Fecha 4 Apertura 2011 Argentina

Details of the 4th round of games in the Apertura 2011 tournament.
All of the video highlights are available by scrolling down to the Results section and clicking on the red scores.


Preview & Predictions - Sorry no time for preview and predictions for fecha 4, but I did manage to knock together a preview for the Apertura 2011 tournament here

Match reports

In the first game of round four an unlikely looking bottom two faced eachother, Godoy Cruz bagged a 1-0 home win leaving Banfield rooted to the bottom of the table with no points and no goals from their opening four games.

Estudiantes were another side that went into their fourth fixture without a win or even a goal to their credit, they did manage to find the net twice, but a 2-2 home draw with newly promoted San Martín de San Juan is hardly a result to be proud of considering their phenomenal 100% home record throughout the Apertura 2010 tournament.

Racing Club missed their opportunity to go cler at the top of the table after they could only manage a 0-0 draw with Arsenal and then Lanús squandered their opportunity to go top with their second consecutive 0-0 result, this time against Tigre.

Atlético Rafaela improved their Primera Division credentials with a 3-1 win against Olimpo that saw them leapfrog six sides to return to the top of the table. It seemed as if they would only remain there for a couple of hours until reigning champions Vélez Sársfield got a result at home against All Boys however the visitors pulled off a surprise 0-1 away win, their second shock win at Vélez in 2011, meaning that Atlético Rafaela got to spend the night as Primera Division leaders.

On Sunday the first big derby game of the 2011-12 season was played between Santa Fe sides Colón and Unión, the first time they had faced each other in a top flight fixture since 2003. The home side Colón could have risen to the top of the table but they lost 0-2, providing Unión's first win of the Apertura and their first top flight away win in the clásico santafesino since 1980.

Belgrano and Newell's Old Boys played a cracking game, Newell's scored three goals in a competitive game for the first time since March to record an impressive 2-3 away win, a result that leaves Belgrano as the only one of the four promoted sides still looking for their first top flight win.

On Sunday evening Boca Juniors missed their chance to take leadership of the division after they could only muster a 1-1 home draw with San Lorenzo. The result meant that Saturday's overnight leaders Atlético Rafaela would stay top of the league for another week.

In the final game of the fecha, Argentinos Juniors and Independiente played out a turgid 0-0 draw, the second consecutive goalless draw between the sides and the third draw since the epic 4-3 win that helped Argentinos Juniors claim the Clausura 2010 championship.


Godoy Cruz 1-0 Banfield
Estudiantes 2-2San Martín (SJ)
Racing Club 0-0 Arsenal
Lanús 0-0 Tigre
Atlético Rafaela 3-1 Olimpo
Vélez Sársfield 0-1 All Boys
Colón 0-2 Unión
Belgrano 2-3 Newell's Old Boys
Boca Juniors 1-1 San Lorenzo
Argentinos Juniors 0-0 Independiente

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts

1 Atlético Rafaela 4 3 0 1 8 5 +3 9
2 Boca Juniors 4 2 2 0 6 1 +5 8
3 Racing Club 4 2 2 0 5 1 +4 8
4 Lanús 4 2 2 0 2 0 +2 8
5 San Lorenzo 4 2 1 1 6 3 +3 7
6 Vélez Sársfield 4 2 1 1 5 2 +3 7
7 Colón 4 2 1 1 4 4 0 7
8 San Martín (SJ) 3 1 2 0 4 3 +1 5
9 All Boys 4 1 2 1 4 4 0 5
10 Newell's Old Boys 4 1 2 1 4 4 0 5
11 Tigre 4 1 2 1 4 4 0 5
12 Unión 4 1 2 1 3 5 −2 5
13 Arsenal 4 1 1 2 4 4 0 4
14 Independiente 3 1 1 1 1 1 0 4
15 Godoy Cruz 4 1 1 2 3 6 −3 4
16 Belgrano 4 0 3 1 4 5 −1 3
17 Argentinos Juniors 4 0 3 1 3 5 −2 3
18 Estudiantes 4 0 2 2 2 5 −3 2
19 Olimpo 4 0 2 2 2 5 −3 2
20 Banfield 4 0 0 4 0 7 −7 0

Show de goles

For more South American football highlights, including the Brazilian league, the pick of the rest and international tournaments:

Fecha 3 Apertura 2011 Argentina

Details of the 3rd round of games in the Apertura 2011 tournament.
All of the video highlights are available by scrolling down to the Results section and clicking on the red scores.


