The Primera División returns on Friday evening with the third round of fixtures. Here are a look at all fifteen matches over the next few days, links to all the previews and stats for each game via WhoScored and our pick of game of the week.
Game of the week
Vélez remain in relegation trouble and despite playing quite well last weekend in Bajo Flores last weekend were still on the end of a defeat to San Lorenzo. The visit of Racing will be far from straight forward but Cristian Bassedas knows that his side must start winning matches to avoid being sucked into real danger. Mariano Pavone will line up against one of his former teams and the veteran striker still looks like El Fortín’s best hope.
However, Racing will be eager to put in an improved performance of their own after new coach Ricardo Zielinski saw his side dwindle in Avellaneda and end up with only a point from the visit of Defensa y Justicia. El Ruso’s ideas are yet to be instilled but the return of Lisandro López from injury should provide some added firepower.
Neither side are finding goals easy to come by so far this season, but Godoy Cruz certainly have the tools to rectify this. El Tomba are yet anywhere near the level of performance they managed during the Transición and although Fernando Zuqui was sold to Boca, Sebastián Méndez is at least able to pair Santiago Garcia with Jaime Ayovi once more. The pair were lethal last season and could tip this in favour of the visitors.
It’s been an outstanding start to the season for Newell’s and although the goals haven’t exactly flowed, Diego Osella has La Lepra organised and defensively sound while Atletico Tucuman have been a little more difficult to read. El Decano followed up an impressive away win against Arsenal with a disappointing home defeat to Estudiantes which seemed contrary to their Transición form. Newell’s snatched a late win when these sides met in Rosario last season and this looks like it will be equally tight.
Atletico Rafaela are displaying a resolve that was not evident during the Transición and although it remains to be seen if it will be enough to avoid relegation, La Crema will be a far more difficult proposition this season. Back-to-back wins and only one goal conceded, Llop’s side are confident and appear a completely different side to just a few months ago.
After a difficult start to the season Eduardo Coudet will be relieved that Central won their first Primera match of the season last weekend and followed it up with safe passage to the Copa Argentina quarter finals in midweek. The two goals scored in the win over Patronato were the first of the campaign and El Canalla need to turn this around to get back to their form of last year.
Gabi Milito’s Independiente were unable to find a way past Chapecoense in the Copa Sudamericana on Wednesday evening in Avellaneda and so it is likely that El Rojo will field another weakened side ahead of next week’s second leg. Tigre came within seconds of a first league win of the season against Huracán on Monday but conceded an injury time equaliser. El Matador continue to have difficulties in front of goal but this depends on how much Milito is preparing for the more important return in Brazil.
The last-gasp equaliser against Tigre will have come as a boost to Eduardo Dominguez’s side, but they still need a first league win of the season. As yet goals remain an issue and there is a noticeable Ramon Abila shaped hole in the attack, but Diego Mendoza’s return is a plus and results should pick up. In the midst of a relegation battle, Sarmiento have made a fantastic start to the season with four points from their three matches. The one defeat came away to top of the table Estudiantes and there is certainly a resiliance to Schurrer’s side that was absent for 90% of the Transicion.
The only side with a 100% record still intact, it is difficult to see that coming to an end for Estudiantes with Temperley the visitors to La Plata on Sunday afternoon. Still yet to concede a goal, Vivas’ side have an excellent base to build on and a couple of in-form goal scoring options in Bailone and Auzqui. The four points that Temperley have managed so far is probably still not good enough to avoid the drop and it is away from home where things get really difficult for El Gasolero. The one defeat this season came away to rivals Atletico Rafaela and they have taken just a point from their last seven matches on the road.
Belgrano earned a fantastic away win in the Copa Sudamericana on Wednesday night but focus will remain on next week’s second leg and may well see El Pirata’s poor league form continue. Unión have made a wonderful start to the season and are yet to concede a goal so will be full of confidence but it is a game that isn’t exactly screaming goals.
A first win back in the top flight still eludes Talleres but Frank Kudelka was rightly angered at the decision to award Colón with their match winning penalty last weekend. La T have perhaps not got the rewards that some decent performances have warranted but they must start winning games now. Much depends on which Banfield show up in the Estadio Kempes given El Taladro had looked pretty dreadful up until last weekend when Erviti, Bertolo and Silva rolled back the years to ease past Aldosivi.
San Lorenzo were in Copa Sudamericana action on Thursday evening and while they chalked up another win it’s clear that Diego Aguirre still has work to do. Los Cuervos remain a little fragile defensively but are producing some wonderful attacking football at times and Blandi, Blanco and Belluschi are in fine form. Patronato are finding their second season in the top flight a little harder and with injuries and suspensions, the visit of San Lorenzo looks a daunting one. Three straight defeats and only one goal scored, perhaps the only saving grace is that the visitors will have had little time to prepare or rest.
Despite claiming a decent point away to Godoy Cruz last Sunday, Boca Juniors were far from their best once again and so another home game brings a renewed pressure to perform. When Carlos Tevez was sent off in the last match at La Bombonera, Boca were very good but in his absence in Mendoza and with Ricardo Centurion shifted inside they faltered. Guillermo Barros Schelotto puts faith in the system more or less but needs a marked improvement.
Quilmes were good value for their point against an admittedly under-strength Independiente last weekend but will probably need to raise another level to get anything from La Bombonera. Fede Andrada would love to get on the scoresheet given his links to River but it is in front of goal where Los Cerveceros look to struggle.
Out of the Copa Sudamericana and struggling in the league it looks like it will take a little bit of time for Lanus to rediscover their form. Injuries haven’t helped but dips from the likes of Pepe Sand have left El Granate looking far less threatening in front of goal and resulted in just a single goal scored. Without a win away from home in ten and coming off the back of a home defeat to Banfield, Aldosivi won’t be travelling to Lanus in particularly good spirits. Another of the Primera sides that are finding goals difficult to come by El Tiburon need to address this problem quickly if they are going to avoid being sucked deeper into relegation trouble.
Marcelo Gallardo appears to have settled on a first choice starting eleven but he might be forced to rotate on Sunday given River played in the Copa Argentina on Thursday night in San Juan. River badly tailed off against San Martin last weekend and in the process dropped two points so they will be eager to correct that.
Still without a win this season Defensa y Justicia haven’t actually played badly but are as yet unable to find a balance between defending very well (as they did against Central) and creating chances (like the ones wasted in the defeat to San Lorenzo). The second half display last weekend against Racing was promising but a regular goal scorer still looks lacking.
Coming off the back of a surprise defeat to Atletico Rafaela in La Plata, Gustavo Alfaro will be desperate to return to winning ways ahead of next weekend’s clasico against Estudiantes. Arsenal picked up a first point of the season away to Temperley last weekend but need to start reproducing their home form of the Transición to start moving up the table and well away from the descenso drop zone. A Copa Argentina tie against River on Thursday will hinder preparation but there can be no repeat of their last performance in Sarandí which resulted in defeat to Atlético Tucumán.
It’s been a tough start to the season for San Martin with games against San Lorenzo, Racing and River so for Pablo Lavallen’s side to have two points isn’t bad. Paolo Montero has overseen a wonderful start to the season for Colón and while they have enjoyed a spot of luck, they remain unbeaten and are yet to concede a goal. El Sabalero will make things difficult for their hosts and look to snatch the victory but failing that the objective will be a fourth consecutive clean sheet.