lotina’s team chained four straight losses. The last time the Galicians suffered four consecutive negative results was on the last stretch of the season 2009/10: 0-2 at Real Valladolid (matchday 27), 1-2 at Sporting Gijón (matchday 28), 1-3 Vs. Getafe (matchday 29) and 0-3 at Atletico Madrid (matchday 30).

DEPORTIVO: TRANSFORMING THE RIAZOR INTO A FORTRESS
Despite the difficulty of the rival Deportivo is aware that it needs to recover the solidity of the Riazor in order to increase the chances of clinching the goal for the season. Last year the Galician outfit just dropped seven points at home, and on this campaign Oltra’s team already lost five after just three games. And it won’t be easy to return to winning ways as the Galician outfit is now facing a rival that has won ten of its last eleven away games played for la liga.

For the game Oltra has stated that he has a ‘plan’, but the plan doesn’t involve to make too many changes; actually the list of picked players is the same one that traveled to Vallecas. What the plan involves is to put more pressure at midfield and base the offensive game in the counterattack.

Therefore the draw will continue to be a 4-2-3-1; Dani Aranzubia defends the goal, Laure performs on the right-back position, while the centre backs are Carlos Marchena and Ze Castro. The doubt in the formation is who will play on the left, Brazilian Evaldo Fabiano has been the starter so far, but Ayoze Diaz has big options of playing the game.

At midfield Juan Dominguez is returning in order to perform alongside Colombian Abel Aguilar. Bruno Gama attacks from the right wing, Pizzi does it from the left, Juan Carlos Valerón is the playmaker in the formation and Riki the central attacker.

The only player at the injury room is Canarian Manuel Pablo; the players out for tactical reasons are right winger Saul Fernández, centre midfielder André Santos, left-back Tiago Pinto, right-back Diego Seoane, centre back Roderick Miranda, centre midfielder Jesús Vázquez and striker Rodolfo Bodipo.

Aranzubia was talking before the match, ”To host a rival like Barcelona is always complicated, but we must remain confident, always willing to do a great game.  We do have options. We can’t think we don’t have a chance. The fact of been playing at home is giving us an option and we must seize our chances, always knowing that it will be complicated.”

Marchena said that, “I believe it’s a game to see people enjoying at the stadium as Barcelona visit the Riazor; for us it’s one more opportunity to add points and compete. When Barca arrives you try to erase all the past mistakes and this is one more opportunity for the players. It’s difficult, we all know the quality of their players, but we’ll try to compete, respecting them but without fear. We must try to harm them as they will probably defend with only a few people. You need four eyes, not just two, and all of them wide open.”

Meanwhile, Ayoze Diaz admitted that the team is anxious in order to clear out the recent negative results, “Clearly you don’t like to have a bad streak and in the end we are in relegation, but a lot of liga still ahead and we must remain quiet The good results will arrive, we will add many points and the team will reach the positions that we deserve. It’s necessary to wait and remain calm.”

Riki was explaining the way to defeat Barca, ”If we are capable of making quick combinations then we can harm Barca. One of the keys is to steal the ball and to release the counterattack. They have a lot of the ball possession and in the end the rivals barely create troubles to them, everything through the counterattack, and we are mentalized to harm them using our weapons. We do have the players to do it. We’re going out for the win, knowing the difficulty of the game, but we count with the home advantage and the public is on our side, so we’ll try to obtain something positive.”

Nélson Oliveira said that, “We are focused in tomorrow’s game, which will be difficult as we are facing one of the two best teams in the league. They have the best players in the world. It’s tough to beat them, but it isn’t impossible. They don’t have weak points, but their side defenders like to attack, and we may seize the cracks when they are attacking. I am not disappointed for not been a starter in this start of liga. I’m 21 and admire my partner Riki.”

Finally, Pizzi commented that, “They are among the best teams in the world, if they aren’t the best. We will try to harm them and add some points. You need to work harder and wait to see them not having a good day. We know it will be hard, but will try to win with our attitude and hard work. We weren’t fine within the last two games, but before the feelings were positive, now against Barca we will try to do our best in order to pick up a point or the victory.”

