Squad news

PREVIEW: ATHLETIC – DEPORTIVO (LIGA)

09 May 2015
Big game for Depor at San Mamés; the victory will mean a huge step towards the salvation, the defeat will almost certify a new death. Víctor seems eager to repeat the lineup from last week. Athletic recover Aduriz.

STATISTICS: THE BASQUE FACTOR
Difficult situation with Depor at the edge of relegation, but the Galicians are facing their favorite rivals in la liga: a Basque team. And it’s that 11 of their 30 points came in matches facing teams from the Basque country; actually they are undefeated and only conceded two goals after beating SD Eibar twice (1-0 & 2-0), getting two draws against Real Sociedad (0-0 & 2-2) plus the 1-0 win over Athletic at the Riazor.

Athletic has shown a stable behavior playing at San Mamés during this season, the Basques are the ten best home team in the league with 26 points added in 17 home meetings, though they already lost five times there and mainly facing relegation-troubled outfits: 0-1 Vs. Granada CF (matchday 04), 0-1 Vs. Córdoba CF (matchday 14), 1-4 Vs. Atlético Madrid (matchday 16), 1-2 Vs. Elche CF (matchday 18) & 2-5 Vs. FC Barcelona (matchday 22).

This is the first time in which Deportivo visit the new San Mamés inaugurated on last season, the Galicians won ten times in the previous stadium, four of those victories took place within the last eight visits, actually in that period Depor only lost once there: 2-0 on the season 2009/10.

DEPORTIVO: THE IMPORTANCE OF THE CLEAN SHEET
There was a time on the season when Deportivo was barely conceding goals, it was at the end of 2014 after the 2-8 against Real Madrid and the 1-4 against Sevilla CF, the team managed to clinch six clean sheets in eleven liga meetings, a factor that was paving the way to permanence, but now it only seems as a distant past.

And t’s that Depor have spent seven straight games without clinching a clean sheet; actually since the arrival of new coach Víctor Sánchez Del Amo five matchdays ago the team has conceded the first goal in every game, it’s an important gap for a desperate team trying to avoid a third demotion in five years, because the fact of allowing goals and see themselves in disadvantage just raise the nervousness levels of the players.

Especially worrying is to witness the way in which the goals are arriving, because some of them are the result of terrible errors, like the one committed against Elche CF at the beginning of a game that was crucial in the quest for survival.

Despite the big errors the new coach has barely touched the defensive line that turned to be the spinal cord with Víctor Fernández, the “new” Víctor just made the first substitutions in the previous game against Villarreal CF as he switched the full-backs.

The coach gave some hints during the last training sessions about the lineup that he will use, and it seems that he will repeat the same team that faced Villarreal CF. This means a 4-2-3-1 with four full-backs in. Fabricio Agosto will be the goalkeeper, Laureano Sanabria ‘Laure’ performs on the right side of the defense, Manuel Pablo covers the left, then Albert Lopo and Sidnei Rechel are the centre-backs.

Álex Bergantiños and Celso Borges are the centre midfielders, Luisinho will be performing again as a left winger, Juanfran Moreno does the same on the right, Lucas Pérez is the playmaker and Oriol Riera is the centre forward.

Juan Dominguez and Cezary Wilk remain at the injury room. David Gómez from Fabril was picked as Víctor likes to call three keepers for the away meetings. The players out for tactical reasons are Borja López, Fariña, Cuenca and Canella

List of picked players (20): Fabricio, Lux, David Gómez (goalkeepers) Laure, Manuel Pablo, Juanfran, Lopo, Insua, Sidnei, Luisinho (defenders); Álex Bergantiños, Medunjanin, Borges, Lucas, Salomão, Hélder Costa (midfielders); Cavaleiro, Toché, Postiga & Oriol Riera (attackers)

ATHLETIC: GOOD OR BAD SEASON?
At this height on the season all the fans can already hint the kind of season that their respective clubs have completed, but there are a few clubs that still pending to resolve the question if this was a good or a bad season, among them is Athletic Club.

The Basques began the campaign boosted by their qualification to the Champions League, their second participation in the tournament, but didn’t pass the group stage and later were early eliminated in the Europa League round of 32 by Torino FC (agg. 4-5).

Besides, they had a poor start in liga after only adding four points in the first seven games, reason why they were in relegation at the beginning of October. These results downgraded the expectations of the fans, but things improved lately and now are much better with the team ready to play the final in Copa before FC Barcelona and currently at the seventh position in liga, so both competitions can give the European ticket to them.

Still, the fans are waiting for the final stretch in the season before judging if this instable season has been worthy or not, because Athletic could end without European football on next season if they lose the final in Copa and if they are dropped from the seventh place before chasers RCD Espanyol, Malaga CF and RC Celta.

Andre Iturraspe talked during the week and assured that the team must fight in order to keep the seventh spot after the difficult start to the season, ”Looking at the situation at other stages of the season, this is a scenario that we highly appreciate. We have the chance to keep the seventh place and we are going to fight for it.”

Despite part of the mind is already in the final in Copa, coach Ernesto Valverde wants to see his team making a final effort in la liga to secure the seventh spot and is ready to put a strong lineup taking in mind he’s recovering key players. It’s predicted a 4-2-3-1 scheme. Gorka Iraizoz is the starting goalkeeper, Mikel Balenziaga performs at the left side of the defence, the central positions are for Carlos Gurpegi and Americ Laporte.

The big doubt has been who will perform at the right side, Andoni Iraola is injured, while Unai Bustinza is suspended. The normal thing would be to lay with Óscar De Marcos playing there, but in the last trainings he tested with Mikel Rico and even with striker Gaizka Toquero. Still, in the press conference the coach hinted that De Marcos is the main candidate for the job.

Midfield will be territory for Mikel San José and Beñat Etxebarria, Markel Susaeta attacks from the right wing, 20-year-old Iñaki Williams does it from the left, 21-year-old Ager Aketxe is the playmaker and Ariz Aduriz is the centre forward. Aduriz is the top-scorer at the team with 15 goals in favour and has surpassed an injury that prevented him to face Atlético Madrid.

The striker was denying the idea that Athletic is only caring for the Copa, ”For us this Saturday’s game is very important. The seventh spot will guarantee us the chance to play a European competition and, after the start of year that we had, it’s encouraging to play in Europe. And Saturday’s game is fundamental for this.”

List of picked players (18): Iraizoz, Iago Herrerín (goalkeepers);Laporte, San José, Etxeita, Balenziaga, Unai López (defenders); Beñat, Iturraspe, De Marcos, Mikel Rico, Gurpegi (midfielders); Toquero, Kike Sola, Susaeta , Aduriz, Viguera & Williams (attackers)

PROBABLE LINEUPS
Athletic: (4-2-3-1) Iraizoz – De Marcos, Gurpegi, Laporte, Balenziaga – San José, Beñat – Susaeta, Aketxe, Williams - Aduriz
Deportivo: (4-2-3-1) Fabricio – Laure, Lopo, Sidnei, Manuel Pablo – Álex Bergantiños, Borges – Juanfran, Lucas, Luisinho – Oriol Riera.
Referee: Jesus Gil Manzano
Kick-off: 22h00 CET (San Mamés)
Head-to-head Vs. Athletic: 34 wins for Depor, 24 draws, 27 wins for Athletic (Primera)
Record at San Mamés: 10 wins for Depor, 12 draws, 20 wins for Athletic (Primera)

ARCHIVE NEWS MAY/15

ZAPPING

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