Superliga review part 4: San Lorenzo chasing Boca and Velez in relegation battle

Superliga Argentina

San Lorenzo

San Lorenzo are the only team who’ve managed to somewhat limit their gap with Boca Juniors as they sit 3 points behind them in second. Chilean fullback Paulo Diaz has been the main surprise this season. The versatile defender, who can play on both sides, scored twice and assisted another two in his 11 appearances. San Lorenzo struggled up front last season but Nicolas Blandi has refound his form this year scoring 6 goals and assisting another 3. El Ciclon have proven to be dangerous from setpieces as a third (6/18) of their goals have come from a dead ball situation. The man behind these set-pieces, their orchestrator, Fernando Belluschi, has recently been linked with Holan’s Independiente but has turned down any interest. The fan-favourite will stay in the Nuevo Gasometro for at least the remainder of the season. All in all, it has been a good season for El Ciclon who will be looking to keep the pressure on Boca Juniors.

San Martin

San Martin have performed far above all expectations as they sit in 8th place. Their superb start to the season saw them climb out of the relegation zone. San Martin’s top scorer? Luis Ardente, their goalkeeper. The 36-year old takes San Martin’s penalties and has found the net on 3 occasions this year. Scoring goalkeepers are more common in South America than in Europe but they still create some fantastic scenes. San Martin are currently 4 spots clear of the relegation zone but will need to be wary. The league is still only 12 games in and a poor run of form could well see the Verdinegro back in a relegation battle.

Talleres de Cordoba

The other Cordoba side, Belgrano, have enjoyed a good start to the Superliga but their rivals have done even better. Talleres sit in 4th and there is no reason why they wouldn’t be up there at the end of the season. They’ve got some talented youngsters and have done a remarkable job considering they were playing in the third tier in 2015. Juan Cruz Komar (21) looks to be a bright prospect in the heart of their defence while Jonathan Ménendez (23) causes danger from the wings. However, Menéndez is on the verge of joining Independiente while Reynoso looks set to sign for Boca Juniors. Both huge losses for La T.  Talleres can be proud of their position in the league and should be able to qualify for either of the Continental tournaments in 2019.

Temperley

Temperley is one of the sides in deep relegation trouble and it will be tough for them to avoid the drop. They’ve only won 3 out of their opening 12 games and sit in 26th in the Promedios, the Argentine relegation table. They need to climb at least two places to avoid the drop. They currently average 1.080 points per game over their last three seasons. The gap with Velez (1.182), who just sit in safety, is small but Temperley will need turn pick up some points soon. They’ve drawn 3 of their games and if their only chance of survival is when they can turn those draws into wins.

Tigre

Another team that could well end up in the second division next season. Tigre hasn’t had the greatest start to the Superliga as they sit in 27th, picking up just 1 win in their opening 12 games. Maximiliano Caire has been one of the main reasons why Tigre aren’t bottom. The 29-year-old fullback has put in some remarkable shifts and has been Tigre’s best player this season averaging 3.7 tackles and 2.4 interceptions per game. Their 6 draws separates them from the bottom and they will end up in the relegation zone if they can’t turn those draws into wins anytime soon.

Union de Santa Fe

Union is flying high and are enjoying a superb start to the season. The revelation of the season has been Franco Soldano, who has been linked with River Plate and Velez Sarsfield. The 23-year old striker has shown great promise racking up a total of 6 goals. Soldano has been key in Union’s build up with his aerial ability and is likely to make a move after the season. A 4M bid from Velez for 80% of his rights was straight up denied as Union look to chase a Copa Libertadores ticket. They currently sit in 3rd place and will be confident of going forward from here on. They’ve lost Emannuel Britez to Independiente and the transfer window is still open. A lucrative offer could lure Soldano away from Union which will hamper their chances of continuing their solid start.

Velez Sarsfield

We end this mini-series on Velez Sarsfield. They constantly produce talented youngsters but still find themselves in a relegation battle. A poor start to Velez’s season saw them drop to one spot above safety. Santiago Caseres (20) has been one of the standout players in the league and confirms Velez’s ability to produce top quality youngsters. It’s his breakthrough season but multiple clubs from Europe are keeping tabs on the talented midfielder. Another brilliant talent, Maxi Romero, left Velez for Dutch side PSV. A fee of 12M was more than welcome but has left the club with a gap up front. A gap that has been filled by none other than Mauro Zaraté. The former Inter Milan and West Ham striker has returned to the club where it all started for him. Mauro should bring in the goals that will keep Velez safe from relegation. It would be a huge blow to see such big of a club in the second tier.

About the Author

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