On a run of three consecutive defeats and without a win since the opening day of the season, the last thing Deportivo La Coruna will have wanted is a meeting with Barcelona. It has been a trying time for Depor on their return to La Liga, highlighted by a 5-1 defeat to Real Madrid late last month.
Despite their massive underdog status, Depor boss Jose Luis Oltra has said he will try to get his side to be as positive as possible when welcoming Barcelona to the Riazor.
“We know in advance that we will not be able to impose our style, we will not have the ball and we're going to have to do other things,” he said, according to ESPN. “But good teams are those who adapt to all circumstances and we hope we can do that.
“If we do have to lose, I would rather we left a positive image of a daring team.''
While Barcelona only dropped their first points of the season last time out against Real Madrid, their performances have not quite matched the dominance often witnessed in previous campaigns.
Coach Tito Vilanova is content with his side, but accepts that they can get better.
“I still think we have to improve, but I’m happy with our results and how we are playing,” he revealed, according to Barcelona’s website. “Vilanova also reckons there’s not much difference between this year’s team and that of recent seasons: “I can’t see many differences—that is what we aiming for anyway.”
Barcelona continue to have problems in defense with Dani Alves joining center-back pairing Gerard Pique and Carlos Puyol on the sidelines. That means that Javier Mascherano and Alex Song are likely to continue to deputize, while Martin Montoya is expected to fill in at right back.
For Depor, midfielder Abel Aguillar is expected to be fit to offer protection for veteran playmaker Juan Carlos Valeron.
Deportivo La Coruna (probable)
D: Laure, Castro, Marchena, Evaldo
M: Bergantinos, Aguillar
Gama, Valeron, Pizzi
D: Montoya, Song, Mascherano, Alba
M: Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta
F: Pedro, Messi, Villa
Prediction: Deportivo La Coruna’s best bet my be to try and get what could be a suspect backline. However, that is far easier said than done and could lead to all kinds of problems for Depor at the other end. This game looks to have goals in it, but Barcelona should run out comfortable winners.
Deportivo La Coruna 1-3 Barcelona
Where to watch: the La Liga contest kicks-off at 4 p.m. ET. Coverage will be provided by beIN Sport, with a live stream, which you view at your own discretion, available here.