Squad news


23 Aug 2014
First liga game for Deportivo in the new season; Víctor Fernández will play with the 4-2-3-1 leaving Medunjanin on the bench. Both teams arrive to the meeting living opposite moments after the results in the pre-season.

Deportivo have only lost three of the last twenty opening matches at Primera División. The last one was the visit to Real Madrid during the season 2009/10 (2-3). Previously the Galicians lost twice during the opening matchday playing at the Riazor: 0-3 Vs. UD Almeria (2007/08) and 2-4 Vs. Real Betis (2002/03).

Within the period Depor opened the league away from home in seven opportunities and it only lost at the Bernabéu. The other six league openers away from the Riazor were: 0-1 at RCD Mallorca (2005/06), 1-1 at RCD Espanyol (2004/05), 0-1 at Real Zaragoza (2003/04), 0-0 at RC Celta (1998/99), 0-0 at CD Tenerife (1997/98) and 0-2 at Athletic Bilbao (1994/95). The negative stat for the Blanquiazul outfit is that they have failed to win in 17 of their last 19 away Primera matches.

Meanwhile, Depor have always faced problems during the visits to Granada CF. The Galicians have visited the Andalusians in 21 opportunities (20 in liga and 1 in Copa) and only won five times. The last time Depor won at Granada was during the Copa Del Rey of the season 1964/65. It was a 1-2 win with goals scored by Montalvo & Aurré. That game was played in the old Los Cármenes stadium, which means that Deportivo have never won in the new stadium inaugurated in 1995.

Los Blanquiazules return to Primera with a lot of doubts surrounding the team. New coach Víctor Fernández is still trying to find a starting formation using players that in some cases are out of shape, while he’s also lacking signings. To make things worse the five defeats during the pre-season left a negative impression, especially the last 2-3 loss visiting Segunda club SD Ponferradina.

So, the general feeling among the public is that Deportivo will last some weeks before finding its playing style, a starting formation and the positive results. Still, the players hope that the team will show a different face during the regular competition.

It was what new signing José Rodriguez said during the week, ”The results weren’t good, but that’s the less important thing during a pre-season. The feelings weren’t negative; during the Teresa Herrera we made two good games, also in Portugal, though it’s true that the last match was pretty bad. The team will be very different during the competition. I believe there’s enough team to compete.”

Isaac Cuenca, another recent arrival, was also trying to remain positive, ”It’s true that we have to improve a lot and surely the team will go up as the competition goes on. We are prepared and willing to play. We know we will compete at the top in Granada in order to add the three points.”

Meanwhile Luis Fariña was also optimistic towards the debut, “We are fine and prepared to start the tournament. There were some doubts due to the last results, but we also saw a lot of positive things, because we were controlling the ball and doing interesting stuff. There’s always a doubt when the results aren’t arriving, but we are mentalized in picking up the three points.”

During the week Fernández tested a 4-3-3 lineup, with Haris Medunjanin playing as a starter, however the Bosnian isn’t totally fit to play after joining the trainings one week ago. So, it’s expected that another signing, Isaac Cuenca, is going to start switching the system into the classical 4-2-3-1.

German Lux is the starting keeper, Laure covers the right side of the defense, Roberto Canella debuts in an official competition with Deportivo performing on the left, then Pablo Insua and Albert Lopo play at the centre of the defense.

19-year-old José Rodriguez plays his second game at Primera joining Juan Dominguez at midfield. Isaac Cuenca attacks from the right wing, Luisinho does it from the left, Luis Fariña is the playmaker and Toché is the centre forward. The Murcian attacker remains scoreless at Primera División after 251 minutes of Primera football (7 games).

On Thursday, Toché talked of his expectations. He didn’t want to fix a number of goals for the season, ”I hope this year will be important in my career. You arrive to the first game thinking of what you did during the whole pre-season. Granada is an intense and strong team and we have to show our best level since minute one.”

Three players are out of the list as they remain at the injury room: Manuel Pablo, Diego Salomão and Lucas Pérez. Due to the shortage at the squad, and as the coach didn’t want to pick the players that have been ruled out, he decided to call centre-back Iago López and playmaker Marcos Remeseiro from Fabril. This is their first official presence with the first team, actually Iago was just signed for Depor B a month ago.

