Squad news


19 May 2013
Crucial game for Depor as the Galicians are forced to win; Abel Aguilar returns and will be a starter in the match. The rival arrives to the meeting after completing a solid second round, but with important casualties at the squad.

When these two clubs faced each other in the first round of la liga both were in relegation. Five months later Depor remain in the pit, but things have changed a lot for RCD Espanyol thanks to their impressive performance on the second round. And it’s that the Catalan side has added 29 points since matchday 20, mark only below Real Madrid (42), FC Barcelona (39), Real Sociedad (34) and Valencia CF (32).

Meanwhile Deportivo have only added 17 points within the period, beyond this stat, the team seems to have lost the impulse after the recent streak of four straight victories, because they’re winless within the last four clashes only picking three draws.

At least Deportivo are having a very positive balance playing against RCD Espanyol at the Riazor: and it’s that Los Pericos have only won four times after 39 visits to A Coruña. Their last triumph was a 2-3 during the season 2009/10, while in four of their last five games disputed there the Catalans ended scoreless.

Coincidentally this game is played exactly thirteen years after Depor defeated RCD Espanyol during the last matchday of the season 1999/2000; in that opportunity the goals on Donato and Makaay certified a 2-0 win and the first la liga title for the Galician club.

There’s no future for Deportivo; maybe the two-point gap with three matches remaining in the schedule isn’t an impossible difference to overcome, after all 7 of the last 13 teams that were 18th at the standings at this moment of the season ended out of relegation, but to fail in this match will surely increase exponentially the chances of suffering the relegation. So, Depor must assume the present as a “must-win” match situation.

And the players are aware of this, as captain Manuel Pablo said during the week, "If you don't win on Sunday, then I don't know what calculations will you make. It would be harder, because only two games will be remaining, so the only thing that matters is to win against Espanyol. It’s a game that we must win. It’s the reality. We are two points away and need to add. I don’t know what will happen in other games, but if we don’t add now, then we aren’t going anywhere.”

Similar was the speech of Juan Dominguez, ”Things are pretty clear: We must win. There’s no other way. You can call the game a final, not to clinch the salvation, but to not be declared dead if we lose. We are almost at the limit.”

Abel Aguilar also shared the opinion, ”The idea is to go out for the game since the beginning. We cannot speculate. We must go for the victory, because if we win then we’ll be close to leave the pit. We must win, there’s no other way. Three matches are remaining and tomorrow’s meeting is fundamental. We must remain calmed, avoiding anxiety and we must remain sidelined from been making calculations, because it’s useless if we don’t win our game.”

With the victory as the only way out, coach Fernando Vázquez is relieved as he counts with ten of the eleven players that made possible the recent streak of fourth straight victories, a rally of positive results that momentarily pulled the team out of the drop zone and that’s currently keeping the hope of salvation.

The only absentee from that “winning team” is centre-back Carlos Marchena, who remains out due to a quadriceps strain. The big news is that Colombian Abel Aguilar is returning after missing the last two games due to a calf injury; he’s going directly into the starting lineup for the game.

Vázquez will keep the 4-2-3-1 figure on the pitch, with Daniel Aranzubia covering the goal and fulfilling his game number 300 at the top-flight, Manuel Pablo performs at the right-back position, Silvio Azevedo covers the left side of the defense, while the centre-backs are Ze Castro and Aythami Artiles.

At midfield, Abel Aguilar joins Juan Dominguez at the pivote positions; it seems to be the perfect couple as Deportivo present strong results each time both men are starters. And it’s that the Galician outfit has only lost one of the twelve matches in which Dominguez and Aguilar were the starting midfielders (0-2 Vs. Sevilla – matchday 05).

The attacking zone has remained silenced within the last two matches, this after Depor ended scoreless against Atlético Madrid and Real Valladolid, now the Blanquiazul outfit needs the goals and the best men for the job are available.

Bruno Gama attacks from the right wing, Pizzi does it from the left flank, Juan Carlos Valerón is the playmaker in the formation and Riki will try to extend his scoring record as he performs at the centre of the attack.

Laure and Diogo Salomão are joining Marchena at the injury room, while the players ruled out for tactical reasons are centre midfielder Paulo Assunção, plus left-backs Evaldo Fabiano and Ayoze Díaz.

List of picked players (18): Aranzubia, Lux (goalkeepers); Sílvio, Manuel Pablo, Kaká, Aythami, Ze Castro (defenders); Álex Bergantiños, Abel Aguilar, Juan Domínguez, Jesús Vázquez, André Santos, Bruno Gama, Pizzi, Camuñas, Valerón (midfielders); Riki & Nélson Oliveira (strikers).

