Squad news

PREVIEW: ZARAGOZA – DEPORTIVO (LIGA)

23 Mar 2014
Big game with two different realities. Depor need the three points, but are living a more tranquil situation than a Zaragoza that remains in crisis. Sissoko is making his first appearance as a starter, while Luis will play up front.

STATISTICS: THE WORST TEAM IN THE SECOND ROUND
Real Zaragoza and Girona FC are the two worst teams in the second round, this after only adding 7 points in 9 games. The bad moment of the Aragonian team is confirmed by the fact that they have spent seven games without winning (the current worst streak in the league). Enough reasons to explain why coach Paco Herrera was sacked during the week.

There are more negative stats for Los Maños, starting with the fact that they are the fourth worst local team at Segunda after only adding 20 points in 15 matches at la Romareda. They already suffered five losses playing there: 0-1 Vs. CD Lugo (matchday 04), 1-2 Vs. Recreativo de Huelva (matchday 07), 1-2 Vs. CD Numancia (matchday 13), 0-2 Vs. Barcelona B (matchday 24) and 0-2 Vs. Real Madrid Castilla (matchday 27).

Meanwhile, Depor have had a more stable behavior in the second round, adding 14 points in the 9 matches disputed in the period. Besides, the Galicians remain as the best team on the road after adding 25 points in the 14 away meetings disputed so far, though they have lost three of the last six matches played away from the Riazor.

During the 1990’s La Romareda was a “friendly” stadium for Depor as Los Blanquiazules won five of the six games disputed between 1992 and 1997, however they have been unable to win there within the last seven visits. The last victory there was in the opening matchday of the season 2003/04 (0-1, goal scored by Pandiani). The last visit to La Romareda took place on the past Primera season and turned to be a weird game in which Depor were leading 0-2 at minute 25 to end losing 5-3.

DEPORTIVO: A CHANCE FOR SISSOKO
There were many jokes regarding the physical condition of Ibrahim Sissoko when he landed at Deportivo, this since he was overweight and lacking form. One and a half month later he has been used as a substitute in five opportunities, including the meeting against Hércules CF, match in which he replaced Salomão early in the game, but it was in the past game against Barca B that the Ivorian player had the biggest impact.

He entered at minute 62 and improved the picture of a grey team in offense; Depor couldn’t break the deadlock, but it was enough to convince Fernando Vázquez regarding his fitness and the fact he deserves a chance as a starter. After the game the coach stated that Sissoko was close to be fit enough to appear at the starting formation, though he said that nothing was decided at that point. It was the same speech before the trip to Zaragoza.

But Vázquez demonstrated during the week that he already made the decision as the African player was always part of the starting teams tested during the training sessions. And it isn’t to perform as a winger, but as the playmaker in the formation. It’s the latest solution made by el Profesor in order to boost his flat attack, an offensive line that’s the fifth worst in the league and that already ended scoreless in eleven liga meetings on this season.

It’s the chance that Sissoko has been waiting, until now he has only made ten appearances (5 at Segunda, 4 in Ligue and 1 in the Europa League) and he never was a starter. Luis Fernández is the other player that will have a big opportunity in the game. His contribution has been acceptable after scoring 5 goals in 25 games, but lately he has been out of the coach’s plans, now the injury of Toché is opening the door to him at the centre of the attack.

Vázquez confessed on Saturday that he hadn’t decided the lineup at that point; actually he hinted that he was going to wait to “read the papers in Zaragoza” in order to make a final decision. Still, it is expected a 4-2-3-1 figure after Carlos Marchena was ruled out with an ankle injury.

German Lux will be the starting keeper, Laureano Sanabria ´Laure´ will cover the right-back position, Diego Seoane will continue to perform on the left, while the centre backs will be Albert Lopo and Pablo Insua.

Álex Bergantiños and Juan Dominguez perform at midfield. During the trainings the coach tested with new signing Diego Ifrán as a winger, but Vázquez explained on Saturday that it was in order to integrate him into the team.

So, it’s expected that the starters on the wings are going to be Antonio Núñez on the right and Bryan Rabello on the left, then Sissoko will perform in the playmaking function and Luis Fernández is the central attacker.

The last-minute casualty of Marchena reduced the number of players in the list to eighteen. Javier Arizmendi is part of the trip, while winger Diogo Salomão is joining Marchena and Toché at the injury room. Finally, left-back Luisinho is serving the third of his four matches of suspension.

Juan Dominguez said during the week that Depor need the three points, but refused to talk of an emergency situation, “I don’t want to use the adjective urgent, because it isn’t the proper one. Evidently we want the three points and the goal for each weekend is to add the three points. I see all the teams as the favourites, seeing the league, even the teams at the bottom can enter, so you cannot rule out anybody.”

Meanwhile, Lopo said that the key for the game is to hold on the result in the first minutes, "The key is the first 10-15 minutes. It would be important to claim the lead, because it would create a difficult environment for them. All the teams are competitive and anyone can bet you. It’s so equal that all you need is to have regularity.”

