What: Spanish La Liga
Who: Deportivo La Coruna vs Barcelona
When: Saturday 20th October, 2012, at 21:00 UK Time
Where: Riazor, A Coruna, Spain

Mountain to Climb

After more than a month and a half of Spanish football, the sea is choppy for Deportivo La Coruna, who are back in the Primera Division after being relegated at the end of the 2010/11 campaign. With just six points after seven matches, Jose Luis Oltra’s team need to shape up should they want to have any chance of extending their stay in the top flight. Playing host to Barcelona here, they have a tough match ahead.

Deportivo and Barcelona might be light-years apart, but veteran defender Carlos Marchena does believe that his side can hurt the Blaugrana in certain ways.

“Barcelona have much of the ball. You suffer, grow desperate because you never have the ball, but the team has to hurt them with counter-attacks when the opportunity presents itself”, said the former Valencia star. “They play with a lot of people in front of the ball but can also suffer because they defend with few people.”

Despite the accuracy of Marchena’s declarations, putting into effect a plan against the Blaugrana remains easier said than done for Deportivo.

Back to Business

After suffering their first setback of the new La Liga season, with only a draw against Real Madrid in the first of two league Clasicos, Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova will be hoping that his players quickly get back to winning ways. Against a struggling Deportivo La Coruna side, the odds look stacked in the four-times Champions League winners’ favour. However, that does not mean that Barcelona need to take the Galicians lightly.

The “FIFA virus” – injuries occurring to players while on international duty and general tiredness – has consistently hit Barcelona lately, but the club will be a little relieved at getting all of their players back intact. However, Andres Iniesta hinted that returning to club football is not always easy, but insisted that all of the players will be ready for the match against Deportivo.

“We have to go to La Coruna and get the three points, and then carry on doing the same. I hope we’ll all be available for the game in La Coruna. After an international break it’s always that little bit more difficult.”

Recent form

Deportivo La Coruna:
Deportivo La Coruna 0-2 Sevilla (24/09; La Liga)
Real Madrid 5-1 Deportivo La Coruna (30/09; La Liga)
Rayo Vallecano 2-1 Deportivo La Coruna (06/10; La Liga)


Sevilla 2-3 Barcelona (29/09; La Liga)
Benfica 0-2 Barcelona (02/10; Champions League)
Barcelona 2-2 Real Madrid (07/10; La Liga)

Key absences

Deportivo La Coruna: Manuel Pablo (doubt); Rodolfo Bodipo (doubt)

Barcelona: Eric Abidal; Isaac Cuenca; Carles Puyol; Gerard Pique (doubt); Daniel Alves

Players to watch

Deportivo La Coruna – Riki: The Real Madrid youth graduate opened the scoring for his side when he met his formative club at the end of September. Now facing another La Liga giant, he will hope to capitalise on Barcelona’s defensive frailties and hit them where it really counts.

Barcelona – Lionel Messi: The world’s best player scored two wonder goals in the recent Clasico and was on target as Argentina played Uruguay and Chile in the 2014 World Cup qualifiers. With such form and displays, he is red hot favourite to retain the Ballon d’Or.

Match Prediction

As Barcelona regroup to launch another attack on a Spanish side, Deportivo are in for a tough night. Barcelona’s 2-2 draw against Real Madrid in some ways felt like a loss, but the Blaugrana can easily forget this result and continue their quest for the title. The hosts are struggling and it would be a surprise if they managed a single point against them at this stage. Deportivo La Coruna 0-4 Barcelona.

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