The Primera División returns on Friday evening with the ninth 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.
Games of the week
A big weekend of football with a number of interesting looking clashes but with two that perhaps stand out: a fiery Buenos Aires clásico and another big test for the league leaders against River.
League leaders Estudiantes continue to impress and their victories over San Lorenzo and Racing over the past two weekends have certainly silenced those critics that pointed to a relatively easy fixture list at the start of the season. Santiago Ascacibar is justifiably earning the plaudits but Nelson Vivas has his side organised and balanced superbly. Their resolute defending and ability to break at speed and take their chances have seen El Pincha stretch a league unbeaten run to 19 matches now but Saturday presents a new test.
A third grande in as many weeks for Estudiantes sees the league leaders visit Parque Patricios to face River Plate (Guns n Roses have the Monumental booked), where despite being below strength through injury, Marcelo Gallardo will be looking to three points. The red card to young Gonzalo Montiel saw River blow a two-goal lead against Arsenal last Sunday and while defence does remain an issue, in Sebastián Driussi and Lucas Alario, Los Millonarios have a potent strike force.
There are few bigger clásicos in Argentine football than San Lorenzo against Huracán and while the need to avoid defeat may stifle matters on the pitch, the Nuevo Gasómetro will be rocking on Sunday afternoon.
Despite not winning now in four in all competitions San Lorenzo remain one of the most dangerous sides in the Primera and with full focus on Sunday’s clásico, Diego Aguirre will select a full-strength side. Exciting to watch, Los Cuervos concede goals and have the worst defence in the top eight but commit men forward and play arguably the most attractive football in the top flight.
Huracán haven’t won in three and although the draw with Central last weekend showed glimpses of improvement, El Globo will need to be much better on Sunday. Having only scored six goals, Caruso Lombardi’s side have looked rather toothless.
With both sides currently sat in the relegation zone this is a proverbial six-pointer which both will be desperate to win. Temperley lost in their last home match to Independiente but were very unlucky to concede a last minute own-goal while Olimpo picked up a second win of the season. Both wins have come in Bahía Blanca but on the road, the Aurinegro are 13 without a win.
Hovering one place above the drop zone, Quilmes are still in desperate need of wins and while they’ve only managed that twice this season, El Cervecero are now four matches unbeaten. Godoy Cruz visit on Saturday and while Jaime Ayovi is back among the goals and back-to-back wins suggest El Tomba have turned a corner, the issues lies away from Mendoza. Both league wins came at home while every away match this season has ended in an emphatic loss – four defeats from the last four.
Sarmiento dispensed of the services of Gabriel Schürrer this week but it seems unlikely that a change of coach is going to save Sarmiento given that El Verde haven’t won since the opening weekend, have the worst attack in the top flight and are entrenched in the relegation zone. Champions Lanús are also struggling in front of goal and have only one more win than Sarmiento to boast about, however there are match winners in Jorge Almirón’s side.
After back-to-back defeats, Colón needed to bounce back and did just that with a win over Atlético de Rafaela and a sixth clean sheet from eight matches. The Primera’s best defence will be looking for another win against relegation threatened Arsenal. As much of a boost for Arsenal as last weekend’s 2-2 draw with River was, the red card to Montiel changed the game. Sergio Rondina’s side still prop up the table and remain winless with the worst defence in the top flight.
It’s fair to say that Racing and Ricardo Zielinski are still adapting to each other and while La Academia boast a very talented side, results are not entirely following. Defeat to Estudiantes was narrow but it is now consecutive away losses and so three points in Avellaneda are needed, where Racing are 12 unbeaten.
Newell’s continue to surprise and impress and although against San Lorenzo they uncharacteristically conceded two (doubling their tally in the process), La Lepra were not beaten. Estudiantes are the only other still undefeated side but that record will be tested on Saturday.
Poor performances and angry barra bravas have meant Omar De Felippe has quickly learned the size of the task he faces with Vélez. Back-to-back defeats have seen El Fortín drop even closer to the relegation zone and after losing all four away matches this season, they must improve. A decent start would be a first away win of the season but San Martín stand in their way. El Verdinegro could have sneaked a result from the goalless draw away to Defensa y Justicia but instead remain with just one win this season. Strangely results on the road have been better than in San Juan, where Pablo Lavallén’s side have earned just a point from three games.
Banfield remain something of a jekyll and hyde side; for their winless away record, Julio Falcioni’s side have won three of their four home matches (drawing the other) and are much improved in front of their own supporters, conceding a quarter of the goals. And so Atlético de Rafaela’s is far from straight forward as their bid to remain in the top flight goes on. Juan Manuel Llop has seen an improvement from his side this season but relegation still looks a distinct possibility and will come quicker than expected unless La Crema improve their form on the road. Four matches away from Santa Fe have brought three defeats and they are simply not scoring enough goals to survive.
Unbeaten in six, Tigre are enjoying a spell of good form, even if four of those have ended in 1-1 draws, but it is this inability to keep a clean sheet that hinders El Matador because they are proving a real threat on the counter. Belgrano, on the other hand, are fortunate that previous seasons results have them some distance from the relegation zone because Esteban González’s side are struggling so far. One win in eight and the worst attack in the league with only three goals scored, El Pirata are desperate for a good result.
The trio of Menéndez, Reynoso and Palacios have hit form and suddenly Talleres pose a goal threat that eluded them earlier in the season; three wins in a row, La T will be full of confidence on Sunday and be expecting victory number four. Patronato have enjoyed exactly the same run of form and after a frustrating start to the season have reeled off three wins. However, El Patron are far better in Paraná and although their last away trip ended in a first victory, they were woeful last season and have lost the remaining matches this season.
Rosario Central’s focus was on their midweek Copa Argentina quarter-final against Boca Juniors and now with revenge captured, El Canalla look to address their patchy league form. Their last home match ended in an agonising clásico defeat but Central’s two wins have both come in the Gigante de Arroyito.
Independiente hardly arrive in the best of shape either and despite still only losing once this season, last Saturday’s goalless draw with Gimnasia was as lacklustre as they come. El Rojo’s defence remains impressive but having scored only seven goals in eight matches, it is clear where the problems lie.
The pressure continues to mount on Guillermo Barros Schelotto and after a midweek Copa Argentina exit that has closed the door on international competition qualification for 2017, Boca are desperate for a boost from somewhere; sadly Los Xeneizes are 10 without a win away from home and the difference in performance in and out of La Bombonera is staggering.
Gimnasia’s ultra-defensive display in Avellaneda was met with some criticism but earned a point against Independiente; on Sunday evening in La Plata, El Lobo will see an opportunity for more from a stuttering Boca side.
The second managerial casualty of the week saw Aldosivi run out of patience with Fernando Quiroz following a dreadful performance in the defeat to Godoy Cruz last weekend. El Tiburón’s solitary win came at home but the other three games in Mar del Plata were defeats and they have slid towards the relegation zone as have Monday’s visitors. Defensa y Justicia have also won only once and sit one place below Aldosivi in the descenso table so an important three points are at stake for both clubs.
Still high from being granted Copa Libertadores qualification, Atlético Tucumán must now get back to picking up points in the Primera where they have certainly not been as good as they were during the Transición. No side won in the Monumental last season but El Decano have lost half their home matches so far. However, Unión visit on Monday under a cloud of uncertainty following Leonardo Madelón’s resignation this week. The win over Sarmiento actually ended a run of four matches without victory but in truth El Tatengue have been poor on their travels and do not score enough goals.