Squad news


20 Sep 2017
Two teams in trouble collide at the Riazor; Mel needs points, but loses Bakkali and Adrián for injury reasons, while Alavés is the first club that changed the coach after a disastrous start.

Referee: David Medié Jiménez
Kick-off: 21h00 CET (Riazor)

Deportivo have only added one of the first twelve points in dispute in this league season. This means the worst start in 50 years for the Galicians. Going back to the campaign 1968/69, Depor also lost the first four liga meetings and was the bottom club.

Alavés are also having a very negative start, actually the worst in their Primera short career, having zero points and zero goals in favour after four matchdays. Only once on this century a team had “double zeros” at this height of the competition and it was Xérez CD during the season 2009/10.

The Basques have had good results in their recent visits to the Riazor, and it’s that they won in three of their last five league visits to A Coruña. The last one took place on last season (0-1). Depor, Getafe CF and Alavés are the only three clubs without points at home after at least two presentations before their fans.

The season is only starting and Pepe Mel is experienced enough to change the course of a team that has only added one point after four matches, but the huge disappointment in A Coruña might be a burden for a club that’s now used to suffer.

Depor have only won eleven games between 2016 and 2017, and big part of the fans already had enough and is asking for changes. And the Riazor might be exploding if the team is unable to achieve the three points before a direct rival that seems to be living an even worse situation.

Mel is having problems with the lineup. He tested a 4-3-3 figure with Fede Valverde and Lucas Pérez as starters. Luisinho was returning, while Arribas and Schär stayed at the centre of the defence. The problem was that Adríán López was also a starter and he suffered an injury in the last minute (he was training set-píeces), so it’s about to be seen if the coach opts in allowing Andone and Lucas playing at the same time.

Team news: Big problem for Mel as Adrián got injured at the last minute and is out not only of this game, but also of Sunday’s visit to RCD Espanyol. Zakaria Bakkali is out of this meeting too after picking an ankle sprain during the visit to Real Betis. The duo joins Rubén Martinez, Pedro Mosquera and Carles Gil at the injury room. Four men remain out for tactical reasons, Sidnei, Saúl García and Gerard Valentín, while Fabril’s Edu Expósito was a last-minute addition.

Man to watch: Striker Lucas Pérez. The Galician isn’t fit to play for the full 90 minutes, something that even Mel admits, but the coach is also aware that the attacker needs minutes and will allow his appearance as a starter. It could be the emotional boost that the team needs.

Picked players: (18) Tytoń, Pantilimon (goalkeepers); Juanfran, Arribas, Albentosa, Schär, Luisinho, Navarro (defenders); Guilherme, Borges, Fede Valverde, Çolak, Cartabia, Bruno Gama, Edu Expósito (midfielders); Borja Valle, Lucas Pérez & Andone (attackers).

Predicted lineup: (4-3-3) Pantilimon – Juanfran, Schär, Arribas, Luisinho – Guilherme, Borges, Valverde –Cartabia, Andone, Lucas.

Luis Zubeldía wasn’t the first choice to coach Alavés on this season, so it wasn’t strange to see him leaving so soon. After chaining a third loss in a row, the idea of the club was to wait until Saturday’s clash with Real Madrid, but after the disappointing performance before Villarreal CF (0-3), the alarm bells started to ring and the young Argentine coach was fired immediately.

The Basques already tried to hire Javi Gracia, Aitor Karanka and Javier Aguirre, but the trio said no and Javier Cabello, a 43-year-old coach that has only worked at Segunda B and that has the confidence of sporting director Sergio Fernández, will be the improvised coach for this meeting. So, Alavés arrive to the Riazor in the middle of a bigger dark cloud than the one surrounding Deportivo, and with the idea that the project for this season is lost and that it urgently needs a new direction.

Team news: Three casualties for the game. Centre-back Víctor Laguardia (knee ligaments) and left-back Héctor Hernández (knee knock) are the long-term casualties for injury reasons. Then striker Bojan Krkic only had a minor muscle problem in the game with Villarreal, but it’s enough to pull him out of the meeting with Depor.

Man to watch: Attacker Munir El Haddadi. Alavés is the only team at Primera that hasn’t scored yet, but the speed of the ex-Barcelona lad could be a headache for a defensive line that has been caught by surprise in many opportunities. His game against Villarreal CF was his first as a starter on this season and, with Bojan out, he will have a new opportunity at the starting eleven.

Picked players: (18) Pacheco, Sivera (goalkeepers); Vigaray, Duarte, Alexis Runao, Rodrigo Ely, Maripán (defenders); Óscar Romero, Burgui, Dani Torres, Pedraza, Tomás Pina, Manu García, Enzo Fernández, Wakaso, Medrán (midfielders); Rubén Sobrino, Ibai Gómez & Munir (attackers),

Predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Pacheco – Vigaray, Ely, Maripán, Pedraza – Pina, Medrán – Ibai Gómez, Romero, Burgui – Munir.



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