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PREVIEW: DEPORTIVO – CELTA (LIGA)

15 Mar 2013
Dramatic Galician derby as both Depor and Celta fight to survive at Primera División; Riki returns and Marchena is doubtful. Celta arrive to the Riazor trying to change their poor numbers as a visiting team.

STATISTICS: POOR LOCAL, POOR VISITING TEAM
For the second time in the history Deportivo and RC Celta are colliding at Primera División occupying the last two places at the standings; and if there’s a crucial factor defining their season it is the condition in which they are facing this new edition of the Galician derby. And it’s that Depor is the worst local team in the league .together with Real Zaragoza- while Celta is the second worst visiting team in the tournament.

The Blanquiazul outfit has only clinched three wins at home: 2-0 Vs. CA Osasuna (matchday 01), 1-0 Vs. RCD Mallorca (matchday 10) and 1-0 vs. Malaga CF (matchday 18). The club from Vigo, meanwhile, has only added four points after fourteen matches on the road: 1-0 at Real Zaragoza (matchday 13) and 1-1 at Malaga CF (matchday 20). It clearly explains why these two clubs are currently living at the bottom of the standings.

This is the Galician derby No. 119 playing for all the official competitions in Spain (Primera, Segunda, Segunda B, playoffs and Copa Del Rey). Depor have won 43 games, Celta won 46 and there were 29 draws. Depor have scored 170 goals and Celta 177.

Deportivo are also coming to this derby after clinching two victories and one draw between the last three Galician derbies. The last time the Blanquiazul outfit spent four or more straight derbies without defeats was between 1998 and 2000, time when they spent five derbies without bean beaten by their nemesis (three in liga and two in Copa Del Rey).

DEPORTIVO: THE LAST TRAIN
Depor have been postponing for months the needed victories in order to clinch the permanence, but those victories never came. The last victory form them was in the first matchday of 2013 against Malaga CF. Now the Blanquiazul outfit has reached the end of the rope. There’s no tomorrow as they need positive results in the coming three games against direct rivals, starting the next one, which is no other than the Galician derby against RC Celta.

Captain Manuel Pablo clearly explained the scenario during the week, “We play for more things than Celta. It’s our last chance. We need to clinch a comeback of epic proportions. If we don’t win then it will be definitive. The salvation would be a miracle, though things are also complicated at this moment.”

For the match coach Fernando Vázquez has been boosted by the news that he can count with striker Riki, the Pichichi at his team, plus Carlos Marchena, one of his normal starters at the centre of the defense. Both men should be going directly into the starting eleven after missing the last game visiting FC Barcelona.

However, Marchena isn’t at 100%; on Wednesday he didn’t train due to flue, and on Thursday he only completed part of the training due to a back problem. For this reason Vázquez decided to pick 19 players for the game. Pablo Insua has been picked for the clash and could be a starter in case that Marchena isn’t fit to play.

It’s a 4-2-3-1 formation with Daniel Aranzubia covering the goal, Sílvio Azevedo covers the right-back position, Ayoze Díaz returns and covers the left side; the central positions depend on the status of Carlos Marchena; if he’s fit then the ex-Valencian will join Aythami Artiles, if not it will be Pablo Insua.

Insua talked before the game about disputing a derby with the first team, ”It would be a dream, besides to do it at the Riazor, place where I haven’t played yet. At the youth teams you don’t find the same intensity of these games, but the derbies that I played with the youth teams were pretty good.”

Another doubt is who will play at midfield, Colombian Abel Aguilar seems to have a fixed spot, the question is who could be his partner: Brazilian Paulo Assunção or Galician Juan Dominguez. Vázquez didn’t give any clue during the training, which is common on him. What seems pretty clear is the attacking positions: The right wing is territory for Bruno Gama, the left flank is for Pizzi, the playmaking function is for Juan Carlos Valerón and Riki is the central attacker.

The three players staying at the injury room are right-back Laure, plus centre-backs Ze Castro and Kaká. The players out for tactical reasons are centre midfielders André Santos, Jesús Vázquez and left-back Evaldo Fabiano. Left winger Diogo Salomão was dealing with a groin problem, but was fit enough to enter into the list.

Pizzi commented on Friday that, ”It’s an important game for everybody, a derby, we will see a lot of tension and a lot of excitement; nobody wants to lose and both sides want to bring joy to their fans. We must face the game with calm, because this club deserves to stay at Primera. We are in bad shape, winless since the first game in January, it’s a complicate situation and we forgot what it’s to win, so what we want is to win and bring joy, because we are down there several points below the rivals.”