List of picked players (18): Lux, Fabricio (goalkeepers); Laure, Insua, Lopo, Iago López, Luisinho, Canella (defenders); Álex Bergantiños, Juan Dominguez, José Rodríguez, Remeseiro, Medunjanin, Wilk, Fariña, Cuenca (midfielders);  Cavaleiro & Toché (attackers).

If the environment is negative in A Coruña, then it’s the opposite at Granada. The Andalusian team is starting their fourth straight campaign at Primera and there are big reasons to celebrate. After a double promotion that took them from Segunda B to Primera in just two years, their financial situation is improving while they had a great performance during the pre-season. They sold full-backs Siqueira (Atlético Madrid) and Brayan Angulo (Ludogorest), plus midfielder Brahimi (FC Porto). These three operations allowed them to collect €20 million.

Part of that money was used to pay for French left-back Dimitri Foulquier (€2 million) and Colombian striker Jhon Córdoba (€8 million). The other eight signings arrived for free or loaned. Despite changing almost the half of the team, important players are staying, like the cases of full-back Allan Nyom, centre-back Jeison Murillo, plus attackers Francisco Medina ‘Piti’ and Youssef El Arabi.

The icing was the great performance during the pre-season, new coach Joaquín Caparrós quickly found the balance at the team and they ended undefeated after seven friendly matches. Truly there were some games before low league rivals, but they also completed a tour in Germany defeating Bundesliga outfits FC Köln (1-0) and FSV Mainz 05 (1-0). In the end they scored twenty goals and only allowed three.

Midfielder Fran Rico was saying they need to be careful during the debut in liga, ”Last year the feelings in pre-season were creating doubts and we won the first game, this year is different, but you clean everything when the competition starts. The errors committed in pre-season didn’t penalize us, but in liga the first mistake can end with the ball at the back of the net.”

For the game, it’s expected that Caparrós will use a 4-5-1 draw, with a “trivote” figure at midfield. Ex-Barca B keeper Oier Olazábal will debut in an official match as Roberto is suspended. Cameroonian Allan Romeo Nyom performs at the right side of the defense; captain Diego Mainz joins Colombian Jeison Murillo at the centre of the defense.

There’s a problem on the left-back position as the Andalusian team hasn’t signed a specific player for the position; Caparrós has been trying to reconvert a midfielder and a left winger on that position and for this match the spot should be for French player Abdoul Sissoko.

Galician Fran Rico, ex-Mallorca man Javi Márquez  and Chilean Manuel Iturra are forming the trivote at midfield territory, ex-Blackburn Rovers Rubén Rochina should attack from the right wing, then former SC Braga Juan Carlos Pérez covers the left wing.

Finally Moroccan/French Youssef El Arabi is the centre forward. This is his third season at the club and, despite some criticism, he has been the top-scorer at the team within the last two Primera tournaments. Last season he netted 12 goals in 36 meetings.

El Arabi talked of his expectations before starting the season, ”I feel fine; we have made a good pre-season. On Saturday we face a real game, it’s our first game at home, and it’s important to win in order to have a positive kick-off.  I hope this year will be better, that I would be able to score more goals, so we would win more games.”

New signing Jhon Córdoba wasn’t picked for the match as he’s lacking fitness, neither ex-Depor Riki, who should leave the club in the coming days. The big surprise in the list of picked player is Granada B striker Isaac Success. Another striker in the list is Alfredo Ortuño, who scored and assisted in the last game of the previous Segunda season with Girona beating Depor (1-3).

List of picked players (18): Oier, Dimitrievski (goalkeepers); Nyom, Foulquier, Mainz, Babin, Murillo, Sissoko (defenders); Iturra, Yuste, Fran Rico, Javi Márquez, Rochina, Juan Carlos (midfielder); El Arabi, Machís, Ortuo & Success (attackers).

Granada: (4-5-1) Oier – Nyom, Mainz, Murillo, Sissoko – Rochina, Fran Rico, Javi Marquez, Iturra, Juan Carlos –El Arabi.
Deportivo: (4-2-3-1) Lux – Laure, Lopo, Insua, Canella – José Rodríguez, Juan Dominguez – Cuenca, Fariña, Luisinho – Toché.
Referee: Iñaki Vicandi Garrido
Kick-off: 21h00 CET (Los Cármenes)
Head-to-head Vs. Granada: 12 wins for Depor, 15 draws, 13 wins for Granada (Primera & Segunda)
Record at Granada: 4 wins for Depor, 7 draws, 9 wins for Granada (Primera & Segunda)



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