Competition news

PREVIEW: ESPANYOL – DEPORTIVO (LIGA)

20 Dec 2012
The last two places in la liga collide in the last game of 2012; Oltra was planning to switch the 4-2-3-1, but the injury of Ze Castro has changed the plans. In the end only one change at the lineup of Deportivo and it’s the forced exit of Laure.

STATISTICS: THE WORST LOCAL VS THE SECOND WORST VISITOR
RCD Espanyol is the worst local team in la liga and Depor is the second worst visitor; two facts that clearly explains why both teams are currently struggling to survive in the league. The Catalans have lost the half of the eight home matches disputed so far and only won once playing on this condition: 3-2 Vs. Rayo Vallecano (matchday 08).

Deportivo, meanwhile, is one of the two teams that remain winless playing away from home -the other is RCD Mallorca- The Galicians have added four draws on the road, while the Majorcans only added three. Currently the Blanquiazul team is dragging a negative mark of 18 straight Primera games without achieving the victory away from home. The last time this situation happened was on the season 1966/67.

To make things worse for Depor, in recent times the Galicians have faced difficulties visiting RCD Espanyol. They lost the last four matches played there, actually they have never won at Cornellà-El Prat (2 defeats in 2 games). The last victory visiting the Catalan side was on the season 2006/07 with goals scored by Iago Iglesias, Sergio & Riki (1-3).

DEPORTIVO: AWAY REACTION
The Galicians are the last place at the standings and there are two reasons for it: the large number of goals allowed (37) and the poor performance playing away from home. As it was previously written, Deportivo and RCD Mallorca are the only two clubs at Primera that haven’t won yet playing on the road. Now, Oltra’s men have to rescue playing on this condition what they already lost at the Riazor, because the outfit has missed eight of the last nine points disputed at home.

Precisely Oltra’s team was hardly criticized for its away performance during the past season; Depor broke several records at Segunda, but it was only the fourth best visitor in the league and suffered big upsets playing in this condition, like the humiliating 0-4 at RCD Alcorcón. And on this season the Galician team already suffered three away defeats allowing at least five goals: 1-5 at Real Madrid (matchday 06), 3-5 at Real Zaragoza (matchday 11) and 0-6 at Atlético Madrid (matchday 15).

Oltra is getting desperate and a sign of this is that he was about to switch the draw for the first time since his arrival to the club. This since he tested a line of five defenders during the training session held behind closed doors at the Riazor (Tuesday). But the plans were cancelled as Ze Castro suffered a relapse from his Soleus injury, a problem that sidelined him from the list of picked players.

Now, the Valencian coach will keep playing with a 4-2-3-1 figure; actually it was going to be the same squad that faced Real Valladolid on Monday, but Laure suffered a strange injury (pelvic block) after the training session and he was left out of the team. Germán Lux remain at the goal, Manuel Pablo will now perform at the right-back position, Brazilian Evaldo Fabiano plays at the left, while the centre-backs are Aythami Artiles and Carlos Marchena.

Abel Aguilar and Álex Bergantiños will perform at midfield; Bruno Gama attacks from the right wing, Pizzi does it from the left, Juan Carlos Valerón is the playmaker in the scheme and Riki, who is recovered from a thigh problem, will be at the centre of the attack.

The other player joining Ze Castro and Laure at the injury room is Ayoze Diaz, who will be out for at least five weeks. Centre midfielder Juan Dominguez wasn’t picked for the second straight time. Right-back Diego Seoane is the one replacing Laure at the list of picked players. It’s the first time on this season that he’s part of a liga game. Right winger Saul Fernandez is recovered from a thigh problem, but he wasn’t picked for the trip to Catalonia.  The other players out for tactical reasons are left-back Tiago Pinto, centre midfielder Jesús Vázquez and striker Rodolfo Bodipo.

Germán Lux said before the game that the players aren’t feeling defeated after the latest disappointing draw against Valladolid, ”I don’t see a defeated team inside the changing room, instead I see a team willing to pull things forward. We must be intelligent and fearless. In our heads the only word should be to win, win and win, because it has been a while since we don’t do it. It is going to be a game with tension, but we can win on Thursday.”

