As expected Alejandro Sabella has continued with the 4-3-3 in training ahead of Tuesday’s last 16 clash with Switzerland. The only enforced change is Ezequiel Lavezzi replacing the injured Sergio Agüero, who is working alone with some jogging and bike work to try and return before the end of the tournament.
The side that Sabella selected in training was: Sergio Romero; Pablo Zabaleta, Fede Fernández, Ezequiel Garay, Marcos Rojo; Fernando Gago, Javier Macherano, Ángel Di María; Lionel Messi, Ezequiel Lavezzi, Gonzalo Higuaín.
Argentina have yet to really click and have been fairly reliant on the unbelievable talents of captain, Lionel Messi and so there are still question marks over some the starting eleven.
Kun Agüero was one such question mark and so his injury makes the change a very simple decision. Not looking 100% and failing to have any impact in the three group stage matches, Lavezzi will certainly bring more energy to the attack and the hope that his non-stop running into the channels and harrassing will open up further space for the likes of Messi, Higuaín and Di María.
This was a point not lost on 1978 World Cup winning Coach, César Luis Menotti who claimed that Argentina may benefit, “Not because Agüero is injured – he’s a fine player – but because it offers a chance to reconfigure side & give a bit more width.”
Gonzalo Higuaín has also not been at his best and although he noted that he has just returned from injury and is getting fitter as the tournament progresses, Rodrigo Palacio is now injury free and provides another option from the bench.
Without Agüero there was some suggestion that Sabella might switch to a 4-4-2 with Maxi Rodríguez slotting into the right side of midfield, with Di María on the left and a front two of Messi and Higuaín. Based on training and the noises coming out of the camp, the 4-3-3 is not being ditched so soon but the flexibility to switch formations is something that Sabella is keen to have.