Week 8 of the Mexican Primera's 2011 Apertura season is here, and while there are no massive derbies this weekend, there are plenty of good games on offer. For the most part, the interesting matches are between teams that are at the top of the table and teams who should be in Liguilla contention, but have started poorly. This season has been interesting so far, as there are no truly terrible teams. Except Atlas. Poor Atlas. Even Ruben Omar Romano doesn't have a clue how to turn that team around.
Estudiantes Tecos vs. Jaguares Chiapas
Friday, 9:00 pm ET
If there's one thing Jaguares striker Jackson Martinez is good at, it's scoring goals. If there are two things that Martinez is good at, it's scoring goals and getting injured. The Colombian international is down again, but fear not, Jaguares fans. Franco Arizala and Luis Rey are looking excellent at the moment, and it looks like Profe Cruz's side is going to weather the storm.
Cruz has been criticized for having his sides play boring football, so he's decided to give everyone the finger by playing 4-4-2 with attacking fullbacks this season. His setup produced predictable results last week, as his side defeated struggling Santos Laguna 3-2.
Both of these teams can score goals. Tecos' defense sucks. Profe Cruz has put his team in a position to have a defense that sucks. This should be fun.
Prediction: 2-2 draw
Cruz Azul vs. Monarcas Morelia
Saturday, 6:00 pm ET
TV: Azteca America
Cruz Azul looked like a solid, but beatable side while 'Chaco' Christian Gimenez and Jose de Jesus Corona were suspended. Then they came back. With Chaco in the team, Cruz Azul defeated Pumas UNAM 2-1 away to the Estadio Universitario. Be afraid.
This game is a rematch of a 2011 Clausura Liguilla tie in which a giant brawl happened. This brawl is what caused Corona and Gimenez to be suspended. Corona dropped a Morelia assistant coach with a one-punch knockout blow, while Gimenez beat the hell out of a fan who ran onto the pitch. Classy!
After a couple of tournaments of playing mind-numbingly boring football, Morelia were entertaining last season. Then, Elias Hernandez left for Pachuca, while the aforementioned Luis Rey went to Jaguares. Now they're mind-numbingly boring again. Hopefully Miguel Sabah remembers that he's good and this game is actually fun.
Prediction: 3-1 Cruz Azul
Santos Laguna vs. Chivas Guadalajara
Saturday, 8:00 pm ET
I hate to call anything a lock in the Mexican Primera. I especially hate calling it a lock for a road team to win a game. But if this isn't a lock, I'm not sure what a lock is. Santos Laguna are crumbling before our very eyes, though they just hired a new coach to try and fix that problem. That new coach is not Bob Bradley.
Chivas have been the best team in Mexico during this tournament, and it's hard to imagine Santos pulling off a result here. The Goats did stumble on the road a couple of weeks ago against San Luis, but they've been otherwise flawless. If Santos does win this game, it's because they turned it into a wide-open track meet.
Prediction: 2-0 Chivas
Toluca vs. Tijuana Xolos
Sunday, 1:00 pm ET
TV: None! Screw you, Toluca!
Toluca has insisted on drawing everyone to death this tournament, while Tijuana's center of midfield is not very good. This is probably on account of Leandro Augusto being older than dirt and Fernando Arce not being a true central midfield player. It'll be the battle of the geriatrics in the center of the pitch, as Augusto faces off against 94-year-old Sinha.
This is going to be one of those hilarious games where Sinha looks really good and makes you think for almost 10 seconds that he's in the national team for some reason other than his relationship with Chepo de la Torre.
Prediction: 1-1 draw
Club America vs. Atlante
Sunday, 5:00 pm ET
If you were unaware, Atlante plays in Cancun. They relocated there from Mexico City, where they were faced with financial difficulties and low attendance after previously being a massive side. So, the Mexican press likes to make a big deal of it when Atlante comes back to the Estadio Azteca to face America, because this is really important or something.
Is this a derby? Not really. It's a half-derby, I guess. Ultimately this is all pretty irrelevant because Atlante are a bad team this year. It's disappointing, because their roster looks really decent on paper. Problem is, they have no depth in defense. If one guy is injured or just has a bad run of form, they're completely screwed. You should cheer for them anyway, simply because their best player is nicknamed 'Hobbit.' I'm not going to tell you who it is, whoever hits me with the correct answer first wins an internet.
Prediction: 3-1 America