Velez Sarsfield vs Argentinos Juniors
A draw as two sides who've lost key players start slowly
Velez have lost some important players in the transfer market, from goalkeeper Marcelo Barovero to forward Juan Manuel Martinez and defender Fernando Ortiz. Goalkeeper Sebastian Sosa, signed from Boca Juniors, is a very able replacement for Barovero, though, and Velez will have faith that other signings, and above all their fantastic youth system, will continue to allow them to field a strong side this term.
Argentinos Juniors bid farewell to J.J. Morales, Fabian Bordagaray and German Basualdo, among others, whilst the signings of Leandro Caruso and Leonel Nunez should refresh their attack, but it'll be interesting to see how the rest get on. Arturo Mendoza returns from the ankle injury which kept him out of the end of last season.
Suspended: Fabian Cubero (sent off in previous match)
Matches between these sides last season threw up two real anomalies, results-wise; in both the Apertura and the Clausura, Velez finished third and Argentinos were much lower down the table, but home and away in 2011-12, Argentinos beat Velez.
With Argentinos having changed what was at times a misfiring attacking line, and Velez set to rely on replacements from within their own squad to replace the players they've seen leave, both of these sides start as somewhat unknown quantities. Velez have the advantage, at least, that for the most part they've been playing together for longer than their opponents, and I think their attack looks the more dangerous of the two on display here, partly because of that greater familiarity. Their pre-season form isn't bad; two draws followed in the more significant matches by two wins.
Argentinos have made a lot of new signings and should be hopeful of improving on last season's performances in the medium term. Their pre-season form isn't spectacular, with two draws and one win against a lower division side, but for this match I'm finding it hard to separate the sides, so early on. I'll go for a draw.
HEAD TO HEAD
The last ten meetings between these sides have brought three wins for Velez, five for Argentinos, and two draws, both 1-1. The sides' last meeting was a 2-0 away win for Argentinos in the thirteenth round of the Torneo Clausura, earlier this year.