A new feature for this season, we select our team of the week from a full round of Primera fixtures. Fifteen matches to choose from as the Argentine top flight got back underway on Friday evening and here are the eleven that impressed from round one along with our Player of the round. All stats come courtesy of WhoScored.com, who also provide previews and live in-play match stats for all Primera matches. Feel free to disagree and leave a comment suggesting who you thought should have made it….
Agustín Rossi || Defensa y Justicia
The 21-year-old had an outstanding debut for El Halcón and managed to keep Central’s talented attack at bay with six important saves during the course of the 90 minutes. A bit of luck was needed too but early impressions are that Estudiantes have another outstanding young goalkeeper coming through the ranks when he inevitably returns from this current loan.
Jorge Moreira || River Plate
Filling the shoes of Gabriel Mercado is no easy task but River Plate look to have found the player up to the challenge in Paraguayan Jorge Moreira. The 26-year-old created the opening goal with a deep cross and provided some real width from the right but was excellent in his defensive duties also.
Alexander Barboza || Defensa y Justicia
Having been a regular throughout the Torneo Transición, Alexander Barboza has grown in stature and on Saturday afternoon in the Gigante de Arroyito the 21-year-old managed to keep Marco Ruben and Teo Gutiérrez pretty well shackled. With nine clearances, seven interceptions and three tackles the powerful central defender further enhanced his reputation.
Víctor Cuesta || Independiente
Two victories in a week for Gabi Milito as Independiente coach and both built on the firm foundation that Víctor Cuesta and the back four provide allowing the side to play on the counter. With five aeriel challenges won, the 27-year-old was strong in the air but his aggressiveness in the challenge led to seven interceptions and he provides the leadership that his young defensive partner Nicolás Figal will require.
Lucas Licht || Gimnasia
He might be getting on a bit now but 35-year-old Lucas Licht remains an outstanding option for Gimnasia down the left flank. The former Getafe defender was excellent in El Lobo’s victory over Vélez and it was his cross late on that allowed Nicolás Ibáñez to make certain of the three points.
Santiago Ascacibar || Estudiantes
The standout defensive midfielder in the Transición, Santiago Ascacibar’s form doesn’t appear to have dropped during the close season. The 19-year-old won back possession for Estudiantes eleven times during their 3-0 win over Tigre but his passing was equally efficient with the academy product having a success rate of over 88%.
Adrián Arregui || Temperley
Adrián Arregui produced a superb all-round midfield display for Temperley in their vital win over Patronato. The 24-year-old not only headed the only goal of the game and looked to get the ball forward when possible but provided a steeliness that has often been lacking in the Gasolero midfield. Aguirre will have impressed new coach Carlos Mayor.
Gonzalo Martínez || River Plate
An enormously frustrating player Gonzalo Martínez gave another glimpse of what he is capable of in River Plate’s comfortable win over Banfield. The supporters at the Monumental know all too well about his inconsistencies but were appreciative of his threatening display on Sunday afternoon. The crossbar denied Pity what would have been a wonderful lob but the 23-year-old did get on the scoresheet and if the former Huracán player can produce this on a regular basis, River will be a serious danger.
Ezequiel Montagna || San Martín
The 22-year-old ensured that San Lorenzo were cursing their decision to loan him out after his brace earned San Martín an excellent point in the Nuevo Gasómetro. While the second appeared slightly fortunate, Montagna’s opening goal was superb and left Fabricio Coloccini on his backside. No player completed more dribbles in the Primera this weekend and the on loan midfielder looks like he will be a real outlet for El Verdinegro.
Ismael Blanco || Colón
The well travelled veteran is back at Colón, where his career began and proved to be decisive in Colón’s vital win away to Aldosivi. El Sabalero won only once away from home all last season and after selling most of their main goal threats, someone needed to step up. It’s still early days but Ismael Blanco scored one and created the other in an excellent display of centre forward play. Strong in the air (winning six aeriel battles) but always looking to run in behind, the 33-year-old still looks like their is some quality left.
Ignacio Bailone || Estudiantes
Player of the week
Juan Sebastián Verón and Nelson Vivas deserve a lot of credit for not only the performances of Estudiantes but the young players that are coming through and although Ignacio Bailone arrived in the transfer window rather than via the academy, the 22-year-old has made a blistering start. A goal and two assists on his debut perhaps silenced some of the doubters thinking El Pincha may struggle for goals without Gastón Fernández. Tall and good in the air but decent on the ground and his ability to link-up play, Bailone looks one to watch.
Manager of the week
Marcelo Gallardo || River Plate
Just over a year after lifting the Copa Libertadores and Marcelo Gallardo now has almost an entirely new eleven. However, after a period of adjustment and noticeable slump, Los Millonarios looked back to somewhere near the best albeit against a very poor Banfield side. The passing was crisp and incisive and frankly the four goals that River did score didn’t come close to demonstrating their superiority.