Squad news


01 Jun 2013
The final is here; Deportivo must avoid the nerves and beat Real Sociedad in order to clinch the permanence. Marchena is out and Manuel Pablo returns. The rival is the revelation of the season and has small options to reach the Champions League.

The victory will secure the permanence of Deportivo at Liga BBVA, but it won’t be an easy task as the Galicians are facing one of the most in-form teams in the tournament: Real Sociedad. The Basques are the third best team in the second round, only losing once in the period and adding 38 points, the same number than Valencia CF and just below giants FC Barcelona (45) and Real Madrid (44).

Their only defeat in the second round came a month ago as they were defeated by Getafe CF (1-2, matchday 34); it represented their sixth lost in the road during the present campaign. Meanwhile, Depor have just added the half of that number as Los Blanquiazules have only added 19 points in the second part of the liga competition.

But it’s also true that, since the reaction of Depor begun at matchday 28, both teams have followed a similar pattern, with Depor adding 18 and Real Sociedad 19. So, both sides are having a similar form. Besides, the Galicians haven’t been defeated in their last four home meetings.

Another positive thing for Depor is that Real Sociedad has always suffered during their visits to the Riazor, the txuri-urdin outfit have only won in three of their last fifteen visits to A Coruña suffering eight losses. Their last victory there was on the season 2005/06 (0-1).

This is it; there’s no tomorrow for Deportivo. By missing the victory in this match it will decrease the survival chances of the Galician squad. The team plays at home and will have the support of the fans, but it front there will be a dangerous rival that scores a lot of goals and that actually it has only ended scoreless once on the second round. Coach Fernando Vázquez knows that before defeating the rival Depor need to defeat its demons and for this the players only need one thing: calmness.

And that’s exactly what Depor have missed in the previous meeting at Malaga CF and in that fateful day, two years ago, in which the Galician club suffered the relegation facing Valencia CF. At La Rosaleda, Los Blanquiazules had the ball possession and made 28 goal attempts, but only four were on target. Meanwhile, against the Valencians, Deportivo had 25 goal attempts and only six were on target –all of them saved by César-

This lack of aim was caused by the anxiety for been living a limit situation. Vázquez talked a lot about the issue during his press conference pointing out that the players need to release the pressure in order to save energies and have a better performance. Only with a cold mind Deportivo can improve the aim and therefore have more chances to survive.

Four of the starters in this game were also starters in the painful loss against Valencia CF that cost the relegation: Riki, Aranzubia, Manuel Pablo and Valerón. Of this short list the first three players faced the media and talked of the subject, starting with Riki ”In the game against Real we need to control the euphoria, anxiety and tension. I’ve lived both faces of football, the promotion and the relegation, and through my head the only thought is to clinch the permanence. We need to be disconnected before the game, make a normal life, and then give everything during the match.”

He was remembering that Deportivo were in a worst situation early in the campaign, "We have had three coaches, the club is in administration and we were almost hopeless. If we’re able to achieve the permanence then it will be the biggest thing in my career, even beyond the promotion on last season. We are conscious of what's at stake, we depend on ourselves. Maybe a little of the history of the game against Valencia could be repeated, but we hope that with a different ending."

Meanwhile, Manuel Pablo said that, “We are aware of what’s at stake and we know how the field will be during the game, so we need to focus and put in our head a picture of how things will be. In the game against Milan we put in our head that the only thing that mattered was the comeback and we did it. The only way to do it is to put in our heads the idea that we can do it. As a group we must know how to play and avoid getting tired in just fifteen minutes. We need a strong mental work in order to know when to attack and keep ourselves strong for the 90 minutes.  Against Valencia we were in shock and were only thinking in drawing, but the goal never came. I think we can win and must be mentalized for it.”

Aranzubia tried to explain how the team has lived on this week, “We tried to be normal during the week, which is difficult, because you think a lot of the game, but you try to assume it normally. This isn’t one more game and we must try to match the expectations. The match against Valencia was a bad moment and it will be there with us for the whole life, but it’s in the past now and it has nothing to do with tomorrow’s game.”

For the crucial meeting Vázquez won’t be able to count with Carlos Marchena, who’s the only player at the injury room, but recovers Manuel Pablo, the Canarian returns from suspension and goes directly into the starting eleven performing at the right side of the defense.

It’s the same lineup that defeated RCD Espanyol at the Riazor a fortnight ago, Dani Aranzubia covers the goal, Sílvio Azevedo switches to the left side of the defense, while the central positions are for Canarian Aythami Artiles and Portuguese Ze Castro.

Midfield is territory for Colombian Abel Aguilar and Galician Juan Dominguez. A vital zone is the quartet in attack, because lately only Bruno Gama has been carrying with the weight of the team,  scoring four goals plus providing three assists within the last eight liga matches.

 Meanwhile, Juan Carlos Valerón has been off in recent meetings, while Pizzi and Riki, the top-scorers at the team, have remained scoreless within the last four meetings. Definitely they need to improve, because Depor will need goals against a rival that rarely leaves the pitch without netting at the opposite goal.

