Squad news

PREVIEW: DEPORTIVO – REAL MADRID (LIGA)

26 Feb 2011
Guardado returns and will try to lead Deportivo to a new victory at the Riazor over Real Madrid, but it won’t be an easy task against a rival that’s living its best moment and that arrives with an in-form Cristiano Ronaldo.

STATISTICS: THE BEST MADRID EVER
The current Real Madrid is breaking all kinds of marks after 80 years at Primera División; until this point on the season the Madrilenians have added 60 points after 24 games, plus scoring 55 goals, both mean the best marks for Real playing for la liga. Unfortunately for them it isn’t enough to surpass a Barcelona that’s also breaking its own marks on the local competition.

And it’s that Real Madrid has had an impressive run in la liga tournament as they have only dropped 11 of the 72 points disputed until the moment, only losing twice, both setbacks playing away from home: 0-5 at Barcelona (matchday 13) and 0-1 at Osasuna (matchday 21).

Meanwhile, Depor is trying to surpass another low moment on the season; within the last two games the Galicians have added four points, but in the previous five matches they were only able to clinch one point, reason why they still living close to the relegation zone.

At least Deportivo can still dreaming of the possibility of a victory taking in mind the impressive record when Real Madrid visits the Riazor; the ‘curse’ was broken last season thanks to Madrid’s 3-1 win, but it must be reminded that since the last promotion to Primera Depor has only lost twice at home against Los Merengues, and to mention that on those 20 matches the Galicians have won 12 times and present an impressive mark of 40 goals in favour and only 17 goals conceded.

DEPORTIVO: GUARDADO RETURNS
Andrés Guardado is coming back by the front door as he will be a starter against Real Madrid; the Mexican has been out for two months after suffering his last relapse on December 18 during a home liga match against Sporting Gijón, encounter in which he only lasted half an hour, just as long as it lasted the good performance of Deportivo on that game.

The true it’s that it has been a stormy season for the ex-Atlas winger, because the injuries have been chasing him as the Mexican has only been available for seven of the thirty official matches played on this season. For this reason Lotina has faced big problems trying to find a replacement for his position, because neither Desmarets nor Pablo Álvarez nor Saul have convinced performing at the left wing, and more recently the Basque manager has been forced to move Adrian to that position.

And Guardado was feeling pretty optimistic with his return, he was even pushing his team mates for the victory on this game, as he told to reporters, “"It is a pretty match to make my comeback; the stadium will be full and besides my father will be here watching me, so it will be pretty. We don't have a sense of revenge after the game of the first round, but want to add the three points. We respect them but want to be disrespectful on the pitch."

The availability of Guardado is moving Lotina to switch back the system to a 4-2-3-1 figure, though the situation is not perfect as the transfer of right winger Javito hasn’t arrived yet, reason why the fans at the Riazor won’t be able to see both men playing at the same time. Instead, Lotina is moving Adrian to the right side in order to seize the good moment lived by the Asturian on the season, after all he is the Pichichi at the squad with four goals scored in liga.

An0ther winger that is coming back after surpassing an injury is Saul Fernandez, though Lotina left the Asturian out of the list for the game. However, the Basque coach is losing Manuel Pablo and Valerón for injury reasons, the Canarian duo suffered their problems during this week, the side defender during the first session on the week and the playmaker at the last training, both are joining Xisco at the injury room.

Zé Castro still out of the lists after been criticized by the Riazor Blues, while midfielders Juliano Antonello 'Juca', Yves Desmarets and Miguel Alfonso Herrero ‘Michel’ weren’t considered for the clash.

The lineup is a 4-2-3-1 figure, Dani Aranzubia will be at the goal, Laureano Sanabria ‘Laure’ returns after been out for two weeks and is claiming the spot at the right-back position, Claudio Morel will keep playing on the left and the duo at the centre will be composed by Diego Colotto and Albert Lopo.

At midfield, Antonio Tomás and Ruben Pérez will perform on the pivote positions; Andres Guardado will cover the left wing, though Lotina announced that he won’t perform for the full ninety minutes. Adrian López is moving to the right wing and Juan Rodriguez will be the playmaker in the formation; the Andalusian will have a double function as he will be marking Xabi Alonso besides trying to cooperate in the offensive moves of his team.

The doubt is who will be the central attacker in the formation; Iván Sanchez Rico ‘Riki’ has been playing there within the last two games, but Lotina was feeling impressed with the twenty minutes had by Jose Gustavo Sand on the last visit to UD Almeria, therefore the Argentine could be making his debut at the Riazor performing as a starter. The final decision will be taken on Saturday’s morning as the team will complete a last training at the Riazor (11h00 CET).

Valerón, before sustaining his injury, was giving his opinion on the match, ”We have seen great teams and players passing on here. We must recognize that they are having a good moment, and contrary to what happened in the first round, moment when they were still searching for an identity, they now seem to have found a regularity that makes them hard to beat. Each time it’s clearer that it is hard to defeat them. We just will try to make a good game in order to add the points, because we always defeated them playing good football.”

Juan Rodriguez was also careful when he explained his expectations against Madrid, "I think every game is different, and the one we are going to play doesn’t have any comparison with the ones disputed in previous years. It’s not that Madrid is strong, but that Madrid is living its best moment. We must be really careful and should do things to perfection to take something positive. We have to be smart and play our strengths. I wish we could repeat the same performance of previous years, we were very good and the people saw beautiful games in which the points stayed here."

