Saturday, December 24, 2011

Apertura 2011 - The End / Happy Holidays !!!



First of all I want to thank everyone that uses their time to follow this blog and is interested in Argentinean football. Clausura will start in mid February and you are all invited to join the information service that will enter its 3rd consecutive year ! As usual, if you have any questions don't hesitate to contact me at mncarg@gmail.com so I can give you more details about the service and fees.

Stay tuned for more updates in the next days/weeks with all the Summer transfers and friendlies schedule !

That Boca was the champion 2 rounds before the end made this Apertura one of the least interesting tournaments of the last few years.
The only thing decided in the end was the Copa Libertadores qualification, where Godoy Cruz finally won the points they needed to take the last available place and join Velez, Boca, Lanus and Arsenal as the other qualified teams.

Also Copa Sudamericana places were decided, but this will start on August 2012 and even though some teams are in the qualification zone they won't be able to play it if they have to play promotion playoffs or are relegated so the final list of teams won't be decided until June/July 2012.

With one pending game to be completed in early February (Estudiantes 0 - Banfield 1 suspended after 13 minutes), this were the final standings of Apertura 2011 and the 2011 table that set the teams that will play international competition in 2012.

Apertura 2011 Final Standings:


2011 Final Table:



HAPPY HOLIDAYS !!!!!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Boca is the Apertura 2011 Champion !!


It was definitely coming since long ago and it finally happened with 2 rounds left: Boca is the Apertura champion.

It's been long since one team made such a difference above everybody else in one of this short 19 rounds tournaments, where usually we have very tight finishes with 2 or more teams fighting until the end.

Not only they won the championship when we still have 2 more rounds before the Summer offseason, but also they are still undefeated (if they stay like this in the last 2 games it will be their 2nd time ever that they win a championship without losing a game) and they are about to set a record of less goals conceded: only 4 so far, all in different games and all with shots from outside the box !!

Absolutely undisputed champion, left everybody playing for the 2nd place since a long time ago.

Few things to decide in this last 2 rounds because relegations/promotions aren't finished until June.

The 2011 table (Clausura + Apertura) decides the international competition qualification.
Velez, Boca, Lanus and Arsenal are already qualified to Copa Libertadores 2012 while Godoy Cruz will probably join them, and Copa Sudamericana 2012 (that starts in August) will have -at least for now, it can change- Racing, Independiente, Argentinos Jrs, Colon and 2 other teams including the Copa Argentina champion, who is under way with the Round of 32 currently being played.

This are the standings as of today (All Boys 1 - Argentinos Jrs 0 of the 18th round was already played and Estudiantes - Banfield have a suspended game that will be completed in February 2012):

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Apertura 2011 Round 15 - Boca one step away



It's been long since one tournament in Argentina was so easily decided.
After some seasons of very closed finishes, including a final game that had to be played in 2006 and a 3 teams mini-tournament that decided Apertura 2008, this time Boca took such a big advantage over every other team that allowed them to draw the last 2 games and still have the certainty that this next weekend or the following one they will be celebrating the championship.

The key to their success is not a great offense, but a very tight defense that has conceded only 3 goals in 15 games (new record in Argentina for the first 15 rounds of a tournament).
Once they score, it's almost impossible to get back into the game, and if they decide to close a match not lose it like it happened in the boring 0-0 draw vs 2nd placed Racing this last weekend, they just do it.

Of course, all other teams helped them take this big difference above everybody else. Racing was supposed to be a contender and even though they are still undefeated they were only able to win 5 of 15 games and drew all others. Similar situation with Lanus, a team from what a lot more was expected but they could never find some regularity.

Promoted teams Atletico Rafaela and Belgrano are having a great semester, but they don't have what it takes to fight for a championship, plus some terrible disappointing performances by Independiente, San Lorenzo (struggling in the Averages table, currently in promotion zone), and Estudiantes, who everybody pointed as a big candidate to get the championship and not only they are in the last place, but their future doesn't look too bright either as their big club idol Juan Sebastian Veron is retiring this December when Apertura ends.

Four rounds left before the summer vacations, Boca has the chance to win the championship as soon as this next weekend, and this are the current standings :


Round 16 Schedule :


Friday November 25
21.15--Tigre-Atlético Rafaela

Saturday November 26

17.00--All Boys-Lanús
17.00--Olimpo de Bahía Blanca-San Martín de San Juan
19.10--Racing Club-Belgrano de Córdoba
21.10--Newell's Old Boys-San Lorenzo


Sunday November 27
17.00--Arsenal F.C.-Estudiantes de La Plata
17.00--Vélez Sarsfield-Colón de Santa Fe
19.10--Godoy Cruz Antonio Tomba-Boca Juniors
19.10--Banfield-Argentinos Juniors

Monday November 28
21.15--Unión de Santa Fe-Independiente

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Apertura 2011 - Round 12


Only 7 rounds left in Apertura and it's almost safe to say there's not a team that can take the championship away from the undefeated Boca.
They passed a big test in this round, playing without their 3 attacking players: playmaker Juan Roman Riquelme, and strikers Cvitanich and Viatri (torn ACL, out for 6-8 months), and they did it without any sweat. Colon was a lousy rival and Boca took an easy win to keep their 6 points advantage at the top.

