Squad news


27 May 2011
It is hard to find positive numbers for Deportivo on the season that has just ended, which is logical taking in mind the disaster of the relegation. Still, the stats in defense were solid, and what condemned the team in the end was the poor offense.

The sadness for Deportivo’s relegation to Segunda División continues to strike the heart of the fans and it will be the same for a while; perhaps a good medicine to cure the anxiety is to analyze what really happened throughout the Primera season. It is logical to expect that the stats of the team were negative as Depor ended among the worst three clubs at the standings.

But the statistics mark the difference between two teams: the Deportivo that defends and the one that attacks. To realize that Lotina’s team only allowed 47 goals in 38 matches, which was the seventh best mark at Primera, only below Barcelona (21), Real Madrid (33), Sporting Gijón (42), Valencia (44), Villarreal (44) and Osasuna (46). Curiously, the team that allowed more goals was Malaga CF (68), and they ended 11th at the standings.

This was the main reason why Daniel Aranzubia ended third in the list of Zamoras with an average of 1.12 allowed goals per game, mark that was only below the one of Víctor Váldes (0.5) and Iker Casillas (0.91), though it must be reminded that the ex-Athletic keeper skipped the first seven games on the season due to a shoulder injury, including the 1-6 loss at the Santiago Bernabéu.

Also, the number of goals allowed on the season was ‘normal’ taking in mind the stats of past seasons: 45 (2005/06), 45 (2006/07), 47 (2007/08), 47 (2008/09) and 49 (2009/10).  Maybe the most shocking stat at defense is the fact that the team clinched eleven clean sheets on the season, mark that’s only below of Barcelona (18), Real Madrid (14), Sporting (14) and Valencia (13).

It is hard to explain why Depor has shown a solid defense throughout the liga tournament, especially taking in mind that normally the rival was the side having the ball possession (in the 83% of the games Depor had the 49% of the ball possession or even less). It wasn’t because the team committed a lot of fouls that lowered the pace of the game, because Deportivo only committed 496 fouls in 38 matches (average of 13 per match), which was the third lowest at Primera, only below Villarreal (464) and Barcelona (390).

Perhaps the best way to explain the behavior of the defense was the solidarity between the players as they were constantly giving aids to their team mates, plus the fact that they have been playing together for a long time, which make easier the job, without forgetting the fact that Lotina’s lineups were always emphasizing the defense before insisting in attacking. Another factor was Aranzubia and his saves, he made 227 saves on the season, which was the 9th best mark in la liga, a department that was led by Chilean Claudio Bravo from Real Sociedad (266). Again to remember that Aranzubia missed the first seven games, while Bravo played all the matches on the liga campaign.

And the good news end there, because the numbers in attack are terrible as they are among the worst ones, not only on this season, but within the last decade. And it’s that Depor only scored 31 goals in 38 matches, it’s not only the worst mark at the Galician club since the campaign 1972/1973 (22), but also the third worst mark at Primera División within the last decade.

Because since the year 2002 only three clubs have scored 31 or lesser goals in one single liga tournament, and all of them ended at Segunda División: CD Numancia (30 goals, 2004/05, 19th place), Real Murcia (29 goals, 20003/04, 20th place) and Rayo Vallecano (31 goals, 2002/03, 20th place). The mark is more scaring taking in mind the goals scored playing away from home: only 9.  That’s the worst mark at Primera División since the season 003/04, moment when Real Murcia was the last place at the standings only scoring eight away goals after thirty-eight matches.

It wasn’t a problem related to the lack of aim, but to an inexistent capacity to create scoring opportunities; Depor only had 409 attempts to score on the season, which was the third worst mark in the tournament, only above Hércules (393) and Levante UD (390).

This factor combined with the lack of a ‘killer’ in attack perfectly explains the weakest point of Depor, because once again the Galicians lacked a man capable of trespassing the barrier of the ten goals in favour on the season (Lotina’s squad was one of the nine teams in la liga that missed a top-scorer with ten or more goals). In resume, Deportivo never created too many scoring opportunities, and neither had a man capable of seizing the scarce chances, which turned to be a deadly combination.

Another way to look to this lethal problem is comparing the number of defeats with other clubs, Depor lost 15 games on the season, it may look like too much, but it isn’t, jut to realize that sixth place Athletic Bilbao lost one more game, 16. The big difference was that while Depor was drawing 13 games, eleven of them goalless matches, the Basques only had four draws, because they were winning the games scoring some goals. Again the goals in favour demonstrate to be the key to stay living at Primera División.

The man with more minutes on the season was Diego Colotto (3,191), followed by Albert Lopo (2,894) and Daniel Aranzubia (2,880). Colotto just missed two games on the season, same case than Adrian.

Lopo was the most booked man at Depor (15), he actually was the third most booked player in la liga, with just one less yellow card than Osasuna’s Puñal and Athletic’s Gurpegui. Meanwhile, Rubén Pérez was the player that committed more fouls (57), however his mark is just the half of Zaragoza’s Gabi (99), the leader on this department in la liga. Rubén was also the most fouled player at the team (69), again far from the leader on this department: Callejón from RCD Espanyol (124).

Also, Adrian was the Pichichi at the team with seven goals in liga, tally increased to eleven taking in mind the four goals that he scored in Copa Del Rey. Two players shared the place of best assistor, the first one is Adrian with four, the surprising thing is to find a defender, Colotto, at his side, perhaps another sign of the lack of power in attack.

The player that gave more assists inside the penalty area was Valerón with 35, but only one of them ended in a goal. Another poor stat is related to the mark of shots on target, Adrian was the leader on this department with 24, followed by Lassad (19), Riki (16) and Guardado (13), the curious thing is that these four men combined are not even able to match the half of the mark from Cristiano Ronaldo (99), the best man in la liga on this department.



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