Squad news

PREVIEW: ATLETICO – DEPORTIVO (LIGA)

04 Apr 2010
Depor searches for redemption at the Vicente Calderón after the last three straight defeats in liga; but Lotina still struck by the injuries and will miss seven players for the encounter, including Juan Dominguez and Lassad.

STATISTICS: THE WORST MOMENT FOR DEPOR
This is the worst moment for Deportivo on the current liga season, with three straight defeats and with only eight points added since the second round started; only Real Valladolid has added a lesser number (7). Meanwhile Atletico has added fourteen points in the period, which is the 8th best mark in la liga, but still out of Europe due to the poor numbers in the first part of the tournament.

Atletico is considered as strong team at home; the Madrilenians have added the 64.29% of the points disputed at the Vicente Calderón; however they already lose three times there: 2-3 Vs Real Madrid (matchday 10), 1-2 Vs Villarreal (matchday 14) and 0-2 Vs Malaga (matchday 20). Meanwhile, Depor is completing a full round in la liga without adding an away victory, the last one was against Racing (1-0), team that will visit the Riazor on the next weekend. Since that game against the Cantabrians, Depor has paid eight visits and it has only clinched four draws.

And the Vicente Calderón isn’t a good place to start winning away from the Riazor, at lease statistically, because Depor has only won five times there, the last opportunity was on the season 1999/2000 as the Galicians prevailed thanks to two goals from Makaay and one from Víctor (3-1). And to mention that Depor has lost in the five previous visits to Atletico: 0-1 (2004/05), 2-3 (2005/06), 0-2 (2006/07), 0-1 (2007/08) and 1-4 (2008/09).

DEPORTIVO: THE ENDLESS PLAGUE
Once again coach Miguel Angel Lotina has been struck by the injuries; and it’s that for the match against Atletico he has seven casualties for this reason. He already had Filipe, Pablo Álvarez, Angulo and Juca, at the injury room, and during the week the quartet was joined by Juan Dominguez, Mista and Lassad, without forgetting that, during the same week, Deportivo B lost two players due to a serious knee injury: goalkeeper Marcos Valín and central defender Diego Vieytes
.

In this way the Basque coach is losing two of the starters on the previous game with Getafe; the injuries have been a constant variable during the second round and are one of the explanations to the poor performance shown by the squad in recent weeks. At least Lotina is recovering keeper Aranzubia and central defender Lopo, duo that was suspended for the past game at the Riazor.

Sergio and Zé Castro are also good news as both were doubtful on Wednesday, but managed to overcome their physical problems. Only the Catalan midfielder will be a starter at the Vicente Calderón. In the end Lotina is planning to return to the 4-2-3-1 formation.

With Daniel Aranzubia at the goal, Manuel Pablo performing at the right-back position, the Canarian is the only survivor from the squad that won at the Calderón back on the season 1999/2000 (the last visiting victory of Depor over Atletico); Laureano Sanabria ‘Laure’ will still playing at the left and the central defenders will be Argentine Diego Colotto and Catalan Albert Lopo.

At midfield, Sergio and Antonio Tomás will compose the line of two pivotes, while Juan Rodriguez return to perform on the right wing; Mexican Andrés Guardado returns to the starting eleven playing at the left wing, while Juan Carlos Valerón will be the playmaker. Finally, Adrian will be the lonely attacker. The Pichichi of the team, Riki, will be sited on the bench.

There are a couple of novelties in the list of picked players; Lotina didn’t pick Diego Seoane as a back-up for defence and instead he called Raúl Garcia Granero, the 20-year left-back defender of Fabril that already was picked for a Copa match with Sevilla, but that hasn’t debuted yet with the first team. The other novelty is winger/striker David Añon González, the A-Coruña born player already debuted in liga at Villarreal and was picked in this opportunity due to the casualties in attack.

Guardado was talking before the game, the Mexican said that the key to achieve a good result is to keep a strong defence at the Vicente Calderón, “That was the base of the first round, the reason why we won so many games by a margin of one goal. We must work as a block and don’t give any space in attack, because in any play we could allow a goal. It will be complicated, but not impossible. They can surpass us for their football, but now in attitude.”

Meanwhile, Laure was hoping that Atletico will end affected due to the big effort done against Valencia for the Europa League, “Atletico has one of the best squads in Spain and can harm you. We hope they won’t have their day and that will pay the price for the effort done in Europe. You lose the track, think of another competition and it’s difficult to change the mentality from one day to the other. Besides we noticed they were tired in the final minutes. They made a great game outside home, they are in three competitions, and we must have in mind that fact.”

List of picked players (19): Aranzubia, Manu (goalkeepers); Manuel Pablo, Laure, Lopo, Colotto, Zé Castro, Adrián López ‘Piscu’, Raúl Garcia (defenders); Sergio, Juan Rodríguez, Antonio Tomás, Guardado, Iván Pérez, Valerón, David Añón (midfielders); Bodipo, Riki and Adrián (strikers).

