Squad news


30 Apr 2011
Depor searches the salvation, while Atletico targets the European zone; Lotina is reinventing the trivote, while Quique Flores protects Forlán and relies on Aguero.

After suffering four straight defeats within matchdays 20 &23, something that almost cost the job to coach Quique Sánchez Flores, Atletico Madrid has found the road to heaven as the Madrilenian team has only lost one of the last ten liga matches; actually Los Rojiblancos have been the third best team at Primera División in the period as it has added 19 of the last 30 points in dispute, mark only surpassed by giant clubs Barcelona (26) and Real Madrid (23).

Therefore it is accurate to affirm that this is the best moment of Atletico Madrid on the season, and it explains why the team is now seventh at the standings, place that now means a spot in the next Europa League as there will be no participant in the European competition coming out from the Copa Del Rey tournament (the finalist are already qualified for the Champions League).

Meanwhile, Depor still sails in the waters of mediocrity, convincing everyone in one match to end up frustrating the fans in the next one. For this reason the Galicians haven’t achieved yet the permanence at Primera División; actually this is the worst season for Depor since the 1991/92 campaign, time when the team only had six wins and thirteen draws after the first thirty-three matchdays.

At least Deportivo can presume that after the last promotion to Primera, the team has only lost three times at the Riazor against Atletico Madrid, the last time was two seasons ago (1-2, 2008/09). Precisely the club hopes that the Riazor will be an important ally for the game, for this reason all kind of promotions have been established and the number of tickets that have been sold invites to think that the stadium will be full, just like it happened in the previous game with Racing Santander.

Lotina is responding to the casualties at midfield with a trivote figure never used before in an official match, actually it was tested in a training session until this week. For the game the Basque coach has the casualties of Juca (Soleus), Antonio Tomás (quadriceps) and Rubén Pérez (contract), for this reason the only midfielders available for the meeting are Juan Dominguez and Juan Rodriguez.

And what Lotina has decided to do is to put the “two Juanes” alongside a central defender at the centre of the pitch, and the chosen one is Aythami Artiles, Canarian defender that has never played on this position, at least in Primera División. The plan is to use Aythami as the pivote at the centre, while Juan Dominguez will perform towards the right side and Juan Rodriguez will do it towards the left.

The 4-3-2-1 draw also involves a figure with two playmakers; it is clear Andrés Guardado  will be the one performing towards the left wing, the big doubt is who will be the playmaker towards the right, the spot is between Lassad Nouioui and Juan Carlos Valerón, while Xisco will surely be the central attacker after scoring a goal in the last two meetings played at the Riazor.

At defense, Daniel Aranzubia will be the starting goalkeeper, Laureano Sanabria ‘Laure’ will be the right-back defender, Claudio Morel has surpassed a muscular problem and will cover the left side, finally Diego Colotto and Albert Lopo will be the central defenders.

The irruption of Aythami at the starting eleven is allowing Ze Castro to return into the list of picked players; it is the second time on this year in which the Portuguese defender is part of a list, the last time was against Real Zaragoza (January 23).

There are four players at the injury room, Antonio Tomás and Juca have been joined by Michel and Manuel Pablo. Valencian Michel is out due to gastroenteritis, while Canarian Manuel Pablo is out due to a hamstring strain. Desmarets, José Sand and Saúl weren’t picked for tactical reasons, while Javito is without a transfer.

Captain Manuel Pablo was commenting the importance of the meeting, “On Saturday we have a new final; we are witnessing that within the last matchdays things are thigh in la liga, everybody is adding points, and we must secure the matches at home.”

The other right-back defender at the team, Laure, was saying that Depor only depends on itself in order to clinch the permanence, “We must work at the top and think that we still depending in ourselves. We can’t look at other results, because we depend in ourselves, in our work and in what we can offer at the pitch.”

Youngster Juan Dominguez, who will be a starter in the game, was saying that Depor is growing in this last stage of the season, ”I believe the team is growing up. Against Hércules we were better compared to past away games. We fought hard and the fairest thing would have been a draw. Now we must look to ourselves and correct the errors.”

Meanwhile, Guardado was emphasizing the fact that three of the last five games of Depor will be played at the Riazor, ”For us the best thing is to have three matches at home, but right now we must focus on the next game, because if we achieve the three points then we will be closer to salvation. We must be ourselves. At least we depend on ourselves and the team remains above other clubs, and now we need to be strong at home.”

