Last week I scored eight points with two exact scorelines and another two correct results with a mixture of gut instinct and statistical analysis. Hopefully I can match or beat that score this week.
Godoy Cruz have never won in their three previous Primera División visits to Newell's Old Boys however the omens are not good for the home team. Bottom of the table Newell's have only picked up five points from their six home games in the Clausura while Godoy Cruz are the fourth strongest away team so far this season.
The clash between the bottom two sides in the relegation table; Quilmes and Gimnasia y Esgrima is almost certainly the most important game so far this season for either of them. The home side Quilmes have gone from the worst form in the division at the beginning of the Clausura (nine games without a win) to the best (three consecutive wins) and another win would lift them within touching distance of their opponents. Gimnasia are without a win in their last six games and have only managed one win in their last 19 away games. Their poor form cost manager Angel Cappa his job after their 1-2 home defeat to bottom side Newell's Old Boys last weekend, former Gimnasia player Darío Ortíz has been appointed as the new manager.
Immediately after the two teams occupying the automatic relegation places face off, the two teams in the relegation playoff positions play. Olimpo have had a great Clausura so far, nobody would have expected them to be up in 4th place having only lost three of their twelve games so far. They face a trip to Parque Patricios to face Huracán who have been trapped in a dismal run of form, they are second bottom of the table, have only picked up one point from their last five games and have conceded three goals in each of the four defeats.
The game between Tigre and Colón is fairly intreguing, with Tigre having a fairly strong home record (3 defeats in 14) and Colón having the best away record in the Clausura (13 points from 5 games). Colón have only ever won one of their five top flight games away at Tigre back in 2007.
The last game on Saturday features Arsenal and Racing Club. Last weekend Arsenal broke their run of ten away games without a win with a confidence building 1-4 win at Godoy Cruz while Racing Club lost at home against River Plate. Despite their lowly league position Arsenal have an impressive home record having avoided defeat for 8 consecutive home games (4 wins & 4 draws). One thing counting in Racing Club's favour is the fact that Arsenal have not experienced a home league win against their giant local rivals since a 1-0 victory back in february 2006.
Lanús play Estudiantes in the early kick off on Sunday and the two sides could hardly have more contrasting form. Estudiantes suffered elimination on penalties from the Copa Libertadores in midweek, their 9th game without a win while Lanús have quitly crept up to 5th the table with a sequence of six games without defeat however they have only won 1 of their last 7 home games against Estudiantes (a 1-0 win back in Apertura 2007).
Argentinos Juniors are the Clausura's draw secialists with seven ties in their twelve games so far and they also boast the tightest defence in the division having only conceded five goals so far. Their visitors Boca Juniors have experienced a slight improvement in form having avoided defeat in their last 3 games, and Martín Palermo has rediscovered his goalscoring touch with two goals in their last two games. This is a tough one to call as Boca Juniors have picked up a decent 9 points from their 6 away games with three wins and three defeats. The last three times Boca visited El Paternal they came away with draws but they have not drawn an away league game since December.
The result of the River Plate and All Boys game could still have implications in the relegation survival fight with both sides hovering just above the safety line however River will be hoping to increase the pressure on league leaders Vélez with a win. There is obviously little statistical information to be gleaned from previous encounters between these two sides at El Monumental given that the last time this fixture was played it resulted in a 5-0 win for the home team back in July 1980, long before many of the current players were even born. I am fairly confident that this will be a low scoring game as All Boys have the weakest attacking lineup in the division with only 8 goals so far, River are also averaging less than a goal a game and also have a strong defensive record having only shipped 6 goals in 12 games.
The last game on Sunday is the Clásico between Independiente and San Lorenzo. Both sides are badly underperforming, Independiente are in the bottom half of the table and have not won in three games and San Lorenzo dropped away from the title fight with a six game winless run that cost manager Ramón Diaz his job however they recovered to inflict a 3-0 derby defeat on their hapless local rivals Huracán last weekend. Independiente have only won 1 of their last 10 home league games against San Lorenzo, a 1-0 win in February 2006 and they have endured three consecutive defeats in this fixture since then. A San Lorenzo win seems likely and I am anticipating a high scoring game for some reason, there are few stats to back me up on it though.
The last game of the round sees league leaders and Argentina's only remaining Copa Libertadores representatives Vélez Sársfield host Banfield. The visitors have picked up a few draws at Velez in recent years but have to look back to 2003 to find their last league win there. Other than their shock home defeat to a resurgent Quilmes side Vélez have been in fine form for the last 13 games picking up 10 wins and 2 draws in all competitions.
As the results come in I will fill in the actual scores and colour code the predicted scores, green for exact score, yellow for correct result and red for completely wrong. Each green score gets three points, each yellow score gets one point and red scores get nothing. If you fancy playing along fill out your predictions in the comments below to see if you can beat mine.
|Newell's Old Boys||1-3||Godoy Cruz||1-2|
|Quilmes||2-2||Gimnasia y Esgrima (LP)||2-0|
|Argentinos Juniors||0-2||Boca Juniors||0-0|
|River Plate||0-2||All Boys||1-0|
Score: 3 Points. Things started off pretty well with two correct results in the first three predictions but a run of six consecutive misses wrecked the card. The only salvation was that I predicted the last game correctly to avoid registering my second worst score ever.