Finally, Abel Aguilar said that, ”We must win in any possible way, the victory is beyond any other thing. This is my first derby and I hope it will be favorable to us. It’s a pretty game and the right moment to change the path. The victory is extremely important, because it would bring confidence and because we need the points.”

List of picked players (19): Aranzubia, Lux (goalkeepers); Sílvio, Manuel Pablo, Marchena, Aythami, Insua, Ayoze (defenders); Álex Bergantiños, Abel Aguilar, Juan Domínguez, Assunção, Bruno Gama, Pizzi, Salomão, Camuñas, Valerón (midfielders); Riki & Nélson Oliveira (strikers)

CELTA: NARROW DEFEATS
Many analysts are convinced that, despite their current position at the standings, RC Celta represent a team that display an acceptable football and that’s a coherent block on the pitch, and the main argument for this idea is the fact that 12 of the 16 losses on the liga season have been narrow scores, in three opportunities they lost by two goals and only once by three (1-4 at Sevilla CF). As a way of comparison, Depor have lost the same number of matches, but only six were narrow losses.

So, in the major part of the matches Los Olivicos were always in the fight trying to get a positive result until the final minute. The problem is that Celta haven’t been able to figure how to end clinching those positive results and for that reason they are joining Deportivo at the bottom of the table. Besides, another weakness is when they perform away from Balaídos, because they only added four points playing in this condition.

New boss Abel Resino wants to break the spell and knows that the derby is a big opportunity to make a big step towards the salvation, though he won’t make too many modifications compared to the team that lost at Balaídos against Real Madrid. The system is a 4-1-4-1 figure, with Javi Varas covering the goal.

The casualties at defense are forcing to witness several novelties; Latvian Vadim Demidov joins Venezuelan Andrés Túñez at the centre of the defense, Roberto Lago covers the right-back position and Jonathan Castro ‘Jonny’ plays at the right side.

Jonny is a special case worth to mention; he’s replacing injured right-back Hugo Mallo and represents the youngest player of Celta that will play a Galician derby at Primera. He’s 19 (and 12 days). This is his tenth match with the first team. About the issue the player commented that, ”It’s a weird stat, but it’s good to make history. It’s a special game, not only for been a derby, but also for the meaning of the match, because we can remain in the fight and, at the same time, rule out a direct rival.”

Veteran Borja Oubiña remains as the only pivote in the scheme; he’s the player with more Galician derbies with the first team of RC Celta (6). Croatian Danijel Pranjić is replacing Álex López and performs alongside Fabián Orellana in the playmaking positions. Then, Argentine Augusto Fernández attacks from the right wing, Danish Michael Krohn-Dehli does it from the left and Iago Aspas is the central attacker.

Before the game, goalie Javi Varas commented that, ”It’s a game worth of more than three points, because Deportivo are a direct rival. We play for salvation in these kinds of matches, so it’s very important to win at the Riazor. A derby is always a different game; if we don’t allow goals then we have big options of winning the game.”

Finally, Augusto Fernández said that, ”The derbies should be played with a cool mind and a warm heart, it’s not negotiable. To add the three points would be very important to us, let’s hope we can clinch the victory, because it will be good for us at the standings plus been a moral boost.”

List of picked players (19): Javi Varas, Sergio Álvarez (goalkeepers); Roberto Lago, Túñez, Jonathan Vila, Demidov, Bellvis, Jonny Castro (defenders); Borja Oubiña, Pranjić, De Lucas, Gustavo Cabral, Krohn-Dehli, Orellana, Levy Madinda (midfielders); Iago Aspas, Park, Bemejo & Toni Rodriguez (strikers)

PROBABLE LINEUPS
Deportivo: (4-2-3-1) Aranzubia – Sílvio, Marchena or Insua, Aythami, Ayoze – Abel Aguilar, Assunção or Juan Domínguez – Bruno Gama, Valerón, Pizzi – Riki.
Celta: (4-1-4-1) Javi Varas – Jonny, Demidov, Túñez, Lago – Oubiña - Augusto Fernández, Pranjić, Orellana, Krohn-Dehli - Aspas
Referee: Carlos Velasco Carballo
Kick-off: 21h45 CET (Riazor)
Head-to-head Vs. Celta: 39 wins for Depor, 26 draws, 41 wins for Celta (Primera, Segunda and Segunda B)
Record at the Riazor: 32 wins for Depor, 10 draws, 11 wins for Celta (Primera, Segunda and Segunda B)

ARCHIVE NEWS MARCH/13

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