Friday, 6 August 2010

Apertura kicks off

Arsenal v Lanús
Quilmes v Colón
Argentinos Juniors v Huracán
Newell's Old Boys v Estudiantes
Racing Club v All Boys
Banfield v Olimpo
River Plate v Tigre
Gimnasia La Plata v San Lorenzo
Vélez Sarsfield v Independiente
Godoy Cruz v Boca Juniors

It's all back on in Argentina as the Apertura kicks off this weekend. We've had the relegation which occurs every three seasons and Rosario Central, Chacarita Juniors and Atlético Tucumán take the drop. In their place come Quilmes, Olimpo and All Boys.

The title has changed hands season on season lately as the turnover of players gets ever more rapid, the traditional powerhouses struggle for finance and the whole thing becomes more unpredictable as a result. Estudiantes have lost a major source of firepower in selling Mauro Boselli to Wigan, but the millions of quids they get in return in invaluable. Again, Juan Veron is the main man and if he stays fit, they've got a chance. Argentinos Juniors are the champions which they achieved more by consistency than anything else and will be there or close to it this time around too. Boca still have Juan Riquelme on one side of the dressing room and Martin Palermo on the other which is not going to help matters while their big rivals at River Plate will once again rely on the creaking knees of Ariel Ortega. Neither will be challenging for silverware.

Elsewhere, there's not a lot to get the pulses racing. Roberto Ayala joins Racing at the ripe old age of 37, though he's unlikely to get them up among the title challengers. One side whose gib we like the cut of is Vélez Sarsfield providing Nicolas Otamendi can get over his World Cup nightmare quickly. It promises to be another season that gapes open as wide as possible. While the quality might not be there, you can guarantee excitement, horror tackles, no small amount of skill and every prediction we make to be wrong.

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