Round Thirteen of the Primera season kicks off on Friday evening – here is when and where everything is happening over the next few days with a brief preview and links to all the statistical information and possible starting line ups for each game via WhoScored.
Game of the week
Regardless of whether events on the pitch fail to live up to expectations there is only one possible game of the week for round thirteen and it’s the big one – the superclásico. One hundred and three years of history, 239 official meetings and a hell of a lot of dislike stand between River Plate and Boca Juniors – on Sunday the rivalry is reacquainted.
For Marcelo Gallardo and River Plate had this been any other fixture, it would have been a reserve side trotting out onto the Monumental pitch ahead of a vital Copa Argentina final next Thursday. However, derby day doesn’t afford Gallardo that luxury and instead Los Millonarios will do everything in their power to prevent their fierce rivals continuing their march towards the top of the league.
Boca Juniors have begun to click after a slow start and having undone their nine-month away day hoodoo, Guillermo Barros Schelotto’s side are unbeaten since the opening weekend. Last weekend’s victory over Racing highlighted what they have missed in the absence of Fernando Gago and they are now just two points behind league leaders Estudiantes.
But it doesn’t matter how well either side is playing, it’s the superclásico and all that goes out the window. After two dire goalless draws, this latest chapter will hopefully provide more than just noise, colour and passion from the stands. Boca arrive as the Primera’s leading scorers and River had the league’s in-form and top scorer in Sebastián Driussi. Fingers crossed, the match lives up to its billing for once.
Without a win in seven, Aldosivi sit perilously above the relegation zone and in desperate need of only a second three points of the season. If that was ever likely to come it would probably be in Mar del Plata but Patronato travel to the coast in good spirits because despite struggling to a goalless draw with Vélez last Saturday, Ruben Forestello’s side are now seven unbeaten.
Sarmiento appeared destined for the drop three matches ago but the appointment of Jorge Burruchaga has yielded seven points from a possible nine and suddenly there is a belief. With one defeat in 10, Tigre are enjoying a decent spell of their own and even with a number of first team players missing Pedro Troglio’s side are still grinding out results. That being said, El Matador pose much less of a threat outside Victoria and Sarmiento will be a tough nut to crack.
Any home match for Temperley is now beginning to have the look of a ‘must-win’ given El Gasolero’s position in the descenso table. One win in eleven has left Gustavo Alvarez with a huge task in keeping them in the top flight. Godoy Cruz have so far been propping themselves up based on their outstanding home record but last weekend El Tomba suffered a first defeat in Mendoza. If that starts slipping then Sebastian Mendez is in trouble because away from home, his side have been appalling.
Back-to-back goalless draws have slightly slowed Talleres’ incredible momentum but should take nothing away from the impressive feat of keeping six consecutive clean sheets. Frank Kudelka’s side don’t score as many at home but with such a defensive record often only need one. Newell’s have also enjoyed great success built on a solid defensive unit but after suffering a first home defeat of the season last weekend could have done without a difficult trip to Córdoba.
Olimpo made it a very hard earned three points for San Lorenzo last Saturday but Diego Aguirre’s side found the winner and closed the gap on league leaders Estudiantes. Los Cuervos are getting players back and will be eager to finish the first half of the season as well as possible. Juan Pumpido is doing a good job in charge of Unión since taking over four matches ago – El Tatengue are unbeaten in five but noticeably have won all three home games and had to settle for draws on the road.
The positive side of Vélez’s back-to-back goalless draws is that El Fortín look better defensively and their unbeaten run was extended to three. However, scoring remains an issue and Omar De Felippe needs more going forward to earn three points and get some breathing space in the relegation battle. Atlético de Rafaela’s defeat at home to Defensa y Justicia last weekend was a bitter blow and relegation is becoming to look more and more certain. Victory over a rival like Vélez would give a little more belief but with one win in six, it doesn’t look good.
The Copa Argentina adventure ended over a week ago and now Gustavo Alfaro must address the woeful league form that has yielded just one win from ten. El Lobo have been marginally better in La Plata but have scored only seven goals all season. Their attack is made to look prolific though by the Primera’s most goal shy attack, Belgrano. Five goals in twelve matches is appalling and is the reason that El Pirata have won only once.
Defeat away to Boca Juniors was not entirely surprising given Racing’s form outside Avellaneda but it’s quite the opposite in the Cilindro. Ricardo Zielinski’s side are fourteen without defeat and having slipped six points off the pace at the top will demand a win. Brave defeats are not going to keep Olimpo in the Primera and so as hard as they pushed San Lorenzo, El Aurinegro remain in the drop zone. The club will be hoping that a change of manager will improve matters but fifteen matches away from Bahia Blanca without a win paints the picture.
There are few more in-form sides than Banfield at the moment and after ending Estudiantes’ unbeaten run, Julio Falcioni’s side went to Rosario and shocked Newell’s. Unbeaten at home El Taladro have looked formidable in the Florencio Sola and not an easy first task for Néstor Apuzzo in charge of Huracán. Caruso Lombardi was hired with the sole purpose of ensuring Huracan’s survival but last weekend’s defeat to Colon meant El Globo had still won only once all season and remain in real peril.
Last Monday’s draw against Arsenal swiftly put an end to San Martin’s two-game losing run but it’s now three matches without a goal for El Verdinegro ahead of the visit of the league leaders. Like their hosts, Estudiantes have now won only once in four games and after Talleres frustrated Nelson Vivas’ side to a draw following the first defeat of the season, El Pincha will be eager to return to winning ways.
Independiente’s win over River Plate may have just kept Gabi Milito in a job but with his future not yet safe, these two matches before the break are of great importance. Scoring goals remain the real issue for El Rojo but results have been slightly better outside Avellaneda. However, the trip to El Cementerio de Los Elefantes is a tricky one following a wonderful first half of the season for Paolo Montero and Colón. After two straight defeats, the response in the win over Huracán last weekend was excellent. Two decent defences and a couple of attacks that don’t ordinarily score many so expect few goals. Colón will be favourites but Independiente are under pressure to at the very least avoid defeat.
If River didn’t have a superclásico to contend with, Marcelo Gallardo would have done exactly what Eduardo Coudet will do with Central and field a reserve side. The Copa Argentina has seen El Canalla’s league form suffer (only two wins), a title challenge is already over and so all focus is on next Thursday. Despite not hitting anywhere near the levels of the Transición, Lanús have notched up four consecutive wins and are up to fifth in the table. Miguel Almirón signing for Atlanta United will mean a bit of a rebuild over the summer ahead of a second half push and a Libertadores campaign.
Atlético Tucumán became the first side to beat Godoy Cruz in Mendoza this season and it ended a run of five matches without a win. El Decano have only won once at home but have drawn the last three and are beginning to show signs of improvement. Quilmes still hover above the relegation zone but last week’s home defeat to Sarmiento was a bitter blow, particularly as the visitors had ten men for much of the game. Two defeats on the bounce and six goals conceded, Los Cerveceros cannot afford a major dip in form.
With only a second league win of the season last weekend, Defensa y Justicia cannot relax just yet. The threat of relegation still looms and Sebastián Becaccese will need to get a few more before El Halcón can breathe. A more offensive approach may help as they have failed to score in half their matches. Arsenal are a few places below their hosts in the descenso in an even more perilous position so this is another relegation six-pointer. Lucas Bernardi has perhaps shored up the defence with two goalless draws but the remain the only top flight side without a win.