The 2nd placed team is Atletico Rafaela, who finally played again a solid match after some irregular performances, beating last placed Argentinos Juniors 3-1.

Next round Boca and Atletico Rafaela meet.
Will the leaders take a bigger difference, or will Rafaela take the 3 points and open the race for the title ?

Racing is definitely a curious case. They are still undefeated and have conceded only 4 goals, but they just can't play as they are expected to and after 5 consecutive draws it seems like their championship dreams are gone, even though they still have to play against Boca.

Clausura champion Velez recently woke up. They won the last 4 games, but it's probably too late for them as well because the 8 points difference with Boca and their main goal for this semester is Copa Sudamericana where they've advanced to the Quarterfinals and will meet Santa Fe from Colombia.

Even though there are still 8 more months until relegations are decided, the fight in the lower places of the Averages table has been really hard.
San Martin, Tigre, Olimpo, All Boys, Union, San Lorenzo and Arsenal are fighting to avoid the relegations and promotion playoffs, and it promises to be a tough finish when the season ends.

Round 13 will be played this weekend but we have a postponed match because San Lorenzo and All Boys won't be played.
San Lorenzo crisis got even worst this week as some "hooligans" went on a fight with defender Jonathan Botinelli during Wednesday's practice and that ended with the security committee suspending the game.

Round 13 schedule :


Saturday October 29
15.05—Argentinos Juniors-Vélez Sarsfield
19.15—Newell’s Old Boys-Olimpo de Bahía Blanca
21.15—Independiente-Arsenal


Sunday October 30
14.00—Lanús-Godoy Cruz Antonio Tomba
18.10—Boca Juniors-Atlético Rafaela
20.20—Belgrano de Córdoba-Colón de Santa Fe


Monday October 31
17.00—Unión de Santa Fe-Tigre
19.05—Estudiantes de La Plata-Racing Club
21.15—San Martín de San Juan-Banfield


Standings:



Averages Table (http://www.argentinapreviews.com/2010/05/how-are-relegations-decided.html) :

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Apertura 2011 - Round 9 & 10 Update


*** HALF OF THE TOURNAMENT HAS PASSED BUT THERE'S STILL A LOT OF PROFIT TO MAKE IN APERTURA !!!
CONTACT ME AT MNCARG@GMAIL.COM FOR DETAILS AND FEES FOR ARGENTINA FOOTBALL PREVIEWS ***

We are through the half of the tournament and there's one thing for sure: this is Boca's championship to lose.
After 10 rounds they are still undefeated, with only 2 goals conceded and 5 points above the 2nd placed team, the recently promoted Atletico Rafaela, and 6 above Racing who is also still undefeated and has conceded just 3 goals but drew 3 of the last 4 games.

* Racing had the chance to make a difference and grow in confidence with back to back derbies against San Lorenzo and Independiente, but they tied both and saw Boca take a bigger difference above them.

* The other story of this first half of Apertura is the good performance by most of the recently promoted teams. Rafaela, Belgrano and recently Union are among the top 10 of the league and have established themselves as very tough rivals. Now it comes the most difficult part: to keep the pace until the end of the season, something usually difficult for teams that come from 2nd division.

* Most important news this week in Argentinean football has been the confirmation that Juan Sebastian Veron is retiring at the end of this month when Estudiantes hosts Racing for the 13th round.
Besides his age (he's 36) the main problem is the ankle injury he's been suffering all year and that it seems like it won't heal so with nothing to play for until the end of the year he decided to retire sooner.

* Talking about Estudiantes, they are without a doubt the most disappointing story of Apertura. After an awful Clausura they rebuilt their team to fight for the championship and there was no season preview that didn't put them among the candidates.
But things never worked OK for them. A mix of injuries, bad performances and some bad luck put them exactly at the other side of where they were supposed to be: bottom of the standings with only 1 win in 10 games.
Their semester is gone and now with Veron retiring we'll see what happens with the club that was at the top of everyone the last 5 years.

* The end of the season and the promotion playoffs/relegations might be 8 months away but the fight in the lower places of the Averages table is as tough as always with San Martin, Tigre, All Boys, Olimpo, San Lorenzo, Arsenal and other teams coming in and out of the dangerous zone.

