Competition news

PREVIEW: VALENCIA – DEPORTIVO (LIGA, 19h00)

27 Sep 2008
Two of the three best defensive lines in Spain are colliding at Mestalla. For the game Lotina is recovering all his strikers as Mista, Riki and Omar Bravo are returning to the squad. In Valencia all eyes are over Villa and Mata, attackers that have scored six of the eight goals conquered by Valencia on this liga season.

STATISTICS: THREE AND HALF YEARS WITHOUT A LIGA WIN OVER VALENCIA
Valencia has been a tough rival to beat for Deportivo during the last three and a half years, because the Galicians don’t achieve a liga win over the Valencians since February 12th 2005, day in which Irureta’s Deportivo conquered a 2-1 victory at Mestalla thanks to the goals scored by Scaloni and V?ctor.

Since that day Depor has only clinched two draws in seven liga confrontations against Valencia, this poor record includes fourth straight defeats at the Riazor, curiously the draws were conquered within the last four visits to Valencia. Mestalla was an easy target for the Primera clubs during the past season, because Koeman’s squad lost nine matches there during la liga 2007/2008, a negative record in the history of Valencia. However things have changed with the arrival of new coach Unai Emery as the team is the current leader in Primera Divisi??n.

After two liga home games at Mestalla, Valencia has won both confrontations and has even kept a clean sheet (3-0 Vs Mallorca and 1-0 Vs Osasuna). Besides, Depor has been unable to score a goal during the last four liga games played away from the Riazor: 0-1 at Zaragoza (matchday 35, 07/08), 0-1 at Atl?tico (matchday 37, 07/08), 0-1 Vs Villarreal (matchday 02, 08/09) and 0-0 Vs Osasuna (matchday 04, 08/09).


DEPORTIVO: MISTA RETURNS TO MESTALLA
Striker Miguel ?ngel Ferrer ?Mista’ is set to return to the starting lineup at Mestalla, stadium in which he lived his best moments wearing the shirt of Valencia. However Mexican striker Omar Bravo is also returning from suspension and coach Lotina hasn’t decided yet which one of them will start the game. The Basque trainer is also recovering Riki after the injury suffered in the opening game with Real Madrid, meaning that Lotina finally has all his ?gunpowder’ in attack.

The other doubt in the mind of Lotina is if Angel Lafita should start, Lotina still doubting if the Aragonian winger has the needed pace to compete, the alternative is to play with Pablo Alvarez on the right wing. The rest of the team was already confirmed by Depor’s coach. Firstly Andr?s Guardado will continue performing on the left wing.

Later in midfield, De Guzm??n is suspended after he was sent off in the past game wit Osasuna and Sergio will be rested for Thursday’s crucial game against SK Brann Bergen, for that reason the couple in the sector will be conformed by Juan Rodr?guez and Antonio Tom??s. The 4-2-3-1 formation will be completed with Laure covering the right-back position, Filipe Luis the left side and the duo Z? Castro-Albert Lopo playing in the centre of the defence.

Before the travel to Valencia, goalkeeper Dani Aranzubia talked about what Depor needs in order to clinch a positive result in Mestalla ?If we want to win or achieve something in Valencia, we need to do the right things in all the aspects. The team has been working a lot during the games, but we haven’t had good luck up front. It’s true we are defending pretty well, even with ten men, and that’s a difficult thing to do.?

With the return of Riki, the only injury cases at Deportivo are Manuel Pablo, Barrag??n and Pablo Amo. The reader can consult their status in the injury room. Together with Sergio, the players discarded for technical reasons are Bodipo, Cristian, Mun??a and Aouate.

Called players (18): Aranzubia, Fabricio (goalkeepers); Laure, Lopo, Z? Castro, Adri??n L??pez ?Piscu’, Colotto, Filipe Lu?s (defenders); Antonio Tom??s, Juan Rodr?guez, Pablo ?lvarez, Guardado, Joan Verd??, Valer??n, Lafita (midfielders); Omar Bravo, Riki and Mista (strikers).

