The mercury continues to rise as Argentina’s unbearable summer temperatures prompt the nation’s football to take a much needed breather. It’s time for the clubs to reflect and regroup ahead of a critical second half of the season and although Boca Juniors remain the team to beat, the battle at the top and the bottom has heated up just like the weather.
The perfect start that Boca made came to an abrupt end with back-to-back defeats against Racing Club and Rosario Central but the champions have since responded well. Sunday’s hard fought win over Estudiantes was the second since those defeats and ensured more than 365 days that Boca have sat top of the pile.
The injuries to Fernando Gago and Dario Benedetto, arguably the two most important pieces in Guillermo Barros Schelotto’s plan, have understandably seen performances dip from the imperious levels set earlier in the campaign and while this has allowed the chasing pack to close, Boca remain out in front.
Gago and Benedetto will still be unavailable when the season resumes at the end of January but you can rest assured that Daniel Angelici will once more dip into the reserves to bolster the squad ahead of the Copa Libertadores. Burly centre forward Wanchope Abila is already on board and the rumours of a Carlos Tevez return continue to grow.
Boca’s riches afforded them the best squad in the league and through injuries or anything else that may occur, expect the same in 2018. However, their most likely challenge at the top of the Superliga will come from two of the other traditional ‘Big Five.’