Preview & Predictions - Sorry no time for preview and predictions for fecha 3, but I did manage to knock together a preview for the Apertura 2011 tournament here

Match reports

Lanús lost the only remaining 100% record after a 0-0 draw with San Martín de San Juan meaning that four other teams could join them at the top on seven points. Boca Juniors followed up their thumping 4-0 win in round two with a 1-0 win against Newell's Old Boys, Racing Club inflicted a third successive defeat on Banfield with a 0-1 away win, reigning champions Velez Sársfield scored a very late winner to pinch a 0-1 win at Arsenal and Colón continued their impressive start to the season with a 0-1 away win at Olimpo.

Atlético Rafaela recovered from their 1-3 home defeat in their first home game of the season to collect their second away win of the campaign with an impressive 1-2 win at All Boys.

San Lorenzo pulled off one of the most impressive results of the weekend with a 3-1 victory against Argentinos Juniors, making them the first side to score three against los bichos rojos in the league since Estudiantes in December 2010.

Tigre recorded their first win of the season with a 2-1 win against Godoy Cruz and two of the promoted sides Unión and Belgrano played out a tepid 0-0 draw.


Arsenal 0-1 Vélez Sársfield
San Martín (SJ) 0-0 Lanús
San Lorenzo 3-1 Argentinos Juniors
Independiente 1-0 Estudiantes
All Boys 1-2 Atlético Rafaela
Tigre 2-1 Godoy Cruz
Boca Juniors 1-0 Newell's Old Boys
Banfield 0-1 Racing Club
Olimpo 0-1Colón
Unión 0-0 Belgrano


Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts

1 Boca Juniors 3 2 1 0 5 0 +5 7
2 Racing Club 3 2 1 0 5 1 +4 7
3 Vélez Sársfield 3 2 1 0 5 1 +4 7
4 Colón 3 2 1 0 4 2 +2 7
5 Lanús 3 2 1 0 2 0 +2 7
6 San Lorenzo 3 2 0 1 5 2 +3 6
7 Atlético Rafaela 3 2 0 1 5 4 +1 6
8 San Martín (SJ) 2 1 1 0 2 1 +1 4
9 Tigre 3 1 1 1 4 4 0 4
10 Arsenal 3 1 0 2 4 4 0 3
11 Belgrano 3 0 3 0 2 2 0 3
12 Independiente 2 1 0 1 1 1 0 3
13 All Boys 3 0 2 1 3 4 −1 2
14 Newell's Old Boys 3 0 2 1 1 2 −1 2
15 Olimpo 3 0 2 1 1 2 −1 2
16 Argentinos Juniors 3 0 2 1 3 5 −2 2
17 Unión 3 0 2 1 1 5 −4 2
18 Estudiantes 3 0 1 2 0 3 −3 1
19 Godoy Cruz 3 0 1 2 2 6 −4 1
20 Banfield 3 0 0 3 0 6 −6 0

Show de goles

For more South American football highlights, including the Brazilian league, the pick of the rest and international tournaments:

Fecha 2 Apertura 2011 Argentina

Details of the 2nd round of games in the Apertura 2011 tournament.
All of the video highlights are available by scrolling down to the Results section and clicking on the red scores.


Preview & Predictions - Sorry no time for preview and predictions for fecha 2, but I did manage to knock together a preview for the Apertura 2011 tournament here

Match reports

In the first game of round two Atlético Rafaela came crashing back to Earth after a 1-3 home defeat to Arsenal de Sarandí. The newly promoted side had led the division after round one but were undone by a blitz of first half goals from Arsenal, Mauro Obolo scored the opener and Luciano Leguizamón bagged a brace, Alexis Castro pulled one back for the hosts with a second half penalty but that will not hide the fact that all three of Arsenal's goals came from terrible defensive errors.

Reigning champions Vélez Sársfield bagged their first win of the new season with a thumping 3-0 victory against Banfield. Santiago Silva opened the scoring with a first half penalty, then Fernando Ortíz and Juan Manuel Martínez added two more in the second half. The result lifted Velez into the top five but left Banfield stranded at the bottom of the table as the only team to have lost both of their opening games and one of only three sides yet to score a goal.

Estudiantes seem to have begun the Apertura as they ended the Clausura, winless and struggling to score goals. After a 0-2 home defeat to San Lorenzo they have now gone 9 home games without a win, an incredible turnaround for a team that won Apertura 2010 with a 100% home record. Ezequiel Gigliotti and Gabriel Méndez set eachother up to score two goals within two minutes of each other to give San Lorenzo their first goals and points of the season.

