Managerial merry-go-round claims plenty of new victims
Argentina has always been a rather volatile place to manage a football team and eight rounds into the Primera season, we have now had EIGHT clubs opt to swing axe with a few more hovering close to the trap door.
Boca Juniors removing double winner Rodolfo Arruabarrena has undoubtedly been the most high-profile but this week we have have seen Gimnasia bring in former Tigre manager, Gustavo Alfaro to replace Pedro Troglio and the former Lobo boss move immediately north to take the vacant Tigre job after Mauro Camoranesi was shown the door. In addition to this, Banfield have brought Julio César Falcioni back for this third spell and Sarmiento turned to the volatile Ricardo Caruso Lombardi, who has already landed himself in hot water after fighting with supporters at a petrol station.
Most of those now departed coaches were obviously struggling but barely two months into the season, all the clubs involved have acted in hast. In most cases the clubs themselves are in trouble and a change of manager is unlikely to reverse results. Newell’s and Sarmiento have problems elsewhere while Banfield saw the entire spine of the side sold in the summer.
The manager always takes the fall and so it will be no surprise if this tally increases in the coming weeks.
San Lorenzo are in trouble and Boca are still not out of the woods
Copa Libertadores knockout stage qualification in the balance and now eight games without victory, Pablo Guede is under increasing pressure to get things right in Bajo Flores. Sunday’s visit to Quilmes, still without a Primera win in 2016 until that match, was seen as an ample opportunity to return to winning ways but another limp performance from Los Cuervos was punished emphatically in the Estadio Centenario.
A 3-0 defeat to one of the Primera strugglers extends El Ciclón’s winless run and has seen them drop to seventh, five points off the top in Zone One and one defeat away from an early exit in the Copa Libertadores.
With Boca snatching an injury time win over Unión in their last outing, Guillermo Barros Schelotto would have been hoping that his first victory as manager would prove to be the catalyst in igniting Boca’s season. Within three minutes of kickoff, his former club made it clear that it wouldn’t be that easy. Those two goals proved to be decisive and despite welcoming Dani Osvaldo back into the side, Boca still looked short of ideas in attack. None of the summer transfers have really added a great deal and Barros Schelotto needs to turn things around fast.
Central, Godoy Cruz and Lanús remain the teams to beat
Rosario Central recovered from the minor blip of a home draw against Banfield and defeat away to Patronato, to deservedly beat Sarmiento in the Gigante de Arroyito and return to the summit of Zona One. With Marco Ruben among the goals and a wonderful supporting cast of young players, Eduardo Coudet’s side are formidable at home and do not appear phased by their current tag of the ‘best team in Argentina’.
Surprisingly, Godoy Cruz are Central’s nearest challengers. How quickly things change – in 2015 supporters in Mendoza were close to rioting when Gabriel Heinze was manager and La Tomba were struggling for results but on Saturday afternoon a fifth league won saw Godoy Cruz go top of zone one. It wasn’t as emphatic as some of their victories this season but Santiago García pounced on a defensive error during the first half to score his sixth of the season and provide the home side another three points.
In Zone Two, Lanús are still top dogs after they bounced back from their first defeat of the season last weekend against Racing to go back to the top of Zona Two with victory over Boca Juniors. Given that we are already half way through this Transición, El Granate have to be considered serious challengers.
Racing continue to provide plenty of excitement
They say lightning never strikes twice but for the second consecutive time, Racing Club travelled to Santa Fe province and were involved in a remarkable, goal-saturated game of football. La Academia’s 6-3 win over Unión was rightly viewed as something of a freak result but Facundo Sava’s side travelled to Rafaela and recorded victory by the same margin.
The defending in the absence of the injured Luciano Lollo is unlikely to impress Facundo Sava but with Gustavo Bou, Lisandro López, Diego Milito, Oscar Romero and a few more to boot, Racing have an attack that most sides would dream of. Unión and Atlético Rafaela may not be the strongest two sides in the top flight but scoring six goals in back-to-back away games is impressive. Four wins on the bounce, the Primera’s leading scorers and slowly climbing the zone two table, many would see Racing as strong title contenders.
Colón suffer a nightmare clásico against Unión
Only a week ago in the Cementerio de los elefantes, Colón downed River Plate and given their decent league position El Sabalero went into Saturday’s clásico santafesino as favourites. Unión had other ideas and cruised to only a second league win of the season thanks to goals from Emanuel Brítez, Franco Soldano and Ignacio Malcorra.
If a humiliating defeat in the clásico wasn’t bad enough, the home fans ensured they provided their own embarrassment by hurling rocks onto the pitch before the full time whistle. Referee, Fernando Espinoza was within his rights to call time but did manage to see it through to the end.
El Sabalero’s misery has since been deepened by star player, Alan Ruiz stating that he wants to leave the club and for Colón to rescind his contract. Presumably in the knowledge that his excellent form has attracted the interest of Boca Juniors.