Squad news


06 Mar 2010
Depor returns to the Riazor in order to strengthen its European aspirations; Lassad was picked but won’t be a starter. Meanwhile, Tenerife has defensive problems and arrives missing its two starting side defenders.

CD Tenerife arrives to the Riazor with label of been the worst visitor in liga, with nine defeats after eleven visits and with only two points added in this condition: Real Valladolid (3-3, matchday 12) and UD Almeria (1-1, matchday 18). Actually, the team from the Canary Islands and Xérez CD are the only two Primera clubs without away victories on the season.

Also, Los Chicharreros represent the worst defensive line at Primera División with forty-nine goals allowed after twenty-four matchdays. These two statistics explains why Tenerife is now living inside the relegation zone, four points separated from Real Zaragoza, club that at the moment marks the salvation.

But neither Depor is living a good moment, the Galicians have only added four points since the start of the second round. The mark of Lotina’s team is the fifth worst at Primera. Also to mention that Depor has never lost against Tenerife playing at the Riazor, at least at Primera. The only three home setbacks against the Canarians occurred at Segunda, the last one on the season 1988/89 (1-3).

Depor has lost four of its last seven liga games and must react now if the squad wants to stay living at the European positions, and the key for it is the Riazor. Xérez CD was the last visitor defeated in La Coruña and the next two teams that will play there are the other two teams living in relegation: Tenerife and Valladolid. Actually, of the seven remaining games to be played at the Riazor, five are against teams fighting to survive (Tenerife, Valladolid Racing, Almeria and Zaragoza), while the other two are against direct rivals (Getafe and Mallorca).

Therefore, the European aspirations of Deportivo are passing through adding the maximum number of points during these home encounters. And the importance of the home performance is emphasised with the fact that Lotina’s team is living a very dark moment playing away from the Riazor, and it’s that the team is scoreless in this condition in 2010 (the only Primera team that hasn’t scored any away goal in the new year).

Meanwhile, the Galicians have scored at least one goal in eleven of the twelve home liga matches disputed so far, the only time in which Depor ended scoreless at the Riazor was the goalless game against Valencia (matchday 15). Also, to notice that the three home defeats suffered on this season came with the rival scoring three goals: 2-3 Vs Espanyol (matchday 03), 1-3 Vs Barcelona (matchday 13) and 1-3 Vs Real Madrid (matchday 20).

The novelty for the game is that Lotina has picked Lassad Nouioui after three months out, the Basque was thinking in reserving the striker for Sevilla, but he had a conversation with him before the clash and decided to include him. In the end the Tunisian will probably play for 20 or 30 minutes. Who wasn’t picked was Mista, Depor’s coach said that he still missing match fitness and will start to increase the level of the trainings in the coming week, which includes to play a training game with Fabril.

Lassad talked to reporters before the encounter and explaining his state, "The coach asked me how I was, I told him that fine, and he did his job, which was to pick me up. For the moment I am fine, let's see tomorrow during the game. We aren’t playing so well, but can’t say that we aren’t  trying. It is difficult to play against big teams, because in the Spanish league there are a lot. I believe we are doing the right things with the players we currently have."

In the end the lineup will almost be the same 4-2-3-1 formation used at Villarreal, with the novelty of Albert Lopo returning to the centre of the defence in order to join Diego Colotto. Manuel Pablo will perform at the right-back position, Laure will cover the left and Dani Aranzubia will be the keeper.

At midfield, Antonio Tomás and Juan Rodriguez will be the two pivotes, Pablo Alvarez will perform at the right wing and Andrés Guardado will do the same on the left, this no matter he arrived late on Friday and just completing part of the training session.  The big doubt is who will be the playmaker or if Lotina will even use that figure in this game.

The options are Valerón and Juan Dominguez, this last one played his fourth game as starter at Villarreal and Lotina praised his performance. The other option is to play with a 4-4-2 system allowing the entrance of Rodolfo Bodipo to join Adrián in attack. The Asturian will try to break his drought of 867 minutes without scoring a goal. Finally, to mention that Lotina has six players at the injury room: Angulo, Filipe, Juca, Sergio, Riki and Zé Castro.

Manuel Pablo was commenting his relation with Tenerife, “It is a special game for me, surely the most special one on this season. Hopefully, Tenerife could be in a different situation, but right now they are complicated, we are also fighting for some stuff and it’s going to be difficult for both sides. I want to see Tenerife staying at Primera, though I, as a Canarian, have that emotional feeling of wanting to defeat them, but they are representing the (Canary) Islands and want them to stay here for one more year.”

“It’s a complicate match for both teams; they don’t add too many points away from home and allow a lot of goals, while we aren’t as fine as we wanted. For us the obligation to win is bigger, because we are playing at home and facing a rival at the bottom. Tenerife is a similar team to Xérez, they play well, and they try to practice good football, but pay a high price for each error; let’s see if we can take advantage of that.” The Canarian added.