The Catalan team has presented an impressive reaction after the arrival of Mexican  coachJavier Aguirre, Los Periquitos passed from been the bottom team to be pleasantly leaving at mid-table, even having small European options at this stage of the competition. And the formula to achieve the comeback was simple: a strong defense and an acceptable offensive line.

Aguirre found a fixed defensive line that, combined with two defenders performing in the pivote positions –Juan Forlín and Víctor Sánchez- turned to be a solid black, in this way the team was able to clinch eight clean sheets in the eighteen league games played in 2013, besides the team has scored an acceptable mark of goals within the period: 24.

And the point is that no one is shining above the rest at the squad; a clear example is the name of the scorers; this is one of the six teams in la liga in which the top-scorer hasn’t netted ten or more goals. The Pichichi at the team is ex-Depor Joan Verdú with nine, but only two of those goals were scored between the last ten games; instead striker Sergio García has been more important within the period as six of his seven goals came in the second round of the tournament.

Despite only picking one of the last nine points in dispute the coach and the players have been talking of giving a last effort in order to fight for the European dream, but for the match at the Riazor the balance of the team is in danger, because Aguirre is losing his two starting pivotes, his left-back defender and one of his starting centre-backs, three of them are suspended and the other man is injured (Héctor Moreno). And to make things worse Uruguayan Christian Stuani isn’t at 100% due to a muscle injury, reason why he won’t be a starter.

The expected lineup is a 4-2-3-1 figure, with Francisco Casilla defending the goal, Javi López performs at the right-back position, while ex-Depor Diego Colotto and Catalan Raul Rodríguez cover the centre of the defense, this last player covers the spot of Mexican Moreno. Another novelty is the appearance of Catalan Victor Álvarez replacing ex-Depor Joan Capdevila at the left, he’s suspended.

The main problem is located at midfield; without Forlín and Víctor Sánchez, Aguirre will have to rely in Andalusian José Raúl Baena and Catalan Sergio Tejera for the job; the first has only played ten times on this league season and the second is just making his second appearance with the first team.

More reliable is the attacking line, Ghanaian Wakaso Mubarak performs at the left wing, Verdú is the playmaker in the formation and Sergio García is the central attacker.  Wakaso has been a pleasant surprise in recent games; he’s the best assistor at the team (6) and within his last seven presentations he scored twice and brought three assists.

Stuani is an important casualty; he was close to join Depor during the summer. Five of his seven goals on the season came in the second round of the tournament, three of them within the last seven meetings. Now his spot at the right wing will be for Portuguese Simão Sabrosa, who has scored three goals plus providing two assists in his seventeen appearances on the season.

Raúl Baena talked before the match and assured that Espanyol are going out for the victory, ”The team is ready to give the 100%, as it happens in every game, and surely they will play with intensity, because they need the three points to clinch the permanence, but the fact is that we want to add the three points in order to keep looking up.”

Ex-Depor Colotto also talked before the meeting, ”I’m going back home and I’m thankful for everything to the club. For us it’s an important game ahead of what lies ahead in liga. The three points are important in order to see where we end; we’re fighting for a goal and are motivated towards Europe.”

List of picked players (18): Cristian Álvarez, Casilla (goalkeepers); Javi López, Victor Álvarez, Raúl Rodríguez, Mattioni, Colotto, Ferrán Monzó (defenders); Cristian Gómez, Simão, Wakaso, Cristian Alfonso, Tejera, Baena, Petrov, Verdú (midfielders); Stuani & Sergio García (strikers).

Deportivo: (4-2-3-1) Aranzubia – Manuel Pablo, Aythami, Ze Castro, Sílvio – Abel Aguilar, Juan Dominguez – Bruno Gama, Valerón, Pizzi – Riki.
Espanyol: (4-2-3-1) Casilla – Javi López, Colotto, Raúl Rodríguez, Víctor Álvarez – Baena, Tejera - Simão, Verdú, Wakaso – Sergio Garcia
Referee: César Muñiz Fernández
Kick-off: 17h00 CET (Riazor)
Head-to-head Vs. Espanyol: 31 wins for Depor, 16 draws, 32 wins for Espanyol (Primera & Segunda)
Record at the Riazor: 24 wins for Depor, 10 draws, 5 wins for Espanyol (Primera & Segunda)



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