Competition news

PREVIEW: REAL MADRID – DEPORTIVO (LIGA)

03 Oct 2010
Deportivo searches the surprise at the Bernabéu and for it Lotina is trusting in a system with three pivotes, while Real Madrid is sending its best team with Cristiano Ronaldo, Özil and Higuaín at the starting squad.

BEFORE THE GAME: IN THE QUEST FOR THE GOALS
Real Madrid has been under pressure within the last weeks due to its lack of punch; it sounds strange taking in mind the quality of the players, but the statistics are showing the reality: After seven official matches the Madrilenian team has only conquered nine goal although having 159 attempts to score. The Madrilenian papers are pretty worried of that number, and are forgetting that Mourinho’s team is the best defensive line in la liga with only one goal allowed.

Neither Deportivo is living a good moment against the goal, actually the Galicians are the worst scoring team in la liga, not only on the current tournament, but also taking into account the  numbers of the whole year 2010. Also, Lotina’s team is arriving to the match in a complicate moment, inside the relegation zone for the first time in three years, and a new defeat for two or more goals will leave them at the bottom of the table for the first time since the 1970’s.

And the Bernabéu isn’t a good place to search for a reaction, because Deportivo has barely obtained positive results in the capital. And it’s that the Galicians have visited Real Madrid in 41 opportunities playing for la liga, and they were only able to obtain seven positive results, including two victories (2-1on the season 1955/56 and 1-0 on the campaign 2004/05).

To make things worse, José Mourinho possesses an incredible run playing at home as the Portuguese manager suffered his only league defeat at home in February 2002, in was with Porto as his team ended with nine men against Beira Mar (2-3). Since then ‘the special one’ has coached Porto, Chelsea, Inter and now Real Madrid without suffering a league defeat at home. In resume, the incredible record of Mourinho as local is 154 matches played in 8 years, 124 victories, 29 draws and only one defeat.

DEPORTIVO: SAME SYSTEM OR TRIVOTE?
Coach Miguel Angel Lotina has decided to use three pivotes in the clash against Real Madrid; which means to play with a 4-3-2-1 formation, however on Saturday he insisted that it is the same 4-2-3-1 scheme applied since the start of the liga season, this despite the players trained the ‘trivote’ system within the last two training session. No matter the system everybody knows the names of the eleven men that will be on the pitch.

The presence of three pivotes isn’t a big novelty as the Basque man already used that scheme in previous opportunities, actually it was the same scheme used at the Bernabéu two seasons ago (0-1 loss). The plan is to put Ruben Pérez between the other two pivotes and the central defenders, this in order to have more passing game on that zone, it will also mean to put a diamond figure at the centre as Lassad Nouioui will be constantly delaying his position in order to be in touch with the pivotes.

It is a scheme commonly used against powerful rivals that usually have the ball possession; the intention of having an extra pivote is to have an additional man giving the needed aids to the central defenders, and that will also contribute to reduce the spaces at midfield as he will cover the back of the midfielders. It is an important role and it calls the attention that Lotina is giving the responsibility to Ruben Pérez, who is just completing his sixth game at Primera División.

There are other novelties at the squad, starting with the presence of Daniel Aranzubia, who was finally picked for a liga game after been struggling with a shoulder injury since the pre-season. However it seems that the Basque man will be on the bench and that Manu will be the starting goalie. However it is a step forward for the ex-Athletic keeper.

In defence the main novelty is the presence of Ze Castro, who is replacing suspended Colotto joining Albert Lopo at the centre. Claudio Morel is also returning to the starting formation in order to claim the spot at the left. Meanwhile, during Fridays training Lotina alternated Laure and Manuel Pablo on the right side since the Canarian had tonsillitis, but by Saturday he was already fine.

The other two pivotes at midfield are Antonio Tomás and Juan Rodriguez, while Guardado and Saul will play on the wings and Lassad in attack. The confusion on the tactic came on Saturday as Lotina said that it is a 4-2-3-1 scheme, with Ruben Perez and Antonio Tomas as the two pivotes, Juan Rodriguez on the right wing and Saul as the playmaker.  So, in the end it’s all about the same eleven men at the lineup, but their real distribution will only be seen on the pitch.

To mention that Dioni wasn’t picked for the clash, this after it was speculated that he was going to be a starter at the Bernabéu. Neither keeper Felipe Ramos was picked for the match, therefore there are no Fabril’s players in the list travelling to Madrid. Juan Carlos Valerón suffered a thigh injury on Thursday and will be sidelined for one month, the Canarian is now the sixth men at the injury room. Juan Dominguez was already training during the week, but he isn’t totally recovered, reason why he stayed in La Coruña.

Albert Lopo talked during the week and the veteran demonstrated leadership with his words, "Now is when we must pull the team up, especially the veterans as we must demonstrate to the young players how to carry away with this situation. Some of us need to realize that this isn't a joke; if we are down there is for something and there's no excuse to say that we are just starting the season."

“Truly it’s a rival that doesn’t look like the proper one in order to leave the bottom, but we will try. We aren’t going thinking that we are going to lose; we are traveling in order to obtain something positive and let’s hop the team will achieve something. If things end right, even losing, we can gain confidence, but if we don’t do the right things, and if the result is not positive, then the week could be very long.”.

