Competition news


24 Jan 2016
Depor want to recover the defensive solidity in order to return to winning ways. Arribas returns and Fajr is expected to be a starter. Valencia CF arrive to the Riazor in the middle of chaos.

Valencia are the nightmare of the Riazor, because the Valencians represent the team that has clinched more wins there playing for Primera División: 17. Mark above FC Barcelona (14), Real Madrid (14) and Atlético Madrid (11). Last season’s win over Valencia (3-0) was only the first after eight straight home meetings without beating Los Ches.

But this isn’t a good moment for the Valencians, they are now the Primera team with the longest winless streak (9), which is their worst the since the season 2007/08 with Ronald Koeman on board. New boss Gary Neville has directed the team for six games and only clinched four draws.

Meanwhile, Deportivo are coming after a low moment suffering two straight liga defeats and been eliminated from Copa, plus a not convincing draw at Anoeta, but what highlights the season of the Galicians are the 10 draws in 20 matchdays. Only Everton FC present a higher number among the top-five leagues in Europe (11 draws in 22 Premier League games).

Depor want to return to winning ways and for this it must recover the defensive strength, in past months the team was praised for been one of the Primera sides that concedes less shots, but within the last wo games the team allowed a lot of opportunities to the rival, to the point that Real Madrid scored five times and Real Sociedad completed more shots in the first half of what Depor had conceded before in 90 minutes.

For goalkeeper German Lux it is a matter that things are harder now, ”Everybody is having more problems to win the games and surely it will be harder in the second round, because there are several teams in need and Valencia is one of them.”

An important fact to recover the strength is the return of Alejandro Arribas, who is returning from a suspension in order to go directly into the starting formation. It is expected that coach Víctor Sánchez will keep using a 4-4-2 draw, though he will make some changes compared to the past game visiting Real Sociedad.

German Lux is the starting goalie, Juanfran Moreno delays his position and covers the right side in defence, Fernando Navarro stays playing on the left, while Sidnei Rechel joins Arribas at the central positions.

Álex Bergantiños and Pedro Mosquera are the centre midfielders, Fayçal Fajr covers the right wing, Luisinho plays on the left, then Lucas Pérez and Luis Alberto are the forwards.

Fabricio, Celso Borges and Cartabia are the players staying at the injury room. Juan Dominguez and Oriol Riera return to the list of picked players, while the men out for tactical reasons are Pletikosa, Manuel Pablo, Medunjanin, Cardoso and Jonás Gutiérrez.

Lucas talked before the game and said that he isn’t feeling the pressure after spending one month without scoring, ”How can I be pressured after scoring twelve goals? I just try to help the team to win. Truly the coach trusts me and gave me a lot of chances compared to others, but I encourage Riera and Jonathan to keep working, because their goals will be important in the second round.”

List of picked players (18): Lux, Manu (goalkeepers); Laure, Sidnei, Lopo, Arribas, Juanfran, Navarro (defenders); Álex Bergantiños, Juan Domínguez, Mosquera, Cani, Luisinho, Fayçal Fajr (midfielders); Lucas Pérez, Oriol Riera, Jonathan Rodríguez & Luis Alberto (attackers).

Valencia CF is a unique club, the high expectations of the fans have always created a charged environment at the Mestalla, something that’s bigger when things aren’t going so well. And the current situation is going beyond this, because the problems are everywhere. The high expectations created at the start of the season led to frustration in a team that’s currently closer to relegation than to Europe and that’s coming after a tasteless draw at home in Copa before recently promoted UD Las Palmas.

Owner Peter Lim received the first criticism and before the first round ended he changed the full staff, there a new sporting director (Garcia Pitarch), new members (Vicente Rodriguez) and a new coach, Gary Neville, who replaced Nuno just months after the Portuguese signed a contract renewal.

And with the team dragging a negative streak of nine liga games without victories, the situation is turning into chaos. Neville, who has been winless in his seven liga games at the club, was quoted telling the players in the half-time of the game with Rayo Vallecano that “they didn’t deserve to wear that shirt”, something that the club and the coach denied later. Neville even blamed reporters and the relation with the media isn’t good.

Besides, the relation with the players is bad, men like Javi Fuego, who isn’t counting for the new coach, and Dani Parejo, who during the week was degraded from his role of captain, want to leave. Meanwhile the media is more excited about the signings that could be made in the next days than of the visit to the Riazor. The icing ahead of the game is the fact that Paco Alcácer is a last-minute casualty with a knee/ankle injury. He is the main offensive reference after scoring nine goals plus providing four assists.

It’s predicted a 4-3-3 lineup for the match. Jaume Doménech is the goalkeeper, Portuguese João Cancelo covers the right side in defence, José Gayá performs on the left, Tunisian Aymen Abdennour and German Shkodran Mustafi cover the central positions.

The trio at midfield is composed by Portuguese Andre Gomes, former captain Dani Parejo and 19-year-old Danilo Barbosa. Then the trio up front is for ex-Celta Santi Mina, Rodrigo Moreno and Álvaro Negredo.

It has been a discrete season for Negredo with only two goals scored and one assist; he was talking of the current situation at the club, ”We all must fight for the same, to follow the same path. We are in the middle of a very negative dynamic and it is now when we should remain together, not only the veterans, we all must pull out. I believe in the 24 players that we have inside the changing room. There’s enough quality to move on.”

List of picked players (19): Ryan, Jaume Doménech (goalkeepers); Gayá, Cancelo, Santos, Barragán, Abdennour, Mustafi, Vezo (defenders); Zahibo, André Gomes, Piatti, Bakkali, Dani Parejo, Danilo, De Paul (midfielders); Negredo, De Paul & Santi Mina (attackers).

Deportivo: (4-4-2) Lux – Juanfran, Arribas, Sidnei, Navarro – Fajr, Álex Bergantiños, Mosquera, Luisinho, Luis Alberto, Lucas Pérez.
Valencia: (4-3-3) Jaume – Cancelo, Mustafi, Abdennour, Gayá – Andre Gomes, Parejo, Danilo – Santi Mina, Negredo, Rodrigo.
Referee: Mario Melero López
Kick-off: 18h15 CET (Riazor)
Head-to-head Vs. Valencia:  27 wins for Depor, 18 draws, 47 wins for Valencia (Primera & Segunda)
Record at the Riazor: 18 wins for Depor, 11 draws, 18 wins for Valencia (Primera & Segunda)



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