Arsenal prepare for super, super weekend

For any sports broadcaster partial to the odd bit of hyperbole here and there, two derbys on the same weekend usally means a barrage of swooshes, fancy graphics and sizzling promos revolving around the use of 'super'. This weekend in Argentina is a realisation of the wildest dreams of jumped-up, bronzed news presenters, salivating football fans and newsagents. Three (3) clásicos, a top of the table clash, potential league leaders versus one of the best sides in the country - it promises to be a super, super weekend…

Arsenal - Godoy Cruz

‘Tell people something they know already and they will thank you for it,’ goes the phrase, ‘tell them something new and they will hate you for it.’ As already discussed in these pages this week, Arsenal aren’t getting much attention amongst the media or fans despite the fact that if they beat Godoy Cruz they will go joint top of the table. That’s TOP. And depending on events in Liniers right after, The Arse could stay there. Despite their form, Gustavo ‘Lettuce’ Alfaro still hasn’t found his ideal starting XI, while Omar Asad will continue to look to David Ramírez for inspiration for the Men from Mendoza. If Riquelme says Ramírez is the best player in Argentina right now, he must be.

Vélez – Estudiantes

Estudiantes were the first Non Big Five to win the league in Argentina. Vélez sometimes feel like the fifth Beatle in trying to join the elite and form a 'Big Six'. But they don’t succeed. But while these two may not fall into the category of a grande, they are big. Over the past few years both Vélez and Estudiantes have been the most consistent sides in the country. With Estudiantes commanding a three-point lead over Vélez, a win for the pincha could put them out of reach, especially if Arsenal don’t defeat Godoy Cruz. But although Juan Sebastián Verón returns, they will have to go for the win without a recognised striker, while also stopping Vélez duo Juan Manuel Martínez and Santaigo Silva, the league’s top two goal scorers this term, in the process. In the word of @optajoe: clash.

River – Racing

Ángel Cappa sent himself off last weekend when River Plate had their winning goal disallowed right at the death against Godoy Cruz. Unfortunately, his colourful abuse was overheard by the officials, meaning that once again he had to explain himself to AFA this week. Cappa now has a suspended suspended-touchline ban. This is one headache he has to deal with. Another is that he still can’t find his preferred XI, and to make things worse, Diego Buonanotte is kicking up a fuss about not playing, despite the forward performing considerably below his ability this year. It’s just as well Racing hardly even win at River.

Huracán – San Lorenzo

Not so long ago this derby was considered one of the most dangerous in Argentina, and the feds are still taking no risks with this one. A series of robberies in which flags were the booty have meant that the Globo and Cuervo fans are the proverbial haybarn waiting for any single spark to kick things off. Flaunting the stolen flags during the clásico used to be the perfect ignition the two sets of fans needed to go at it, so the law has banned any flags being brought into the ground for this game. There are unconfirmed reports that talking will also be banned at football games, in the coming weeks…

Independiente – Boca

Independiente are on thin ice. They beat Uruguayan outfit Defensor in the Sudamericana on Wednesday to progress in the tournament, but while the trophy offers their one and only chance of salvaging their season, the club is in danger of sanctions from CONMEBOL for the Defensor keeper being hit by a rock during the game. All eyes will be on the Libertadores Stadium to see how the fans behave, so a high-pressure clásico against Boca his far from ideal. Boca, meanwhile, are patiently waiting. Waiting, waiting, waiting. It will happen, but it seems that it won’t be this weekend. Mr. Juan Román Riquelme will return. Soon.

FIXTURES: Arsenal v Godoy Cruz, Vélez v Estudiantes, Argentinos v All Boys, River v Racing, Quilmes v Banfield, Lanús v Colón, Huracán v San Lorenzo, Independiente v Boca, Tigre v Olimpo, Newell’s v Gimnasia

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