Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Look At Newell's Trip To Bolivia

Alright, time to look at Newell's Old Boys Copa Sudamericana trip to Bolivia, and who we can expect Roberto Sensini to send out to defend La Lepra's 6-0 first leg lead over San José de Oruro.

Considering the advantage, one might expect Newell's to rest a few players. Maybe keep the veterans out for the game at altitude to keep them fit, and free of any additional cards they might otherwise pick up. Not according to the reports I've seen, all of which have Sensini only having three player that may or may not play, but all looking at the same spot in the line up. The other ten slots will be unchanged from what we've been seeing, save for Formica moving up to forward from his midfield position.

Here's what I've seen reported:

Sebastián Peratta
Agustín Alayes, Rolando Schiavi, Ignacio Fideleff;
Luciano Vella, Diego Mateo, Lucas Bernardi, Marcelo Estigarribia
Mauricio Sperdutti, Franco Dolci, or Leonel Vangioni
Mauro Formica, Iván Borghello

Now, it would make sense to rest Sperdutti, I suppose. He's been playing very well of late, coming into his own, really. So much so that, according an earlier story I read, he's got the interest of French team Toulouse... but we have a ways to go before the January transfer window, and at this stage con only be looked at as a rumor. He's been the team's best offensive weapon so far this season, so keeping him out of this game and ready to go for Sunday's Apertura match against Gimnasia La Plata would seem to be the way to go.

Considering that Dolci has not played much, and did in fact have a very good game against Banfield, playing him makes all kinds of sense. Run him out there, and see if he can keep it playing quality futbol.

Vangioni I desperately want to see earn his place in the starting eleven. Certainly he's not quite match fit as yet, but with a 6-0 aggregate lead, why not get him out there? Let's see if he can't go a full 90. Once he is back to full match fitness, I'm sure he will play as well as ever, and prove yet again to be the team's most reliably consistent performer.

Other players I'd like to see given a rest in this match are Schiavi, Mateo, and Formica. Alexis Machuca has proven he is capable of coming in and playing well at centerback, which would allow the 37 year old Schiavi a rest. Yes, I know, he may be 37, but he has a 20 year old's mentality about the game. He won't want to sit out, but if there was ever a time that Newell's could afford to sit him down for a match, this certainly is it.

Dolci played against Banfield in Bernardi's place, so why not have him play in place of Mateo? For Formica, we could bring in either Leandro Velázquez or young Daniel Salvatierra. My preference would be for Salvatierra, but Velázquez really hasn't gotten enough playing time with Newell's to prove himself one way or the other. I also wouldn't mind seeing Estigarribia on the bench, but that's just my preference for Vangioni on the left side of midfield.

So, if I was in Sensini's place, Thursday's line up might look something like this:

Sebastián Peratta
Agustín Alayes, Alexis Machuca, Ignacio Fideleff;
Luciano Vella, Franco Dolci, Lucas Bernardi, Marcelo Estigarribia or Leonel Vangioni
Leonel Vangioni or Leandro Velázquez
Daniel Salvatierra, Iván Borghello

With a six goal lead, even playing at in the Bolivian altitude, getting through to the next round of the Copa is as near a sure thing as one can get. Really, Sensini, you could even take these changes further and I doubt that San José are going to threaten to knock us out at this point.

Defender Cristian Lema has yet to play, I don't think he's even been on the bench for a match. Midfielder Cristian Díaz has barely played, and has spent some time with Real Potosí in the Bolivian league, so he knows what it's like to play in the mountains, why not give him a chance? Young defensive midfielder Mauricio Scaglia could be of use, and, from what I've seen of him, would be capable of doing the job well enough. Luis Rodríguez or Sebastián Taborda could be given another try up front.

Other players who haven't gotten much of a chance to prove themselves are midfielders Alejandro Cascio and Federico Dominguez, and forwards Emanuel Dening (OK, what chances he's gotten - none this season - he hasn't impressed me... so what? Considering my questioning of Dolci before the game against Banfield, and then the way he played, anything is possible) and Federico Falcone.

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