The Slimfast Weekend Preview – Round Five

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Get some exercise, detox, cut out the carbs, avoid mindless eating, eat slower, eat less, try old favourites like stapling your stomach, or steal a trick from (Brazilian) Ronaldo and get some liposuction...

Whatever stratagem Diego Maradona is employing to bring his waistline back under control, it promises to be a body-changing experience. The Argentina coach is currently enjoying the delights of a luxury spa in Italy, with the intention of returning to the patria on Tuesday five kilos lighter.

The timing of Diego’s mini-break in Italy hasn’t exactly thrilled his employers in light of recent problems on the pitch. But before working out just how he’s going to turn the seleccion’s problems around, Maradona has a friendly just around the corner.

A team of locally-based players will take on Ghana at the end of the month. Why? Good question.

With Maradona away, the national team ‘coordinator’ Carlos Bilardo will name the squad. The extra workload of deciding who is paying well won’t require too much leg-work for Bilardo, given that every single minute of top flight football is shown live on national TV.

For the average viewer, watching 10 games a weekend would turn your brain into mush. It is also a problem for Maradona and fellow dieters – it seriously limits potential exercise time. To avoid cerebral and muscular atrophy, here's the weekend’s best and rest.

Friday's best: Central (1st) vs Banfield (3rd)
Back in the old days, i.e. last season, this would be your classic Friday match - low attendance, low TV audience rating, low expectations and, basically, not the best way to kickstart your weekend. Central and Banfield would also be ideal candidates to play Argentine football’s graveyard shift.

That’s all changed. Central are the kings of the hill, two points ahead of the chasing trio, which includes this weekend’s opponents, Banfield.

"Don’t tell the grandes we’re doing well in case they wake up," said Banfield boss Falcioni earlier in the week. What other teams do is irrelevant - if his side beat Central, Banfield with leapfrog the kids from Rosario and go top of the table.

Saturday's best: Independiente (6th) vs Vélez (4th)
Fresh from knocking Boca out of the Sudamericana, Vélez are firing on all cylinders. "The way they're playing now, I’m not sure I want to turn up," admitted Independiente coach Tolo Gallego, in a quote that could easily refer to how he feels every day of the week before going to training.

Still without a stadium, El Rojo are at least showing signs of improvement under Gallego this term. Vélez, meanwhile, are current league champions and have only conceded one goal in the first four games of the season. Pick of the Saturday games.

Sunday's best: San Lorenzo (7th) vs Racing (16th)
This week, Racing’s coach Ricardo Caruso Lombardi was given the chance to talk about non-sporting conquests. "I was a bit of a smooth talker," he said of his younger self. So how do you look after yourself, Ricardo? "I don’t worry about what I eat and I don’t go jogging. I’ve had beautiful skin since I was born," he declared before admitting, "...even if it is a little stretched now ‘cos I’m fat."

If the clásico goes San Lorenzo’s way, which it has every chance of doing, the impeccably groomed, sharp-suited Diego Simeone may well suggest to Caruso that he takes a leaf out of Maradona’s book and gets himself in shape.

The rest
Huracán (18th) vs Estudiantes (2nd)
Lanus (13th) vs Newell’s (5th)
Boca (12th) vs Godoy Cruz (11th)
Arsenal (15th) vs River (14th)
Colón (10th) vs Chacarita (20th)
Gimnasia (19th) vs Tigre (17th)
Argentinos (8th) vs Atletico Tucuman (9th)

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