Adam Selby from @GironaUK talks to us about Friday night’s game against struggling Deportivo La Coruna, saying the Catalan side approach the game feeling great comfort.
Deportivo have gone 12 La Liga matches without a win and with coach Clarence Seedorf still awaiting his first victory, Friday night’s opposition Girona offer no respite.
The hosts head into the clash in great fettle having achieved 15 points from a possible 18.
Other than a slight blip against leaders and rivals Barcelona where Pablo Machin’s side were succumbed to a 6-1 defeat they have been this season’s surprise package.
Five wins in their last five home matches and managing to keep clean sheets in every single one has put the Catalan club in contention with a Europa League place.
They welcome a side who have struggled to escape the labours of a relegation dogfight and the odds are stacked against the visitors.
“Girona head into tonight’s game with the greatest amount of comfort that they will have felt all season. Not only do they face a side in Deportivo who have continued to struggle even since Clarence Seedorf’s arrival but although Girona boss Pablo Machín says all eyes are now on finishing in a Europa League positon, in many ways you do feel like the real pressure is off.
“Fundamental to Girona’s success this season has been a reliance, some may say over reliance, on the same starting XI week in, week out. Therefore, with top flight survival well and truly in the bag, I’d be surprised if Machín didn’t opt to give some of his biggest stars a much-needed rest in favour of squad rotation.
“Then again, choosing not to rest the likes of Stuani, Portu and Maffeo may be a real indication of just how much both Machín and Girona as a club crave European Football.
“Should they choose to rest the deadly attacking duo of Stuani and Portu who between themselves have arguably singlehandedly guided Girona to safety, tonight’s match offers a perfect opportunity for the likes of Michael Olunga and Douglas Luiz to step up and prove their worth.
“Olunga, who gave us a wonderful glimpse of just what he is capable of with a quick-fire hat trick earlier this year against Las Palmas may suit a game played at the pace of what tonight could ensue. A powerful player capable of holding up the ball, Olunga offers something completely different to any other forward at the club and with another impressive performance he would surely all but guarantee his permanent future at Girona.
“Douglas Luiz meanwhile, for all the hype that surrounded his move to Girona has simply been unable to catch a break in the first eleven due to the good form of his teammates. When he has been played, it has been more centrally in a defensive midfield position so perhaps replacing Portu in behind either Stuani or Olunga could bring the very best out of Luiz and his evident flair and attacking talent on the ball.
“As for an eventual result, I’d have to say that Girona at least on paper are bound to be favourites for tonight’s game and given Coruña’s poor form of late, it would be a surprise if Girona didn’t come out on top. Again, it could come down to which Girona side turn up tonight and perhaps more strikingly, whether Coruña are able to galvanise themselves if they really do hope to beat the drop – a prospect that Girona thankfully no longer have to worry about.”
Machin is predicted to name an unchange side from the team that has won three of their last four league games.
Aday Benitez is back available but is likely to be kept out of the starting eleven and the defence trio of Juanpe, Bernardo and Ramalho should remain untouched after some good displays.
You can keep up to date with all the latest club news and gossip from Adam and Girona UK over on their official Twitter @GironaUK.