Colón de Santa Fe v Aldosivi
This match is between two teams with recently appointed managers and a pretty disastrous start to the season. Apart from that, their present is very different. Colón is a relatively wealthy side, that managed to keep several of their star players, despite interest from other clubs. Manager Sergio Rondina, who started his spell at the club with a goalless draw this weekend, will see a few of the regular starters return from injury or suspension.
At right back, Rondina played with Gian Nardelli, who is actually a fourth choice centre back, as the first and second choice at right back were both out injured. Nardelli didn’t make big mistakes, but didn’t offer much either so with both Eric Meza and Augusto Schott possibly back for this one, it seems the right back position will improve. Another player returning to the side is Facundo Farias, as the young striker was suspended last game. Farias had a really good spell last month, he dropped form a little bit, but is still someone Rondina wants in his side.
Aldosivi is a bit of a disaster again. They got into a crisis just before the start of the season, when manager Martin Palermo decided to resign due to problems with the technical director and lack of professional management in the club. Several members of board and staff were sacked and the calm slowly returned to the side, but with an inexperienced manager and no signings, the outlook is still dour for Aldosivi. That’s why I think Colón are the clear favourites to take the three points in their own stadium.
Atlético Tucumán v Sarmiento Junín
Everything that Atlético Tucumán touches becomes gold at the moment. They are on a streak of three victories in a row and in all three their defence has been absolutely spot on. They barely give away chances and if they do, they have goalkeeper Carlos Lampe to take care of business. Tucumán conceded three goals this season, but two of them were in the two out of eight matches that the Bolivian goalkeeper wasn’t there. Lampe manages to organise his defence really well and that saves himself a lot of work.
It brought them to the spot as shared top of the table. The run was also useful for the point average against relegation as they are now nine points clear of Aldosivi. If there is anything to worry about in Tucumán, it is the lack of goals. Tucumán haven’t lost, but the average of one goal a game isn’t necessarily that of a title candidate. Nevertheless, strikers Ramiro Ruiz Rodríguez and Augusto Lotti, between them good for all three goals in the last two victories stay in the side.
Sarmiento had a decent start to this season. They started on a relegation spot and though the risk is still there, they are a few points clear of the bottom spots now. Just like Tucumán, Sarmiento struggles to find the goal. Their defence has been steady as well, but this game they’ll be without left back Federico Rasmussen, who was sent off in the victory over Defensa y Justicia. Jean Rosso could replace him at left back, but he has looked shaky in the games he started. Although unders is definitely a solid shout, I think a victory for Tucumán is a better option to bet on.
Patronato v Tigre
Tigre has had a difficult start to the season. The surprising finalist in the Copa de la Liga Profesional in May had only won the opening game, but went six games without a win. The calls to sack manager Diego Martinez, who had led them to the final last season, were already heard, but with a decent victory over Estudiantes last weekend those voices disappeared for now. A fair bit of Tigre’s bad moment had to with Sebastián Prediger being injured. The captain hit incredible form in the first half of the year and seemed to continue that form at the start of this season.
His injury in the home game against Banfield changed the outlook, Tigre were already less dominant than last season, but the midfield sort of fell apart when Prediger had to come off. In the first full game since his return, against Estudiantes, he dominated the midfield as usual and Tigre claimed a much-needed victory.
Patronato are rock bottom in the relegation table. They have upped their level a bit and are now a mid-table team for this season, but it is hard to see them keep that level. They claimed a decent victory over Central Córdoba on Friday, but were a bit lucky to get it. In the first half, they scored from their only chance, while Patronato goalkeeper Facundo Altamirano had to make save after save to keep them in the game. Tigre, slowly clawing back up after a tough season start, are the better side in my eyes and should be favoured to take the victory here.
Estudiantes de la Plata v Barracas Central
The Argentinian league has been marred with low scoring matches recently, but generally Estudiantes and Barracas Central haven’t been part of that. Both sides play a relatively positive style of football and especially Barracas are fairing well with that. They are one of the smallest teams in the league, with a very low budget, but since manager Alfredo Berti is in charge, they perform above expectations.
It means they are well clear of the relegation zone, keeping ten teams behind them, although with the point average system for relegation (they only have one season that counts), a few defeats could push them back in trouble. An interesting statistic is that Barracas scored in every game they played this season and only kept a clean sheet once.
Estudiantes are in trouble, they made the quarter-final of the Copa Libertadores, but only claimed one point from the last five league games and fell down the table.
Most of the recen games they played with their best XI, but this game that won’t be the case. Four of their defenders, of which three of them are regular starters in manager Ricardo Zilienski’s side, are ruled out with injuries. It already cost them against Tigre and in a game with a decent offensive side like Barracas, it is not hard to see why goals should be a good shout for this game. There is not much wrong with Estudiantes attacking line at the moment, so it could be goals on both sides.
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