ATLETICO: DR JEKYLL AND MR HYDE
The original title of the novella written by the Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson is the best way to describe the Atletico Madrid squad sawn on this season. Because everything can be expected from this Atletico as it’s capable of the best and at the same time of the worst. Los Rojiblancos are the only team that has been able to defeat Barcelona on the liga season, but that has suffered incredible humiliations, like the 0-3 against Segunda A Recreativo de Huelva in Copa Del Rey.

Precisely, the run of the Madrilenians in Copa Del Rey is one of the best ways to realise about the ups and downs of the team during the season. In the returning leg against Recreativo, Atletico became into the only team in the history of the competition to overcome a 0-3 aggregate score as it clinched a 5-1 win at the Vicente Calderón stadium; later they eliminated Celta with a late goal at Balaídos after a disappointing 1-1 draw at home. Currently they are waiting for a date in order to face Sevilla in the final.

Maybe the most surprising thing of all is that Atletico is currently the only Spanish side that still competing in three fronts, as Los Colchoneros are also disputing the quarterfinals of the UEFA Europa League against Valencia (2-2 in the first leg), and as they still alive in la liga occupying the 10th spot at Primera, eight points behind sixth place Athletic Bilbao. To reach Europe doesn’t seem as an easy task, but to have in mind that Atletico was 15th at matchday 15, thirteen points behind the European zone.

But in order to reach the European zone Atletico must win matches, especially the ones against direct rivals like Deportivo. And for the mission they are trusting in their golden duo. Diego Forlán and Kun Aguero, couple that has scored 25 of the 44 goals conquered by Atletico on the liga season. Special mention to the moment lived by Uruguayan Forlán, who is on fire scoring at least once within the last three liga encounters and that scored eight of his fifteen goals within the last ten liga matchdays. And to mention that both strikers are usually scorers against Depor; Aguero already conquered five goals against the Galicians, while Forlán added four to his tally.

Atletico is coming to this game after Thursday’s 2-2 draw with Valencia for the Europa League, despite the physical effort coach Quique Sanchez Flores is just planning to make two or three modifications to his 4-4-2 lineup; the first one is a forced change as Perea is suspended, therefore ex-Betis Juan Gutiérrez Moreno ‘Juanito’ enters in order to join youngster Alvaro Domínguez at the centre of the defence; the sector is complemented with Tomas Ujfalusi performing at the right-back position, Antonio López at the left and 19-years-old David de Gea will be the keeper.

The big doubt is at midfield; Quique Flores is thinking of resting both Raúl García and Paulo Assunção, but the only think for sure is that at least one of them won’t play. It’s expected that ex-Juventus Tiago Cardoso Mendes will be a starter and his partner at the pivote functions is between Assunção and 19-years-old Ignacio Camacho.

Meanwhile, ex-Benfica Simão Sabrosa will be attacking from the right wing and ex-Real Madrid José Manuel Jurado will do the same on the left. It’s expected that the duo in attack will be composed by Forlán and Aguero, though some sources believe that Senegalese Ibrahima Balde could be a starter, the 19-year-old striker could claim the spot of Aguero. Ibrahima has scored eight goals with Atletico B, same number than Jorge Molino Baena, playmaker picked for the first time for a liga match.

Before the game Ujfalusi said that, in order to keep climbing some positions, the Madrilenian team must keep the same pace of the match against Valencia, “We must seize the moment. We have made an intense game within ninety minutes, we have rested and now have an important match against Deportivo, which is a direct rival. We must go out with the same intensity and, if we win, we could approach to the top places.” 

List of picked players (19): Asenjo, De Gea (goalkeepers); Antonio López, Juanito, Ujfalusi, Álvaro Domínguez, Cabrera (defenders); Tiago, Ignacio Camacho, Raúl García, Jurado, Paulo Assunção, Salvio, Simão, Molino, Rubén Pérez (midfielders); Forlán, Kun Agüero and Ibrahima (strikers)

PROBABLE LINEUPS
Atlético Madrid: (4-4-2) De Gea - Ujfalusi, Juanito, Domínguez, Antonio López - Simao, Assuncao or Camacho, Tiago, Jurado – Forlán, 'Kun' Agüero
Deportivo: (4-2-3-1) Aranzubia – Manuel Pablo, Colotto, Lopo, Laure – Sergio, Antonio Tomás – Juan Rodríguez, Valerón, Guardado - Adrián
Referee: Miguel Angel Pérez Lasa (10 games on the season, 3 wins for the visiting side)
Kick-off: 21h00 CET (Vicente Calderón)
Head-to-head Vs Atletico: 26 wins for Depor, 17 draws, 40 wins for Atletico (Primera & Segunda)
Record at the Calderón: 5 wins for Depor, 6 draws, 30 wins for Atletico (Primera & Segunda)

ARCHIVE NEWS APR/10

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