Competition news

PREVIEW: DEPORTIVO - VALLADOLID (LIGA, SUNDAY 17h00)

25 Jan 2008
Lotina could be living his last game at Deportivo, in order to avoid his exit and to start adding points at the Riazor, he's ready to use an old tactic of his: to play with five central defenders in a 5-2-2-1 formation. A pleasent surprise is to see Valer??n in the list of called players although he won't play. In Valladolid, the main danger comes with Llorente, the Basque striker that has scored five times within the last two liga games.

STATISTICS: POSITIVE RUN FOR VALLADOLID
Valladolid started the season as one of the candidates for the relegation zone, but Mendilibar's squad has been a solid rival within the last two months of competition, reason why they occupy the seventh spot in the table (Intertoto position). In fact, his squad has only suffered one defeat during the last seven games in la liga and accumulates a mark of five straight matches undefeated., period in which they have only leaked three goals.

But it must be emphasised that four of this five games were played at the Nuevo Jos?© Zorilla stadium. Valladolid has only won three of its nine games played outside home: 1-0 Vs. Espanyol, 3-2 Vs. Zaragoza and 3-0 Vs. Getafe. As it was said before, the defensive line has been praised for only leaking three goals in the last seven matches, but the true is that Valladolid has conceived at lest one goal in seven of its nine visits so far.

The crisis of Deportivo at the Riazor is very well know by everybody. The Galician team is the worst local side in la liga with only five points after nine games played in this condition. Besides, it's the worst scorer in la liga since Lotina's squad has only conquered six goals at the Riazor.

At least Riazor has always been a difficult stadium for Valladolid, after 22 matches in La Coru?±a, the violet team has only won in five occasions playing for Primera Divisi??n. The last time was on the season 2000/2001 (2-1). And of the last three games, Depor has won two while the other game ended in a draw.

DEPORTIVO: REVOLUTION
Coach Miguel ?ngel Lotina knows that after three straight defeats in la liga, this is probably his last chance to maintain the confidence of president Lendoiro. And the most important thing, he needs to start adding points at home in order to keep chances to clinch the permanence in Primera Divisi??n. In order to do this, the Basque is preparing a 'revolution' in the line-up, a 5-2-2-1 formation that's an 'old trick' for him.

Because Lotina already played with five defenders in his first days as a coach, in fact it was the main characteristic of Numancia when Lotina clinched the promotion to Primera (1999), and the same resource he later implemented with Osasuna during the season 2000/2001. The Basque just used this tactic from time to time is his following clubs (Celta, Espanyol and Real Sociedad) and now he's ready to try it for the first time with Depor. This new strategy also involves to have two players directing the traffic in midfield, two men performing as playmakers and a lonely striker.

Despite the ban over Aouate and Mun??a has been lifted, Fabricio Augusto will continue to be the goalkeeper of the formation. Manu will continue to be the choice at the bench. The line of five defenders will be composed by Coloccini, Albert Lopo and Pablo Amo in the central positions, while Manuel Pablo will cover the right-back position and Filipe Luis the left.

Commenting about this new strategy, defender Pablo Amo said that he's satisfied with the idea "Yes, I like the system. It looks good and it could be a benefit for us. It's important to understand what the coach wants. He's the one insisting with this during the trainings, he's the one giving us the guidance and the necessary ideas. Let's hope we will have ready the tactic for the game and that we wont' have any doubt. I believe we understand really well what he wants."

In midfield, the novelty is that Antonio Tom??s will return to the starting team in order to take the place of Julian De Guzm??n, the Cantabrian youngster will play alongside Sergio in this sector and will fulfil his third game on the season after surpassing a thigh injury that left him out of action during the last month.

Tom??s gave his opinion about the good moment lived by Valladolid "It's a team that's giving the surprise, because is a recent comer and it's currently seventh in the table. They are having a very good season, I believe that five straight games adding at least a point, we will try to break that and start our own good mark at home."

Up front, Lotina will use Andr?©s Guardado and Juan Rodr?­guez as the two playmakers in the formation, while the lonely striker will be Xisco. The Mallorcan forward said previously to the game that more important that new players, what Depor needs is more luck "Right now a single player won't solve the situation of the team, it won't be changed by one man. The squad is well with what we have, the ones in the team are able to score goals. What we need is luck, a positive rally, and then this will change."

