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PREVIEW: REAL MADRID – DEPORTIVO (LIGA)

14 Feb 2015
Depor face the pending subject of having a solid performance before a solid team and it has to do it with important casualties. Toché and Juanfran are last-minute casualties. Real Madrid are playing with their deadly attacking trio.

STATISTICS: ONLY TWO WINS AT THE BERNABÉU
Deportivo have only won twice after 42 liga visits to the Santiago Bernabéu stadium. The last one was on the season 2004/05 with a goal scored by Albert Luque (0-1, Oct 03, 2004). Since that day the Galicians lost seven times and suffered three big losses, actually Depor allowed 25 goals in those 7 meetings, including 11 in the last two.

Deportivo arrive to the meeting after winning their second away game on the season (1-2 at Rayo Vallecano), which was also the second away success among the last twelve Primera visits for the Galicians. Meanwhile, Real Madrid have won thirteen of their sixteen home games in all competitions during this season, curiously they only failed to defeat Atlético Madrid in their three home meetings this term: Supercopa (1-1), Liga (1-2) and Copa Del Rey (2-2).

The Madrilenian outfit tops the charts in Spain, been the best team so far in terms of points (54), more victories (18) and the best offense (70 goals scored). But Depor are also presenting interesting stats, at least recently. And it’s that the Blanquiazul team is the sixth best Primera outfit in 2015, adding 11 points in 6 games and only losing once (0-4 Vs. FC Barcelona).

DEPORTIVO: THE PENDING SUBJECT
Calm after the storm at Deportivo. The recent conflictive period that was surrounding the club after the incidents that led to the death of a person in Madrid was finally cleared as soon as the team started to have positive results. With only one loss within the last six games Deportivo are already installed at mid-table and want to prolong the moment in order to secure the permanence as soon as possible.

But Depor must fight against other ghosts that have tarnished the vision in recent months, the biggest issue is the impression of been a helpless team each time Los Blanquiazules face one of the big clubs at Primera. It can be considered as normal to lose the matches against the top teams, but not in the way that Depor fell before them.

And it’s that, apart from the big 3-0 win over Valencia CF, the team looked flat and demotivated playing before Atlético Madrid (0-2), FC Barcelona (0-4), Sevilla CF (1-4), Villarreal CF (0-3) and especially the heavy loss at the Riazor against Real Madrid (2-8), which was the worst home defeat for Depor during this century and the second worst in its history.

So, beyond adding points, the team must try to leave the impression that it can compete against the big ones. It’s something that Juanfran Moreno was analyzing during the week, “We have to demonstrate that we haven’t forgotten the eight goals of the first round and make a step forward before a giant team, something that has been hard to us on this season. It’s good to see everybody thinking that Deportivo are a victim and that already lost the game. We will try to make our game and give a hard battle. We will see the result when it ends.”

But coach Víctor Fernández is having a lot and important casualties for the game, mainly at defence. There are up to six players at the injury room: Hélder Postiga, Luis Fariña, Sidnei Rechel, Diogo Salomão, German Lux and Toché, the last two are last-minute casualties, while Pablo Insua is suspended and José Rodríguez is ineligible as Real Madrid is his parent club.

Víctor also left Juanfran out of the roster. He explained that the player is dragging a knock from the game with Eibar, a problem that isn’t preventing him to play this game, but in the end the right-back/winger is reserved for the Galician derby. So the player is, officially, out for tactical reasons.

In this way there were only 17 available players at the first team, so the coach picked David Gómez, the keeper from Depor B that’s has been called for the first time for an official game. Cezary Wilk and Roberto Canella are also back into the roster after been off for a couple of weeks.

The long list of casualties is sensitive at the centre of the defense as there are only two players available for the position. Borja López was expected to be a starter at the centre of the defence after only having three minutes of football on this season with AS Monaco, but on Friday the coach tested with Manuel Pablo on that position

Víctor won’t change the 4-2-3-1 figure and will only make two changes despite the casualties, both novelties are taking place at defence. Fabricio Agosto covers the goal, Laureano Sanabria ‘Laure’ covers the right side, Luisinho performs on the left, while Albert Lopo joins Manuel Pablo at the centre.

Canarian veteran Manuel Pablo hasn’t played any minute yet in liga, his only two appearances so far took place in Copa del Rey, the last on December 18 (1-4 at Málaga CF). He also announced his retirement on Friday.

The rest of the team is the same one that defeated SD Eibar. Álex Bergantiños and Celso Borges remain at midfield. Isaac Cuenca attacks from the right wing, Iván Cavaleiro does it from the left, Lucas Pérez is the playmaker and Oriol Riera is the central attacker.

Oriol Riera was saying during the week that Real Madrid won’t suffer due to the casualties that are hitting the Madrilenian team, ”It’s silly to talk of casualties at Madrid, because they have a lot of good players. We must remember that we also have casualties. We cannot fear them and will see how we can compete against them.”