After a turgid 0-0 away draw with Olimpo in the opening game Boca Juniors recorded a resounding 4-0 victory against newly promoted Unión in their first home game of the season. The game was much closer than the four goal margin suggests, Lucas Viatri scored the opening goal in the first minute but Boca had to wait until the 79th minute before the floodgates opened after Viatri scored his second of the game. Juan Román Riquelme scored the 3rd with a calmly taken strike and Nicolás Colazo bagged a fourth with a blistering shot.

San Martín had to wait until the second round to make their return to top flight football after the postponement of their opening game, however a 2-1 win against Tigre made it well worth the wait for their fans. Roberval opened the scoring for the home side with a great control and powerful finish then Lucas Landa doubled their lead, heading in from a corner kick which was dismally defended by the visitors. The only consolation for Tigre was a Emmanuel Pío's cracking strike to pull one back in injury time.

Lanús became the only side to win both of their opening games after second half substitute and new signing Mariano Pavone scored the only goal of the game deep into injury time to earn them a 1-0 win against Independiente.

The next three games all resulted in 1-1 draws. Argentinos Juniors and Newll's Old Boys shared the points, followed by Colón and All Boys and then by Belgrano and Olimpo. Aside from Colón who won their opening game, the other five teams have all drawn both of their opening fixtures.

In the final game of the round Racing Club demolished Godoy Cruz 3-0. Teó Gutiérrez opened the scoring on 11 minutes before leonardo Sigali gave away a penalty and got himself sent off for two yellow cards in the 21st minute. Teó Gutiérrez blasted the penalty kick against the crossbar and it took until late in the second half for Racing to benefit from their man advantage, Lucas Castro secured the points with cute little chip over the goalkeeper in the 70th minute before Teó climbed to the top of the goalscorers chart with his second of the game on 76'.


Atlético Rafaela 1-3 Arsenal
Vélez Sársfield 3-0 Banfield
Estudiantes 0-2San Lorenzo
Boca Juniors 4-0 Unión
San Martín 2-1 Tigre
Lanús 1-0 Independiente
Argentinos Juniors 1-1 Newell's Old Boys
Colón 1-1 All Boys
Belgrano 1-1 Olimpo
Racing Club 3-0 Godoy Cruz


Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts

1 Lanús 2 2 0 0 2 0 +2 6
2 Boca Juniors 2 1 1 0 4 0 +4 4
3 Racing Club 2 1 1 0 4 1 +3 4
4 Vélez Sársfield 2 1 1 0 4 1 +3 4
5 Colón 2 1 1 0 3 2 +1 4
6 Arsenal 2 1 0 1 4 3 +1 3
7 San Martín (SJ) 1 1 0 0 2 1 +1 3
8 San Lorenzo 2 1 0 1 2 1 +1 3
9 Atlético de Rafaela 2 1 0 1 3 3 0 3
10 All Boys 2 0 2 0 2 2 0 2
11 Argentinos Juniors 2 0 2 0 2 2 0 2
12 Belgrano 2 0 2 0 2 2 0 2
13 Newell's Old Boys 2 0 2 0 1 1 0 2
14 Olimpo 2 0 2 0 1 1 0 2
15 Tigre 2 0 1 1 2 3 −1 1
16 Estudiantes 2 0 1 1 0 2 −2 1
17 Godoy Cruz 2 0 1 1 1 4 −3 1
18 Unión 2 0 1 1 1 5 −4 1
19 Independiente 1 0 0 1 0 1 −1 0
20 Banfield 2 0 0 2 0 5 −5 0

Show de goles

For more South American football highlights, including the Brazilian league, the pick of the rest and international tournaments:

Matías Urbano rabona golazo

Matías Urbano with an incredible rabona goal for Unión San Felipe against Unión La Calera in the Chilean Primera.

Part of the Golazo series.

Apertura 2011 Argentina highlights

This is the overview page for the 2011 Apertura tournament. 