* Copa Argentina's first season is underway and about to reach the most interesting part !
The early stages have been played in August and September and next month the 40 First Division and Second division teams will join the 24 teams that went through the first phases.
For those of you interested to read a little more about it: http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copa_Argentina_2011/12

The league is now in a break for the first rounds of the World Cup 2014 qualifiers to be played on Friday and Tuesday, and will resume next Friday with round 11:

Friday October 14
17.10-- Olimpo de Bahía Blanca-Tigre
19.25-- Newell`s Old Boys-Arsenal F.C.
21.30-- San Lorenzo-Banfield


Saturday October 15
14.00-- Independiente-Godoy Cruz Antonio Tomba
16.30-- Unión de Santa Fe-All Boys
21.15-- San Martín de San Juan-Racing Club


Sunday October 16
14.00-- Estudiantes de La Plata-Atlético Rafaela
16.10-- Argentinos Juniors-Colón de Santa Fe
18.30-- Boca Juniors-Belgrano de Córdoba
20.30-- Lanús-Vélez Sarsfield


Standings:



Averages Table (http://www.argentinapreviews.com/2010/05/how-are-relegations-decided.html) :


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Stay Tuned !


Sorry for the lack of updates this week, but it's been terribly busy days over here and the midweek round didn't help at all.

Please, stay tuned because as soon as I have a few minutes available I will write an update of this Apertura that Boca will win (and hopefully saying this I will jinx them :P )

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Apertura 2011 Round 6 - Boca + Lanus


Round 6 ended with two new leaders, Boca and Lanus, who not only have the same points but also the same amount of goals scored, goals conceded...and they meet next weekend !!

For sure it will be a game to watch and one of the most important so far of this Apertura.

* Lanus was better than Argentinos, even if there was no 4 goals difference between them, but like it happened for Argentinos last week in Copa Sudamericana once they conceded the 2nd goal they completely collapsed and stopped fighting.
Argentinos completed their 8th game of the season without a win, and the 2nd 0-4 in less than a week so coach Pedro Troglio's future will be decided tomorrow.

* Except for a couple of counter attacks by San Martin, Boca dominated the game and had the best chances to score at least 1 or 2 more goals.
It was far from a superb performance, just another average one, but they hit the post 3 times (2 in the 1st half and one off a freek kick in the 2nd half) plus a couple more chances missed for an easy win.

* Much more unlucky was Velez who ended losing a game where even a draw was unfair. Union played the typical super defensive game while Velez didn't play great but had the best chances to score.
They hit the post once, Union's goalkeeper saved some and Velez's strikers missed the others. With the home team all in attack, in the 87th minute a midfielder lost a silly ball that led to a counter attack and the lucky 0-1 for Union.

* Everything that could go wrong for San Lorenzo just went wrong.
Before the 10th minute San Lorenzo's best player, midfielder Nestor Ortigoza, and that changed the history of the game. Bad defense gave Colon the 1-0, and a very lucky goal the 2-0 early in the 2nd half. The 2-1 made things more fair, but with few minutes left and San Lorenzo all in attack Colon finished the game on a counter.
4 attacks, 3 goals for a Colon team that was not much superior to San Lorenzo, but was almost 100% effective offensively.

* Atletico Rafaela - Newell's, besides the game ending in a scoreless draw it was a game much more entertaining than what I expected.
Both teams had unbelievable good chances to get the 3 points but both goalkeepers and some luck saved them.

Round 6 results :

9/9 — A. Rafaela 0 – 0 Newell`s Old Boys
9/9 — Colón 3 – 1 San Lorenzo
10/9 — Godoy Cruz 6 – 1 All Boys
10/9 — Estudiantes 1 – 3 Tigre
10/9 — Racing Club 1 – 0 Olimpo
11/9 — Banfield 0 – 1 Arsenal
11/9 — Belgrano 2 – 0 Independiente
11/9 — Boca Juniors 1 – 0 San Martín (SJ)
11/9 — Vélez Sarsfield 0 – 1 Unión
12/9 — Argentinos 0 – Lanús 4

Round 7 Schedule :

Friday September 16
17.00-- Independiente-Colón de Santa Fe
19.10-- Olimpo de Bahía Blanca-Godoy Cruz Antonio Tomba
21.15-- San Martín de San Juan-Belgrano de Córdoba

Saturday September 17
15.05-- Tigre-Arsenal F.C.
17.10-- All Boys-Banfield
21.15-- San Lorenzo-Atlético Rafaela

Sunday September 18
14.00-- Newell's Old Boys-Vélez Sarsfield
16.00-- Estudiantes de La Plata-Argentinos Juniors
18.10-- Lanús-Boca Juniors
20.15-- Unión de Santa Fe-Racing Club

Standings :