Maybe the most hopeful thing of the game is to witness the return of Juan Carlos Valer??n, he was included in the list of called players after one year and a half. The Canarian is recovered from his knee problem, but he will probably be sited on the bench. The only two casualties for injury reasons are Cristian Hidalgo (knee) and Rodolfo Bodipo (Lumbalgia), while keepers Aouate, Mun??a and the right-winger Lafita weren't called for technical reasons.

Called players (20): Fabricio, Manu (goalkeepers); Manuel Pablo, Coloccini, Filipe, Lopo, Adri??n L??pez 'Piscu', Pablo Amo, Barrag??n (defenders), Valer??n, De Guzman, Juan Rodr?­guez, Sergio, Antonio Tom??s, Guardado, Verd?? (midfielders); Taborda, Riki, Xisco and Adri??n (strikers).

VALLADOLID: LLORENTE THREATENS RIAZOR
The main danger for Deportivo is the presence of Joseba Llorente in the visiting team, the Basque striker has conquered ten goals on this season and represents the second best Spanish scorer in Primera Divisi??n. In fact, five of those ten goals were scored within the last two matches in la liga: three against Recreativo de Huelva and two against RCD Espanyol -one of this goals was the faster one in la liga. The good moment of the striker has even lifted the rumours that national coach, Luis Aragon?©s, could be thinking in calling him for a friendly game against France, a confrontation that will take place on February 6.

Despite the good moment of Llorente, Deportivo can't lose its attention over the other striker in Valladolid's formation: V?­ctor Fern??ndez, this 33-year-old veteran has six goals on the season, and most important than that, V?­ctor is one of the best historic scorers against Deportivo since he has conquered ten goals in past seasons against the Galician squad (five with Valladolid and five with Villarreal).

But the eyes will also be upon goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo, the Pamplona-born youngster and Fabricio are the only two U-21 keepers that are currently occupying a spot in the starting line-up of a Primera club. Asenjo has been the starting keeper at Valladolid during the last seven matches an surprisingly, he has only leaked three goals. His work has been so good, that the supposed starting choice, Ludovic Butelle, is near to be released from the squad. It's speculated that national coach I?±aki S??ez is following the evolution of Asenjo, and he will surely don't miss this confrontation between two of the most promising goalkeepers in Spain.

About the formation for the game, all appoints that Mendilibar will use the same 4-4-2 figure that defeated Espanyol on the past weekend. There are no injury worries, but the problem seems to be on the bench. Despite the good moment lived by Valladolid, the squad is searching for reinforcements in the winter market,  mainly because they already lost Kike, ?lvaro Ant??n, Figueredo and ex-Depor's winger Fabi??n Estoyanoff. All of them already joined other squads. So far, the only confirmed signing is the Paraguayan keeper Justo Villar, but he will join Valladolid until next season.

Another youngster that has impressed everybody is Sisinio Gonz??lez Mart?­nez 'Sisi', the 21-year-old player belongs to Valencia and he’s playing on loan at Valladolid. He has only missed one game on the season and despite the good moment of the squad, appoints that the target for them is the salvation "We are living a good moment since we have only allowed a few goals and we are scoring a lot lately. Now it's the time when we have to add several points, because the dark moments can arrive at any moment and we can't forgive that our target is to achieve the permanence."

Called players (18): Alberto, Sergio Asenjo (goalkeepers); Pedro L??pez, Baraja, Rafa, I?±aki Bea, Garc?­a Calvo, Marcos, ?“scar S??nchez, Borja (defenders); ?lvaro Rubio, Vivar Dorado, Sisi, Jos?© Luis Capdevila, Sesma (midfielders); V?­ctor, Llorente and Ogbeche (strikers).

POSSIBLE LINE-UPS
Deportivo: Fabricio - Manuel Pablo, Lopo, Pablo Amo, Coloccini, Filipe - Antonio Tom??s, Sergio - Guardado, Juan Rodr?­guez - Xisco.
Valladolid: Sergio Asenjo - Pedro L??pez, Garc?­a Calvo, I?±aki Bea, Marcos - Sisi, Capdevila, Vivar Dorado, ?lvaro Rubio - Llorente, V?­ctor.
Referee: Velasco Carballo (10 games on the season, 5 wins for the local team).
Kick-off: 17h00 (Riazor)
Global Record: 14 wins for Deportivo, 12 draws, 18 wins for Valladolid (44 games in Primera)
Record at the Riazor: 12 wins for Deportivo, 5 draws, 5 wins for Valladolid (Primera).


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