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Primera División

  • November 21, 2010
  • • 16:00
  • • Estadio Municipal de Riazor, A Coruña (La Coruña)
  • Referee: Alfonso Alvarez Izquierdo
  • • Attendance: 25000
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La Liga Preview: Deportivo La Coruna – Malaga

La Liga Preview: Deportivo La Coruna – Malaga

Super Depor and los Boquerones are both improving, but they are forced to face-off on Sunday...

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Only a couple of weeks ago, both Deportivo La Coruna and Malaga were mired in the relegation zone. Both have enjoyed improved form over the last fortnight, so moving into some kind of safe mid-table spot is now a realistic goal for both sides, though clearly at the weekend at least one will suffer a set-back.

Depor’s early season problems have revolved largely around an impotent offensive sector. Through their first eight games of the campaign they managed just three goals, and two of those were Andres Guardado penalties. Over the last three weeks they’ve rather improved, striking five times, and though they were held against Mallorca last weekend, their defensive play was strong enough to repel their hosts.

After that encounter the Islanders complained about the defensive mentality of their guests, but coach Miguel Angel Lotina was clearly not entirely satisfied with the manner in which his side played either. “We're a team, but to be a good team we need to have the ball more, create more chances,” he claimed in the aftermath of the weekend’s encounter.

Given Malaga’s woeful defensive record, it would seem that there is a good chance of Lotina’s side continuing their recent resurgence at the Riazor at the weekend, though the coach will doubtless be appreciative of the fact that their guests are another side on the up.

Hopeful

At the end of October, Malaga were at a seriously low ebb. A summer of promise had been frittered away in a few disastrous weeks at the start of the season, leaving the Andalucians in the relegation zone. Coach Jesualdo Ferreira was quickly jettisoned, and former Real Madrid boss Manuel Pellegrini appointed, though by the time he actually got his hands on the first team, they had slumped to the foot of the table, having lost 1-0 away to Espanyol.

The Chilean’s reign has started with promise as he looks to replicate the success he had in a previous spell with Villarreal. A Copa del Rey victory over Hercules really got the ball rolling, and that was followed by a 1-0 victory over Levante at La Rosaleda, the side’s first success at home in the top flight all season.

Central defender Weligton has indicated that the squad is feeling “comfortable” under the charge of Pellegrini, and he believes that the side can soon start to move away from the foot of the table, though Sunday’s encounter has the potential to set the tone for the season. “To aspire to something we have to start winning at the Riazor,” he declared to Marca.

Malaga’s tactics for the weekend are already clear. They will attempt to defend in an organised manner – something they failed totally to do under Ferreira, conceding 21 times in nine Liga matches – and break with potency.

As the centre-back noted, the Primera Division is congested towards the foot of the standings and a good run could quickly carry Malaga into a far healthier position.


TEAM NEWS

Deportivo


Antonio Tomas, Knut Rindaroy and Ze Castro are all expected to be named in the squad after shaking off a variety of problems, but though Jonathan Urreta is training with the first team, he isn’t expected to be involved.

Claudio Morel and Andres Guardado will be out for another seven days as a minimum, while Juca is another three weeks from fitness.

Adrian, Riki and Lassad Nouioui are all carrying slight problems but should feature, while worries over Alberto Lopo have been allayed too.

Malaga

Ivan Gonzalez, Albert Luque and Juanito have all been passed fit and will be expected to feature heavily at the Riazor.

Ruben Martinez and Salomon Rondon are definitely sidelined, however.

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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
1Dani AranzubiaGoalkeeper
23AythamiDefender
7Alberto LopoDefender
19Diego Daniel ColottoDefender
33Diego SeoaneDefender
2Manuel PabloDefender
6Rubén PérezMidfielder
23Juan RodríguezMidfielder
31Yves DesmaretsMidfielder
21AdriánStriker
20DioniStriker
-ManuGoalkeeper
5David RochelaDefender
15LaureDefender
-ValerónMidfielder
-Pablo ÁlvarezMidfielder
-SaúlMidfielder
28Juan DomínguezMidfielder
1Francesc Arnau GrabalosaGoalkeeper
3WeligtonDefender
4Kris StadsgaardDefender
8Patrick MtiligaDefender
2Jesús GámezDefender
18EliseuMidfielder
-Sandro SilvaMidfielder
45RecioMidfielder
17DudaMidfielder
27PortilloMidfielder
7BahaStriker
-GalattoGoalkeeper
-ManoloDefender
-Javier MalagueñoDefender
20Quincy Owusu-AbeyieMidfielder
-JuanitoMidfielder
-FernandoMidfielder
-EdinhoStriker
Players to Watch
Alberto Lopo
Alberto Lopo
Position: Defender
Squad Number: 7
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
The burden carried into each match by Alberto Lopo is great. A strong and reliable central defender, his steady presence is a large part of the reason why Deportivo are a difficult side to break down, but from set-pieces he also poses a threat to the opponents. Should probably have scored against Mallorca last weekend, missing a great chance from close range, but did register in Depor’s last home match.
Eliseu
Eliseu
Position: Midfielder
Squad Number: 18
Games Goals YC RC
28 2 9 0
Winger Eliseu has been quick to catch the eye of Manuel Pellegrini, who will have doubtless been impressed by the wideman’s scoring potential. The former Lazio player registered against Hercules in the Copa del Rey around 10 days ago, but then he added to that tally crucially against Levante, striking the only goal of the game with a powerful low shot from distance. However, as much as the Portuguese can be a match-winner, his fiery nature makes him a danger to his side; he has been sent-off twice this season.
Prediction
Though Malaga have high tallies in both their goals for and against columns, this is likely to be a tight affair as Deportivo La Coruna are unlikely to scored frequently even against weak opponents. Additionally, it Pellegrini will already have the defence significantly tougher. A low scoring draw is in order.
Editor's Prediction
Malaga 1

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