Deportivo La Coruna vs. Barcelona: Top Storylines Surrounding La Liga Clash
Struggling Primera Division basement dweller Deportivo La Coruna will host mighty Barcelona on Saturday at Estadio Riazor in Spain.
Depor have not won a league match since August, and have dropped three straight coming into their matchup with Barcelona. Meanwhile, the visiting side has only lost two points in La Liga play this season, and currently sits atop the league table.
Let's take a look at the top storylines surrounding Saturday's David vs. Goliath matchup.
When: Saturday, October 20, 2012
Start Time: 4:00 p.m. ET
Barca's Suspect Backline
With Dani Alves, Gerard Pique and Carles Puyol all out of the lineup for Barcelona because of injury, the Spanish powerhouse will likely field a back line consisting of Javier Mascherano, Alex Song, Martin Montoya and Jordi Alba.
Barca's back isn't porous by any means, but certainly vulnerable based on the amount of talent its missing on Saturday. Anytime you take Pique and Puyol out of the equation, there should be cause for concern.
Depor will certainly have their chances to score on Saturday, the question is whether they can cash in on them and outscore the brilliant Barca offense. Depor will hope that forward Riki can score a few times as the lone striker up top and their leading goal scorer in La Liga play. He's scored three in seven matches.
Can Depor Slow Barca?
Let's face it, Barcelona has boatloads of more talent than Deportivo La Coruna. The fact that Barca can boast Lionel Messi makes this matchup unfair to begin with.
Messi has eight goals and three assist in league play this season, but will have backup in Andres Iniesta and Xavi. Both midfielders possess dynamic games capable of driving any opposing coach absolutely mad.
If Messi doesn't play or can't find his rhythm on Saturday for any reason, then another one of Barca's stars will no doubt step up in his absence. That's the danger Depor faces at Riazor. Their opponent is arguably the best in the world and deadly even on a bad day.
Given that Barca won't be fielding its best back line, I expect Jose Luis Oltra's squad will find the back of the net at home at least once. In the end though, it'll be far too much Barcelona. Look for Tito Vilanova's club to dictate the pace from start to finish on Saturday, even if they experience a scare or two.
Deportivo La Coruna 1, Barcelona 4
Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter.
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