Competition news

PREVIEW: SPORTING – DEPORTIVO (LIGA)

06 Feb 2016
Depor search for the first win in 2016 in one of the stadiums in which it faced big problems in recent decades. Lux returns as Víctor relies in Lucas and Luis Alberto. Sporting is a young team with an acceptable season so far.

STATISTICS: 17 YEARS WITHOUT A WIN OVER SPORTING
Deportivo have been unable to defeat Sporting Gijón within the last seventeen years. The last time the Galicians defeated the Asturians playing for la liga was for the season 1997/98 with José Manuel Corral’s team winning both games.

Firstly, it won 2-1 at the Riazor with goals from Naybet and Abreu (January 4, 1998) and later won 0-3 at El Molinón for the closing matchday of the campaign with goals scored by Bassir (2) and Flavio Conceiçao (May 16, 1998). In official competitions the last victory of Depor over Sporting was for Copa Del Rey and it also took place at El Molinón. It was a 0-1 win with a goal scored by Donato during the campaign 1998/99 (January 31, 1999).

A fact to have in mind is that Sporting is the second worst home team in the league, they have only picked eleven points after nine home matches. The Asturians only won three times at Molinón so far: 1-0 Vs. Málaga CF (Nov. 1), 3-1 Vs. UD Las Palmas (Dec 6) and 5-1 Vs. Real Sociedad (Jan 22).

About Depor, the Galicians are the fifth most out-form team in la liga after only adding four points within the last six games; actually, Los Blanquiazules are one of the four teams that remain winless in 2016 (the other three are Valencia CF, Real Betis and RCD Espanyol).

DEPORTIVO: L&L
Not a good start in 2016 for Deportivo as the team remains winless, but the duo Lucas Pérez-Luis Alberto is offering its best version. Four of the last five goals in liga were scored with one of these players assisting the other, totally this partnership has meant 18 goals and 7 assists in liga. It’s an important number that recalls the couple Valerón-Makaay (curiously both couples wearing the shirt numbers 9 & 21).

The media and the fans consider this combination as the heart of the offense, though both players don’t share the impression. Lucas was denying the idea that they are the most important part of Deportivo, ”The important thing is to add, we must move forward, this is not the team of Luis Alberto or Lucas Pérez, we are Deportivo.” In the case of Luis Alberto, he preferred to emphasize the moment of his partner, ”With Lucas you know you're going to assist and he will not fail, or will fail very few. So it gets bigger and gets bigger to me.“

With both men yielding so high coach Víctor Sánchez will keep playing with a 4-4-2 figure. Only one change is expected from Monday’s team and it is German Lux, who returns from suspension in order to cover the goal.

Juanfran Moreno will remain covering the right side in defense, the left sector is for Fernando Navarro. The central positions remain to be for Alejandro Arribas and Brazilian Sidnei Rechel.

Álex Bergantiños and Pedro Mosquera are the centre midfielders, Cani will keep playing on the right wing, Fayçal Fajr attacks from the left flank, then Lucas and Luis Alberto are the centre forwards.

Celso Borges received the medical okay to play during the week, but the midfielder lacks match fitness, so he wasn’t included in the roster. Goalkeeper Fabricio Agosto is the only player at the injury room, while the men out for tactical reasons are Manuel Pablo, Jonás Gutiérrez and Jonathan Rodríguez.

Fajr was talking of the difficulty of the meeting, ”It’s going to be complicated. They just beat Valencia and last week beat Real Sociedad at home. We are prepared to play against any team. Surely our heads are still remembering the first round game. We shouldn’t have lost and in the end we lost. There were a lot of goals and the fans were content with it, but we cannot forget it and the best way to fix it is to win in Gijón. Depor haven’t won there since a long time ago and we will give everything for the victory.”

List of picked players (19): Lux, Manu, Pletikosa (goalkeepers); Laure, Sidnei, Lopo, Arribas, Juanfran, Navarro (defenders); Álex Bergantiños, Juan Domínguez, Mosquera, Cani, Luisinho, Cartabia, Fayçal Fajr (midfielders); Lucas Pérez, Oriol Riera & Luis Alberto (attackers).

SPORTING: THE POWER OF YOUTH
It might seem that this is a difficult season for Sporting as the team will probably fight for the permanence until the end, but it should be considered a successful campaign too after taking in mind the limitations of the Asturian club. Los Rojiblancos have the worst financial situation that avoided making major signings within the last two years, thus the squad is largely composed by players coming from their academy (11 of the 25 players are coming directly from Sporting B).

So, it isn’t surprising that their squad is the youngest in la liga (average 24.1 years) , but the inexperience and lack of quality for some positions isn’t affecting the team as, despite their recent poor form, they have only been in relegation in 4 of the 22 matchdays played so far.

This formula of youth is also reinforced with promising lads that came loaned, mainly through two players: Antonio Sanabria  (loaned from AS Roma) and Alen Halilović (loaned from Barcelona B). The Paraguayan attacker is only 19 but already scored ten times in liga (the highest mark for a U19 player among the top-five leagues in Europe), eight of those goals were scored within the last eight games and four of them in his last two appearances. In the case of the Croatian playmaker he showed his quality at the Riazor and already scored twice plus providing four assists.

It isn’t expected that coach Abelardo is going to make changes to the 4-2-3-1 team that beat Valencia CF, which means that Halilović will continue on the bench. Iván Cuéllar is recovered from his knee injury and remains at the goal, Bosnian Ognjen Vranješ covers the right side in defence, Isma López, now reconverted into a side defender, performs on the left, then the centre-backs are Luis Hernández and Jorge Meré.

Algerian Rachid Aït-Atmane and Sergio Álvarez are the centre midfielders, Carlos Carmona attacks from the right wing, Cameroonian Dani Ndi is the playmaker, Jony Rodríguez is the left winger, while Toni Sanabria is the centre forward.

Luis Hernández was praising the level of Deportivo, ”It is a complicate rival, maybe the revelation of the season. Lucas is offering a great level, but also the rest of the team, because in attack they have players that mark the difference. “

List of picked players (19): Cuéllar, Alberto García (goalkeepers); Luis Hernández, Jorge Meré, Álex Menéndez, Lora, Vranjes (defenders); Sergio Álvarez, Mascarell, Isma López, Carmona, Pablo Pérez, Jony, Rachid, Halilovic, Ndi (midfielders); Guerrero, Carlos Castro & Sanabria (attackers).

PROBABLE LINEUPS
Sporting: (4-2-3-1) Cuéllar – Vranjes, Luis Hernández, Meré, Isma López – Rachid, Sergio Álvarez – Carmona, Ndi, Jony - Sanabria
Deportivo: (4-4-2) Lux – Juanfran, Arribas, Sidnei, Navarro – Cani, Álex Bergantiños, Mosquera, Fajr – Luis Alberto, Lucas.
Referee: Alejandro José Hernández Hernández
Kick-off: 22h05 CET (El Molinón)
Head-to-head Vs. Sporting: 31 wins for Depor, 19 draws, 22 wins for Sporting (Primera & Segunda)
Record in Gijón:: 8 wins for Depor, 8 draws, 20 wins for Sporting (Primera & Segunda)

ARCHIVE NEWS FEB/16

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