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Don’t be fooled by their positions in the standings, it could and should be very tight Chivas is gaining momentum and facing a team like Cruz Azul who shows unexpected weaknesses at the end of the season, there is a luck that it ends with a Sunday night level result
Not too long ago, La Liga MX media (including myself) and fans discussed Cruz Azul’s strength and firepower Marauding and rolling over their opponents, Los Cementeros seemed absolutely unstoppable until mid-September
Chivas, on the other hand, appeared to be in a rebuilding phase during this same period COVID-19 issues and their manager’s early dismissal left the team with more questions than answers Their attack was far from exciting and many big names seemed to be battling the infamous pressures associated with one of North America’s most popular teams
Then over the past few weeks, whether by luck or just to get things done on the pitch, their fortunes started to change.
Through gradual progress, Chivas has slowly moved up the standings with three wins and one draw in their last five games Last week they also had a huge boost of confidence after escaping a crucial Clasico Tapatio with a 3-2 victory over their hated rivals from Crosstown, Atlas
It’s not child’s play anymore, the Chivas are finally flexing their muscles, and this weekend they will face a dominant but vulnerable team of Cruz Azul who are winless in their last three
It’s one thing to discuss statistics – which I tend to like to analyze – and it’s another to recognize hard truths
Yes Cruz Azul has very good xG numbers (expected goals), even in their losses Yes they have beaten all their opponents in their last three games without a win Yes only Leon was able to make it to the last week -end of Liga MX with more wins than them
But does it matter when you lose points? How many players on the list are holding their heads high after accumulating just one point after six halves of football?
As much as I’d love to dive into their stats and point out their attack which should turn around, the reality is that Cruz Azul is slowing their pace And while they have a chance to bounce back this weekend, Chivas is looking to pounce on a weakened giant
The Chivas don’t play the most exciting football in the league, but they are gaining ground
Forward Jose Juan Macias has four goals since the start of September Winger Uriel Antuna, showing more consistency than ever, was brilliant in the last win over Atlas with his goal and assist Elsewhere in the attack, there are signs of a developing frontline finally starting to shed the rust left behind by former manager Luis Fernando Tena
Once criticized for his disappointing efforts in the final third, Chivas has recently made some improvements with his five goals in his last three games There is still room for improvement – as seen in the 0-0 draw with Club Tijuana in early October – but they are taking steps forward to collect and create crucial opportunities
Nonetheless, it would be foolish to assume that this will simply be Chivas’ show. Although their attack is able to build on some of their latest progress and find the back of the net at least once, we can’t nor ignore the members of the frontline of Cruz Azul who also seem to have to score a goal or two
Santiago Gimenez and Luis Romo – both still rediscovering their pace after taking part in the Mexican national team’s recalls and friendlies in September / October – have now had enough time to recalibrate and fully focus on their club
More importantly, forward Jonathan Rodriguez surely can’t go scoreless anymore With 10 to his name since the end of July, it was a bit strange to see him go scoreless in his last three games.
It can’t go on any longer And while Rodriguez should find his back, so can a more invigorated Chivas in a game that should end in a captivating draw.
Freelance writer Cesar Hernandez is an American and Mexican football specialist He has written for ESPN FC, The Athletic, The Guardian, FourFourTwo, VICE Sports and several other publications besides writing and previous radio appearances on BBC, talkSPORT and SiriusXM FC, Cesar is also a member of the Mexican Soccer Show podcast
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