Meanwhile, Oliveira was talking of the importance of the game, ”These are very important three points for us. If we win tomorrow then it will mean an extra-life for us, it will bring tranquility. If we win then we would probably leave the drop zone, so we aren’t dead as some people may think.”

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

ESPANYOL: THE TRAP OF THE NEW STADIUM
Many clubs in Europe have been tempted to build up new stadiums in order to maximize the incomes through new business; one of these clubs was RCD Espanyol. The Catalans inaugurated the new Estadi Cornellà-El Prat in 2009and since then it has only brought problems, because it cost €75 million, which raised the debt of the club calculated last month in €144 million according to the latest financial report. They even have an embargo over part of their incomes ordered by the Spanish Treasury.

The burden forced the club to sell their best players within the last two years; on this year the club collected €19 million with winger Jose Callejón and striker Pablo Daniel Osvaldo. Just one month ago the club informed that it no longer need to sell players in order to balance the incomes with the expenses, but it seems that the news are arriving a little late as the team is struggling to survive after losing some of their best assets.

And it’s that Los Periquitos suffered a poor start in liga, with only one point added within the first six matches, which subsequently cost the job to former coach Mauricio Pochettino . He was replaced by Javier Aguirre, who hasn’t won yet, though he added three draws in three games, including the latest 2-2 visiting Real Madrid.

Many journalists are warning that Espanyol is playing with fire as this situation has taken the club from been an aspirant to Europe to now lie in la liga as one more club trying to survive. The Catalans, just like Depor, see this game as a final that can be a turning point in their miserable season. For the match it’s expected that Aguirre will present the same 4-2-3-1 formation that faced Real Madrid.

Cristian Alvarez is dragging a hamstring problem, so the starting goalie will be Francisco Casilla. Ex-Betis Javi López performs on the right-back position,  19-year-old Víctor Alvarez plays at the left side, while the centre of the defense is for ex-Depor Diego Colotto and Mexican Héctor Moreno.

Former Boca Juniors Juan Forlín joins ex-Getafe Víctor Sánchez at midfield; controversial Wakaso Mubarak, who a few weeks ago complained that referees are booking him just for been black, plays at the right wing, while Portuguese Simão Sabrosa covers the left sector. Another ex-Depor player, Joan Verdú, is the playmaker in the scheme and Catalan Sergio García is the central attacker.

One of the main problems at this team is the lack of goals; they represent the fifth worst offensive line in la liga with only 17 goals in favour; actually Riki himself (6) has scored more goals than the four strikers at the team (5). A midfielder, Verdú, is the top-scorer on the liga tournament (5). The ex-Depor man already scored three times against his former club.

Diego Colotto spoke before the game and was remembering his four years at Depor, ”I spent four wonderful years there; they treated me pretty well and left good friends. When the game is over I will have the best relationship with them, but on Thursday I will fight for other colors at Cornellà-El Prat. We want to reach the pause with a victory and keep growing. It’s the first final. The goal is the permanence. I hope that by the end of the year both Deportivo and Espanyol could be saved.”

List of picked players (18): Kiko Casilla, Germán Parreño (goalkeepers); Raúl Rodríguez, Forlín, Héctor Moreno, Javi López,  Capdevila, Colotto, Víctor Álvarez (defenders); Baena, Verdú, Albín, Simão, Wakaso, Christian Alfonso. Víctor Sánchez (midfielders); Stuani & Sergio García (strikers)

PROBABLE LINEUPS
RCD Espanyol: (4-2-3-1) Casilla – Javi López, Colotto, Héctor Moreno, Víctor Álvarez – Víctor Sánchez, Forlín – Wakaso, Verdú, Simão – Sergio García
Deportivo: (4-2-3-1) Lux – Manuel Pablo, Marchena, Aythami, Evaldo – Abel Aguilar, Álex Bergantiños – Bruno Gama, Valerón, Pizzi – Riki.
Referee: Carlos Velasco Carballo
Kick-off: 22h00 CET (Cornellà-El Prat)
Head-to-head Vs. Espanyol: 31 wins for Depor, 16 draws, 31 wins for Espanyol (Primera & Segunda)
Record in Barcelona: 7 wins for Depor, 6 draws, 26 wins for Espanyol (Primera & Segunda)

ARCHIVE NEWS DEC/12

ZAPPING

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