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Scouting Real Madrid's Competition: Deportivo La Coruña

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With their third coach in just a single season, Deportivo La Coruña seem to be well on their way to relegation to Spain's second division. Riazor has always been a tough stadium to play in for Real Madrid, but this match will mark Fernando Vázquez's debut as Deportivo's coach, so this could be a good opportunity for Jose Mourinho's men to enjoy a comfortable win prior of the toughest week of the season.

Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno

After José Luis Oltra and Portuguese Domingos Paciencia, Fernando Vázquez has inherited the mission to save Deportivo La Coruña from the cruel hands of relegation. The Galician team is now eight points from safety, and with Madrid coming to town, Deportivo could be even further adrift after this weekend.

Depor isn't that bad of a team. They have some decent players like Riki, Pizzi or Aranzubia. Their problem lies in their defensive weakness. They've conceded 54 goals so far, and that's not good at all for a team that has only scored 28. Deportivo have also lost five games in a row, and their last win was on January 5th against Málaga. If Vázquez doesn't solve this problem, Depor will play in La Liga Adelante next season after just one year in Spain's top division.

Real Madrid will have to stop Riki in order to keep a clean sheet. Deportivo will likely play defensively, although nothing is certain since this will be Vázquez's touchline debut. Manuel Pablo will miss the game, so Silvio (who came over from Atlético Madrid) will have the chance to start and play against Cristiano Ronaldo on Depor's right wing.

Evaldo will be the team's left back, and that's a wing Real Madrid should try to attack. Depor is very vulnerable defensively, so neither Marchena nor Kaká (former APOEL defender) should be able to help Evaldo and Silvio much. If Real Madrid is able of playing through the wings, Deportivo won't have a chance, but the five-men midfield could be very solid if Mourinho's men try to create danger through the center of the pitch.

Deportivo will surely try to focus on their next game as soon as Real Madrid scores the first goal, but los blancos should always be careful with set-pieces and aerial balls. If Deportivo manages to score first, it will be very hard for Real Madrid to break the Galician wall in Riazor.