To view the latest article published about the Apertura 2011 tournament click here and for reviews and highlights of each round can be seen by following the links below.
Match Reports & highlights

Fecha 1  (Aug 5-7)
Fecha 2 (Aug 15-17)
Fecha 3 (Aug 19-22) 
Fecha 4 (Aug 26-28) 
Fecha 5 (Sept 2-4)
Fecha 6 (Sept 9-12)
Fecha 7 (Sept 16-18)
Fecha 8 (Sept 20-22)
Fecha 9 (Sept 24-26)
Fecha 10 (Sept 30- Oct 3)
Fecha 11 (Oct 14-16)
Fecha 12 (Oct 24-26)
Fecha 13 (Oct 29-31)
Fecha 14 (Nov 4-7)
Fecha 15
Fecha 16
Fecha 17 
Fecha 18 
Fecha 19 

See also:

Fecha 1 Apertura 2011 Argentina

Details of the 1st round of games in the Apertura 2011 tournament.
All of the video highlights are available by scrolling down to the Results section and clicking on the red scores.


Preview & Predictions - Sorry no time for preview and predictions for fecha 1, but I did manage to knock together a preview for the Apertura 2011 tournament here

Match reports

The first three fixtures in the Apertura featured three of the newly promoted sides. In the very first game Atlético Rafaela made an exceptional return to the top flight with a 0-2 away win at Banfield. In the second game Unión were held to a 1-1 draw by visitors Argentinos Juniors and in Saturday's early kick off Belgrano also managed to record a positive opening day result with a 1-1 draw away at All Boys.

The other promoted side San Martín de San Juan were denied their opportunity to play in the opening weekend after their fixture against Independiente had to be postponed due to Independiente's participation in the Suruga Bank championship in midweek.

Veteran striker Esteban Fuertes bagged the winning goal to give Colón an impressive 1-2 opening day win at Arsenal and then in Saturday's late kick off two teams that must consider themselves to be amongst the championship favourites (Godoy Cruz and Vélez Sarsfield) played out a 1-1 draw.

Newell's Old Boys and Estudiantes both endured horrible seasons in the Clausura and a 0-0 draw in their opening game will not have inspired confidence for the coming campaign. Newell's can probably take more positives from the result than Estudiantes given that their woefully leaky defence was the cause of their 19th place finish. Estudiantes slumped to a bottom half of the table finish after their goals dried up, this goalless draw means that they have now failed to score in 11 of their last 15 competitive games.

Boca Juniors started life without Martín Palermo is disappointing style, playing out a turgid 0-0 draw against an Olimpo side that have lost most of the key players from the side that managed to finish the Clausura in 4th place.

Lanús were the only winners on Sunday, getting off to a good start with a 0-1 away win at San Lorenzo, thanks to an own goal by Gonzalo Bazán. They were one of only three teams to manage a win in their opening day fixture. 

Tigre and Racing drew their game 1-1 meaning that Atlético Rafaela finished the weekend sitting on top of the Primera División for the first time in their history.


Banfield 0-2 Atlético Rafaela
Unión 1-1 Argentinos Juniors
All Boys 1-1Belgrano
Arsenal 1-2 Colón
Godoy Cruz 1-1 Vélez Sársfield
Newell's Old Boys 0-0 Estudiantes
San Lorenzo 0-1 Lanús
Olimpo 0-0 Boca Juniors
Tigre 1-1 Racing Club
Independiente ?-? San Martín (San Juan)


Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts

1 Atlético de Rafaela 1 1 0 0 2 0 +2 3
2 Colón 1 1 0 0 2 1 +1 3
3 Lanús 1 1 0 0 1 0 +1 3
4 All Boys 1 0 1 0 1 1 0 1
5 Argentinos Juniors 1 0 1 0 1 1 0 1
6 Belgrano 1 0 1 0 1 1 0 1
7 Godoy Cruz 1 0 1 0 1 1 0 1
8 Racing Club 1 0 1 0 0 1 1 1
9 Tigre 1 0 1 0 0 1 1 1
10 Unión 1 0 1 0 1 1 0 1
11 Vélez Sársfield 1 0 1 0 1 1 0 1
12 Estudiantes 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 1
13 Newell's Old Boys 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 1
14 Boca Juniors 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 1
15 Olimpo 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 1
16 Independiente 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
17 San Martín (SJ) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
18 Arsenal 1 0 0 1 1 2 −1 0
19 San Lorenzo 1 0 0 1 0 1 −1 0
20 Banfield 1 0 0 1 0 2 −2 0

Show de goles

For more South American football highlights, including the Brazilian league, the pick of the rest and international tournaments:

Apertura 2011 preview Argentina

The Apertura 2011 tournament kicks off on 5 August 2011. The reigning champions are the only team to have managed to win more than one championship in the last 9 tournaments and are looking to become the first back-to-back champions since Boca Juniors won both of the championships in 2005-06 season.

