Squad news

PREVIEW: BARCELONA – DEPORTIVO (LIGA)

12 Dec 2015
Big test for a Deportivo that have only lost twice on this season. Víctor travels with all the available men and could only make a couple of changes, while Barcelona are missing Neymar, but have both Luis Suárez and Messi ready.

STATISTICS: PERFECTION AT THE CAMP NOU
FC Barcelona is the only Primera team that has won all the home games played so far on this league season with an astonishing mark of twenty-two goals scored and only five allowed. In the other competitions they won the three games in the Champions League, the one played for Copa Del Rey and only failed to win the Super Cup clash with Athletic Club (1-1).

Meanwhile, Depor is one of the four clubs that have added more points on the road than at home (the others are RC Celta, Real Betis and Granada CF). The Galicians represent the sixth best visiting team in la liga after adding 12 points in 7 away meetings.

But Deportivo have always faced problems visiting the Camp Nou, the “miraculous” 2-2 of last season was only the second positive result extracted from that stadium in the past decade. And it’s that after forty visits to Barca, Los Blanquiazules have only clinched seven draws plus three victories.

DEPORTIVO: FIRST BIG EXAM
This Deportivo is surprising in Spain, beyond been lying in a European competition it has demonstrated to be a solid team that trends to present a similar performance in all the games, reason that explains why they only lost twice so far. And the Galicians already faced four of the five candidates to end at the top and it didn’t lose any of those meetings (1-1 draws with Valencia CF, Atlético Madrid and Sevilla CF, plus a 2-2 draw with Athletic Club).

Now it faces a new level of challenge, which is to play against one of the big two teams in the league: FC Barcelona. And the difficulty is bigger taking in mind that the rival has been improving lately with big wins over Real Madrid (4-0), AS Roma (6-1) and Real Sociedad (4-0).

The players are aware of the challenge, but want to remain optimistic, as German Lux said during the week, ”Barcelona are a pretty good team, with high quality players. Without analyzing budgets we never surrender. Within these fourteen games we have always competed and will compete here too.  We will try to be cautious and seize some of the chances that we could have.”

It’s expected that coach Víctor Sánchez will keep the 4-4-2 figure of the past three matchdays, there are two variations this time as Pedro Mosquera is out suspended and Oriol Riera is out injured, which opens a spot at midfield for Moroccan Fayçal Fajr and for Uruguayan Jonathan Rodriguez in attack.

German Lux covers the goal, Juanfran Moreno performs at the right side of the defence, Fernando Navarro does it at the left, while the central positions are for Alejandro Arribas and Brazilian Sidnei Rechel.

Álex Bergantiños joins Fajr at midfield, Cani attacks from the right wing, Luisinho does it from the left, while Lucas Pérez joins Jonathan in attack. Lucas scored in the last visit to the Camp Nou and is dragging a mark of five straight matchdays scoring a goal in liga, he only needs one more to tie the mark of Walter Pandiani during the season 2003/04.

Victor picked all the available players for the game, because he wants to keep the group united ahead of the Copa (Tuesday against Llagostera). The roster includes the name of David Gómez, the keeper of Depor B. The players at the injury room are Fabricio, Celso Borges, Oriol Riera, Jonás Gutiérrez and Fede Cartabia.

List of picked players (21) Lux, Manu, David Gómez (goalkeepers); Manuel Pablo, Laure, Arribas, Sidnei, Lopo, Saúl, Juanfran, Navarro (defenders); Álex Bergantiños, Juan Domínguez, Fayçal Fajr, Cani, Cardoso, Medunjanin, Luisinho (midfielders); Lucas Pérez, Luis Alberto & Jonathan Rodríguez (attackers).

BARCELONA: TRINITY
The most deadly trio in Spanish football is without doubt the one composed by Neymar, Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez. Despite Messi missed several games due to injury reasons, the trio combined has netted 31 goals, a mark that’s even above the one of 18 of the other 19 teams in la liga (Real Madrid scored 32 goals).

Their presence and incredible yield have outshined the big problems of coach Luis Enrique for the present season, because after all FC Barcelona have a short squad after been unable to inscribe new players during the last two transfer periods, a squad that could only be reinforced with Barca B players, just the lads that suffered the relegation to Segunda B on last season.

With the ban about to be lifted, it is expected that the Catalan side will turn to be a squad with more alternatives and depth but for now, and until the end of the month, every casualty means a problem, and at this point the problem is that Neymar picked an injury in midweek and is not only a casualty for the game, but is also doubtful for the FIFA Club World Cup.

Without their best scorer, 23-year-old Sergi Roberto will have a new chance to play. He is one of the few lads that have left a positive impression as he has provided four assists in liga. Still, it’s a big difference compared to Neymar, though Barca still have a strong squad to face Depor, mainly after resting some normal starters in the Champions League visit to Bayer Leverkusen.

For the match it is predicted a 4-3-3 draw, with Chilean Claudio Bravo at the goal, Brazilian Dani Álves performs at the right side of the defence, Jordi Alba plays at the left, while the centre-backs are Gerard Piqué and Argentine Javier Mascherano.

Croatian Ivan Rakitic, Sergio Busquets and veteran Andrés Iniesta are the centre midfielders, Messi attacks from the right wing, Luis Suárez is the centre forward and Sergi Roberto attacks from the left flank.

Uruguayan Suárez is on fire as he has scored in each one of the last eight official games of the Catalans, within the period he has netted twelve goals, including a hat-trick against SD Eibar and braces against Real Madrid and AS Roma.

List of picked players: To be released until Saturday

PROBABLE LINEUPS
Barcelona: (4-3-3) Bravo – Álves, Piqué, Mascherano, Jordi Alba – Rakitic, Busquets, Iniesta – Messi, Luis Suárez, Sergi Roberto.
Deportivo: (4-4-2) Lux – Juanfran, Arribas, Sidnei, Navarro – Cani, Álex Bergantiños, Fajr, Luisinho – Lucas Pérez, Jonathan Rodríguez
Referee: José María Sánchez Martínez
Kick-off: 16h00 CET (Camp Nou)
Head-to-head Vs. Barca: 20 wins for Depor, 17 draws, 49 wins for Barca (Primera)
Record at the Camp Nou: 3 wins for Depor, 7 draws, 33 wins for Barca (Primera)

ARCHIVE NEWS DEC/15

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