Competition news

PREVIEW: DEPORTIVO – BARCELONA (LIGA)

29 Apr 2018
The end of the rope for Deportivo. Only a victory will keep alive a team that’s practically demoted. And the rival is the undefeated FC Barcelona, side that need a point to earn the championship.

Referee: Ricardo de Burgos Bengoetxea
Kick-off: 20h45 CET (Riazor)

STATISTICS: RECORD
FC Barcelona is about to complete a full tournament without been defeated, something never seen before in a liga with 20 clubs. Totally, the Catalans are dragging a mark of 40 straight liga matches without been defeated. Their last loss was visiting Málaga CF one year ago (0-2, April 8, 2017).

FC Barcelona will secure their 25th liga title with a point, but it also depends of other results. And since the direct rivals are playing before, the Catalans might start the game already been the champions if Atlético Madrid are unable to beat Alavés.

Deportivo arrive to the game in the other side of the rope, the Galicians will suffer the relegation if they lose the game, a point isn’t enough and still, the situation is practically impossible as it would need four victories and to see both Levante UD and Athletic Club losing their last three meetings.

Last season’s victory at the Riazor over FC Barcelona was a small relief after the Catalans won the previous five matches at the Riazor with a devastating 24-5 aggregate score, including the disastrous 0-8 from the campaign 2015/16.

DEPORTIVO: HOPELESS
Despite what Clarence Seedorf has said, the Deportivismo has thrown the towel. Even the club isn’t promotion the game as a “last chance” to earn the permanence and right now the only question is in which game the demotion will be official. The same Seedorf admitted that this has been the toughest week in order to motivate a group of players that’s depressed.

Team news: Adrián López passed a late test on Saturday, but it isn’t clear if he will be a starter, for this reason there are 19 men on the roster. Winger Zakaria Bakkali isn’t fit and joins Sidnei and Eneko Bóveda at the injury room. Sulleyman Muntari returns after been out for a month with a thigh injury. The players out for tactical reasons are Przemysław Tytoń, Gerard Valentín and Carles Gil.

Man to watch: Playmaker Emre Çolak. The most powerful rival in la liga visits the Riazor and the only way to counteract its football is with football, and for this Deportivo need the man with the better vision. The Turkish will start the game in a 4-3-1-2 formation with him playing behind the strikers.

Picked players: (19) Rubén Martínez, Kóval (goalkeepers); Juanfran, Schär, Albentosa, Luisinho, Navarro (defenders); Mosquera, Fede Valverde, Borges, Guilherme, Krohn-Dehli, Çolak, Muntari, Cartabia, (midfielders); Adrián, Lucas Pérez, Andone & Borja Valle (attackers).

Predicted lineup: (4-3-1-2) Rubén Martínez - Juanfran, Albentosa, Schär, Luisinho – Krohn-Dehli, Guilherme, Borges – Çolak – Adrián, Lucas

BARCELONA: THE SPARK
It’s a week of definitions in Spain and FC Barcelona are about to complete the doblete, all of this in a league season in which they remain undefeated. But not even under these circumstances there’s peace, because the elimination in Champions League before AS Roma was considered as a humiliation that many fans cannot forgive. There were big rumours that coach Ernesto Valverde was going to be fired at the end of the season, though in these days the board of directors has assured that it isn’t their intention.

Still, the continuity of Valverde will remain uncertain for the next month. At this point the fury of the fans has been contained by the imminent liga title, and also with the announcement that Andrés Iniesta is leaving the club.

Team news: Midfielder Sergi Samper is out for the rest of the season due to ankle fracture, then defender Sergi Roberto is suspended. Those are the two casualties for the game at the Riazor. The rest of the squad is making the trip to A Coruña as the club could be celebrating the title.

Man to watch:  Attacker Lionel Messi. Another great year for the Argentine start, he is the best scorer in the tournament (29) and also the best assistor (12). He also scored 17 times against Deportivo, only Sevilla (23), Atlético (22), Valencia (21), Osasuna (21) and Espanyol (18) have suffered more with him.

Picked players: (21) Ter Stegen, Jasper Cillessen (goalkeepers); Semedo, Piqué, Jordi Alba, Lucas Digne, Aleix Vidal, Samuel Umtiti, Yerry Mina, Thomas Vermaelen (defenders); Ivan Rakitić, Busquets, Denis Suárez, Andrés Iniesta, Coutinho, Paulinho, André Gomes (midfielders); Luis Suárez, Lionel Messi, Ousmane Dembélé, Paco Alcácer (attackers)

Predicted lineup: (4-4-2) Ter Stegen – Semedo, Piqué, Umtiti, Alba – Coutinho, Busquets, Rakitić, Iniesta – Messi, Suárez.

ARCHIVE NEWS APR/18

ZAPPING

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