There are four newly promoted sides in the tournament, Atlético Rafaela and Unión de Santa Fe were promoted as champions and runners-up while San Martín de San Juan and Belgrano de Córdoba won their promotion playoffs. All four of the promoted sides come from the Argentine interior, while the relegated sides were all based in Greater Buenos Aires and Buenos Aires Province.

There will be no Superclásico in Clausura 2011 after the relegation of River Plate meaning that the Avellaneda derby between Racing Club and Independiente will be the showpiece derby game of the tournament. The relegation of Gimnasia and Hurácan means that there will be no La Plata or Buenos Aires derbies either. There will be one new derby game between Colón and Unión of Santa Fe.

Seven teams will also face fixtures in the Copa Sudamericana during the tournament (Independiente, Vélez, Estudiantes,  Godoy Cruz, Lanús, Arsenal & Argentinos Juniors) however as the six teams other than reigning Copa Sudamericana champions Independiente face each other in their opening games, the tournament will not provide much of a distraction to the eliminated sides.

There are also five Copa Libertadores 2012 berths at stake for Argentine sides, Vélez have already qualified as Clausura 2011 champions, another place will go to the best performing Argentine side in Copa Sudamericana 2011, the champions of the Clausura 2011 tournament will receive a place as well as the two best placed sides in the Clausura 2011/Apertura2011 aggregated tables.

All Boys

Last season was All Boys first in the top flight since 1980 and they finished comfortably clear of the relegation zone. They were a tough side that were particularly difficult to beat on their Islas Malvinas home ground. They have made a lot of changes for the start of their second season back in the top flight, several key players have departed (Cristian Fabbiani, Emmanuel Gigliotti, Sebastián Grazzini and Carlos Casteglione) however the club have brought in a number of interesting replacements too including Hugo Bargas from De Graafschap, Maxi Coronel from River Plate, Facundo Quiroga from Huracán and Carlos Salom from Olimpo.

Prediction: Comfortable mid table finish

Argentinos Juniors

Argentinos Juniors lost fewer games and conceded fewer goals than any other team in the Clausura however they also struggled to score goals, bagging only 16 in 19 games. Despite their lack of firepower they still managed to finish in 5th place and if they can build on their platform of defensive stability they could do really well in the Clausura.

Despite their strong defensive record the majority of their signings have been defensive players including left-back Pablo Barzola and Ecuadorian defended Jefferson Hurtado. The only new face in the striking department is JJ Morales from relegated Quilmes.

Prediction: If  they can keep their defensive stability and find a few more goals they could be title contenders


Arsenal had a rather torrid Apertura and after only managing to win three of their opening 16 games they looked as if they might even have been dragged into one of the relegation places however they rallied to win all three of their remaining fixtures.

Arsenal have brought in a number of new faces including Guillermo Burdisso from Roma, Danilo Gerlo from Quilmes and Emilio Zelaya from Banfield. Juan Cobo could be the pick of their signings after playing an important role in helping Olimpo to their shock 4th place finish in the Clausura. Most of the departing players have been sold to sides in the lower divisions however Marcos Aguirre and Cristián Álvarez have joined newly promoted San Martín de San Juan.

Arsenal have managed almost a decade at the highest level of Argentine football with threadbare squads and virtually no supporters. During the Apertura they will also be trying to recreate their astonishing 2007 Copa Sudamericana triumph.

Prediction: Bottom half of the table, but safe.

Atlético Rafaela

After two consecutive defeats in promotion playoffs in 2009 and 2010, Atlético Rafaele finally earned their promotion to the Primera División as champions of Primera B Nacional. Atlético have made a few interesting signings such as Sebastián Carerra from Asteras Tripolis, Walter Gaítan from Los Angeles Blues and Darío Gandín from Necaxa.

On paper Atletico are the best of the four promoted sides, however they seem to have done less squad building than the other three sides and some of their signings look like gambles, especially former Boca Juniors player Walter Gaítan who is returning to Argentine football after 9 years in North America.

Prediction: Bottom half of the table, battling to acquire points for the relegation dogfight in Clausura 2012.


