Saturday, May 28, 2011

1 year of Argentina Previews !


Today (well, yesterday actually) the blog got 1 year old.

I had so many doubts to start it back in May 2010, after Clausura 2010 had ended and with the World Cup excitement around the corner, so I would like to thank the people that encouraged me to do it. For those who said that would last only a few weeks...well, thanks too :)

One year, 100 posts and 350 previews later after thousands of visits from more than 120 countries (!!!) my life has changed thanks to the many people that contacted me.

So...the only thing I can say is THANK YOU !!!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Clausura 2011 Round 15 - River in Danger



The story of the weekend for this 15th round wasn't that Velez won easily again, that Godoy Cruz were robbed on Friday by very bad calls or the very good performance by an uprising Lanus.

What everybody was talking about after the round ended was that River Plate, one of the Argentinean football giants, is on one of the promotion playoff places with only 4 rounds left after they drew at home in the derby against San Lorenzo, and Olimpo won @ Argentinos Juniors.

They were leading 1-0 (not 100% deserved) and goalkeeper Juan Pablo Carrizo had another HUGE HUGE mistake like last week vs Boca, failing to hold a 35-40 meters shot that went right to his hands and the game ended 1-1.

To put it in perspective, River is one of the 3 teams (together with Boca and Independiente) that has played every year in 1st division and was never relegated since professional football started in Argentina in 1931 and is the team with most championships won (33) so you can imagine the tension in the league right now.

* Quilmes took one step towards their miracle and deservedly beat Racing 2-0. The visitors couldn't recover of missing 3 important players and now they are definitely out of Clausura but on good pace to get a place in Sudamericana. Quilmes needs to win at least 3 more of the last 4 games. Will they be able to do it ?

* The useless draw of the round was the 2-2 between Arsenal, who is still only 1 point above River in the Averages table (tied with Tigre) and in great danger of falling in one of the promotion playoff places, and Boca, who has confirmed that they won't play for the championship in the last 4 rounds. The tie was a fair result because Arsenal was leading twice (1-0 and 2-1) but couldn't hold to it.

* Both sides of the table met as the leader Velez hosted Gimnasia and easily won 2-0. There was only one team on the field and the difference wasn't bigger because Velez slowed down in the 2nd half and changed their best offensive players so they will be more rested on Thursday in the 1st leg of Copa Libertadores semifinals. I think that Gimnasia players don't even know Velez goalkeeper's name because they were never close to him in the whole 90 minutes.
Velez and Godoy Cruz meet in 2 weeks and it will probably be a deciding match for the tournament.

* It's been a long time since I've seen a team robbed the way Godoy Cruz was today.
Remember the goal not given to England vs Germany in the World Cup where the ball was behind the goal line by 1 meter or more ?
First Godoy Cruz had one like that.
Then it was a red card for defender Leonardo Sigali for talking (he probably insulted the referee or the assistant that didn't give that goal) and only a few minutes later they were denied a penalty that was as clear as a penalty can be and with the referee only 2 or 3 meters from the players involved.

You can see it all here : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6rsK8u1fvfc&feature=player_profilepage

Shameful performance by this referee and it's countless the times he had games like this.

* Lanus had almost a perfect game as they keep improving and they are becoming the very good team I expected them to be when the season started .
3-0 win at Tigre (who has a big problem in the Averages table too) and they are now in 3rd place, 4 points behind Velez.

* The round had another shameful ending for a game because Huracan - Estudiantes had to be suspended after 32 minutes when the visitors scored the 0-2 and the home team fans decided it was enough humiliation for their hopeless team and started to throw things to Estudiantes's fans.
Huracan is in a nightmare and their future looks as bleak as ever. Even one of their most experienced players said "we are dead", 3 words that show how they feel even though they have perfect mathematical chances of avoiding direct relegation because they are currently tied with Gimnasia. The game might be continued behind closed doors this week, but nothing has been confirmed yet.

Round 16 will feature Olimpo-River as a match that could decide some things in the Averages table. A definitely CAN'T LOSE for both of them.
Also the leader Velez will visit the very needed Tigre and Godoy Cruz will play at home against another team in a desperate situation, Gimnasia.

