Squad news


17 Dec 2012
Oltra’s Deportivo is searching for a turning point to revert the current situation; for it the Valencian coach is preparing five changes at the lineup. Valladolid, meanwhile, arrive as one of the best defensive lines at Primera División.

The main reason why Deportivo is currently the last place at the standings is because the Galicians have lost the last two matches disputed at the Riazor: 0-2 Vs. Levante UD & 2-3 Vs. Real Betis. Only in five previous opportunities the Blanquiazul outfit lost three or more home meetings in a row: 1943/44, 1964/65, 1986/87, 1987/88 & 2006/2008.

On that last opportunity Depor lost four straight home games, which is the negative record in the centenary history of the club. For the season 2006/07, Deportivo lost the last three home games with Caparrós on board: 1-2 Vs. Valencia (matchday 33), 1-2 Vs. Sevilla (matchday 35) & 2-5 Vs. Recreativo de Huelva (matchday 37). Then, on the following campaign, Lotina debuted at Depor with a 0-3 loss hosting Almeria UD.

Real Valladolid, meanwhile, is the recently promoted club that’s living the most comfortable situation, currently living only three points below the European zone. The Violet outfit already clinched three victories on the road: 0-1 at Real Zaragoza (matchday 01), 0-1 at CA Osasuna (matchday 10) & 1-2 at Sevilla CF (matchday 14).

Another fact to have in mind: Valladolid were the only team that Deportivo couldn’t defeat on their latest triumphalist campaign at Segunda. The other twenty teams in the league lost before the Galicians at least once. Besides Los Pucelanos were one of the two teams that didn’t lost at the Riazor on the past season, this after scoring a last-minute goal to grab a 1-1 draw in A Coruña. And in their previous visit -2009/10- they clinched a 0-2 win with goals scored by Mendujarin and Nauzet Alemán.

January 26, 2008; Deportivo was penultimate in la liga after 20 matchdays; Lotina was living his first year at the club and it was highly speculated that he was going to be fired if on that dawn he wasn’t able to defeat Real Valladolid at the Riazor. The Galician have had a terrible first round only adding 17 points and the Basque coach was worried as his team was the fourth worst defense at Primera.

So, he decided to switch the system into a 5-2-2-1, the ultimate choice in the quest to save his job and the spot at Primera División. It turned to be a big success, so much that Depor even qualified to Europe thanks to the impressive reaction on the second round; actually the Blanquiazul team is the only side in Spain that played a European competition after ending the first round in a relegation spot.

And all started in that home meeting against Real Valladolid; beyond the result (3-1 win, goals by Lopo, Xisco & Guardado) Deportivo left a positive impression, being solid at defense, only committing an error that cost a goal, and being pretty effective in attack. Now, almost five years later, Deportivo is searching to regain those sensations, to have the same feeling and conjunction with the Riazor in order to awake a comeback process that could lead the team to safer lands.

The only survivor at the club from the starting eleven that played in that game is Manuel Pablo; he was remembering that match, ”The current situation is complicated, very similar to what we lived in the first year of Lotina. We knew how to react and still have time to do it. Our feelings are good right now, but neither were good that day and the team made a radical change. That’s what we must do now. We must think carefully and sacrifice ourselves. I am not saying to lock ourselves at the back, but to make life uncomfortable for the rival, not allowing them to think. That switch in the system was good, but you must also look to what you have at the team and if you can switch things with the players you have.”

But on this opportunity Oltra won’t switch the system, instead he will keep playing with the traditional 4-2-3-.1 figure, though with five changes at the starting lineup, exactly the same number of modifications made for the visit to Athletic Bilbao. Four of those five changes are taking place at defense. And all starts at the goal as German Lux will be the starting goalkeeper claiming the spot of Aranzubia. More than a punishment to the Riojano man it is a reward to the consistency of the Argentine goalie.

At defense the good news is that both Carlos Marchena and Ze Castro are back and both are going directly into the starting eleven. Laure remains on the right-back position and Evaldo Fabiano plays on the left sector. The Brazilian is taking the spot of Ayoze Diaz, who’s a last-minute casualty after picking a hamstring injury in the last training before the game.

At midfield, Abel Aguilar and Álex Bergantiños will direct the traffic of the ball. Bruno Gama performs at the right wing, Pizzi returns and plays at the left flank. Juan Carlos Valerón is the playmaker in the scheme and Riki is the central attacker.