Vázquez picked twenty players for the match; Marchena is the only man injured, while three players were left out for tactical reasons: side defenders Evaldo Fabiano and Ayoze Díaz, plus centre midfielder André Santos.

List of picked players (20): Aranzubia, Lux (goalkeepers); Sílvio, Laure, Manuel Pablo, Kaká, Aythami, Ze Castro (defenders); Álex Bergantiños, Abel Aguilar, Juan Dominguez, Jesús Vázquez, Assunção, Bruno Gama, Pizzi, Salomão, Camuñas, Valerón (midfielders); Riki & Nélson Oliveira (strikers)

Without doubt Real Sociedad is the revelation of a Spanish La Liga that still dominated by the powerful Real Madrid and FC Barcelona. Just three years ago this Basque club was in bankruptcy and was returning to Primera after three years at liga Adelante. Like a few clubs in the country the txuri-urdin outfit survived thanks to the talent of their B team players plus a couple of wise signings.

Now the Basques have used the same formula to climb some positions in la liga and are about to end among the first five positions for the second time within the last fourteen years. The team has had an impressive run in the second round only losing once, but unfortunately they have missed key points recently and are now outside of the Champions League zone for the first time since matchday 27. The Basques visit the Riazor hoping for a miracle: to win this game and wait to see Valencia CF failing in their visit to Sevilla CF.

Despite the criticism that has always surrounded him, coach Philippe Montanier has built up one of the most balanced teams in the competition, the major part of the squad -16 of 24 players- are a product of Real Sociedad B, aka Sanse, the other eight are veterans like ex-Sevilla Alberto De La Bella mixed with promising young players like Mexican Carlos Vela.

The result is an offensive team that practices an attractive football hailed by the media and that also knows how to defend. And it’s that Real Sociedad is the third best scorer in la liga (69), only behind FC Barcelona (111) and Real Madrid (99); at the same time the Basques represent the fifth best defensive line, with only 49 goals allowed.

Montanier will have his “luxury” squad for the final at the Riazor as there are no suspensions and neither major injury cases. It’s a 4-2-3-1 figure, with Chilean Claudio Bravo defending the goal, Carlos Martinez performs at the right-back position, De La Bella plays at the left and the central positions at defense are for Iñigo Martínez and Mike González

Veteran Markel Vergara joins young Asier Illarramendi at midfield; the most impressive part of the team is the quartet in attack. Carlos Vela attacks from the right wing, captain Xabi Prieto is the playmaker, French Antoine Griezmann attacks from the left flank and Imanol Agirretxe is the central attacker

This quarter has demolished the competence scoring 45 goals plus providing 20 assists on the liga season, only a few teams can presume of the same. To emphasize the season of Mexican Vela, who has scored fourteen times plus adding nine assists to his tally, and also 26-year-old Agirretxe, who has scored thirteen goals in the tournament, nine of them on the second round, making him the fourth best scorer in the period. They even have a fifth attacker with a solid season: Uruguayan Gonzalo ‘Chory’ Castro, he has made an acceptable season scoring seven goals plus providing four assists, but he will be on the bench.

Captain Xavi Prieto is confident of reaching the Champions League as he thinks that Valencia will face a lot of problems in Seville, ”Both are tough games. Deportivo is fighting for the permanence at Primera and Sevilla still trying to reach the European places. What we must do is to focus in our game, win at the Riazor and then yes, to see if Sevilla gives us a hand.”

Midfielder David Zurutuza explained what he expects from the meeting at the Riazor, ”We need patience, because Deportivo is dealing with a lot of pressure. No matter what could happen this is a season that cannot be forgotten; I would always be proud of what we have done so far and now we are thinking of defeating Deportivo.”

Finally, Agirretxe was also targeting the victory, ”I see almost like an obligation to win this game and, if we do it, then I see us having options. Valencia will face a tough situation in Seville. But Deportivo is playing for their life and there’s no logic within the last matchdays. It’s tough, we have lived similar situations compared to them, but it what it is; we are going there for the three points.”

List of picked players (20): Bravo Goñi (goalkeepers); Ansotegi, Cadamuro, De La Bella, Mikel Gónzalez, Iñigo Martínez, Carlos Martinez, Valdés (defenders); Markel Bergara, Illarramendi, Rubén Pardo, Javier Ros, Zurutuza, Chory Castro, Griezmann, Xabi Prieto (midfielders); Agirretxe, Ifrán & Carlos Vela (strikers)

Deportivo: (4-2-3-1) Aranzubia – Manuel Pablo, Aythami, Ze Castro, Sílvio – Abel Aguilar, Juan Domínguez – Bruno Gama, Valerón, Pizzi – Riki.
Real Sociedad: (4-2-3-1) Bravo - Carlos Martínez, Iñigo Martínez, Mike González, De la Bella – Illarramendi, Bergara – Vela, Xabi Prieto, Griezman – Agirretxe.
Referee: David Fernández Borbalán
Kick-off: 21h00 CET (Riazor)
Head-to-head Vs. Real Sociedad: 34 wins for Depor, 16 draws, 23 wins for Real Sociedad (Primera & Segunda)
Record at the Riazor: 22 wins for Depor, 9 draws, 6 wins for Real Sociedad (Primera & Segunda)



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