Round 15 results :

20/5 — Newell`s Old Boys 1 – 0 All Boys
20/5 — Banfield 1 – 1 Godoy Cruz Antonio Tomba
21/5 — Tigre 0 – 3 Lanús
21/5 — Argentinos Juniors 0 – 1 Olimpo de Bahía Blanca
21/5 — Huracán vs Estudiantes de La Plata (suspended at 32', Estudiantes was leading 2-0)
21/5 — Independiente 3 – 1 Colón de Santa Fe
22/5 — Quilmes A.C. 2 – 0 Racing
22/5 — Vélez Sarsfield 2 – 0 Gimnasia y Esgrima de La Plata
22/5 — River 1 – 1 San Lorenzo
22/5 — Arsenal F.C. 2 – 2 Boca Juniors

Round 16 Schedule :

Saturday May 28
14.00-- Colón de Santa Fe-Argentinos Juniors
16.10-- San Lorenzo de Almagro-Arsenal F.C.
18.20-- All Boys-Quilmes A.C.
20.20-- Racing Club-Banfield

Sunday May 29
14.00-- Estudiantes de La Plata-Independiente
16.00-- Boca Juniors-Newell´s Old Boys
18.10-- Tigre-Vélez Sarsfield
20.20-- Olimpo de Bahía Blanca-River Plate

Monday May 30
16.10-- Lanús-Huracán
21.10-- Godoy Cruz Antonio Tomba-Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata

Standings :



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





Copa Sudamerica 2011 table ( Top 6 qualify to Copa Sudamericana 2011 + Independiente because they are Sudamericana 2010 champion) :



* Tables taken from "La Redó" (www.la-redo.com.ar)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Clausura 2011 Round 14 - Palermo !


Velez defeat put some spice on the final 5 round of Clausura by losing 2-3 at Lanus, who is now 4 points behind them. They are still the only leader, but now Godoy Cruz is in the 2nd place only 1 away and they meet in a couple of rounds.

* Velez played with half reserves team and as expected the uprising Lanus gave them big troubles. The leader couldn't hold to two leads (0-1 and 1-2) in the 1st half, and when Lanus scored the 3-2 early in the 2nd part they had no answers to react.

* Boca won the Super Clasico almost not shooting at goal. Is this possible ?
Well, if you saw the game you would understand what I mean. River was playing better than a disoriented Boca, and although it was no big domination they were almost deserving to lead when the fatal 2 minutes came. First an unbelievable own goal by goalkeeper Juan Pablo Carrizo (still the best or one of the best in the league in my opinion) and then a defensive mistake that allowed Martin Palermo to score his last game in a derby (he's retiring in June at the end of Clausura) and shed some tears of joy while he was celebrating.
River pushed and could have scored a goal but by the middle of the 2nd half they basically gave up. Boca won thanks to River's desperation and bad luck and put their all time rival closer to the promotion playoffs. One side note for the awful referee in charge of this game who didn't give the visitors 1 or 2 very clear penalties.

* Even more interesting than the fight to win the championship is the fight in the lower places of the Averages table to avoid relegation and the promotion playoffs.

* Solid win by Gimnasia against a dull Banfield who keeps playing worst every week. Finally the La Plata team won and this combined with Huracan's defeat vs Colon put this two teams in a tie in the 19th place of the Averages table.
What does this mean ? That if the league ended today Gimnasia and Huracan would have to play a game in neutral ground to decide who will go to 2nd division and who will play the promotion playoff !!

* Talking about Huracan, they looked as poor as lately and they seem to be more hopeless every week. Only a few weeks ago they had a 5-7 points difference with Gimnasia and now they are both tied. For Colon it was the easiest win of the year with 3 goals in the 1st half, and they finally won at home after 6 games.

* Another hopeless team is Newell's. Last placed in Clausura, they won't have any problems in the Averages table this year but this awful season might give them problems in the future.
They played much better than Racing for 10 minutes but after the home team scored in their first chance there was only one team on the field.

*Great win by All Boys. It was a very tight game but a long shot and amazing goal by Emanuel Gigliotti, who last week scored the 1st goal vs River, gave them 3 very important points and they are now only 4-5 points from securing their place in 1st division for the next season. A great season for a very small club that was in 3rd division only a few seasons ago.
Arsenal keeps going down in the Averages table, an unbelievable fall after ending 3rd in Apertura.

* If River didn't fell in promotion playoff zone was thanks to Independiente, who played a solid game and beat this Olimpo who is struggling in the worst moment and can't get out of the bottom of the Averages table. Also Tigre, with a deserved draw vs this unmotivated Estudiantes got a point further from the promotion zone and won some extra air for the last 5 rounds.

