clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

What will Deportivo be able to do against Real Madrid? Scouting report

Fresh from their first victory of the young La Liga campaign, Deportivo La Coruna will welcome Real Madrid to the Riazor tomorrow afternoon for an early kick-off in Galicia. Los Blancos, coming off a rollicking midweek performance against Basel, will seek to correct their surprisingly lackluster league form.

Denis Doyle

Deportivo were able to grind out a gritty 0-1 result against Eibar last time out on the strength of Juan Diminguez goal in the 13th minute. The goal was created by a Juanfran cross, a hallmark of Depor's offensive strategy, that was cleared directly to Diminguez's boot by Eibar defender Eneko Boveda.

According to WhoScored, a handful of patterns emerge through Deportivo's first few matches back in the Primera. These include the tendency of Victor Fernandez's men to favor long-range shots and crosses generated from their reliance on width. Most tellingly, Deportivo have focused their wide play down the right flank in each of their first three league matches. This strategy will likely again be a key determinant in the outcome of the contest against Real. Fernandez's men have been unflinchingly aggressive against Granada, Rayo and Eibar. If they can keep Dani Carvajal (perhaps likely to regain to his spot in the starting XI) or Nacho pinned back and/or exploit the space in behind him on counters when does break forward they may be able to cause Madrid problems.

Just as Real must constantly face crowded fixture lists, this contest finds Deportivo in the midst of a stretch of three matches in eight days. Squad rotation is likely to some degree for Fernandez who has shuffled his team early and often. For example, Isaac Cuenca, former La Masia golden boy and Depor's marquee summer arrival, started on the bench against Eibar. Joining Cuenca at the Riazor this past window were: Luis Farina, (Castilla's own) Jose Rodriguez, Haris Medunjanin and ex-Benfica man Ivan Cavaleiro.  All in all, it was a solid window for a Deportivo side seeking to remain in the top-flight after their recent yo-yoing back and forth into the Segunda. Medunjanin, has been a constant, figuring largely in all three matches and adding a steely, sharp tackling presence. Farina is a doubt through injury.

I would expect to see Cuenca feature from the outset, as the young winger has enough pace to challenge Real down the flanks. Old warhose Helder Postiga is in the side and could figure as the loan striker. Rising young starlet Pablo Insua started against Rayo but did not make the matchday squadlist against Eibar last Monday due to a knock and his status remains up in the air. Depor have veered from a 4-2-3-1 to the creepingly en vogue 4-1-4-1 formation. Whether Fernandez will employ the 4-1-4-1 after the ease with which Real vanquished a Basel side nominally utilizing it is also a question that Ancelotti will have to ponder.

For Real, as Dani noted, Pepe is unavailable for selection which most likely means Raphael Varane will play alongside of Sergio Ramos. Perhaps Isco and/or Asier Illarramendi will be granted starts in the interest of keeping the midfield fresh, particularly with Ancelotti hinting that Gareth Bale and Luka Modric are not yet at full-fitness. Regardless of the lineup it'll be imperative for Real to avoid their third straight league defeat, something that hasn't occurred since 2009.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Managing Madrid Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Real Madrid news from Managing Madrid