Squad news

PREVIEW: ATLETICO – DEPORTIVO (LIGA)

09 Dec 2012
The best local team among the big leagues in Europe entertains one of the three Spanish clubs that haven’t won’t yet on the road. Falcao waits for a young couple at the centre of the defense. Salomão is back and will be on the bench.

STATISTICS: PERFECT AT HOME
Atlético Madrid is the only club among the big leagues in Europe that has won all their official matches disputed at home during this season; so far Los Colchoneros have won the 11 matches disputed at the Calderón stadium: seven in liga, three in the UEFA Europa League and one in Copa Del Rey. Atlético is also completing a great season at Primera, because despite the recent defeat in the Madrilenian derby, they’re the runners-up in the competition, though eight points behind leaders FC Barcelona.

Besides, Deportivo have suffered a lot visiting Atletico Madrid; the Galicians already won five times there, but it turns out that they have lost in eight of the last nine visits to the Madrilenians, including the last seven ending scoreless in five opportunities within the period. The last victory at the Calderón was on the season 1999/2000, the year of the liga title with a goal of Victor and a brace of Makaay (1-3).

Atlético is one of the four clubs at Primera that have scored more goals than Deportivo; the Madrilenians have netted twenty-nine goals, while the Galicians twenty-one. The big difference is the defense. Depor have allowed 31 goals, Atletico less than the half (13).

Finally, Deportivo is having a negative run playing outside home; the Galicians are one of the three teams that haven´t won yet playing on the road (the others are Valencia and Mallorca). Depor have played 17 straight Primera meetings outside the Riazor without adding a victory (nine draws and eight defeats).  It’s the worst mark since the season 1966/67 (18). But Depor have at least scored once within its last 10 away meetings (3 at Segunda and 7 at Primera), it’s just four games away of tying the mark of the season 2002/03: 14 straight away matches scoring goals.

DEPORTIVO: MISSION IMPOSSIBLE?
Things aren’t looking good at Deportivo: one of the worst starts in liga, a lot of goals allowed, plus doubts regarding the decisions of the coach are the main reasons for the pessimism among the fans. Now Depor travel to the Calderón stadium, place where they lost the last seven meeting facing Atletico Madrid, a team that has had its best start ever in liga, being the only team having a perfect mark at home and that currently represents the third best offense in the tournament.

And there are more problems for Depor, because the errors at defense are now joined by the fact that three of the centre-backs are out of the game –Aythami, Ze Castro and Marchena- so coach Oltra will have to improvise with a couple of ‘rookies’ that haven’t played together yet and that haven’t added five games in liga: 21-year-old Roderick Miranda and 19-year-old Pablo Insua. The first is trying to find the opportunities that he never met at SL Benfica and the second is just making his first steps at the first team after a long career at the youth teams of the club.

In resume, Oltra is not only is trying to stop the bleeding at defense that has cost so many points, but also must do it against the best local team in Europe and must do it relying in a couple of young players that will perform at the centre of the defense. Surely a task that many people may describe as a mission impossible.

At least the players are assuming the situation as a challenge; as centre midfielder Abel Aguilar described the scene during the week, ”We can’t travel to the Calderón stadium thinking that if we lose then nothing will happen just because it’s a big team. We’re living a situation that’s forcing us to think otherwise. We must go there in order to win. We must think that we have enough squad to win there. When things are wrong then it’s the moment to have more confidence in the daily work.”


Another novelty for the game is that Pizzi is out of the clash as Atletico is his parent club; his spot at the left wing will be covered by Javier Camuñas. The ex-Villarreal already had a first chance to replace the Portuguese man during the home meeting with Levante UD (0-2), and the true is that he didn’t match the expectations.

The rest of the team should be the same 4-2-3-1 scheme that faced Real Betis; Dani Aranzubia defends the goal, Laure covers the right-back position, while Ayoze Diaz performs on the left side. Álex Bergantiños and Abel Aguilar are the centre midfielders, Bruno Gama attacks from the right wing, Valerón is the playmaker at the squad and Riki the central attacker.

The four players at the injury room are centre-backs Carlos Marchena and Ze Castro, right winger Saúl Fernandez plus striker Nélson Oliveira. The three players out for tactical reasons are left-backs Evaldo and Tiago Pinto, plus right-back Diego Seoane

Álex Bergantiños commented about the problems in defense, ”Our weakest point is the large number of goals allowed. Against Betis, we made 30 or 40 spectacular minutes both at defense and attack, but they scored in their lonely chance. We must be more alert with the marks. Those inaccuracies are always seized by the rivals at Primera. We didn’t allow too many chances, but those few opportunities are too clear and are seized by the rivals.”

