Squad news

PREVIEW: DEPORTIVO - ALMERIA (LIGA)

28 Sep 2014
Depor search for the balance and also for their first victory at the Riazor. Víctor Fernández could name an unchanged squad compared to the derby. Almeria arrive reinforced with the defensive job done against Atlético.

STATISTICS: LOW SCORES VS HIGH SCORES
Deportivo and Almeria are living opposite moments related to the number of goals saw in their matches. The Galicians have the second highest average of goals in their games: (4.5), only behind Real Madrid (5.4). Of course, the 2-8 loss before Real Madrid helped to increase the number, but Depor have conceded two goals in three of the other four matches and also scored in each one of the five games disputed so far.

Actually, Depor is only one of the six teams in la liga that have scored in all the five matches played until this point. The other five clubs with goals in all the matchdays are Valencia CF, Sevilla CF, Real Madrid CF, RC Celta and RCD Espanyol.

Meanwhile, the games of UD Almeria have been characterized by their low scores. Their average per game is 1.8. It’s the third lowest average in la liga, only below Granada CF (1.4) and Malaga CF (1.6). The Andalusians have conceded goals in all their games, but never more than one.

Deportivo have conceded fourteen goals after the first five matchdays, only two clubs at Primera División have allowed more on this century after the same number of games: Sporting Gijón (20, 2008/09) and Rayo Vallecano (16, 2013/14).

This is the 11th meeting between UD Almeria and Deportivo; Los Rojiblancos have a positive record visiting the Riazor. They debuted there at Primera clinching a huge 0-3 win (August 26, 2007). Later they clinched two more wins in four visits, including a 2-3 in Copa Del Rey (January 19, 2011). In their last visit to A Coruña they lost 3-1 with goals scored by Guardado, Juan Dominguez and Lassad (November 25, 2011).


DEPORTIVO: SEARCHING FOR THE BALANCE
Depor is one of the six teams at Primera División that has scored goals in all the league games of the season, but at the same time it’s the team that has conceded more goals, only clinching one clean sheet on the tournament. Coach Víctor Fernández has been asked about this lack of balance and he admitted the problem, but also that his squad is progressing and moving towards this balance.

”The importing thing is to find a balance and I believe we are doing it. Evidently you cannot assess whether Cuenca should bring more in offense than in defense. If Cuenca isn’t bringing more in offense than in defense then something is failing. If Álex Bergantiños is bringing more things in offense than in defense then we are failing in something. I believe we must request different things to the player, always searching for the balance, and I believe we are doing it.” The coach commented on Friday.

Part of the problem is that Depor have been facing aggressive rivals that have had the ball possession, something that brings a lot of problems to a defensive line that likes to play in an advance position. Now the Blanquiazul outfit faces a rival with a similar pattern and that, supposedly, will assume a more passive role at the Riazor.

On Saturday’s training the coach tested a 4-2-3-1 draw that was very similar to the one that played the Galician derby, the novelties were to see Fabricio Agosto and Nicolas Verdú ‘Toché’ at the starting squad, however Víctor did the same tests in the previous training before the game at Balaídos and German Lux and Hélder Postiga ended at the starting eleven.

The rest of the team should be the same, with Laureano Sanabria ´Laure´ at the right side of the defense, Luisinho on the left, while Albert Lopo and Sidnei Rechel perform at the centre of the defense.

Haris Medunjanin and Álex Bergantiños perform at the centre of midfield, Juanfran Moreno attacks from the right wing, Isaac Cuenca does it from the left and Luis Fariña is the playmaker. The Argentine was picked for the game despite his knee problem. Portuguese Iván Cavaleiro was also included in the list after surpassing a thigh injury.

Who wasn’t included in the list got the meeting is centre-back Pablo Insua. The Galician player joined the trainings this week, but haven’t received the medical okay to play. The other three players at the injury room are centre midfielder Juan Domínguez, plus wingers Diogo Salomão and Lucas Pérez. Centre midfielder Cezary Wilk, playmaker Juan Carlos and right-back Diego Seoane are out for tactical reasons.

Juanfran was talking of the importance of the meeting, ”The finals are played since the first matchday. There are matches that mark the league, Eibar’s game was one of them and the match against Almeria is another one. You can say it’s a direct rival, we must be smart and realize we are fighting to avoid relegation, and since that point we know that Almeria is there too. It’s a direct meeting, just like a final.”