Riki is optimistic of Depor’s chances on this clash, ”A victory will mean an important step forward towards the permanence, besides it will be a moral boost as a win over Madrid means a lot. Logically, we have our chances of winning the match, and we will try to demonstrate it. Our idea must be to do the same things that we did against Villarreal.”

Finally, Rubén Pérez was also talking of the past game against Villarreal as a reference for Deportivo, “The key is to see the team playing as it did against Villarreal; that’s the line we want to present in front of the fans. This is a match in which you always want to participate, it can be said that’s like a mini-Derby.”

List of picked players (18): Aranzubia, Manu (goalkeepers); Laure, Colotto, Lopo, Morel, Aythami, Seoane (defenders); Rubén Pérez, Antonio Tomás, Guardado, Juan Rodríguez, Pablo Álvarez, Juan Dominguez (midfielders); Adrián, Riki, Lassad and Sand (strikers).

REAL MADRID: DEPENDING ON CRISTIANO
In recent weeks all the attention has been focused in the debate of who should be the central attacker at the team. With Gonzalo Higuaín still out for a few months, the only available striker was Karim Benzema, but the irregular performance of the French man pushed president Florentino Pérez to accept the desires of coach Jose Mourinho and in the end he signed Emmanuel Adebayor in a loan deal from Manchester City.

Since his arrival the public opinion has been divided, because the Togolese attacker has left a good impression in his first matches, and Benzema has answered with decisive goals, like the one against Lyon in the UEFA Champions League. But despite all the controversy, the true is that the team still depending of one single man: Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos. The Portuguese is second in the list of Pichichis at Primera División as he has scored 24 of 55 goals conquered by Real on the season.

That means that he has scored the 43.64% of the goals conquered by the Madrilenians on the liga competition, and it represents the highest percentage at the two main professional divisions in Spain. Without forgetting that Cristiano is also the player with more goal attempts until this point: 180. That means a 22% more compared to the other star of la liga, Lionel Messi (104).

These two powerful stats demonstrate that no matter which one is the centre of the attention, in the end the only one carrying away with the weight of team is Cristiano Ronaldo. And Mourinho knows it, because Ronaldo is one of the two field players in la liga that has disputed all the 2,160 minutes disputed so far on the liga tournament (the other is Athletic’s Iraola). Cristiano was doubtful after suffering a knock in the ankle in midweek, but he is fine and ready to play against Deportivo.

For the match at the Riazor, Mourinho is presenting three novelties compared to the squad that drew in France against Olympique Lyon; Benzema is entering for Adebayor after his important goal against his former club, Marcelo is also returning replacing Sergio Ramos, which will allow to see Arbeloa moving his position to the right side of the defense, while Lass Diarra will replace injured Khedira.

It is a 4-2-3-1 scheme; Iker Casillas is returning to the goal after been suspended in liga, ex-Depor Álvaro Arbeloa will perform at the right-back position; Brazilian Marcelo Vieira will do it on the left, and the central positions will be for the Portuguese duo of Képler Laveran Lima ‘Pepe’ and Ricardo Carvalho, though it’s also possible that Mourinho could rest Carvalho allowing the entry of Valencian Raúl Albiol.

French Lassana Diarra will join Xabier Alonso at midfield territory; Ángel Di Maria has had a great season has he had scored five times plus been the twelfth player in liga with more completed passes (121), the Argentine will be attacking from the right wing, while German Mesut Özil, who also has five goals in favour, will cover the playmaking function and Cristiano Ronaldo will play on the left flank. Finally, Karim Benzema will be the central attacker.

Ricardo Carvalho was talking of what Real Madrid needs to do in order to clinch a win at the Riazor, ”The best way to stop Deportivo is to stay together and not have any crack at the back, so we can solve the problems that they will surely give to us. Off course I think we can win la liga, we are five points behind, but also want to improve as a team. New players have arrived and we need to be stronger.”

List of picked players (20): Casillas, Adán, Dudek (goalkeepers); Pepe, Ramos, Albiol, Arbeloa, Marcelo, Garay, Carvalho (defenders); Gago, Lass, Xabi Alonso, Kaká, Granero, Özil, Di María, Cristiano Ronaldo (midfielders); Benzema and Adebayor (strikers).

PROBABLE LINEUPS
Deportivo: (4-2-3-1) Aranzubia – Laure, Colotto, Lopo, Morel – Antonio Tomás, Rubén Pérez – Adrian, Juan Rodríguez, Guardado – Sand or Riki.
Real Madrid: (4-2-3-1) Casillas - Arbeloa, Pepe, Carvalho, Marcelo - Alonso, Lass Diarra - Di Maria, Ozil, Cristiano Ronaldo – Benzema.
Referee: David Fernández Borbalán (11 games on the season, 6 wins for the local team)
Kick-off: 22h00 CET (Riazor)
Head-to-head Vs Real Madrid: 18 wins for Deportivo, 18 draws, 44 wins for Real Madrid (Primera)
Record at the Riazor: 16 wins for Deportivo, 13 draws, 11 wins for Real Madrid (Primera)

ARCHIVE NEWS FEB/11

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