Banfield have blown hot and cold ever since they won their first ever Argentine league championship in Apertura 2009. They have a number of quality players, score outstanding goals and are formidable opponents on their day however they also get bogged down in long winless runs and losing streaks. Their signings include the return of their talismanic goalscoring goalkeeper Cristian Luchetti, Ezequiel Carboni from Catania, Walter Acevedo who was one of the few consistent players in the River Plate midfield last season and Rodrigo López who was one of Estudiantes' best players in their Copa Libertadores campaign.

To make way for all of these new signings Banfield have also shed a number of half decent players, Julio Barazza to Colón, Enrique Bologna to Unión, Maxi Bustos to San Martín, Gabriel Méndez to San Lorenzo, Emmanuel Pío to Tigre and Emilio Zelaya to Arsenal.

It is always tough to make predictions for sides that have extensively rebuilt their squads however I have a feeling that Banfield will do pretty well in the Clausura.

Prediction: Top half of the table, just short of the three or four sides that will challenge for the championship.


Belgrano were the lowest placed side of the four promoted teams however they showed good strength and determination to beat River Plate in their two legged playoff match. Their key signing is Andrés Silvera from Independiente, who will be expected to score plenty of goals. They have also brought in a few more players with Primera Division experience including Tigre midfielder Esteban González, Juan Quiroga from Colón, former Lanús and Quilmes right back Hernán Grana and 22 year old winger Federico Mancuello from Independiente.

I'm a bit disappointed to see that Martín Andrizzi was packed off to Sarmiento and wont get to enjoy his return to the Primera División, however their signings seem pretty astute and I fancy them to do quite well, especially at home.

Prediction: Comfortable mid table finish

Boca Juniors

Towards the end of the Apertura Boca Juniors were beginning to resemble a decent team for the first time in a couple of years. The credit for this should go to manager Julio César Falcioni, who managed to instill some tactical discipline on the side after a dismal start to his reign.

The big change for Boca is that they will have to learn to play without their iconic goleador Martín Palermo after his retirement, however this may be a blessing in disguise for Falcioni who now only has one player in the squad that the fans will not allow him to drop (Riquelme). The club have lost one of their legandary players but another has returned in theshape of Rolando Schiavi who was a key part of one of the best Boca Juniors teams ever between 2001 and 2005.

Other than Palermo, Boca have lost a few other players, most notably Ricardo Nior to Newell's, Cristian Cellay who has been loaned back to Estudiantes, Cristián Luchetti who returned to Banfield and Fabián Monzón to Nice in France.

The pick of the new signings is Clausura 2008 top scorer Dario Cvitanovich who could be a great signing if he can keep up his impressive career strike rate of more than a goal every other game in the various leagues he has played in. Other interesting signings include Agustín Orión and Facundo Roncaglia from Estudiantes, Nicolás Blandi from Argentinos Juniors, Matías Giminez from San Lorenzo, Leandro Gracian from Independiente and Franco Sosa from French side Lorient.

With a pragmatic manager, a talented squad and the biggest fanbase in the division it would be a surprise if Boca Juniors struggled in the Apertura. A particularly good finish could see them qualify to return to Copa Libertadores in 2012, a tournament they absolutely dominated between 2000 & 2007.

Prediction: Title contenders for most of the season, top five finish.


With Banfield and Lanús having won championships in recent years and the relegation of Gimnasia at the end of last season, Colón are probably the best side in the division never to have won the championship in the professional era. This season they will face play their first Primera Division derby against local rivals Unión since 2003.

Colón will be led once again by veteran club icon Esteban Fuertes and he will be joined by several interesting new signings most notably midfielder Tomás Costa who never really settled at Porto before having loan spells at Cluj in Romania and Universidad Cátolica in Chile. The only big name departure is that of Joaquín Larrivey who returns to Cagliari after a couple of years back in Argentina on loan deals.

Colón finished the Clausura down in 16th position after enduring a terrible run of home form. They will be hoping to make significant improvements to ensure that they stay well away from the relegation zone.

Prediction: If Tomás Costa remains injury free and plays well, Colón could make the top half of the table.


After Alejandro Sabella's surprise departure at the beginning of 2011 Estudiantes slumped from being champions with an invincible home record to a team that only managed one win in 16 games between March and June. Former player and one team man Miguel Ángel Russo is the new manager and he has made several big changes to the squad. Enzo Pérez had already agreed to join Benfica before Russo had arrived, Federico Fernández has joined Napoli, goalkeeper Agustín Orión has joined Boca Juniors along with Facundo Roncaglia and forward Rodrigo Lopez has joined Banfield.