VALENCIA: ALL EYES OVER VILLA
It was a turbulent summer for Valencia FC since the battle to dominate the club continued within the last months, actually the current president of the club, Vicente Soriano, announced this week that he has bought the shares of Juan Soler, meaning he is now the main shareholder of the club. But this announcement won’t resolve the financial problems at the club, Valencia has a debt of more than €400 million and its plans to sell Mestalla and build a new stadium are stopped due to the crisis in the real state sector. The construction of the new stadium started in 2007, but everything is stopped since four weeks ago due to a lack payment to the building company. It was even rumoured that Valencia would have to sell its best players in order to solve the crisis.

But despite the financial problems, things have started well for the squad in la liga. New coach Unai Emery has found the results since the beginning as his squad is the current leader of the competition. One of the keys for this is David Villa, striker that despite an injury (knee sprain) is one of the three Pichichis in Primera Divisi??n with four goals in four matches (the others are Van Der Vaart and Sinama-Pongolle). Besides Villa has always been a nightmare for Depor as El Guaje has scored seven times against the Galicians (two with Zaragoza and five with Valencia). Another statistic about Villa: he has scored 62 goals in 105 liga games with Valencia, that’s an average of 0.59 goals per match, one of the best ones in la liga.

A novelty in the list of called players is the return of Vicente Rodr?guez after surpassing a muscular injury. Who will still sidelined is captain Carlos Marchena, the defender hasn’t debuted yet on this season due to an ankle injury. Other absentees for injury reasons are Baraja (thigh problem), Curro Torres (knee), Maduro (gastroenteritis) and David Silva (ankle).

Together with Villa, a player that must be followed really closely is Juan Manuel Mata, a young prospect that was signed from Real Madrid Castilla on the past season and that has impressed with his game. The Burgos-born midfielder is on fire after scoring two goals in three matches during the present campaign, the combination of Villa and Mata is responsible for six of the eight goals scored by Valencia so far. In this match Mata will cover the left wing, that’s because the partner of Villa upfront will be Fernando Morientes, another striker that likes to score against Depor. The ex-Real Madrid has scored eight times against the Galicians playing for la liga (four with Real Madrid, two with Zaragoza and two with Valencia)

The 4-4-2 offensive formation of Emery will be completed with ex-Betis Joaqu?n covering the right wing and the duo Albelda-Ed?? in the centre of midfield. Brazilian Renan Brito, who has only allowed two goals in the season, will be the goalkeeper, while the line of four defenders will be composed by Portuguese Miguel Brito on the right side, Emiliano Moretti on the left, and Ra??l Albiol and Alexis Ruano covering the centre. Other novelty is that German keeper Timo Hildebrand continues sidelined by Emery, reason why 21-year-old Vicente Guaita was called for the game.

Called players (19): Renan, Guaita (goalkeepers);  Miguel, Helguera, Alexis, Albiol, Moretti, Del Horno (defenders); Albelda, Edu, Vicente, Manuel Fernandes, Pablo Hern??ndez, Joaqu?n, Mata, Angulo (midfielders); Zigic, Morientes and Villa (strikers).

PROBABLE LINEUPS
Valencia:
Renan - Miguel, Albiol, Alexis, Moretti - Joaqu?n, Albelda, Edu, Mata – Morientes, Villa.
Deportivo: Aranzubia – Laure, Z? Castro, Lopo, Filipe – Juan Rodr?guez, Antonio Tom??s – Pablo ?lvarez, Verd??, Guardado – Mista.
Referee: Miguel ?ngel P?rez Lasa
Kick-off: 19h00 (Mestalla)
Record Vs Valencia: 24 wins for Depor, 14 draws, 38 wins for Valencia
Record at Mestalla: 9 wins for Depor, 6 draws, 23 wins for Valencia

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