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OLTRA FINDS A STARTING ELEVEN

07 Mar 2012
The winning streak that put Deportivo at the top of the standings coincided with the fact that Oltra was able to establish a fixed starting eleven: in the period he has only made two changes: the left-back defender and the striker.

There´s a refrain in football that says that “a team that wins its games can’t be touched” and that’s what José Luis Oltra is trying to do at Deportivo. At the beginning of the season he had several problems to establish a fixed starting eleven, mainly because the injuries were forcing him to rotate the players, but since December the plague lowered its intensity and the Valencian trainer was able to settle a team down.

This situation coincided with the winning streak in liga, which only increased the strength of the Oltra’s plans, and is that the Valencian man has practically repeated the same team within the last thirteen matches in liga; in the end he has only made two major changes plus minor improvisations caused by the suspensions and the national teams. The first big change was the exit of Ayoze, who last his place at the left-back position after the home meeting with FC Cartagena, match in which he earned his latest suspension.

Claudio Morel is the one that claimed the spot and the Paraguayan has convinced everyone in the last five meetings; the other modification is the exit of Lassad Nouioui, who was the starting striker until suffering an injury before Villarreal B, problem that forced him to leave the pitch after just nine minutes. Riki was the one that assumed the role and has responded scoring four goals in the six matches played since Lassad’s injury.

The other nine men are practically the same ones; Dani Aranzubia is one of the two players that have disputed all the possible minutes in liga; Laure is a fixed man at the right-back position after the injury problems of Manuel Pablo, while the central positions at defense are for Colotto and Ze Castro, a combination that has only allowed seven goals within the last twelve meetings, clearly one of the reasons that explains the improvement.

Álex Bergantiños is the second player at the team that has played all the possible minutes in liga, and Oltra has found in Juan Dominguez his perfect companion at midfield, Dominguez is another case of a player that “stole” a spot at the starting eleven after a team mate got suspended; he has been a starter within the last fifteen matches, just before Jesús Vázquez got suspended ahead of the derby with RC Celta.

Bruno Gama is another player that arrived to the starting eleven at the middle of the season; he began the season injured and claimed a spot at the team after the loss at Elche CF (2-3), since then he has been a starter in 12 of the last 13 matches, and only missed the clash at Recreativo (1-0) due to an injury. And the Portuguese is on fire recently as he has scored three goals within the last four matches.

Guardado has been, perhaps, the most regular player on the season; the injuries are no longer affecting him and he has only missed the games in which he was concentrated with his national team. Juan Carlos Valerón is the heart and soul of this Deportivo, El Flaco is not only the best assistor at Oltra’s Depor, but also of the whole Liga Adelante with eight.

Finally, the “joker” in this fixed team is Diogo Salomão, he has covered the spots at the wings just when Oltra has had the casualties of Guardado and Bruno Gama; he replaced Bruno for the visit to Recre and just covered the absence of Guardado before AD Alcorcón. Salomão has been an important resource playing 24 games, scoring four goals and giving three assists.

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