Platense v Racing Club
After a good start to the season, Platense lost five in a row and that cost manager Claudio Sponton his job. Especially in the last matches, they were completely outplayed and looked lacklustre. Although Sponton failed miserably to keep the motivation up in the group, he was a bit unlucky as well. Platense have been marred with injuries. They missed pretty much the entire defensive line for most of those defeats and had fitness problems all over.
Platense put Omar de Felippe in charge instead and that may be a good move. De Felippe has had some good stints at Independiente and Emelec, but was never completely undisputed. De Felippe announced a few changes and it looks like a few of the regulars will be back from injury.
Racing are top of the league, with former Real Madrid midfielder Fernando Gago as manager, they’ve become one of the most exciting teams in the country. They stand for a carefully crafted possession game, but we will see some of the second string here. Racing is one of the 12 Argentinian teams in the international tournaments. They don’t seem to have a very difficult group in the Copa Sudamericana, but as only the first in the group qualifies for the next round, they can’t really afford missteps, that’s why Racing are expected to field several reserves in this game.
Racing are still expected to be better, even with the reserves, but with the new manager for Platense will surely see a jump in motivation. That should make them competitive and give them a good chance to get at least a point here.
River Plate v Argentinos Juniors
With Argentinos Juniors, River are facing the surprise in the top four of Group A. Last week, Argentinos took full advantage of the lack of focus from the opponents. Banfield had their mind set on the important Copa Sudamericana game against Santos and Argentinos showed no mercy, dominating Banfield and claiming a clear victory.
River Plate have had a decent season, but aren’t as dominant as last year. On Wednesday, they played their first Copa Libertadores group game against Alianza Lima. They recorded a hard fought victory, but it came at a cost. In a horror tackle from one of the Peruvians, right back Robert Rojas broke his leg. The Paraguayan international isn’t expected back until September and that is a huge blow for River, as he had been one of the most steady players so far.
As River are playing the much more important Copa Libertadores again on Wednesday, it is expected that Marcelo Gallardo won’t field his strongest XI. The manager has been secretive about how many regulars he’ll field, but it won’t be everyone. Even the River bench has got more quality than Argentinos, but the away side don’t have international duty and if Gallardo decides to make lots of changes, River might be a fair bit below their usual level. That’s why I’d get on Argentinos Juniors, not to win the game, but to at least not lose with big numbers.
Lanús v Aldosivi
Aldosivi are one of the weirdest teams in the league this season. They won the last three games, but all three were entirely against the run of play. In fact, in all three games Aldosivi’s xG was below their opponent’s xG, despite winning two of them with a two goal difference. It brought manager Martin Palermo’s team into a play-off spot. That is a very different panorama from the relegation issues they were dealing with a month ago. It is unlikely they will stay that high and relegation is far from dodged, but against Lanús they have another chance to work on their point average and stay in the play-offs.
On Thursday, Lanús played a tough Copa Sudamericana game in Venezuela. The trip there and back wasn’t an easy one and that’s why it is unlikely they will field their strongest XI here. Lanús aren’t playing a good season anyway, as they are bottom of their group in the Copa de la Liga Profesional. Lanús only claimed one victory in eight games and the pressure on manager Jorge Almirón is mounting.
I don’t expect Aldosivi to suddenly dominate against a weakened Lanús team, but with Martin Cauteruccio they have one of the best strikers in the league at the moment. Lanús are generally a team that like having the ball, but don’t really do much with it. That seems to play in Aldosivi’s hand, because they have been deadly on the counter-attack this season, that’s why I can’t see Lanús taking the victory here.
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