Club captain Juan Sebastian Verón is getting on a bit now but is still a magical player, their season could depend on whether he can stay fit.

The most notable of their new signings are goalkeeper Justo Villar from Villarreal, Mariano González from Porto, Facundo Coria from Pachuca. Several former players are making their return to Estudiantes, Mauro Boselli comes back after a poor stint in Europe, veteran midfielder Diego Gavilan is back for a third stint with the club, Cristian Cellay returns from Boca Juniors and Damian Albil is back from his loan spell at San Lorenzo.

It may take him some time to rebuild morale at the club, however Russo seems like the best man for the job and I can't see him failing to improve on their dismal 13th place finish in the Clausura.

Prediction: Top half of the table

Godoy Cruz

Godoy Cruz are the provincial minnows that continue to surprise. They have developed an enjoyable attacking style, have recorded three consecutive top five finishes and have qualified to play at the continental level for only the second time in their history after last season's Copa Libertadores campaign.

The team have probably had the quietest transfer window with few big name arrivals or departures. I hope they stick with their high scoring attacking philosophy however I think they may struggle to compete on two fronts, if they progress in Copa Sudamericana their league form may suffer, however an early exit could also damage their confidence.

Prediction: Top half of the table, possibly a 4th consecutive top five finish


Independiente are an unpredictable side, they finished 20th and last in Apertura 2010 but won Copa Sudamerica 2010, in Clausura 2011 they made significant improvements domestically but flopped out of Copa Libertadores at the group stage. During the Apertura Independiente will benefit from a bye to the quarter-finals of Copa Sudamericana as reigning champions, meaning that they will only face the distraction of a maximum of six continental games.

The club have made a number of interesting signings including Ernesto Farías from Cruzeiro, Osmar Ferreyra from Ukranian side Dnipro, Marco Pérez from Zaragoza and the relatively unknown Uruguayan defender Adrían Argachá. Making way are Andrés Silvera who joins Belgrano, Lucas Mareque to French side Lorient, Leandro Gracián to Boca Juniors and winger Federico Mancuello who will join Silvera at Belgrano.

Independiente finished 6th in the Clausura and had the third best scoring record with 30 goals. If they can tighten up the defence a bit and avoid getting too badly distracted by Copa Sudamericana they could end up as championship contenders.

Prediction: Top half of the table, championship contenders if things go well.


In Gabriel Schürrer's first full tournament as manager Lanús put in a blistering finish to the season with an eleven game unbeaten run before a home defeat in the penultimate game against Argentinos Juniors handed Vélez Sársfield the championship.

After a massive squad restructuring during the January transfer window it is quite a surprise to see no major transfer activity at Lanús before the Apertura. Diego Braghieri joins from Rosario Central, Matías Fritzler returns from a season long loan at Hércules in Spain and Cristián Menendez returns from his loan spell at Emelec.

Prediction: One of the tournament favourites

Newell's Old Boys

Newell's had a dismal Clausura spending most of the season at the bottom of the table only to leapfrog Huracán to secure 19th place. They conceded far too many goals and only two teams scored fewer goals than the Rosario giants.

Although Newell's have cleared out a lot of "dead wood" from their over sized squad none of their new signings look particularly inspirational. Probably the most significant change is the departure of Rolando Schiavi and his replacement at centre-back by Hernán Pellerano from Almería. Uruguayan Carmelo Valencia has been brought in from Ulsan Hyundai Motors in Japan to strengthen the attack and their other attacking signings include Diego Torres from relegated Quilmes and Boca Juniors cast-off Ricardo Noir.

Prediction: 15th-20th place


Olimpo put in an amazing display to finish 4th in the Clausura and haul themselves out of the relegation places however they have lost several of their key players over the close-season; Nicolás Bianchi Arce to San Lorenzo, Ezequiel Maggiolo to Tigre, Martín Aguirre to River Plate, Juan Cobo to Arsenal, Marcelo Mosset to Atlético Tucumán, Roberto Brum to Argentinos Juniors and Diego Gavilán who has gone back for a third stint at Estudiantes.

Their new look midfield could feature new faces Adrián Lucero, Leonel Ríos and Ariel Rosada who look like the pick of their signings.

Prediction: A big struggle, 15th-20th place.

