Mexican Primera, 2011 Clausura Preview: Monterrey Defends, Tigres Chases, Relegation Battlers Stock Up

After a winter break that had saw me watching a lot of English Premier League, a methadone clinic of sorts for those addicted to football from other parts of the world, La Primera will finally be returning this weekend. God, I didn't even have Serie A, La Liga, and Bundesliga to watch. They were all on winter break. I actually had to spend time with my family because I had nothing better to do. It was disgusting!

Finally, all three of those European leagues and the Mexican Primera have returned, meaning I can start being ironic and watching something other than the English Premier League with a PBR in hand. I mean, come on, you all know the Premier League sold out. It's way too mainstream.

Tigres have been the biggest story of the offseason in Mexico, obtaining new players left and right. Their main contenders have been fairly light on new acquisitions, because really, why spend when you're already great? Tigres have to chase down Monterrey, Santos Laguna, and Cruz Azul. Those three teams already have the firepower to compete.

Beyond Tigres, the second most interesting offseason story was probably the relegation arms race. Bottom team Necaxa and third from bottom side Atlas stocked up big time, making Quaretaro and Atlante the new relegation favorites. Still, the coefficients can be cruel, and it's yet to be seen whether or not the new signings made by Necaxa and Atlas will actually lift them out of relegation danger.

And then there is everyone else. The teams in limbo, fighting for Liguilla and CONCACAF Champions League spots, but true long shots to knock off any of the four aforementioned contenders. Plenty of shuffling has occurred with these teams as well, with Jaguares and Pachuca looking noticeably thinner in their attacking ranks.

This league preview will be broken up into three parts. Today, we'll be looking at Mexico's relegation battlers in detail. Tomorrow, we'll be taking a look at the teams contending for Liguilla. Finally, on Wednesday, we'll take a detailed look at the teams who are set up to make a legitimate run at the 2011 Clausura title. 

If you're a fan of Necaxa, Quaretaro, Atlas, Atlante, or Estudiantes Tecos, you get to read about your team today. Puebla and Jaguares fans, be happy that you have been spared a spot in that section by the slimmest of margins. 

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