Bottom of the table Depor aim for their first win of the season against los Rojillos...
All is not settled in the Deportivo La Coruna squad. The Riazor club have failed to pick up a solitary victory in their opening six Primera Division games of the campaign, and they go into the weekend’s fixture with Osasuna facing the prospect of another worrying week at the bottom of the standings unless they pick up a least a point.
There can be little doubt where the problems lie for the club once known as Super Depor: scoring goals. Only three times have the Galicians found the net in their opening matches, with two of those coming in the form of Andres Guardado penalty kicks in the 2-2 draw against Getafe. Since then, they’ve found the net once; Juan Rodriguez heading a mere consolation in an embarrassing 6-1 thrashing by Real Madrid.
Whispers around the club suggest there is a feeling that this could finally be the year everything caves in for the Spanish champions from the year 2000. Club captain Manuel Pablo, meanwhile, has urged the fans to keep faith with the side.
“We feel happy to see that they support us; we know we have them,” he told the media. “It is appreciated when they come to training and support us, but Sunday is when we will need them most.”
Depor need to start picking up points soon, or a long season is in prospect.
Osasuna don’t need to look too far down to see Deportivo propping up the league. With only five points to date, Jose Antonio Camacho’s side are by no means in a healthy position, and defeat on Sunday would leave them in a very awkward spot indeed.
Like their hosts, scoring goals has been the major problem for los Rojillos, though at least they’ve proven to be a fairly sturdy defensive unit. The Pamplona side may only have found the net on four occasions, but equally they’ve lost only six goals, rendering them tough to beat at the very least.
While Real Madrid blitzed through Depor 6-1 immediately prior to the international break, Osasuna produced a far more disciplined and organised performance at the Bernabeu to march away with pride, despite going down 1-0 at the same venue in Round 2 of the season. It is this kind of stoicism that should serve the Navarre side well over the course of the campaign.
Each year since the turn of the millennium Osasuna have successfully maintained their spot amongst the Spanish elite, only finishing in the top 10 once (fourth in 2005-06) yet always doing enough to evade the trapdoor. Over this period, grit has become engrained in the club, so expect to see plenty of it on show come Sunday.
There are a number of issues for coach Miguel Angel Lotina to sweat over. Juca has a hamstring problem in his right leg, while Andres Guardado has a similar issue; it seems that both will sit out at the weekend.
Juan Carlos Valeron, Riki and Michel are also sidelined for the Galician club.
Sergio is likely to get the nod to play, despite struggling with a right knee problem. Ricardo is likely to be involved, though he is still not totally in the clear over his hamstring problems. Walter Pandiani is the greatest worry with a problem in his left leg, but he will be given until the last minute to prove his fitness; it’s expected he will play.
Patxi Punal is banned.