Primera round eight preview: Racing provide latest test for league leaders Estudiantes

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The Primera División returns on Friday evening from a week off due to the international break with the sixth 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

Estudiantes v Racing Club – Saturday 8pm

Estudiantes’ opening fixtures may not have been the most taxing but say what you will about Nelson Vivas’ side they have played seven, won six and drawn one with 14 goals scored and only three conceded. The hard fought win over San Lorenzo displayed their title credentials and while some criticise Vivas’ focus on defensive organisation, what is evident with El Pincha is that every member of the squad understands perfectly their individual role within the framework of the team.

Racing are still finding their feet under Ricardo Zielinski but will provide another test for Estudiantes. In Lisandro López, Gustavo Bou, Marcos Acuña and Óscar Romero, La Academia have the offensive weapons to hurt any team in the Primera but question marks remain over the defence. As one of the chasing pack already five points behind Estudiantes, the visitors will not want to avoid defeat on Saturday.

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Olimpo v Atlético Tucumán – Friday 7pm

After a poor start, Atlético Tucumán have turned things around in the past two weeks with a win over Independiente and a draw against Boca. Olimpo’s draw away to Sarmiento swiftly ended their run of defeats but averaging less than a goal a game it is clear where their problems lie.

Patronato v Banfield – Friday 9:15pm

Victories over River Plate and Colón have put Patronato’s season back on track and Ruben Forestello’s side are posing more of a goal threat than they were before. Victory in Santa Fe was a first away since gaining promotion but in Paraná, Patronato have been tough to beat. Banfield being up in eighth suggests great improvements have been made but El Taladro remain unpredictable and their problems lie away from the Estadio Florencio Sola, where their only win came earlier in the season against a woeful Aldosivi side.

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Vélez Sarsfield v Talleres – Saturday 2pm

Defeat to Banfield last weekend showed Omar De Felippe just how much work he has on his hands with Velez, who remain in real trouble. 29th in the table and dropping dangerously low in the descenso, El Fortin need to add to their goal tally. Both of Vélez’s wins have come in Liniers but a third will be difficult against a rejuvenated Talleres side, who after waiting five matches for a first win back in the Primera have now claimed back-to-back victories.

Belgrano v Quilmes – Saturday 4pm

With only one league win so far, Belgrano’s form is a worry for Esteban González. Only scoring three goals in seven matches makes El Pirata the worst attack in the league and their reliance on Claudio Bieler must subside. Quilmes visit Córdoba unbeaten in three but rode their luck somewhat in the victory over Lanús last Saturday and are without a win in seven away from home so it’s hard to argue that Los Cerveceros are in form.

Boca Juniors v Temperley – Saturday 4pm

Boca’s problems lie outside La Bombonera but as poor as their record is away (ten without a win) it is equally strong at home (ten without defeat). The upcoming Copa Argentina quarter final against Rosario Central maybe a distraction but Guillermo Barros Schelotto’s side should still have enough providing the entire first eleven aren’t rested. Just like the hosts Temperley are not particularly good on their travels but did manage a win last time. El Gasolero certainly didn’t deserve to lose to Independiente last weekend but they can ill afford those types of defeats when they sit in the relegation zone.

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Independiente v Gimnasia – Saturday 6pm

It’s still quite clear that Gabi Milito is not yet certain what his best team and system are with Independiente but while he tinkers with this, El Rojo continue to have problems finding the net. Only one defeat and one of the best defences in the league but an average of only a goal a game is clearly not good enough to mount a title challenge. Gimnasia’s slender win over Huracán at least ended the run of four matches without victory but goals for El Lobo remain even more of a problem than they are for their hosts.

Huracán v Rosario Central – Saturday 6:15pm

Any possible honeymoon period is over for Caruso Lombardi and after his initial victory the fiery coach has now lost back-to-back games. El Globo are not conceding many (6 in 7 games) but are scoring even less (5 in 7) and that is creating a number of issues, particularly with the club hovering above the relegation zone.

Central may have lost the clásico last weekend and made a stuttering start to the season but remain a real danger. The creativity of Giovani Lo Celso and drive of Walter Montoya were badly missed in the clásico but there is no time for Central to dwell on that result. With players back and a big week ahead, El Canalla will want to go into next week’s Copa Argentina quarter final with a little wind in their sails.

