La Liga Match Previews and Team News
In spite of the significant gap in league positions between the two sides, Sevilla's trip to the Riazor does not present them with the chance of an easy away win over lowly Deportivo....
The Galicians have improved considerably of late, having lost just once in their last five league fixtures, and they will see tonight's match as an opportunity to haul themselves out of the relegation zone and into one of the congested mid table slots. The Galicians early season form was terrible and is the only reason that they still find themselves in the drop zone.
Depor's recent upturn in form is down to Miguel Angel Lotina's decision to abandon the fancy stuff and instil some defensive solidity in the side. A new look five man defence may not have inspired the most exciting football you could wish to see but it has made Depor much harder to beat and they can no longer be seen as pushovers.
Sevilla will find it hard to break down a defensive unit that has conceded just four goals in their last four matches.
However, if there is a La Liga side that can find the back of the Galician net, then that would be Manolo Jimenez's men: they are five games unbeaten, looking close to their rampant best after scoring ten goals in their last three and go in to the game on the back of a 5-0 hammering of Zaragoza.
Deportivo will take inspiration from their 1-0 win at the Sanchez Pizjuan earlier in the season, as well as a degree of comfort from Sevilla's away record. The Andalucians have won just twice in their last seven away fixtures in all competitions and they have a dismal record at the Riazor: last season's victory was their first in fifty years.
A win for Sevilla could see them move up in to a fourth and a champions league position for the first time since September, provided Atletico beat Barcelona, but defeat could send them back down to ninth place.
Manolo Jimenez has said that "The game against Deportivo is my priority", but with the midweek Champions League encounter with Fenerbahçe on the horizon, he has made changes to his squad and is likely to tinker with his starting line up.
Julien Escudé and Ivica Dragutinovic have been left out of the Sevilla squad, in spite of recovering from injuries, as Jimenez has said he wants to keep them fresh for Wednesday's encounter. There is a suggestion that he will also make changes to his attacking line-up as well, with Arouna Kone likely to replace Kanoute as a partner for the in form Luis Fabiano. Adriano may also return to the squad in order to rest the improving Capel on the left wing. Christian Poulsen returns to the Sevilla side after serving a one match suspension.
Lotina's plans have been hit by a last minute training session injury to key striker Xisco that means the Deportivo coach will have no choice but to play Bodipo as a lone striker up front. The forward joins the talented young Mexican Guardado on the treatment table as well as Sergio, who misses the game through suffering from flu. Antonio Tomás should take his place and partner De Guzmán at the heart of the Depor midfield.
The good news is that Juan Carlos Valeron could make his first start in nearly two years after coming off the bench last weekend at Espanyol. The not so good news is that Gustavo Munúa and Dudú Aouate find themselves in the same squad for the first time since the pair were involved in a punch up on 11th January that left the former needing stitches under his eye. Aouate paid the price for being a bit useful with his fists and was banished from the squad. His recall means that the keeper could well be called upon to put those hands back in to action against a free scoring Sevilla.
Prediction: Draw/Away win - it will be tight, but if can score one, they'll score more.