The 15th round will feature Velez hosting the desperate Gimnasia, 2nd placed Godoy Cruz visiting Banfield and River trying to recover from the superclasico defeat in the derby vs San Lorenzo.
Only 5 rounds left and the league gets more and more exciting !!!

Round 14 results :

13/5 — Godoy Cruz Antonio Tomba 2 – 0 Quilmes A.C.
14/5 — Gimnasia y Esgrima de La Plata 2 – 0 Banfield
14/5 — San Lorenzo 1 – 2 Argentinos Juniors
14/5 — All Boys 1 – 0 Arsenal F.C.
14/5 — Colón de Santa Fe 3 – 0 Huracán
14/5 — Racing Club 3 – 0 Newell’s Old Boys
15/5 — Estudiantes de La Plata 2 – 2 Tigre
15/5 — Boca Juniors 2 – 0 River Plate
15/5 — Olimpo de Bahía Blanca 1 – 2 Independiente
15/5 — Lanús 3 – 2 Vélez Sarsfield

Round 15 Schedule

Friday May 20
19.10-- Newell´s Old Boys-All Boys
21.10-- Banfield-Godoy Cruz Antonio Tomba

Saturday May 21
14.00-- Tigre-Lanús
16.10-- Argentinos Juniors-Olimpo de Bahía Blanca
18.20-- Huracán-Estudiantes de La Plata
20.20-- Independiente-Colón de Santa Fe

Sunday May 22
14.00-- Quilmes A.C. -Racing Club
16.00-- Vélez Sarsfield-Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata
18.10-- River Plate-San Lorenzo de Almagro
20.20-- Arsenal F.C. -Boca Juniors

Standings :



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


Copa Sudamerica 2011 table ( Top 6 qualify to Copa Sudamericana 2011 + Independiente because they are Sudamericana 2010 champion) :




* Tables taken from "La Redó" (www.la-redo.com.ar)

Friday, May 13, 2011

Clausura 2011 Round 13 - Velez x 2 ?


Better later than never to write the Round 13 preview, just when the 14th is about to start tonight.

Velez is trying to do what no Argentinean team ever did : win both Copa Libertadores and the league in the same semester. Some teams were very close, but sooner or later they end losing one or both due to tiredness or injuries because the amount of games to be played in this very tight schedule is too much.
But for now Velez is an easy leader of Clausura, 4 points above 2nd placed Godoy Cruz, and last night they've won the 1st leg of Copa Libertadores quarterfinals 3-0 against Libertad (game was played at Boca stadium because Velez's was close due to the illegal use of fireworks and flares on Monday's game).

The 6 final rounds promise a close finish, especially in the Averages table where two of Huracan, Quilmes and Gimnasia will be relegated while the other will play the promotion playoff together with another team of a big group of 6 teams that are almost tied : All Boys, Olimpo, Independiente, River, Tigre and Arsenal !!!

This weekend all eyes will be on another edition of the worldwide known "Super Clasico" as Boca will host River this Sunday, in a match with some side stories included, like the chance of the "Bosteros" to send their rival to a promotion place and Martin Palermo, Boca's all time top scorer, playing his last derby before retiring at the end of Clausura.

Round 13 Results :

6/5 — Newell’s Old Boys 1 – 3 Godoy Cruz Antonio Tomba
7/5 — Quilmes A.C. 2 – 2 Gimnasia y Esgrima de La Plata
7/5 — Huracán 1 – 2 Olimpo de Bahía Blanca
7/5 — Tigre 3 – 0 Colón de Santa Fe
7/5 — Arsenal F.C. 1 – 2 Racing Club
8/5 — Lanús 0 – 0 Estudiantes de La Plata
8/5 — Argentinos Juniors 0 – 2 Boca Juniors
8/5 — River Plate 0 – 2 All Boys
8/5 — Independiente 1 – 1 San Lorenzo
9/5 — Vélez Sarsfield 2 – 0 Banfield

Round 14 Schedule :

Friday May 13
19.10-- Colón-Huracán. (TV).
21.15-- Godoy Cruz Antonio Tomba-Quilmes A.C. (TV).

Saturday May 14
14.00-- Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata-Banfield.
16.10-- San Lorenzo de Almagro-Argentinos Juniors.
18.20-- All Boys-Arsenal F.C.
20.20-- Racing Club-Newell´s Old Boys.

Sunday May 15
14.00-- Estudiantes de La Plata-Tigre.
16.00-- Boca Juniors-River Plate.
18.10-- Olimpo de Bahía Blanca-Independiente.
20.20-- Lanús-Vélez Sarsfield.