Celso Borges understands that neither the last defeat before Atlético is going to affect them, “I believe we have the right attitude for the game, coming after good results, but also believe that it is different to play against Real Madrid and we try to prepare the match in the best possible way. Madrid is Madrid no matter the situation in which they are; they are always a rival against whom you have to play at the highest possible level in order to get something positive. This is a team that’s always very strong at their stadium.”

List of picked players (18):Fabricio, David Gómez (goalkeepers); Laure, Manuel Pablo, Lopo, Borja López, Canella, Luisinho (defenders); Álex Bergantiños, Juan Dominguez, Medunjanin, Celso Borges, Wilk, Hélder Costa, Lucas Pérez, Cuenca (midfielders); Oriol Riera & Cavaleiro (attackers).

REAL MADRID: THE MOMENT OF TRUTH
Every season each big team faces a delicate moment when everything turns to be decisive, and Real Madrid is arriving to this custom. The current leaders in la liga are reaching a delicate point in which any failure can be deadly. After been eliminated in Copa Del Rey, they start in midweek the knockout stage in UEFA Champions League facing Schalke 04, while their one-point lead in liga is turning every game into a final, especially taking in mind the upcoming key games against Villarreal CF, Athletic Club and  the visit to FC Barcelona scheduled for March 22.

So, the moment of truth is starting for a team that broke a record of straight victories at the end of 2014, but nobody remembers the mark now after the recent 0-4 crash visiting Atlético Madrid. Part of the public is angry with the attitude of the players and everybody will be keeping an eye on the reaction at the Bernabéu as they entertain Deportivo.

Having all these issues in mind, coach Carlo Ancelotti has to prepare a lineup having important casualties at defence and midfield, the latest was Fábio Coentrão who picked a muscle injury on Wednesday and is out for three weeks, so there will be rotations, though the Italian boss will keep playing with the ‘BBC trident’ up front.

It’s predicted a 4-3-3 draw, with Iker Casillas covering the goal, ex-Depor Álvaro Arbeloa performs at the right side of the defence,  Brazilian Marcelo Viera performs on the left, while the central positions are for Frenchman Raphael Varane and José Ignacio Fernández ‘Nacho’.

The trio at midfield should be composed by Asier Illarramendi, Toni Kroos and Francisco Román Alarcón ‘Isco’. The media had doubts as Ancelotti was tempted to allow the debut of Brazilian Lucas Silva, but the coach himself confirmed that Basque Illarramendi is going to be the starter.

In attack Ancelotti is presenting his most powerful trio with Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale. The trio combined has scored 49 goals in liga, and impressive mark that even surpasses the goals scored by 18 of the other 19 teams in liga, with the exception of FC Barcelona (62). Cristiano already scored nine times against Depor, with two hat-tricks, one of them during the 2-8 loss of the first round and the other in the last visit to the Bernabeú (Sept 30, 2012).

Precisely Ronaldo has been on the spotlight for having a birthday party just hours after the big loss in the Madrilenian derby, for this reason the players skipped the media during the week. They only talked through international papers and magazines. The only one that said something in public about the game is keeper Iker Casillas, who wrote on his Twitter account that, ”After a painful loss like the one on last Saturday in the derby, we are now eager to play and defeat Deportivo. It’s going to be a tough game.”

There were rumors that 16-year-old Martin Ødegaard was going to be picked for the game, the new signings made his debut last week with Castilla, but in the end the lads that were picked for the game are centre-back Derik Osede and centre midfielder Álvaro Medrán.

List of picked players (19): Casillas, Keylor Navas, Pacheco (goalkeepers); Varane, Marcelo, Carvajal, Arbeloa, Nacho, Derik (defenders); Kroos, Bale, Lucas Silva, Isco, Illarramendi, Medrán (midfielders); Cristiano Ronaldo, Benzema, Hernández & Jesé (attackers).

PROBABLE LINEUPS
Real Madrid: (4-3-3) Casillas– Arbeloa, Varane, Nacho, .Marcelo – Illarramendi, Kroos, Isco – Bale, Benzema, Ronaldo.
Deportivo: (4-2-3-1) Fabricio – Laure, Manuel Pablo, Lopo, Luisinho – Álex Bergantiños, Celso Borges – Cuenca, Lucas, Cavaleiro – Oriol Riera.
Referee: Xavier Estrada Fernández
Kick-off: 19h00 CET (Santiago Bernabéu)
Head-to-head Vs. Real Madrid: 18 wins for Depor, 19 draws, 48 wins for Real Madrid (Primera)
Record at the Bernabéu: 2 wins for Depor, 5 draws, 35 wins for Real Madrid (Primera)

ARCHIVE NEWS FEB/15

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