Superliga Review Part 1: Chacarita’s misery and Boca’s incredible start

Superliga Argentina

The Superliga is in its mid-season break and we are still 4 weeks away from Fecha 13 to kick off. I’ll try and catch you up on what has happened so far and what we can expect from the remaining games. Each week will feature 7 teams, all in alphabetic order.

Argentinos Juniors

The newly-promoted side had only one goal this year and that was avoiding relegation. They’ve done an exceptional job so far as they sit 13th in the average points table, averaging 1.401 points per game. Argentinos can always rely on their famous youth academy with Nicolas Gonzalez being one of their hottest prospects. The 19-year old forward has scored 5 goals this season and has had some stellar performances overall. However, their average points are based on just this year’s performances due to them being promoted last season. A bad run of form could, therefore, see them drop heavily and eventually see them join the relegation battle. One of their best players, Braian Romero, has left the club for Independiente and Joaquin Laso joined Velez on a free where he’ll link up with former Argentinos coach Gabriel Heinze. It’s important for Argentinos to pick up some vital points in the next couple of games. Their schedule is quite friendly: Two home games against San Martin and Defensa are followed by an away trip to Tigre. A strong start here will definitely boost their chances of avoiding relegation.

Arsenal de Sarandi

Arsenal are one the teams that are heavily in relegation trouble and it’s hard to see them staying up this season. Their performances over the last three seasons have massively put their chances of surviving in doubt. They’ve also been pretty horrendous this year, picking up just 5 points, the fewest of any Superliga club. Only Chacarita Juniors are below them in the average points table, but a good run from them could see Arsenal’s chances of surviving relegation drop even more. Not a single Arsenal player has scored more than one goal this season, showing their struggle up front. Grondona’s men could well do with some experience up front with none of their strikers being older than 22. It should be one of their priorities this transfer window and a must if they want to avoid the drop.

Atletico Tucumán

Tucumán had a great cup run this year finishing as runners-up behind River Plate. River did however already qualify for the Copa Libertadores via the league last season which resulted in Tucumán earning the Champions League ticket. Atletico Tucumán will have a packed schedule from March all the way up until the end of May which will see them rotate quite a bit more in the league. Tucumán are however quite safe from relegation as they currently sit 9 places above the relegation zone. Cult hero La Pulga Rodriguez has been on fire this season for Tucumán, being their top scorer in the league with 4 goals. Decano will be able to enjoy the biggest stage on the continent without any fear and they are in with chances of progressing from their group. Club Libertad (Par), The Strongest (Bol) and Penarol (Uru) complete Tucumán’s group. A tough but even group which will definitely bring some exciting games to the Estadio Monumental José Fierro.

Banfield

Banfield were flying high last season finishing in 5th place, leaving them with a Copa Libertadores spot for the 2018 tournament. El Taladro started out this season the same way they finished last season picking up 9 points from their first 4 games, with their only loss coming away at River Plate. Injuries have massively hurt them though. Their main man, Dario Cvitanich, has been out for the main part of the season and his presence up top has been heavily missed. Banfield have struggled to score goals ever since but are luckily for them not in relegation danger. Last season’s effort sees them comfortably sit in 9th place in the average points table even when they have only picked up 15 points this season. Banfield’s route to the Libertadores is tricky though. They have to see of Ecuadorian side Independiente del Valle first and will then face either Chapecoense or Nacional (Uru). It will be an exciting year for Banfield and their fans nonetheless and they will be well in with a chance to progress once Dario Cvitanich returns.

Belgrano

Belgrano are the only side who are yet to concede a single goal in front of their home fans. The Gigante de Alberdi has been a true fortress in an incredibly strong Belgrano campaign. El Pirata are looking good under Pablo Lavallén and have only lost twice this season. The sad reality is that Argentine clubs still need to sell to break even. One of their brightest prospects looks to be on his way out as Spanish side Villareal are heavily interested in Cristian Romero. Romero is a 19-year old CB who has shown great promise despite only playing twice in the first team this season. He was part of the Argentina U20 side in Ecuador last year and surely has a bright future ahead of him. Belgrano’s future looks to be bright too though. Their recent form has seen them jump the relegation zone but they need to be wary: A bad second half to the season could well see them active in the Primera B next season.

Boca Juniors

The unstoppables. Boca firmly lead the Superliga and are heavy favourites for the title. Benedetto’s injury has been a bit of a flaw in a spectacular start to the season. Ramon ‘Wanchope‘ Abila has joined the club to improve their strikers, Buffarini has joined from Sao Paulo to compete for a starting spot at right back. Their squad depth is ridiculous with Jara, Peruzzi and Buffarini all available as right back options. The Tevez rumours are still floating around and Emanuel Mas has also been heavily linked with the blue and gold of Buenos Aires. It’s hard to see anyone other than Boca winning the league with San Lorenzo being their only competitors so far.

Chacarita Juniors

The other promoted side have had a fairly disappointing and worrying start to the Superliga this season. Chacarita are rock bottom of the average points table and have picked up just 9 points in their first 12 games. They did, however, record an impressive 3-0 win over Lanus in the last round before the break. A result which should give them some faith and perhaps some hope to avoid the drop. A good run of form could see them climb out of the relegation zone but it will need to come soon. Los Funebreros average just 0.75 points per game, a ratio that definitely won’t keep them up this season. Their issues lay up front and it’s quite typical to say that their top scorer is Federico Rosso, a centre back. Chacarita will need to be proactive on the transfer market, even with their limited budget.

About the Author

Vincent van Raam
South American football enthusiast covering Argentina for @ByFarBlog.