Standings :



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




Copa Sudamerica 2011 table ( Top 6 qualify to Copa Sudamericana 2011 + Independiente because they are Sudamericana 2010 champion) :



* Tables taken from "La Redó" (www.la-redo.com.ar)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Clausura 2011 Round 12 - A clearer path


Only 7 rounds to go in Clausura and things start to look a little more clear even if it still seems like anyone can just beat anyone.
Velez is the leader and without a doubt the best team at this moment, followed by River and Godoy Cruz, and again everything is blur after them as there are 9 teams separated by only 3 points.

* The leader Velez destroyed Estudiantes with a very unexpected 4-0 that was deserved because of what was seen on the field. The question for Velez is what will happen if they keep advancing in Copa Libertadores, because no Argentinean team has won both tournaments in the same semester since the Apertura/Clausura format was introduced 20 years ago, and sooner or later they might have to chose which one is more important for them.

* Good win for River in the derby @ Racing, even though they played the whole 2nd half with 10 men. Racing pushed but was harmless and with the 6th defeat of the tournament they say goodbye to their championship chances and will have to focus only on getting a place in Copa Sudamericana 2011.

* San Lorenzo easily won the derby with a 3-0 that could have been bigger if they had been able to score in one of the chances they had in the 1st half. The future looks a little better for them while they decide who will be the next coach, and for their rival Huracan everything looks bleak as they keep falling apart and the 4th relegation in 25 years looks closer every week.

* Everything went wrong for Godoy Cruz, and it was the other way for Arsenal who quickly in the game scored twice. Godoy Cruz scored the 2-1 but played poor defense in the 2nd half and it was easy for the visitors to score on some very well executed counter attacks, for a 4-1 that was not expected at all.

* Last derby of the round featured Boca, who played like two different teams in each half : in the 1st one they played well, dominated and took a deserved 1-0 lead with a beautifull goal by all time top scorer Martin Palermo, but in the 2nd part they played AWFUL. It was all for Independiente who finally took a deserved draw after missing many chances.
When the 1-1 came Boca was without Riquelme and Palermo because both have been replaced and they couldn't do much to avoid the draw. Useless result for both. Boca is definitely out of everything and Independiente is only one step above the promotion places.

* Gimnasia lost again, a game they had controlled at home vs Newell's and coach Angel Cappa was fired. The future looks bleak for the La Plata team who is in a direct relegation place and will face the last 7 rounds with an interim coach.


Round 13 starts next Friday and will feature three games that have HUGE importance in the averages table : Quilmes - Gimnasia, Huracan - Olimpo and River - All Boys.
This are like "world cup finals" for this teams (especially the first two games) and these are points that if they don't win, they will regret almost for sure at the end of the season.
Also the derby between Independiente and San Lorenzo, and the leader Velez will host Banfield on Monday.

Round 12 results :

29/4 — Gimnasia y Esgrima de La Plata 1 – 2 Newell’s Old Boys
29/4 — Banfield 3 – 4 Quilmes A.C.
30/4 — All Boys 0 – 0 Argentinos Juniors
30/4 — San Lorenzo 3 – 0 Huracán
30/4 — Racing Club 0 – 1 River Plate
30/4 — Godoy Cruz Antonio Tomba 1 – 4 Arsenal F.C.
30/4 — Estudiantes de La Plata 0 – 4 Vélez Sarsfield
2/5 — Olimpo de Bahía Blanca 2 – 2 Tigre
2/5 — Colón de Santa Fe 0 – 1 Lanús
2/5 — Boca Juniors 1 – 1 Independiente

Round 13 Schedule :

Friday May 6
20.10--Newell´s Old Boys-Godoy Cruz Antonio Tomba.

Saturday May 7
14.00--Quilmes A.C. - Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata.
16.10--Huracán-Olimpo de Bahía Blanca.
18.20--Tigre-Colón de Santa Fe.
20.20--Arsenal F.C. -Racing Club.

Sunday May 8
14.00--Lanús-Estudiantes de La Plata.
16.00--Argentinos Juniors-Boca Juniors.
18.10--River Plate-All Boys.
20.20--Independiente-San Lorenzo

Monday May 9
20.10--Vélez Sarsfield-Banfield.

Standings :


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



Copa Sudamerica 2011 table ( Top 6 qualify to Copa Sudamericana 2011 + Independiente because they are Sudamericana 2010 champion) :




* Tables taken from "La Redó" (www.la-redo.com.ar)