Lanús v Tigre – Sunday 2pm

As exciting as Lanús were in the process of lifting the title last season, Jorge Almirón’s side have been very dull since. They boast one of the best defensive records but one of the worst attacks as Jose Sand’s goals have dried up and on Sunday host a Tigre side hitting a little bit of form. El Matador were still without a win when star man Lucas Janson seriously injured his knee; things didn’t look good but since then Pedro Troglio’s side have won back-to-back games and scored seven goals in the process. Unbeaten in five, Tigre haven’t kept a clean sheet this season but at least look like scoring now.

Godoy Cruz v Aldosivi – Sunday 3pm

All three matches away from Mendoza have ended in defeat for Godoy Cruz but at home their record follows on impressively from the Transición and this season El Tomba have managed three wins and a draw. Aldosivi suffer from a similar home sickness and are now 12 matches without a win outside Mar del Plata. One of the Primera’s lowest scorers have won once this season so far and need to be careful they don’t continue to slide towards the relegation zone.

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Newell’s Old Boys v San Lorenzo – Sunday 4pm

Another one to watch over the weekend is San Lorenzo’s trip to Rosario as Newell’s Old Boy’s look to maintain their impressive start to the season and Los Cuervos try and bounce back from last weekend’s top of the table clash defeat.

Without playing the attractive football of their visitors, Newell’s remain unbeaten and having kept five clean sheets already and winning the clásico, La Lepra will be full of confidence. Diego Osella’s side don’t score many but have won all three home matches and have found an important way to eke out 1-0 wins.

San Lorenzo progressed to the Copa Sudamerican semi-final on Thursday night despite defeat to Palestino. A demanding evening’s work is not ideal preparation and after defeat to Estudiantes, El Ciclón are now five points off the pace. Aguirre’s side have been the antithesis to Newell’s – scoring freely but always looking fragile defensively.

Atlético de Rafaela v Colón – Sunday 6pm

Atlético could consider themselves unlucky to have lost against River last weekend and while La Crema remain in deep relegation trouble, their new found defence resiliance is making them a difficult team to beat. In Rafaela, Llop’s side have been particularly impressive and remain unbeaten (2 wins and a draw) and on Sunday host a side that have also boasted a defensive organisation that is tough to break. However, Colón’s fine start to the season is well and truly over after back-to-back defeats to Vélez and Patronato. El Sabalero still defend well enough but they simply do not score enough (five goals from seven is one of the lowest tallies in the Primera).

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Arsenal v River Plate – Sunday 8pm

The only side yet to win a game this season, Arsenal sit bottom of the table and have the worst defensive record. After three consecutive defeats, Sergio Rondina badly needs a boost but it is difficult to see where that could from at the moment.

River aren’t perhaps in their best form after defeat to Patronato and a slightly fortuitous win over Atlético de Rafaela.Los Millonarios have also been in Copa Argentina action on Thursday night but with passage to the semi-finals secured and Sebastián Driussi and Lucas Alario still scoring it’s difficult to see anything other than an away win.

The win over Unión in the cup may have come at a cost with Jonathan Maidana and Iván Rossi limping off but at present Arsenal will need more than that to secure a first three points.

Defensa y Justicia v San Martín – Monday 7pm

An inability to find the net cost Defensa y Justicia again last week and their record of having not scored in more than half their matches is the reason El Halcón are sitting down in 26th. Ariel Holan’s side play some neat football but need to start taking chances to move up the table starting with San Martín on Monday. The visitors got their first win of the season in round seven but saw the game swing in their favour after an Aldosivi red card so El Verdinegro still have a lot to prove. With the second worst defensive record in the league, San Martín find themselves level on points with their hosts near the foot of the table but have actually been better on their travels this season.

Unión v Sarmiento – Monday 9:15pm

Unión haven’t won in four and lost to River on Thursday night in the Copa Argentina so El Tatengue are hardly in the best of shape. Three clean sheets at the start of the season yielded two wins a draw and it’s been downhill since then as defensive errors have led to three defeats. In equally poor form are Sarmiento, who are without a win since the opening weekend. Unfortunately Gabriel Schürrer’s side have only scored three goals all season – the lowest in the top flight – and none have come away from home so this (and their relegation fight) doesn’t bode well.

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