List of picked players (18): Aranzubia, Lux (goalkeepers); Ayoze, Ze Castro, Marchena, Aythami, Laure, Evaldo (defenders); Álex Bergantiños, Juan Domínguez, Abel Aguilar, Bruno Gama, Pizzi, Salomão, Camuñas,  Valerón (midfielders); Riki & Nélson Oliveira (strikers)

BARCELONA: MESSI & VILLA
Lionel Messi has been a common subject of discussion after an international week: should he been rested or not? That’s the question constantly being asked.  On Tuesday the Argentine star played the full ninety minutes in the match Chile Vs. Argentina and on midweek Barca is hosting Celtic CF for the UEFA Champions League; so many people believe that the current Ballon d'Or should be rested ahead of the European clash. Others are concern and believe that Barcelona will need Messi at the Riazor and ask to see him as a starter. Messi is traveling to A Coruña as part of the list of 18 picked players, but it isn’t clear if he will be part of the starting eleven.

Anyhow, Barca have more resources than Messi, after all the Argentine has only scored 5 times against the Galicians, while David Villa has already netted 12 goals in 14 league matches playing against Deportivo (2 with Zaragoza, 1 with Barca and 9 with Valencia); actually he’s the second best scorer against Depor among all the active players in the world, just behind Samuel Eto’o (13). Villa has only played once as a starter on this league, to emphasize that the Asturian striker is the best scorer coming out from the bench with three goals in four matches as a substitute.

There were no injury cases during the international break, but the team is dragging problems from September, mainly at defense: left-back Eric Abidal (liver transplant), centre back Gerard Piqué (ankle sprain), right-back Dani Alves (muscular), centre backs Carles Puyol (shoulder) and Marc Muniesa (knee), plus striker Isaac Cuenca (knee ligaments) and centre midfielder Thiago Alcantara (knee) are all ruled out of the meeting.

The casualties at defense will force Tito Vilanova to improvise on his classical 4-3-3 figure; Víctor Valdés defends the goal, ex-Valencia Jordi Alba performs on the left-back position; the other three spots at defense are improvisations, with Argentine midfielder Javier Mascherano performing as a centre-back; he should be joined in the job by Cameroonian Alexandre Song,

With Dani Alvés out the spot at the right-back position should be for promoted player Martín Montoya. At midfield, it seems that Xavi Hernández will be a starter; he could be joined by Andrés Iniesta and Sergi Busquets.

if Messi is benched then Tito Vilanova will return to the figure of the “false 9”, this means with ex-Arsenal Cesc Fàbregas at the centre of the attack. Villa attacks from the left side and Canarian Pedro Rodríguez does it from the right.

Andrés Iniesta. talked before the game regarding the importance of the meeting, ”It’s an important game, because it’s always hard after been concentrated with the national team. We can’t relax. The difference with Real Madrid should not confuse us.”

List of picked players (18): Valdés, Pinto (goalkeepers); Bartra, Alba, Montoya, Adriano (defenders); Cesc, Xavi, Iniesta, Jonathan Dos Santos, Mascherano, Busquets, Song (midfielders); Villa, Alexis, Messi, Pedro and Tello (strikers)

PROBABLE LINEUPS
Deportivo: (4-2-3-1) Aranzubia – Laure, Marchena, Ze Castro, Evaldo or Ayoze – Juan Dominguez, Abel Aguilar – Bruno Gama, Valerón, Pizzi – Riki.
Barcelona: (4-3-3) Valdés – Montoya, Mascherano, Song. Jordi Alba – Busquets, Xavi, Iniesta – Pedro, Fabregas, Villa.
Referee: José Luis Parada Romero
Kick-off: 22h00 CET (Riazor)
Head-to-head Vs. Barca: 20 wins for Depor, 16 draws, 46 wins for Barca (Primera)
Record at the Riazor: 17 wins for Depor, 10 draws, 14 wins for Barca (Primera)

ARCHIVE NEWS OCT/12

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