Racing Club

At the beginning of the Clausura Racing Club played some of the best football I've seen from them in my decade long obsession with Argentine football however they slumped badly in the back end of the season, finishing down in 15th place. Manager Miguel Ángel Russo left to take over at Estudiantes and has been replaced by Diego Simeone who is returning to the club at which he made his managerial debut back in 2006. He is the only manager in the division to have won the Primera with two different clubs, however he also played a big role in landing River Plate in their first ever bottom of the table finish the season after leading them the championship.

Racing have not made many signings but Agustín Pelletieri and Sebastian Saja look like potentially useful signings so Simeone looks to be working with virtually the same squad that played blistering football during Argentine spring but turgid dross as winter approached. Racing are an unpredictable side and Simeone is an unpredictable manager, I could imagine him leading Racing to their first championship in a decade to become only the 3rd manager to win it with three different teams (after José Yudica and Américo Gallego), but almost certainly not this season, so the club will have to give him time.

Prediction: 6th-10th place

San Lorenzo

After Ramón Diaz' second stint as San Lorenzo manager ended with a five game winless streak they brought in Omar Asad, who had worked miracles at Godoy Cruz before an unsuccessful stint with Emelec of Ecuador. He didn't manage to turn things around and they finished the Clausura in 14th after a seven game winless streak.

Asad has made a significant number of changes to the squad; Nicolás Bianche Arce comes in from Olimpo, Emmanuel Giggliotti from All Boys, Gabriel Méndez from Banfield and Berardo Romeo is back at the club after his stint at Quilmes ended in relegation.

Asad is an astute manager and he should make improvements if given the time, if results are not forthcoming the board may lose patience.

Prediction: Mid table

San Matín (SJ)

San Martín won promotion through a playoff win against a dismal Gimnasia side, despite having finished above Belgrano in Primera B Nacional, I see them as the weakest of the four promoted sides. A lot will depend on how their new signings will bed into the squad. Some of them look like potentially great signings including former Lanús player Marcos Aguirre will bring a lot of Primera División experience as will Maximiliano Bustos of Banfield. Nestor Ayala was a useful player at Tigre between 2007 & 2010 and Raul Saavedra looked a useful left-back for the other San Martín (de Tucumán) back in 2008-09, his only Primera División goal since 2005 was an absolutely blistering strike against Boca Juniors in 2009.

If the new signings work out for them, San Martín could prove me spectacularly wrong, but I think they are set to struggle badly for points and find themselves in or near the drop zone by the end of the Apertura.

Prediction: 15th-20th


In Denis Straqualursi Tigre had the most effective striker of the 2010-11 season, they have managed to keep hold of him and have added veteran striker Ezequiel Maggiolo to the attack, an intriguing pairing that could work well together. They will need to do well as Tigre kick off the 2011-12 season with the worst points average of any of the established teams meaning that if they do not prosper they will find themselves embroiled in the relegation dogfight.

Tigre have also signed a number of other decent looking players including Emmanuel Pío from Banfield, Carlos Luna from Liga de Quiro, Walter Vílchez from Sporting Cristal and Carlos Casteglione from All Boys.

Prediction: Bottom half of the table


Unión have endured a long wait to return to the Primera División and will be striving to avoid an immediate return to the lower leagues. They have made a number of signings to strengthen the squad for the coming season bringing in Jerónimo Barrales and Enrique Bologna who both have Primera División experience with Banfield, Rodrigo Erramuspe who has some top flight experience with Lanús, Uruguayan Fabricio Núñez who was a bit part player for Godoy Cruz last season, Juan Pablo Pereyra who has top flight experience with Atlético Tucumán and Estudiantes and ex-Southampton flop Marcelo Sarmiento who has played top flight football with Talleres, Olimpo and Argentinos Juniors.

Unión already had a fairly strong squad so the fact that they have made no marquee signings doesn't bode too badly.

Prediction: 10th-15th place

Vélez Sársfield

The reigning champions have lost two of their key players from last season, Ricky Alvarez has gone to Inter and Maxi Moralez has also departed for Italy to join Atalanta. The only additions to the squad are Alejandro Cabral who has returned from his loan spell at Legia Warsaw and Leandro Velázquaz who spent last season on loan at Newell's Old Boys.

Despite losing two important players, Vélez still look like the team to beat in the Argentine Primera División.

Prediction: Championship favourites


Velez, Boca Juniors, Independiente and Lanús as the four most likely winners. Argentinos Juniors, Godoy Cruz and Banfield are the dark horses.

Olimpo, Atlético Rafaela, San Martín and Tigre to find themselves in the relegation places by the end of the Apertura and Newell's Old Boys to have another stinker of a season.