List of picked players (18): Aranzubia, Lux (goalkeepers); Laure, Manuel Pablo, Roderick, Insua, Ayoze (defenders); Álex Bergantiños, Juan Domínguez, André Santos, Abel Aguilar, Jesús Vázquez, Bruno Gama, Salomão, Camuñas, Valerón (midfielders); Riki & Bodipo (strikers)

ATLETICO: THE YEAR OF THE TIGER
In a world divided between Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, the figure of Radamel Falcao has emerged as a powerful goal-scorer capable of breaking records without needing to play for Barca or Real Madrid. El Tigre was the main force that lead FC Porto to conquer the UEFA Europa League 2010/11 establishing in the process a new goal-scoring record of 17 goals in 14 games during the tournament. His move to Atletico Madrid during the past season brought all kinds of criticism due to the €40 million that were paid.

But all that criticism was silenced as the Colombian marksman scored 36 goals in his first year at Madrid, the highest mark by any player in a first season playing for Los Rojiblancos. Falcao by himself, and this time joined by the impulse for the arrival of coach ’Cholo’ Simeone, lead the team to conquer the UEFA Europa League and later the UEFA Super Cup.

The good run of Falcao seems to be endless and currently he’s the third best scorer at Primera División (11) and one of the main factors that explains why Atletico is the runners-up in the league. The striker even had time to claim a protagonic role in the resurrection of Colombia, nation that has been the sensation in the FIFA South American qualifying round. In the end Radamel is ending the year 2012 as the fourth best scorer in the world according to the IFFHS, just behind Messi, Neymar and Ibrahimovic.

The team is arriving upset to the meeting against Depor after the painful defeat in the Madrilenian derby, but also refreshed as Simeone rested half of the starting squad during the UEFA Europa clash against Czech club FC Viktoria Plzeň (0-1 loss). For the game against the Galicians, Atletico’s coach will keep the 4-4-2 figure.

There are a few novelties at defense due to the injuries and suspensions. Belgian Thibaut Courtois defends the goal, ex-Osasuna Juan Francisco Torres ´Juanfran´ performs at the right-back position; ex-Depor Filipe Luis is back from a hamstring problem and will play at the left side, Miranda is suspended, so ex-Getafe ’Cata’ Diaz is joining Diego Godin at the centre of the defense.

Former Las Palmas Mario Suárez returns from suspension and joins Gabriel Fernández ´Gabi´ at midfield territory; Turkish Arda Turan attacks from the left wing, 20-year-old Jorge Resurreción ´Koke´ covers the right flank, while Diego Costa joins Falcao in attack.

The Colombian was dragging a hamstring problem but in the end he’s fit to play and will be a starter. The Brazilian, meanwhile, is coming from a difficult week. He had issues with different players of Real Madrid during the derby and was sent off in midweek in the Europa League game.  Still, Simeone trusts in him.

Ex-Depor Adrian, who scored 12 goals in 92 liga games at the Galician club, will be on the bench. He talked before the meeting and said that, ”For me it’s special to face Deportivo, my former club and the place where I learned a lot. I have many friends there. I am eager to see and face them. Clearly they need the points because things haven’t been so good for them, but we also need the points. I want to see my team winning and hopefully they’ll win all the games after Sunday. It’s an important match for us after suffering two straight defeats.”

List of picked players (18): Asenjo, Courtois (goalkeepers); Pulido, Cata Diaz, Godín, Juanfran, Filipe, Manquillo (defenders); Arda Turan, Gabi, Emre, Mario Suárez, Tiago, Koke, Raúl García (midfielders); Diego Costa, Adrián & Falcao (strikers).

PROBABLE LINEUPS
Atletico Madrid: (4-4-2) Courtois – Juanfran, Cata Diaz, Godín, Filipe – Koke, Mario Suárez, Gabi, Arda Turan – Diego Costa, Falcao.
Deportivo: (4-2-3-1) Aranzubia – Laure, Roderick, Insua, Ayoze – Abel Aguilar, Álex Bergantiños – Bruno Gama, Valerón, Camuñas – Riki.
Referee: Alejandro Hernández Hérnandez
Kick-off: 19h00 CET (Vicente Calderón)
Head-to-head Vs. Atletico: 26 wins for Depor, 17 draws, 43 wins for Atletico (Primera & Segunda)
Record in Madrid: 5 wins for Depor, 6 draws, 32 wins for Atletico (Primera & Segunda)

ARCHIVE NEWS DEC/12

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