The other player joining Ayoze at the injury room is right winger Saul Fernández. Centre midfielder Juan Dominguez wasn’t picked for the game, which caused surprise among the fans and journalists. The other players out for tactical reasons are centre-back Roderick, right-back Diego Seoane, left-back Tiago Pinto, centre midfielder Jesús Vázquez and striker Bodipo. The good news is that Nélson Oliveira is back after a month out and he'll be on the bench.

Aranzubia was talking before the game of the defensive problems at the team, ”When the team is wrong the performance of the players is going down, when we talk of improving the first name in my list is myself. We’re allowing too many goals. I am not the only responsible, but one of the most important ones. I am not the only responsible, but cannot deny my implication.”

Meanwhile, Valerón was talking of the importance of the meeting, ”We must win. It’s the only thing we can do. We are the first ones that would love to live a different present, but right now we only want to win the next game, which is a final for everyone. We’re playing for a lot of things and want to see things working out, for us and for the people.”

Riki shared his opinion and points to this game describing it as a final, ”The team right now is missing confidence. At this point in the tournament we’re making things badly. The veterans at the team must be the ones pulling and trying to have an impact on the rest. Everything is different if you win and right now we’re screwed. Right now this seems to be the most important game of the year. It could mean a turning point for us.”

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

Real Valladolid is the recently-promoted club with better results on this season, many journalists have praised their playing style, but the main secret for their current performance is their solid defense. So far the Violet outfit has the sixth best mark in the league with only 18 goals allowed, only below Malaga CF (10), Real Madrid (12), Atletico Madrid (13), CA Osasuna (16) and FC Barcelona (17).

And it’s that they have only conceded three or more goals in one opportunity: 2-3 Vs. Real Madrid (matchday 15). A fact that demonstrates their consistency, totally different situation to the one lived at Deportivo. It shouldn’t be a surprise as this is the hallmark of Miroslav Djukić, a former defender that made a career at Depor and Valencia.

But the team is also showing refreshing references up front; Angolan Mateus Alberto Contreira is having a solid start of season with six goals scored so far, but the biggest surprise is veteran playmaker, Óscar Javier González, who is the Pichichi at the team after netting seven goals plus providing four assists. Centre midfielder Víctor Pérez is another revelation with his three goals, and German Patrick Ebert has also impressed on the right wing scoring three times plus giving four assists.

Precisely this last player is the big absentee of the game at the Riazor due to a wrist fracture suffered in the last game with Real Madrid that will keep him at bay until January. Therefore Djukić will have to make a forced substitution on his 4-2-3-1 figure. The spot at the right wing will be covered by ex-Real Madrid man Alberto Bueno.

The rest of the starting eleven is the same one, with Venezuelan Dani Hernandez defending the goal, Serbian Antonio Rukavina covers the right-back position, ex-Athletic Mikel Balenziaga performs at the left, while Catalan Marc Valiente and Portuguese Henrique Sereno cover the central positions at defense.

The two centre midfielders are Víctor Pérez and Álvaro Rubio, the left wing is covered by Alberto Bueno, while the right is for ex-Huesca Julián Omar Ramos, Óscar is the playmaker and Manucho is the central attacker. Last season the African scored the last-minute equalizer at the Riazor, only one of three home meetings in which the Galicians were unable to add the three points.

List of picked players (18): Dani Hernández, Jaime Jiménez (goalkeepers); Rukavina, Balenziaga, Carlos Peña, Valiente, Sereno (defenders); Neira, Baraja, Álvaro Rubio, Víctor Pérez, Sastre, Omar, Bueno, Óscar, Ruben Peña (midfielders) Javi Guerra & Manucho (strikers)

Deportivo: (4-2-3-1) Lux – Laure, Marchena, Ze Castro, Evaldo – Abel Aguilar, Álex Bergantiños – Bruno Gama, Valerón, Pizzi – Riki.
Real Valladolid: (4-2-3-1) Dani Hernandez – Rukavina, Sereno, Marc Valiente, Balenziaga – Víctor Pérez, Rubio – Omar, Óscar, Bueno – Manucho.
Referee: Jesús Gil Manzano
Kick-off: 20h00 CET (Riazor)
Head-to-head Vs. Valladolid: 30 wins for Depor, 19 draws, 31 wins for Valladolid (Primera & Segunda)
Record at the Riazor: 25 wins for Depor, 9 draws, 6 wins for Valladolid (Primera & Segunda)



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