Edgardo Bauza is still waiting for all of his squad to report to the Argentina training complex in Ezeiza but preparations began on Monday afternoon with reports suggesting that Marcos Rojo will shift inside to play in central defence and either Éver Banega or Sergio Agüero will start if Paulo Dybala isn’t deemed fit.
Given there were few surprises in Bauza’s 25-man squad it is likely that the under pressure coach will name a familiar starting eleven for the visit of Chile to the Monumental on Thursday.
The injury to Pablo Zabaleta that has ruled him out this week means Gabriel Mercado will retain his place at right back but Ramiro Funes Mori’s suspension has led to suggestions that Bauza will utilise Marcos Rojo in the centre, a position in which the 27-year-old has excelled recently for Manchester United, and keep Emmanuel Más on the left.
The only other doubt surrounds the fitness of Paulo Dybala after the 23-year-old limped out of Juventus’ victory over Sampdoria at the weekend. Medical staff will assess the forward ahead of Thursday but if not fit, Bauza will stick with Éver Banega in the advanced midfield role or try with Sergio Agüero in the withdrawn position behind Gonzalo Higuaín.
Olé suggest Bauza’s preferred starting eleven for Chile is: Romero; Mercado, Otamendi, Rojo, Mas; Biglia, Mascherano; Messi, Banega or Agüero, Di María; Higuaín
Given how unsuccessful any attempt to play Agüero with Higuaín like this has proved in the past, Bauza leaves himself open to criticism should Argentina struggle in attack once more.
Lionel Messi, Javier Mascherano, Paulo Dybala, Gonzalo Higuaín, Enzo Pérez and Ángel Di María should arrive tomorrow to complete the squad and particularly after Bauza receives news on Dybala, the starting eleven should be clearer.