Torneo Final Tipsheet: The chasing pack sniff blood as Lanús and Newell

Argentina - Torneo Inicial

Without even realising it we have passed the halfway stage of the season and are hurtling towards a conclusion in the Torneo Final. Regular previewer Ed Malyon takes a  look at this weekend's action...


Estudiantes de La Plata v Boca Juniors - 20:10


Boca Juniors have been downright awful since Carlos Bianchi took over and it's only his reputation, and history with the club, that have kept him in a job.


It's all very well pointing to a longer-term plan and absolving him of blame for an aging squad but his signings have been poor and he has undoubtedly made the side  worse - particularly defensively.


Unbelievably, Estudiantes are in worse shape with their 2010 Apertura title but a distant memory. Then-manager Alejandro Sabella is leading Argentina to the World Cup  while then-captain and star player Juan Seba Verón is considering a return from retirement at the age of 39 - so bad have Estudiantes been recently.


New manager Mauricio Pellegrino is yet to bring the side the win they've lacked all season, but this weekend could represent their best chance yet.


Boca are concentrating on next week's Copa Libertadores tie with Corinthians and therefore will play a weakened side in La Plata. Judging by the team from training,  the side doesn't lack experience further forward but is defensively very suspect, and given how poor they've been in that regard it seems implausible that they'd keep  a clean sheet.


Estudiantes have been just as bad, in fact they have the same goals record this season, and that is why we will be backing both teams to score outside evens.


Recommended bet: Back Both Teams to Score @ 2.3



Colón v Arsenal - 22:10


Colón had such a bad start to the season that the decision to sack Nestor Sensini suddenly looked completely senseless.


However, it's amazing how quickly things can turn themselves round in football and Pablo Morant has now got his team on a good run, winning three of their last four  games as the Sabaleros stormed up the table.


Arsenal are their opponents this week, and while their form dipped as they tried to qualify from the Copa Libertadores knockout round - an objective they failed -  you  can expect Gustavo Alfaro's men to return to a level you'd expect from them in the coming weeks, with just one competition left on their minds.


Emmanuel Gigliotti has been brilliant for Colón of late, scoring seven goals in his last nine game and he is now the leading scorer in Argentina over the full 2012/13  season. We fancy Gigliotti to score again in a narrow Colón victory.


Recommended bet: Draw/Colón (HT/FT) @ 6.0




Independiente v Argentinos Juniors - 18:10


Two shocking outfits, who is worse?


Independiente have won just two games in their last 20 and are almost nailed-on now to go down. Argentinos Juniors have got the same amount of wins in their last 24  matches, which kind of gives you the impression that if both teams could lose, they would.


The only thing that looks a safe prediction in this one is few goals, with Argentinos' last six games totalling just four with the Semillero only scoring two.


Independiente have netted just twice in their last seven games and while it's still pretty short, the under 2.5 goals is not to be ignored.


Recommended bet: Back under 2.5 goals @ 1.62



Newell's Old Boys v Racing Club - 22:00


Joint-top Newell's are undoubtedly a brilliant side, but their price - creeping below evens - is too short in a week where they have just played a high-energy Copa  Libertadores game.


Their home defeat to Vélez makes things difficult when they head south in a few weeks time, and they must now attempt to concentrate their minds on the game ahead  against in-form Racing.


The Academia are only behind Newell's and (joint-leaders) Lanús in the form table and have found the right formula this season after a few weeks of awkward re-jigging.  Ricky Centurión's directness is a major loss but their new shape has brought the best out of other youngsters like Bruno Zuculini and Rodrigo De Paul, while sidelining  underperforming dinosaurs like José Sand.


Newell's are a great side, but with Ignacio Scocco still not looking back to full sharpness after a broken toe, they've now lost three of their last five in all  competitions and being so fragile are simply unbackable at 1.99.


Recommendation: Lay Newell's @ 2.08




Lanús v Atlético Rafaela - 01:30


Lanús are top and looking good but they need to snap back into winning ways, with just the lone victory in their last four games.


They're still undefeated this season, but while they've drawn three of their last four, Rafaela have won three of their last four to drag themselves up the table and  into fourth spot.


It's times like this that the analysis of form becomes relevant though, with Rafaela's victims all lowly opposition and two of those coming at home. While Lanús may  have failed to beat the Unión side that Rafaela did beat, they are a far superior side to their visitors and Lanús have promised to be "what we were" on Monday night,  a side "affected but not sunken" by recent results.


You have to back them to get past Rafaela, but it won't be a stroll, so a modest stake on the home win is our play on the final game of the weekend, a win that will  take Lanús back to the top of the league.


Recommended bet: Back Lanús @ 1.74


(Source: Betfair)




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