List of picked players (18): Aranzubia, Manu (goalkeepers); Laure, Seoane, Morel, Lopo, Colotto, Ze Castro, Aythami (defenders); Juan Rodríguez, Pablo Álvarez, Guardado, Juan Domínguez, Valerón (midfielders); Xisco, Riki, Adrián and Lassad (strikers).

Sergio ´Kun’ Aguero is living one of his best moments since his arrival to Atletico Madrid in 2006. The Argentine attacker has scored 23 goals on the season (16 in liga, 4 in European competitions and 3 in Copa Del Rey), which means his second best mark in Spain as he is only four goals away of tying the mark set during the season 2007/08 (27 goals).

But the best news is that Kun is exploding in this last part of the season, because the former player of Independiente has scored eight goals within the last six games, including two in the past meeting against Levante UD. His latest performance is without doubt one of the main reasons why Atletico is having a late reaction that’s paving the road to Europe.

However, and curiously, the good moment of the 22-year-old player is the opposite of the grey season lived by the other top-scorer at the team, Diego Forlán. Cachavacha has only scored eight times on this liga tournament and has been constantly criticized by the media and the fans. Maybe the mark of goals doesn’t look so bad, but it must be reminded that the Uruguayan star scored 18 goals on the last season and that he was also, according to FIFA, the best player of the last World Cup, so definitely the expectations were higher with him.

Besides the contradicting present of Aguero and Forlán, another of the main stories for the game is the return of Filipe Luis to the Riazor after been sold during the summer for twelve million Euros. The Brazilian left-back has had a season with ups and downs, having a discrete participation at the beginning, but lately he has been a starter and already accumulates 22 appearances in la liga (1,697 minutes).

During the week he was commenting the game, “Deportivo is a dangerous rival at home, and all the teams have suffered there. It is going to be complicated and I am sure they won’t have any problem to save themselves. But we are passing through a good moment and the team is thinking of itself and not on the rivals, you can notice it and the team is fine.”

”It is going to be a special game for me, because I have a good relationship with everyone and I don’t know the reception that they will give me. I love that club and its fans. I am glad of going back, but it is an important game for us and the important thing is to pick up the three points.” He added.

In the end the coach, despite defending the player during his press conference, is leaving Forlán out of the starting squad; instead he is relying on striker Diego Costa, the Brazilian, pretended by Depor during the last summer market, is the third best scorer at the team with six goals added to his tally, including a hat-trick against Osasuna a few weeks ago (3-2 win for Atletico).

The expected lineup is a 4-4-2 figure; with young sensation David de Gea at the goal, Czech international Luis Tomas Ujfalusi will be the right-back defender, Filipe Luis returns to the Riazor in order to cover the left side of Atletico, while the doubt is if Diego Godín will be a starter or not at the centre, the Uruguayan was picked for the game after surpassing an adductor injury, but it isn’t clear if he is totally fit to play. His place alongside Colombian Luis Amaranto Perea could be covered by 22-year-old Álvaro Domínguez.

At midfield, Madrilenian Mario Suárez and Portuguese Tiago Cardoso Mendes will perform on the pivote functions; then José Antonio Reyes will attack from the right wing; the Andalusian has had a great season scoring five goals in liga. New signing Elías Mendes Trindade will attack from the left, the Brazilian already scored twice after joining the club during the winter window. Finally, Aguero and Diego Costa will be the two attackers in the formation.

List of picked players (18): De Gea, Joel (goalkeepers); Antonio López, Filipe Luis, Godín, Ujfalusi, Álvaro Domínguez, Perea (defenders); Mario Suárez, Tiago, Raúl García, Elías, Paulo Assunção, Reyes, Juanfran (midfielders); Forlán, Kun Agüero and Diego Costa (strikers).

Deportivo: (4-3-2-1) Aranzubia - Laure, Lopo, Colotto, Morel - Juan Domínguez, Aythami, Juan Rodriguez – Lassad or Valerón, Guardado - Xisco
Atletico: (4-4-2) De Gea - Ujfalusi, Perea, Godín or Domínguez, Filipe Luis - Reyes, Mario, Tiago, Elías - Kun Agüero y Diego Costa.
Referee: Javier Turienzo Álvarez (18 games on the season, 11 wins for the local teal).
Kick-off: 22h00 CET (Riazor)
Head-to-head Vs. Atletico: 26 wins for Depor, 17 draws, 42 wins for Atletico (Primera & Segunda)
Record at the Riazor: 21 wins for Depor, 11 draws, 10 wins for Atletico (Primera & Segunda)



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