Traditional Big Five not so "Grandes"
If youÃ¢ÂÂre tired of the EPL's Big Four, or whether itÃ¢ÂÂll be Barcelona or Real Madrid, or whether Inter will win the scudetto again, fear not, there is hope.
Venezuelan leader Hugo ChÃÂ¡vez has a dream of 21st-century socialism in Latin America, and itÃ¢ÂÂs already alive and kicking Ã¢ÂÂ in Argentine football.
The last six tournaments have been won by six different teams Ã¢ÂÂ a kind of power-sharing that goes strictly against the prevalent Peronist tendencies.
Traditionally it has always been the Five Grandes who have enjoyed a stranglehold on success out here, with Boca Juniors, River Plate, San Lorenzo, Racing and Independiente battling it out for the silverware.
ThatÃ¢ÂÂs all changed though, given that the Grandes arenÃ¢ÂÂt that, well, big anymore. For all their tradition, former glories, pesos and favourable decisions, nothing can save the Grandes right now.
None of them won at the weekend. San Lorenzo and Racing cancelled each other out in a simply horrendous match with no goals and no fun. The match commentators declared that both coaches Ã¢ÂÂ Diego Simeone and Ricardo Caruso Lombardi Ã¢ÂÂ should go away and think about their actions. The less anyone thinks about that game, the better.
Independiente have stooped so low that they celebrated a draw like a win (although in fairness theyÃ¢ÂÂd pulled back a two-goal deficit against the current champions VÃÂ©lez).
The big story, however, is the Big FiveÃ¢ÂÂs Big Two Ã¢ÂÂ Boca Juniors and River Plate.
This blog was going to be about some iffy refereeing decisions. Boca were awarded a goal that suggests the linesman has Russian lineage, while River had a goal against them disallowed for no other reason than it being the second goal against them in as many minutes. And that canÃ¢ÂÂt happen.
Despite these decisions, both clubs still managed to lose - Boca at home to Godoy Cruz to a late goal, and River away to Arsenal to an early one.
The season may be just five weekends old, but heads are already rolling.
News filtered through late on Sunday night. Alfio Ã¢ÂÂCocoÃ¢ÂÂ Basile, the man who made way for Diego Maradona to take over the national team just a few months back, had already had enough and resigned as Boca coach Ã¢ÂÂ but sporting director Carlos Bianchi refused to accept it.
Whether Basile stays or not, Boca have huge problems. Their two main players, striker MartÃÂn Palermo and playmaker Juan RomÃÂ¡n Riquelme, refuse to pass to each other. The defence is a mess, and the clubÃ¢ÂÂs enormous debt makes it impossible to strengthen the squad.
So far this season theyÃ¢ÂÂve scraped one win out of five, and although being knocked out of the Sudamericana may be a blessing in disguise, the club basically need win the title to guarantee qualification for the Libertadores. Five games in, Boca are already eight points off the pace.
River Plate are in a similar situation: out of the Sudamericana, nowhere near qualification for the Libertadores, in massive debt and poor in the league.
River have, in fact, taken to breaking club records, but not the kind to sing about. Just a year ago they came last in the league in the Apertura Ã¢ÂÂ08 Ã¢ÂÂ the first time ever that theyÃ¢ÂÂd finished bottom.
Sunday nightÃ¢ÂÂs defeat was their 15th consecutive away game without a win. Not since 1978 have the club travelled so poorly.
Gorosito has been in the job for nine months, and believes heÃ¢ÂÂs got Ã¢ÂÂballs big enough to handle the situationÃ¢ÂÂ. Those must be big balls then, because the situation is dire.
Like Boca, they have no money to buy new players. Inexperienced youth team players are promoted too quickly to the first team, while the side depends on the ageing legs of players like Gallardo, Ortega and Almeyda, who Ã¢ÂÂ put simply Ã¢ÂÂ are past it.
Gorosito may be saved by the clubÃ¢ÂÂs presidential elections in December. Candidates to take charge at the Monumental will all have their coach they want to bring in, making it virtually impossible for River to find a replacement for Gorosito between now and then.
All of this plays into the hands of Estudiantes Ã¢ÂÂ not one of the Grandes Ã¢ÂÂ who kicked off the weekendÃ¢ÂÂs action with a 4-1 demolition of HuracÃÂ¡n, and can laugh at the mess below them from the comfort of the top of the table.
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