Andrés Guardado also spoke frankly before the meeting "People at the changing room is screwed and feeling anxious to revert the situation, and if we make a good game at the Bernabéu it might change the situation in every possible way. If you do well against a team like Madrid, then you will go out strengthened in a physical and mental sense, and this can be crucial to start climbing in the table.”

Finally, Saul Fernandez was talking of his presence as starter against Real Madrid, which by the way is his second presence as starter with Lotina, "I am enchanted and want to enjoy playing in one of the biggest stadiums in the world. I am surprised, but willing to play. I already played there with Levante, Madrid won that game and there was a great atmosphere at the stadium. You never forget those matches, I just hope that now the final result will be different."

List of picked players (18): Manu, Aranzubia (goalkeepers); Manuel Pablo, Lopo, Zé Castro, Morel, Aythami, Laure, Rindarøy (defenders); Juan Rodríguez, Rubén Pérez, Juca, Desmarets, Guardado, Antonio Tomás, Saúl (midfielders); Lassad and Adrián (strikers).

REAL MADRID: PROBLEMS OR MIRAGE?
The environment in Madrid is unusual on these days, nobody is mentioning the visit of Deportivo, and instead all the attention is focused in coach José Mourinho, his critics towards winger Pedro León and his polemic decision of not giving a press conference until Saturday and not allowing reporters to witness the trainings of the squad during Thursday and Friday. Besides, the Madrilenians are under fire as they are missing to score the goals although having countless opportunities.

It all seems like the beginning of a crisis, but the true is that Real Madrid hasn’t lost yet after thirteen matches on the season (six friendly games, five in liga and two in Champions League). The team is comfortably leading its group in Champions League and is just two points away from Valencia, the current leader in la liga. And the key for this is the defensive line, because Los Merengues have kept a clean sheet in six of the seven official matches disputed until now.

Ahead of the match against Deportivo, Mourinho already announced the starting eleven; there aren’t big surprises and it still calling the attention the absence of winger Pedro León after the ex-Getafe men told to his team mates that he was going to be a starter in the Champions League game against Auxerre.

It will be a 4-2-3-1 figure; with Iker Casillas at the goal, Sergio Ramos performing on the right-back position, Ricardo Carvalho returning to the centre of the defence after been out due to an ankle problem, the Portuguese will join his compatriot Képler Laveran Lima’Pepe’ and Brazilian Marcelo Vieira will play on the left.

The pivote functions will be for Xabi Alonso and German Sami Khedira, new signings Mesut Özil and Ángel Fabián di María will cover the wings, this last one scored the winning goal against Auxerre. Cristiano Ronaldo will be the playmaker and Gonzalo Higuaín the central striker.

Ezequiel Garay (knee), Sergio Canales (adductor) and Ricardo Izecson dos Santos ‘Kaká’ are out injured, while for the second straight time Real Madrid Castilla’s midfielder Juan Carlos Pérez was picked for a Primera match. Another B team player in the list is central defender David Mateos.
 
Xavi Alonso talked before the game against Depor, as usual he was defending the work of Mourinho, “All he speaks to the media is talked first with the players, so we have a clear picture of the situation and we must say that there is a good environment at the changing room. The players that are part of this project know the pressure for been part of Real Madrid, if not it will be hard to live on here. The coach has his way to work and we respect it.”

Álvaro Arbeloa also talked before the game, he was remembering his short but happy career at Deportivo, ”It will always be a pretty memory, because people were phenomenal with me although I only spent six months there. I have a good friendship with the players and truly it will be nice to meet them again.”

He was also despising the scoring problems at Real Madrid, “We don’t care too much that our strikers are going through a bad streak. The important thing is that the team's offensive game is improving and that we are assimilating the ideas of the new coach. We have great strikers on here and certainly by the end of season they will score many goals."

List of picked players (20): Iker Casillas, Adán, Dudek (goalkeepers); Sergio Ramos, Arbeloa, Pepe, Carvalho, Mateos, Marcelo (defenders); Lass Diarra, Khedira, Mahamadou Diarra, Xabi Alonso, Granero, Juan Carlos, Di María, Özil, Cristiano Ronaldo (midfielders), Higuaín and Benzema (strikers).

PROBABLE LINEUPS
Real Madrid:  (4-2-3-1) Casillas, Ramos, Carvalho, Pepe, Marcelo, Xabi Alonso, Khedira, Özil, Cristiano Ronaldo, Di María - Higuaín.
Deportivo: (4-3-2-1) Manu – Manuel Pablo, Lopo, Ze Castro, Morel – Juan Rodríguez, Rubén Pérez, Antonio Tomás – Saúl, Guardado – Lassad.
Referee: Eduardo Jesús Iturralde González
Kick-off: 21h00 CET (Santiago Bernabéu)
Head-to-head Vs Real Madrid:  18 wins for Depor, 18 draw, 44 wins for Real Madrid (Primera)
Record at the Bernabéu: 2 wins for Depor, 5 draw, 33 wins for Real Madrid (Primera)

ARCHIVE NEWS OCT/10

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