Albert Lopo was saying that Depor shouldn’t despair despite allowing a lot of goals, ”Clearly we need to improve in the defensive aspects, not only the men at the back, but everyone. However, experience tells me that we had these conversations before, many times and at the end it isn’t as serious as it seems. Sometimes people said that we don’t score goals, now that we allow too many. These are streaks. It isn’t pleasant, because it isn’t good to be forced to score twice in order to tie a game. We need to be focused and defend much better, but surely we’ll improve.”

Laure was saying that, ”It’s a game from our league, just like the meeting with Celta and it’s important to start adding points at home. It’s always important to not see you at the bottom, because that pressure is never good in order to play good football and get the results.”

Finally, Cuenca is targeting to get the three points, "We must get the three points, yes or yes, and we are going out for that. We know the rival we are facing, but if we do our football then we won’t drop more points.”

List of picked players (18): Lux, Fabricio (goalkeepers); Laure, Manuel Pablo, Juanfran, Lopo, Sidnei, Diakité, Luisinho, Canella (defenders); Álex Bergantiños, José Rodríguez, Fariña, Medunjanin, Cuenca (midfielders); Cavaleiro, Postiga & Toché (attackers)

ALMERIA: THE KEY IS THE DEFENSE
Last season UD Almeria was the 11th club with more goals at Primera (43), a mark that was crucial to clinch the permanence. Now the offensive performance is more discrete, after five games the Andalusian outfit has an average of 12.2 shots per games and an average in the ball possession of 47.7%, but the team only scored four goals.

So, now the defense is the main strength of the team. They conceded goals in all the meetings in this start of season, but never more than one. Only los Rojiblancos, FC Barcelona and Sevilla CF can presume for not allowing more than one goal in all the matches.

They were praised after only allowing one goal against champions Atlético Madrid, but coach Francisco Rodríguez was saying that his team can play more attractive football, ”We were facing the champion in the league and the European runner-ups, so we decided to adapt and understood that the best was to play was with three players at the centre. It doesn’t mean we have a fixed model, off course we are a more ambitious team and we won’t play the same against all the rivals.”

Still, despite making rotations in order to preserve the player’s fitness in this universe of a short squad –only 20 players at the first team- the coach will keep the same scheme in the visit to the Riazor, the three expected changes are the returns of Argentine Sebastián Dubarbier to the left-back position, Nigerian Ramón Azeez to midfield and Fernando Soriano to the attacking efforts.

It’s a 4-2-3-1 scheme with A-Coruña born Rubén Martínez defending the goal, ex-Mallorca Ximo Navarro covers the right side of the defense, Ángel Trujillo and Argentine Mauro Dos Santos cover the central positions, while Dubarbier covers the left side.

José Antonio García ‘Verza’ joins Azeez at midfield, Brazilian Wellington Silva attacks from the right wing, Burkinabe Jonathan Zongo does it from the left, Soriano is the playmaker and Israeli Tommer Hemed is the centre-forward. Ex-Mallorca Hemed, who was a target of Depor during the summer, has remained scoreless despite been a starter in the previous five games.

Wellington was saying that Almeria must be cautious with Deportivo, ”We must go out prepared for anything. It doesn’t matter who the rival is, but to always do a good work. I’m sure that Deportivo will demand the same or even more than Atlético.”

Finally, fullback Mané was remembering Almeria’s first victory at Primera clinched at the Riazor, ”Riazor is a field that brings good memories, but a lot of time has passed since that evening in August and surely the story will be different now. Both teams fight to avoid relegation and it’s going to be tough.”

List of picked players: (18) Julián Cuesta, Rubén Martínez (goalkeepers); Ximo Navarro, Fran Vélez, Trujillo, Dos Santos, Dubarbier, Mané (defenders); Verza, Azeez, Thomas, Wellington, Edgar,, Jonathan, Soriano (midfielders); Thievy, Hemed & Quique González (attackers).

PROBABLE LINEUPS
Deportivo: (4-2-3-1) Lux – Laure, Sidnei, Lopo, Luisinho – Álex Bergantiños, Medunjanin – Juanfran, Fariña, Cuenca – Toché.
Almeria: (4-2-3-1) Martínez – Navarro, Dos Santos, Trujillo, Dubarbier – Azeez, Verza – Wellington, Soriano, Jonathan – Hemed.
Referee: José Antonio Teixeira Vitienes
Kick-off: 17h00 CET (Riazor)
Head-to-head Vs. Almeria: 3 wins for Depor, 3 draws, 4 wins for Almeria (Primera & Segunda)
Record at the Riazor:  2 wins for Depor, 1 draw, 2 wins for Almeria (Primera & Segunda)

ARCHIVE NEWS SEPT/14

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