Squad news

REAL SOCIEDAD IN TROUBLE � AN EASY WIN FOR DEPOR?

27 Sep 2006
Real Sociedad has already been picked by the media as one of the main contenders for relegation this season. And they have done a good job of living up to that expectation with their results from the first four games in La Liga: only one point gained, the worst record of shots on goal and the most beaten keeper in the competition. But Depor shouldn't been too confident, as the results in the Riazor against these kinds of rivals were a headache in the last campaign.

The situation with the Basque club is tense at this point. The board of directors has given its public support to coach Jos� Mari Bakero, but this kind of support only appears when the club has had bad results. And Real Sociedad�s results are really bad. The Basques have only managed one draw in four matches (1-1 against Athletic Bilbao).

Besides, the Basques have allowed the biggest number of goals in the competition (9), and they are already the team with the least shots on goal after four games (24). These two facts help explain why Real Sociedad is in 19th spot on the table. Gone are the days when the squad was fighting for a place in the Champions League. The departures of Nihat, De Pedro and Xabi Alonso have affected the performance of the team, and Kovacevic has most of the responsibility now.  However, the striker hasn't been in shape these past few weeks, something obvious from the fact that he has only made three shots on goal during the four matches played so far.

To make matters worse, important players like Xabi Prieto, Javi Garrido and Igor Jauregui have been injured. Their participation in Sunday's game is still doubtful, but left-sided defender Fabio Felicio is ready to make his debut.  The Portuguese player was injured and has started to train during the week. His position as left back has been covered by Uranga and �lvaro Novo, two right-footed players.

It�s easy to think about a comfortable victory for Deportivo, but Caparr�s should be the first to notice the danger of these kinds of encounters. During the past season, the Galician squad has always had trouble facing rivals struggling in the relegation zone. Depor suffered four unexpected defeats at the Riazor: 1-2 vs. Espanyol, 0-2 vs. Alav�s, 0-1 vs. Real Sociedad and 1-2 vs. Athletic Bilbao. These defeats helped throw Depor out of European competition.

The main explanation is that these kinds of rivals come to La Coru�a with the idea of locking in the game, and obstructing Depor�s offensive efforts. It's true that in the present season, the squad already managed home wins against dangerous clubs like Zaragoza (3-2) and Villarreal (2-0), but these teams prefer to play an offensive game instead of defending a draw.

In this sense, Real Sociedad will be a new challenge, a test to see if Babydepor has finally beaten the old ghosts of the Riazor. Besides, if Deportivo win, it will be their third consecutive win at home, something unseen since the 2004/2005 campaign: 4-1 vs. Zaragoza (matchday 20), 1-0 vs. Sevilla (matchday 22) and 2-0 vs. Osasuna (matchday 24).

Caparr�s himself admitted that his team would face a tough match against Real Sociedad. "When they give us open spaces, we are a team that can inflict a lot of damage. But when they don't give us those spaces, the situation is more complicated. I am expecting to see a Real Sociedad with a strategy like the one used by Levante this past weekend. They have men with the ability to play the aerial game, they can score at any moment and we must handle it wisely."

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