Thursday, August 5, 2010

2010 Apertura Preditions

I have been asked, along with several others, to contribute my pre-Apertura predictions by Here is the questions they wanted answered, along with my answers. The full article can be found at, along with this weekend's opening schedule.

* Who Will Win The Title?

As the league in Argentina has demonstrated over the past few years, trying to peg a winner of any championship at the beginning of the campaign is next to impossible. At the start of the 2009 Apertura I doubt that any one would have picked Banfield, and Argentinos Jrs winning the 2010 Clausura came completely out of no where. This year should be no different.

Estudiantes have been the one team that has been consistently good of late, but their forays into the Libertadores tournament have almost always undone their hopes of challenging for the title deep into the season sense their last title (2006 Apertura.)

For my pick, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that River Plate returns to glory. They have a new president in the legendary Daniel Passarella, a new coach in Angel Cappa who likes his teams to play attacking futbol, and plenty of new signings that should bring them back from the brink of disaster... provided, of course that the team can gel as a unit.

* Who Will Be This Season’s Surprise Package?

With selecting River as potential champions, one might think that they could be my short answer here, but you'd be wrong. My choice for the surprise team of the Apertura is going to All Boys, and not just because they were the team that knocked Central down to the B.

All Boys have added quite a few quality players over the winter (seems so odd to say that while I'm sweating in Michigan's summer heat,) and if late signing Cristian "El Ogro" Fabbiani can regain his form they might even be able to crack the top five.

* Coach of the Season?

Short answer, Angel Cappa, That's provided, of course, he can get River Plate up and running the way their fans expect them to.

* First Coach to be Sacked

I'm calling this a toss up between Daniel Garnero at Independiente and Ramon Diaz of San Lorenzo. From what I've heard, neither team giving their fans any hope going into the season with their transfer coming and goings, and if either team makes a slow start of the Apertura it will be the coach who ends up taking the blame.

* The Next Big Thing? (breakthrough youngster)

I have to say Marcelo Cañete of Boca Jrs, but only because he's the only young player I've heard enough about. Even then, I've seen little on the up and coming players, even at Newell's Old Boys, whom I follow very closely.

Basically, it isn't a matter of which player has the potential so much, but which one is given the chance.

* Player of the Season?

Again, I have to go back to River Plate. If they do manage to recover the way many expect them to it will not just be due to the signings brought in, but also due to the full recovery of one Diego Buonanotte. Before his car accident, Buonanotte was the only player at River playing up to a level worthy of the team's pedigree. Surrounded with better players, he should be that much more effective.

* Veteran of the Season?

While my head is leaning towards Seba Veron, I'm going to go with my heart here and name Lucas Bernardi. He's been a huge part of Newell's Old Boys doing so well sense his return, and I don't see any reason, short of injury, why that would stop.

* Will River Escape The Drop?

Hey, I just picked them to win the Apertura. I guess that makes this one an easy YES!

With all that said, I must add here that I'm hoping that by end of the Apertura Newell's Old Boys, or Lepra players, will be the answer to most of the above questions.

Bernardi, by the way, will be missing Saturday's opener against Estudiantes... due to injury. Hopefully he'll spend only a short while on the sidelines, and get back to playing soon enough to make my prediction  of top veteran of the league come true.

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