List of picked players (18): Lux, Fabricio (goalkeepers); Laure, Manuel Pablo, Seoane, Lopo, Insua (defenders); Álex Bergantiños, Juan Dominguez, Wilk, Núñez, Juan Carlos, Sissoko, Rabello (midfielders); Luis Fernández, Arizmendi, Borja Bastón & Ifrán (attackers)

ZARAGOZA: THE CRISIS
If any club at Liga Adelante can talk of crisis it is Real Zaragoza. This historic club is living a downward spiral that seems to be consuming everything since years ago. Having the third largest budget in the league it was expected they were going to fight for direct promotion, but currently they’re closer to the relegation places than to the top positions. Basically, there have been three problems: the club’s officials, the injuries and the coach.

Owner Agapito Iglesias remains involved in endless scandals, the latest is an accusation of fraud that could lead to the embargo of the club, plus a recent demand for €90,000 presented by the Tax Agency due to unpaid taxes. The situation moved to see the president attempting to sell the club to Jesús García Pitarch, the current general director of the club. Both are controversial men constantly criticized by the fans and the media, and recently had big fights with the players as, in order control the budget, they decided to get rid of the men with highest wages.

In this way full-back Javier Paredes and veteran midfielder José Maria Movilla were fired in a nasty incident highly publicized by the media. In the end the club released five players in 2014 reducing the number of available players at the first team to only eighteen.

Then the problems with the injuries; there’s a plague of muscle problems that has been hitting the team since months ago. Just to explain the case of centre midfielder Walter Acevedo, who suffered his fourth muscle injury of the season in the past game against SD Ponferradina. In some past matches there were only thirteen players available.

And then the situation between the fans and former coach Paco Herrera. The coach never liked the fans and was constantly criticized due to his decisions. The true is that Zaragoza were only three points behind Deportivo at the end of January, but a negative streak of seven matches without victories pulled the team down and ended causing the destitution, sealed after the 2-4 loss at SD Ponferradina –their worst loss playing at Segunda since 2002-

Surely it’s unfair to blame the former coach of Celta for the current situation, he had the team closer to the first positions and the injuries ended affecting him, but it’s also true that he failed at the moment of keeping a good relation with the fans and also because his team never showed character an neither a defined playing style. His substitute, Victor Muñoz, knows pretty well the club, but cannot make miracles in a short period of time, mainly as the squad is really short.

In this sense Muñoz, who likes to perform with a 4-4-2, won’t switch the 4-2-3-1 of Paco Herrera, though he will make a couple of changes. Leo Franco is the starting keeper, Ex-Hércules David Cortés performs at the right side of the defense, 21-year-old Diego Rico plays at the left, while the centre-backs are Álvaro González and Sergio Cidoncha. The latter is one of the big surprises for the game, because the Madrilenian is a centre-midfielder that has never played at defense, but that was tested there throughout the week.

This curiosity allows to move César Arzo to midfield territory. The ex-Gent man is a centre midfielder used to perform at the centre of the defense playing for Zaragoza, now he returns to his natural position in order to join Argentine man Mario Paglialunga.

Ex-Levante José Mari Barkero returns from his injury problems in order to perform in the playmaking function, Javi Álamo attacks from the right wing, ex-Alcorcón Francisco Montañes does it from the left and Roger Martí is the central attacker. The Valencian is the top-scorer at the team with 7 goals in 26 presentations.

Since there were only sixteen players available at the first team, the coach picked two players from the B squad: playmaker Anton Shvets and striker Diego Suárez. Both will begin the game on the bench.

Striker Luis Garcia, who will also be on the bench, was explaining how the team must face the meeting, ”We cannot look now at the standings and must play against Deportivo as it was it the last game, because it can be bad if we are looking at the standings. We are going to make a solid game. The team always tries to do its best, but sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. We are going to fight in order to improve and having the confidence of doing the right things.”

List of picked players (18): Leo Franco, Alcolea (goalkeepers); Arzo, Álvaro, Laguardia, Cortés, José Fernández, Abraham, Rico (defenders); Barkero, Paglialunga, Cidoncha, Javi Álamo, Montañes, Anton Shvets (midfielders); Roger, Luis García & Diego Suárez (attackers)

PROBABLE LINEUPS
Zaragoza: (4-2-3-1) Leo Franco - Cortés, Álvaro, Cidoncha, Rico – Arzo, Paglialunga – Javi Álamo, Barkero, Montañes - Roger.
Deportivo: (4-2-3-1) Lux – Laure, Insua, Lopo, Seoane – Álex Bergantiños, Juan Domínguez -
Referee: Francisco Manuel Arias López
Kick-off: 12h00 CET (La Romareda)
Head-to-head Vs. Zaragoza: 27 wins for Depor, 19 draws, 25 wins for Zaragoza (Primera & Segunda)
Record at La Romareda:  9 wins for Depor, 8 draws, 18 wins for Zaragoza (Primera & Segunda)

ARCHIVE NEWS MAR/14

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