Finally, Pablo Alvarez was saying that the rival will be a tough one to defeat, “Tenerife is a rival that it’s having problems away from home, they have fast players in attack, like Alfaro and Nino, who are always searching for the goal. They are playing for their life and are coming here for everything. We must have the initiative since the start and search the goal since the first minute.”

List of picked players (18): Aranzubia, Manu (goalkeepers); Manuel Pablo, Colotto, Lopo, Adrián López ‘Piscu’, Laure, Seoane (defenders);, Juan Rodríguez, Juan Domínguez, Antonio Tomás, Valerón, Iván Pérez, Pablo Álvarez, Guardado (midfielders); Bodipo, Adrián López and Lassad (strikers).

The chronicles of the liga matches usually describe the style of CD Tenerife as “pretty”, and it’s that coach José Luis Oltra Castañer was always praised for the offensive game that he tries to display on the pitch. As a demonstration of this the fact that the Canarians have scored twenty goals, just six less than Deportivo. But the main problem of the team is at the opposite side of the pitch: the defence.

The defensive line of Tenerife has been criticised for its continuous mismatches, something clearly emphasised by the fact that the Canarians are the worst team in terms of goals allowed (49), something that’s getting worse with the pass of the matches, because the 40% of the goals leaked on this season (19) were allowed within the last eight matches. Actually, Tenerife is the worst defensive line in the second round with 13 goals allowed after 5 matches.

Also to mention that Tenerife is the Primera club that has suffered more big scores on this liga campaign (5): 0-4 at Mallorca (matchday 04), 0-5 at Villarreal (matchday 09), 0-5 Vs Barcelona (matchday 17), 1-4 at Athletic Bilbao (matchday 23) and 1-5 Vs Real Madrid (matchday 24). 

To make thing worse, coach Oltra is having problems at both sides of the defence, because left-back defender Carlos Bellvis wasn’t picked since he got worse of his adductor injury, while right-back Marc Bertrán (thigh) was already discarded. In the end Oltra will have to improvise with right winger Juan Luis Hens ‘Juanlu’ delaying his position to cover the right side, and with central defender Pablo Sicilia covering the left.

The defensive line is completed with Manuel Martínez Lara and José Antonio Culebras playing at the centre and with Sergio Aragoneses at the goal. It is the first occasion on the season that these five men play at the same time. At midfield, Ricardo León and Ricardo Pérez ‘Richi’ will be the two pivotes, Cameroonian Daniel Ngom Kome should be attacking from the right wing, and Ayoze García Pérez should do the same from the left. The couple for the goals will be composed by Alejandro Alfaro and ex-Levante Juan Francisco Martínez Modesto ‘Nino’, combined this couple accumulates ten goals in the Primera season (6 for Nino and 4 for Alfaro).

Central defender José Antonio Culebras was trying to keep the calm in this difficult moment, “We should believe that we can change the situation, first to all we need to accept our reality on the table, though it isn’t easy. Football changes in the overnight. What we must do is to isolate ourselves from the numbers and think of each weekend.”

Juanlu was talking of the necessities of his team, “We have a big opportunity in La Coruña; we know that we can not allow more errors and should be more demanding with ourselves. We are willing to win and want to play good football at the Riazor, but we are conscious that it is a difficult stadium. Let’s hope it will be our first away win, which is something we really need. Until know we didn’t have a reward playing away from home, but that triumph must arrive.

On loan player from Sevilla, Alejandro Alfaro, was saying that Tenerife is arriving to the Riazor in order to claim the three points, “The situation is complicated, and there are no excuses or lamentations. We must offer a positive impression outside the island and this game is a good opportunity to do it. We must follow the same direction. We never thought in living at the last places, we just must try to break our negative streak outside home. I don’t want a draw.”

List of picked players (18): Luis García, Sergio Aragoneses (goalkeepers) Héctor Sánchez, Culebras, Manolo Martínez, Pablo Sicilia (defenders); Ricardo León, Richi, Míkel Alonso, Juanlu Hens, Román Martinez, Dani Kome, Ayoze, Omar Ramos, Alfaro (midfielders); Ángel, Dinei, and Nino (strikers).

Deportivo: (4-2-3-1) Aranzubia – Manuel Pablo, Colotto, Lopo, Laure – Juan Rodríguez, Antonio Tomas – Pablo Álvarez, Valerón or Juan Domínguez, Guardado – Adrián.
Tenerife: (4-2-3-1) Sergio Aragoneses - Juanlu, Manolo Martínez, Culebras, Pablo Sicilia - Ricardo, Richi - Kome, Alfaro, Ayoze - Nino.
Referee: José Luis González González (12 games on the season; 4 wins for the locals, 5 for the visitors)
Kick-off: 18h00 CET (Riazor)
Head-to-head Vs Tenerife: 14 wins for Depor, 13 draws, 12 wins for Tenerife (Primera, Segunda & Segunda B)
Record at the Riazor: 9 wins for Depor, 7 draws, 3 wins for Tenerife (Primera, Segunda & Segunda B)



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