Squad news


24 Sep 2017
Depor search for the first win at the RCDE stadium, Çolak and Lucas will be starters, while Andone is benched. The rival is dreaming of Europe, but there are doubts about their potential for this season.

Referee: Ricardo de Burgos Bengoetxea
Kick-off: 12h00 CET (RCDE Stadium)

Deportivo have been unable to defeat RCD Espanyol during the last six visits to their new home, the RCDE stadium. But the bad results of the Galicians in Catalonia are going back to the season 2007/08. And it’s that Depor have only picked two draws in the last eight visits to RCD Espanyol, and in those eight meetings it only managed to score twice.

In general, recently Deportivo have a very poor record at the moment of playing on the road. Between 2016 and 2017, Los Blanquiazules only won in two of their twenty-one visits: 0-2 at Villarreal CF (May 6, 2016) and 0-1 at Sporting Gijón (March 5, 2017).

This version of RCD Espanyol is struggling to score goals, they have only netted three goals so far, only Málaga CF (1) and Alavés (0) have scored less. They have ended scoreless in three of their last four Primera meetings. Meanwhile, Depor have netted six goals, which is a decent number (eighth mark at Primera).

The Galician outfit is coming from the first victory of the season, but the impression left continues to be poor, now the hope is that the moral boost generated by the first success can bring calm and continuity to a team that still searching for a playing style.

Coach Pepe Mel has been switching between the 4-2-3-1, the 4-4-2 and the 4-3-3, and none of these schemes have convinced about what’s the best way to take advantage of the offensive potential at the squad. For this game, more variations will be witness as Mel is ready to play with Emre Çolak as a starter, which means a 4-2-3-1 figure.

Fede Valverde stays at the starting formation after his good game against Alavés, this time covering the left wing. Lucas Pérez is expected to start again, this time as the lonely striker as Florin Andone is benched.

Team news: Winger Zakaria Bakkali passed a late test, but Mel preferred to sidelined him from the game. The players staying at the injury room are Adrian, Rubén Martinez, Pedro Mosquera and Carles Gil. The men out for tactical reasons are Sidnei, Saúl García and Gerard Valentín. Mel picked the same player for this game compared to the past meeting with Alavés. The novelty is to see Fabril’s goalie Álex Cobo on the list.

Man to watch: Playmaker Emre Çolak. The Turkish is feeling frustrated after only having 81 minutes on the season, now he has the chance to be a starter again. He provided an assist in the game with Levante UD, the other one in which he was part of the starting lineup.

Picked players: (19) Tytoń, Pantilimon, Álex Cobo (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: (4-2-3-1) Pantilimon – Juanfran, Schär, Arribas, Luisinho – Guilherme, Borges – Cartabia, Çolak, Valverde - Lucas.

At the end of last season, advisor Ramón Robert told reporters that, after ending eighth, the goal for this campaign was to give a step forward and enter the race for the European positions. But things weren’t easy during the summer window, despite having the tenth best salary cap in the league (€60.97 million) the Catalans didn’t improve the team with solid arrivals –apart from Sergio Darder- while the players that weren’t counting for coach Quique Sánchez Flores didn’t find clubs wanting to pay their wages. Another factor was the raise made to goal-scorer Gerard Moreno

So, the expectations of the fans weren’t too high, and RCD Espanyol confirmed the doubts with a poor start in liga. They only have one more point than Depor at this height in the competition and their best section, the striking line, has only netted three goals, so it’s about to be seen if Los Periquitos really have the capacity to fight for the dream of Europe.

Team news: Defenders Óscar Duarte (knee ligaments) and Javi López (muscle) are the casualties for injury reasons. Playmaker Esteban Granero doesn’t count for Quique Flores, but he was included in the roster for the game, also Espanyol B keeper Edu Frias. Brazilian defender Naldo Gomes wasn’t picked for tactical reasons.

Man to watch: Attacker Leo Baptistão. A lot is expected from his combination with Gerard Moreno. Despite Espanyol only scored three goals so far, the weight of the Brazilian is already noticed after netting once and providing an assist on this season. He already scored twice in seven previous meetings with Deportivo.

Picked players: (20) Pau López, Diego López, Edu Frias (goalkeepers); Aarón Martín, Didac Vilà, Marc Navarro, Mario Hermoso, David López, Sergio Sánchez (defenders); Víctor Sánchez, Granero, Javi Fuego, Pape Diop, Jurado, Hernán Pérez, Darder, Piatti (midfielders); Leo Baptistão, Gerard Moreno & Sergio Garcia (attackers).

Predicted lineup: (4-4-2) Pau López – Víctor Sánchez, Hermoso, David López, Aarón – Jurado, Darder, Javi Fuego, Piatti – Baptistão, Gerard Moreno.



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